The challenges inherent in getting the word out about your business can be perplexing for many, yet it’s a crucial aspect of successful marketing and growing brand recognition. Here are eight promotional strategies every launch needs to grow.
Large, small or somewhere in-between, your business must be determined to implement a promotional strategy that’s both creative and compelling, reaching predetermined goals along the way.
Every promotional campaign is different and strategies should be tailored to fit the needs of your business, though there are some common basics which are universal.
The following are a list of 8 universal promotional strategies every launch needs to start off on the right foot, though it’s important to mention that these are simply starting points from which to expand and grow your campaign in complexity and ultimately success.
#1 – Build A Website
Building your website is like painting a masterpiece.
Your website is the cornerstone of your business. Whether you’re launching your brand on its inaugural run or introducing a new product or service, customers need a place to be ‘driven’ to.
Once on your website customers can follow call-to-actions, make a purchase, contact you, develop brand loyalty, educate themselves, share with friends … the list goes on. A website is critical, despite the urge by some to rely solely on social media to interact with customers. A website offers legitimacy crucial for successful growth.
Building your website is like painting a masterpiece, though luckily you don’t have to build it yourself. Many talented and affordable craftsmen are available to do the heavy lifting – your role can simply be to infuse the site with your brand identity and message.
#2 – Implement Basic Website SEO Practices
SEO can help drive your site to the first page of search results.
Search Engine Optimization can be an intimidating topic, as some businesses don’t have the help of an experienced SEO consultant or in-house web developers. In those cases SEO often doesn’t get implemented at all.
The problem gets compounded when business owners research SEO themselves only to find conflicting information, complicated settings in SEO tools designed for technical users, and inevitably give up out of frustration.
The rules of SEO are in constant flux, and with Google guiding roughly 90% of search engine traffic on the web, it’s their rulebook we must follow. As it’s in Google’s best interest to shield their proprietary algorithms closely, those implementing your businesses SEO strategy must ensure they’re up-to-speed on the latest news and parse fact from falsehood.
While a very loaded and complicated topic, there are SEO basics you can implement to help drive your website to the first page of search engine results. Bear in mind that changes in Google’s algorithms may make any of these inclusions more or less important down the road. Ultimately an SEO consultant on retainer is the ideal approach for lasting positive results.
#3 – Embrace Social Media Platforms
Driving customers through your sales funnel is the ultimate goal.
Everyone knows about social media, but do you know the ideal social platform(s) to promote your business?
While it may be tempting to register an account with any and all social media platforms and continually post updates in hopes that something will catch the zeitgeist, your brand might fall into a particular niche which won’t perform well on certain social channels, causing you to waste valuable time and energy.
Knowing where your customers are, meeting them there and interacting constructively which drives them through your sales funnel is the ultimate goal.
An early indicator of where your attention should be focused comes from successful direct competitors. Which social media platforms do they use? How many followers do they have, and how frequently do they post updates? Are customers responding favorably, and what volume of their content is marketing material?
If you have no direct competitors as you’re blazing a trail in your category, plus have no customer data to draw from, you may find posting to the most popular social media sites a great way to test the waters and determine successful traction.
Many businesses are now utilizing social media editorial calendars and posting tools which allow you to not only post regularly, but post to multiple social media channels from one unified account.
#4 – Develop Multimedia Content
Allow customers to easily digest complex messages which are vital.
Your website and social media accounts need content, and arguably the most effective is visual. Well-crafted images and video content can help get a message across effectively and with the least amount of resistance, as it requires only a passive engagement from customers.
Additionally, some popular social media sites your business may best perform on are driven by visual content. A strategically placed video on the front page of your website allows customers to easily digest complex messages you feel are vital, especially if the rest of your website is mostly text-based.
Depending on your needs, you may find a short, simple explainer video ideal, though it should be high-quality and exude professionalism. Many businesses rely on original, professionally-produced photos and video to populate their website, which is not only visually appealing but acts as a buttress for written content. These visual elements often last for months or even years on website pages, as they’ve been proven effective in sales conversion.
Social media lends itself to more ‘gritty’ content that’s rough around the edges. It can be a mix of throw-away ephemera shot with a phone camera to highlight activity around the office, through deliberately crafted marketing material which has some production value.
A strong recommendation is to avoid designing graphic elements in-house, unless you or your team has a graphic design background. Poorly crafted graphics (despite the pride and opinions of the designer) can damage the reputation of your brand, and leave customers questioning your professionalism. Consistency is key in marketing campaigns, and consistently great is always better.
#5 – Promote Locally & Beyond With SEM
Paid search listings get you seen via organic search despite SEO.
If you’re unfamiliar with SEM (search engine marketing), it’s a way to promote your website by increasing its visibility in search engine result pages through contextual advertising and paid placements.
You’ve likely seen SEM in action while searching for something on Google, as paid placements show up at the top of the results page with an icon indicating advertisement status.
While earning traffic through unpaid free listings optimized by SEO is always ideal, paid search listings can offer a great benefit to ensure you’re being seen via organic search regardless your SEO prowess.
By many measures, Google Adwords is the most popular paid search platform followed by Bing Ads, which also serves ads on Yahoo. Beyond that, there are numerous 2nd tier PPC (pay-per-click) platforms available serving the major social networks which can be tapped into.
#6 – Create A Press Release
Press releases can secure a magazine feature or television interview.
Your new business, product or website is ready to launch and you want to inform loyal customers, other stakeholders and the press alike. An essential element in any public relations strategy is to create a press release.
While they help publicize newsworthy information about your business and offer you some control over where that information lands, great press releases can also secure a magazine feature or television interview – offering even more visibility to new customers.
While creating your press release, ensure to follow these tips designed to help it stand out from the pack. Journalists are flooded with potential stories, and making your release stand out is crucial:
- Tell a compelling story
- Grab attention with a strong headline
- Get right to the point in the first paragraph
- Make it grammatically flawless
- Include hard numbers
- Include quotes whenever possible
- Include your contact information
- Provide access to more information
- One page is best — and two is the maximum
#7 – Create Great Content
Increase expectations for marketing ROI with lasting content.
Investing in great content for your website and marketing materials may seem like a given for most, but it’s an important inclusion as the focus of many companies has been turning to social media.
The thinking goes that if they’re just tweeting or posting on social media accounts like Facebook, they don’t need to create anything longer or more substantive.
Our years of experience has shown that while social media channels are invaluable to stay connected with customers and potential prospects, we’ve yet to hear of any senior executives making multi-million dollar bets based on an intriguing or clever tweet.
Indeed, high-quality content is more important than ever. It not only showcases your brands’ professionalism but also informs customers without confusing them, lowers bounce rates on your website, improves overall SEO scores, and increases your odds of getting new business.
By evaluating your content and stripping it of weak, extraneous material, and having a professional editor tighten and enhance the writing, your business will be well on its way to increased expectations for marketing ROI with lasting content.
#8 – List With Online Directories
4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local businesses.
For small and medium sized businesses, it’s crucial these days to list themselves prominently in multiple online directories. Considering that 4 out of 5 consumers in the U.S. now use search engines to find a local business or service, making sure your brand is found with relevant consumer information is a must.
Based on Google’s own research regarding consumer search behavior, customers frequently seek company hours, business location, product information, and directions. They also put great stock in online reviews, with the vast majority trusting those reviews as much as personal recommendations.
There are numerous directories online to list your business, and knowing where your customers are, meeting them there and offering them the right information is key to successful promotion. Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, Yahoo Local Listing, Yelp, and the Yellow Pages are great places to start your listing journey.