Promotional Plan

It’s time to turn your attention to how you will communicate with your customers. Promotion embodies both personal and non-personal interactions.

Let’s examine the myriad possibilities moving from the micro to the macro. At the outset you may have a very small budget and may have to start with digital media only. As the business grows and the marketing budget increases, you will be able to utilize other media.

 Electronic Media

Website, Podcast, Webinars, E-mail Blasts, Blogs, Mobile, Video, Facebook, Twitter, Banner Ads, Social Networks.

Mini Media

Brochures, Public Relations, Yellow Pages, Free Seminars, Free Consultations, Mobile, Free Newsletters, T-Shirts/ Pens/ Giveaways, Signs/ Banners, Coupons, Rebates

Personal Selling

Sales force, Hire an Agent, Dealers, Distributors, Telemarketing, Trade Shows

Large Media Advertising

TV, Newspapers, Radio, Magazines, Outdoor Signs, Direct Mail

 

As you move from micro to macro media the costs increase rapidly, as does the reach. However, be sure to focus on effectiveness. While a Super Bowl ad might do wonders for your ego and social standing, it may not be the most cost effective use of your money. Always focus on what will work with connecting you and your message to your customer.

Small entrepreneurs are better off starting with social media, free promotions and in-person sales calling. Creativity will be a key ingredient of your success as will persistence and resilience. You will be your best marketing program and sales agent.

Sarah Levy, a friend and frequent guest speaker in my classes, has a love for baking and started her business “Sarah’s Candies” in her mom’s kitchen. She called on many nearby stores but her big break-through came when a buyer at Whole Foods decided to try her cookies in a few stores. The rest is, as they say, history. Luck, for some reason, seems to favor those with initiative and a willingness to work hard.

“I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”Thomas Jefferson

The greatest and purest form of marketing is word of mouth: nothing beats somebody raving about your product and telling others about it. This is called a referral. Word of mouth marketing and the power of customer loyalty is a powerful tool that successful brands use. Companies like Disney, Intuit, American Express and Microsoft use a metric called the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure how likely a customer is to recommend a firm or a service to a friend. Higher customer loyalty translates into a higher score, which augurs well for the growth prospects of the business. Companies like Zappos and Warby Parker insure high NPS by focusing on excellent customer service as a way to build brand identity and drive growth. Focus on figuring out how to get referrals. In today’s social media, going viral is the ultimate referral.

Verinder Syal, Author: Discover The Entrepreneur Within

Written by Verinder Syal
Verinder is the Principal at Thoughtful Simplicity, an award-winning teacher at Northwestern University, and the author of Discover The Entrepreneur Within.