Promotions are part of most small businesses. They range from % off costs to offering a prize to customers and everything in between. Small businesses have specific challenges and their promotions need to be approached differently than those of larger organisations. One of the biggest challenges in small business promotion is working with small budgets.
Small budgets mean more specific promotions
The most important part of any promotion is to figure out the goal of the promotion and then put processes in place to monitor the success of the promotion. Promotions are useful if they achieve their goal. This means that every promotion should have a goal to begin with. It’s important to figure out what the promotion is trying to achieve specifically.
Potential promotion reasons:
- Increase sales
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase brand loyalty
- Create a new market or expand an existing one
For example: A cafe introduces a new product; take-home meals. The goal of promotional activity is to increase brand awareness of the new product and the gauge of success is an increase in inquiries online and in store about the new product. Note that the gauge of success is not increased sales as that is not the goal of the promotion. It’s important to be clear on goals and the gauge of success.
Planning a Promotion
A plan for the promotion will assist in ensuring the promotion stays on track. Following is a simplified example of a promotional plan for the aforementioned cafe promotion:
Goal/Objective of the promotion: To increase awareness of the new product, ‘Take Home Meals’.
How success will be measured: An increase in inquiries on website and in store
Target market/s: Current customers and busy meal preparers.
Outline of the promotion and how it will achieve the specified goal: An email is sent to the current cafe database outlining the new product and the chance to win a week’s worth of family take away dinners by entering online or filling out a competition entry form at the counter.
Marketing Message: The best solution for busy people. Don’t resort to junk food, take the cafe you love home with you.
Marketing Material: Online form and brochure as well as in store competition forms. Posters and print ads.
Where and how the promotion will be communicated: Current cafe database, ads and editorial in local paper, posters in store.
Timelines and Deadlines: Promotion to coincide with the launch of the product. The promotion will run for one month with prize drawn the following week.
Budget: Prize $250, Marketing: $400, Licensing: $250
Make the next promotion even better
It’s important to also record the results of the promotion as well as any obstacles or unforeseen circumstances. This will assist in future promotional planning. Promotions are great tools for small business as long as they are well thought out and executed.