There are a zillion channels out there for you to promote your product or service. But are you using the best channel for your business? Are your current channels giving you the desired results?
If not, you have not done the right set of analyses while choosing them. And you might end up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars if you do it all wrong.
This article outlines clear guidelines to help you pick the right promotion channel from the lot, to optimize your spending and maximize ROI.
So, here we go.
1. Clearly define your objectives
The very first step before you choose your promotion channel is to be crystal clear about your promotion objectives.
Is it increasing sales? Improving brand awareness? Or introducing a new product? Ask yourself these questions. Some of the other promotion objectives include:
- Improve brand image
- Improve market penetration
- Brand revitalization
- Announcing an event or conference
- Promote any awards you recently won
You could have more reasons specific to your business to run a promotion. Make sure you have a clear understanding of those.
2. Understand what your competition is doing
The intention of studying your competition is not to imitate them, but to see what worked for them, and what didn’t. However, it will definitely help you to borrow some of their promotion techniques that worked, optimize and improve them to enhance the outcomes. It will also tell you the reasons behind some of the techniques to fail. This in turn will enable you to resolve the issues in their execution and maybe try them out, if they suit your business.
Further, it will help you understand how the customer landscape has evolved over the years, and how it will change in the coming years. Basis this, you can tailor your promotion campaign to reach the maximum number of people.
3. See where your target audience spends their time
This is very key while picking the most appropriate promotion channel for your business. Today’s customers want businesses to interact with them at the place and time they want. So, see where your audience is.
The days of customers installing a separate app for every need is far gone. As of January 2019, the average daily time spent by a person on social is 116 minutes. Also 81% of small and medium businesses use some kind of social media. So social media are definitely a gold mine for customer reach.
Now you need to see which media your potential customer is most active in. This is very specific to your industry and business domain. One effective method to figure this out is to look at your competition’s online presence.
You need to explore much more than social media. See if other promotion channels such as TV and paper ads, conferences, events, webinars etc. would work for your business.
4. Consider ease of execution
Ease of execution is an important factor to be considered while you decide your promotion channel. You should not ideally go with those channels that would take huge effort, money and time to execute. You can do it if you can afford to.
Let us try to understand this through an example.
Say you want to do a product launch. One of the major questions is whether you need to do it globally, or focus on a few geographies. Doing it in your own country is easier because of the resources you have. And cost is most likely going to be affordable. We will discuss the cost factor in a later section.
Now, for a global launch, you need more workforce and other resources. If you don’t have them, you have to hire a third party to do the promotion for you. And it would take humongous coordination effort to get it done.
Given all these, you might as well want to do the launch just in your country and a few more. However, if you are ready to take up the task, and have strategic reasons to go for a global launch, you should do it.
In a nutshell, you need to factor in ease of execution before you finalize your promotion channels.
5. Analyze your strengths in various channels
We have already seen that you need to have sufficient resources to conduct a promotional activity or campaign. This point is kind of derived from that fact.
This is about exploiting your current strength and presence in a specific channel(s). Maybe you already have a good presence in a couple of social media. Then you should leverage it. Or you are part of some business forum with a lot of your potential customers as members. You need to use that network for your promotion as well.
Or you are a public speaker/influencer. If so, you can utilize that to promote your own business to your followers. The idea is to leverage your current channels of strength, without having to invest any additional time and effort.
At the same time, you could also attempt to reach people through new channels. Here, you might have to build certain capabilities internally, or hire a third party firm to do it for you.
6. Consider budget availability
This is very obvious. Budget is the single most important factor in almost every business activity. Promotion is no different.
You can’t drain your cash reserves by putting all of it into promotional activities, especially if you are a new business. You will be forced to stay away from expensive marketing campaigns like TV or magazine ads.
However, you still need to achieve your goals within the given period of time. So how do you do it?
Well, you can’t spend too much. But you can optimize and distribute your funds in a way that doesn’t significantly affect your bottom line. One way obviously is to go for those channels which are relatively inexpensive such as social media. But that’s not it. You can do more to manage your spending in promotion. Following are a few tips:
- Distribute your spending across the 2 or 3 channels you use. This prevents wastage of funds in one channel, and thereby you can rationalize the risk.
- Do promotion in phases. If you plan to cover a few countries over a period, start with 1 or 2. Move onto the others gradually. This will distribute the load on your balance sheet evenly.
- Leverage internal resources to the maximum. For example, if you have a graphic design team in your company, get all the design work done from them. Also use your marketing team for some activities rather than giving everything to a third party marketing firm
- Encourage your own employees to share your promotional content on social media. This doesn’t directly help reduce costs, rather reaches more people with the same spending
7. Align your decision with business strategy and goals
We have discussed clearly defining promotion goals. But this is about ensuring your decision aligns with organizational goals. Any channel you choose, should fulfill those, and accelerate your business growth in that direction.
Let me take an example.
Assume one of the main goals of your business for the next year is to improve its online presence. This would involve enhancing the company’s social profiles, posting relevant content on social media platforms, increasing online activities etc.
Given this, it is not wise to spend a lot of your resources for offline promotion. You can focus more of your efforts online.
Another example is: if your company’s strategy is to improve market presence in Europe for the next year, your promotion needs to mostly target that geography.
So make sure to choose promotion channels that align with your company goals.
Those are my 7 tips on how to choose the right promotion channel for your business. Narrow down your final choices to 2 or 3 channels and focus your efforts on those.
Did you find this article useful? If you did, let me know in the comments section. If you didn’t comment ‘no’. Also feel free to share your thoughts and views.