This is the third in a three-part series on how to promote your business.
Part 1: The Message: How Should I Promote My Business?
Part 2: The Media: The Complete (Thumbnail) Guide to Choosing the Right Media
Part 3: The Tactics (Today)
You might think that mixing new media with traditional media requires two different strategies. That’s not necessarily so. Straddling the fence may require a different approach, but the tactics are mostly the same. The main difference is the approach. With new media and social media, communication is personal. When you promote your business online, there is the opportunity for direct and immediate feedback from consumers. So your online approach should be more conversational. Beyond that there are tactics are mostly the same.
Have a plan of action
Before you spend one dollar or one hour on promoting your business, get a plan. Answer this question: What exactly do you want to accomplish? Don’t advertise or jump into online promotion as a knee-jerk reaction to declining business. Be specific with your plan: “I want to people to know xxxx.” Get your message straight before you start.
Start Strong, Taper Off
Resist the tendency to ‘test the water’ before jumping in. Starting small will get you poor results. Media reps are especially poor at this. The just want to sell you something, so they pitch you the smallest package they have thinking they will up-sell you later. This is a bad practice.
When you first present a new idea, you need to establish the idea in the marketplace with strong frequency. After you have made an initial impact, you can pull back a little bit. The public will perceive that you are still just as active. In fact if you have started with a heavy push, you can actually take occasional breaks without being forgotten.
For online media, this does not mean connect with 1000 people on Facebook your first day. it means be active when you do create a Facebook page for your business. Post often, engage and reply to friends and followers. If you start a blog, start with a heavy posting schedule and stick with it.
People are not very good at remembering. If fact, we forget a most of what we’ve heard within the first hour. So you need to remind people what you’re saying. Often. That means when you run advertising, run as frequently as you can afford. One ad, one commercial per week is not going to help. One billboard won’t accomplish anything. Don’t just post one video to YouTube, post them weekly. Consistent repetition creates durability.
Concentrate! – Don’t spray and pray.
Spreading yourself too thin dilutes your message and wastes your time. This is an especially dangerous trap with online social media. You don’t need to be on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace and a blog. Pick one or two and be active.
With traditional media, concentrate by narrowing your schedule. Run one daypart instead of two, with the same budget. Run only one TV station instead of two. Buy billboards close to each other.
Only one key idea at a time – no laundry lists!
Don’t try to cram everything you can into one message. Ask yourself, what’s the most important thing people need to know and say only that. Resist the temptation to add a laundry list of products, your store hours, and the over-used “And we also do…” Give consumers a big idea or a core concept, not a bunch of details they won’t remember.
One Key Idea, Told Elaborately
Nope this is not a contradiction of the previous rule. What this means is don’t make a generic presentation your idea, don’t just recite facts. The best way to be elaborate is to tell stories or connect your message to other ideas or concepts.
Use an emotional hook, but don’t use fear.
Emotions arouse attention and make memories more persistent. So use an emotional hook such as happiness, love, nostalgia, but stay away from fear. People may remember you, but they won’t feel comfortable with you.
Be visual, even when you’re not using a visual medium.
Apologies to radio advertising folks, but it’s true: vision dominates all other senses and is more effective at creating memories. Use color, size, motion, and spatial orientation. If you are promoting in a non-visual medium such as radio or podcasts, create visual images by using vivid language and telling stories.
So what are some of your tips and advice? How have you successfully promoted your business? What works best for you?