Successul promotionSales promotion can be a very effective marketing technique in your small business marketing toolkit and in this new ‘social’ world, sites like Twitter and Facebook, can even help you spread your promotion like wildfire, even take it  global in an instant (do bear this in mind when you consider legal issues in different countries and response or uptake rates!).

To a run a successful campaign, here are my Do’s and Don’ts to follow for your next promotion:

The Do’s

  • Clearly define your target audience – know who you want to respond and why.
  • Put together a compelling and appealing offer with a deadline for response – you want prompt action for maximum impact and uptake.
  • Calculate your margin and what you can afford to giveaway. Don’t pluck offers out of the air, that will significantly damage your profit margin!
  • Invest in decent branding (online/email or print) so your offer talks quality and not cheap and nasty. Great design and the right compelling copy will boost your response rate significantly.
  • Make sure you have adequate terms and conditions to ensure there are no disputes or possible costly legal issues.
  • Build a means of tracking the results – different email address, unique website landing page, unique offer code, or a new telephone number.

The Don’ts

  • Promise something you can’t deliver 100% every time.
  • Re-act to competitors and follow suit – avoid copy cat actions, just for the sake of it.
  • Use the same old offer as the last 5 times, unless it was highly successful. Marketing is about evolution and learning what works best for each target audience. 
  • Rush out the promotion without enough time to execute it well – you need to look professional and credible.
  • Plan for the possible response and how you will fulfil the promotion. Think the dreaded Hoover free flights promotion – it all went horribly right, when response was huge and they could not fulfil the offer. The great response soon turned into a PR disaster. The subsequent publicity was very damaging for the Hoover brand. This can impact on all businesses – large and small!
  • Fail to brief staff properly on how to handle customer enquiries and act knowledgeably about the promotion. Or fail to test the offer code, email address or website landing page are all working properly.

What type of promotions have you run that were successful for your small business – I’d love to hear!