It's an endless topic that feels like it has been discussed to the point of near exhaustion – and yet it remains highly relevant to business owners and, thanks to our rapidly developing digital landscape, is an ever-changing subject. With the constantly-increasing number of promotion channels, it can be quite overwhelming to try and choose your platform. Rule number 1 should of course be clear: know where your audience is. And in order to know the answer to that question, you need to know who your audience is. We are going to assume you have a good idea of who your audience is and jump right into what you need to choose the right channel for promoting your business.
Go Analogue to Go Local
You'd nearly think that printed marketing was taboo for any other business than supermarkets, but the tried and trusted flyer and brochure have not left the building quite yet. In fact, if you are looking for clients or customers locally where you are based, you might just be horribly remiss not to invest in printed promotion material. From freelancers offering one-on-one services such as coaching or tutoring, to concert venues announcing this month's schedule, or small businesses promoting products and services within the local city or town – there are many scenarios in which flyers and posters are the best way to grab your local audience's attention.
It is easy to order this material online, for instance arranging leaflet printing through print24 and have it delivered to your office. Of course, don't forget to synch your analogue material with your online channels, referring to the platforms you are represented on and aligning the style of your printed material with the appearance and tone of voice of your online channels. Besides posters and flyers, spreading stickers with a remarkable logo (and perhaps a bit of mystery?) is often an effective way to generate interest and build brand awareness locally.
All the Socials
When your business is just starting out, it can be overwhelming to think of all the social media platforms you could – and should – be on. In fact, even for already established companies, this should really be a topic of constant evaluation and reassessment. After all, there are so many dos and don'ts to take into account, in addition to which the rules of the social media game keep changing. The most important things to base your choice of social media on are: 1) who is your audience; 2) what do you want to be able to do online, and; 3) what platform makes sense for your brand and product or service?
For instance, a company selling beauty or fashion products might turn to Instagram as its primary platform, because visual promotion makes the most sense for such a business and many fashionistas swear by this channel. However, if you organise regular workshops, webinars, or other types of meetups, Facebook might make more sense overall, due to its integrated events feature and live broadcast option. Alternatively, if your brand voice is socially, academically or politically conscious, or closely related to current events, then Twitter might make more sense.
When and How to Newsletter?
Newsletters are all the rage nowadays! Does that mean you need to create one? Not necessarily… Your use of promotional channels should always be functional. For each channel you choose to engage, ask yourself why and, more importantly, “What purpose does this particular channel serve that other existing ones don't?” A lean promotional strategy avoids confusion among your audience and makes your message more powerful and clear. It follows that newsletters should only be used if they make sense for your business and if subscribers know exactly what they're signing up for in advance. For instance, it makes no sense to have people sign up for updates on your yoga classes, only for them to be spammed with your latest poetry and your reflections on the last concert you visited. For larger businesses, it is nonsensical to have your audience sign up for monthly discount deals, only to spam them with blog posts and press releases.
If you wish to send out a newsletter for multiple purposes, consider either making clear upfront what various sections the newsletter will include, or allowing your audience to opt in and opt out to various editions. Whatever you do, it's always a good idea to be clear about how often the newsletter will pop up in your audience's inbox and what added value it provides. When it comes to newsletters, it is vital that you get really clear on what value it will add to your audience and what you as a business will get out of it, that no other channel you operate provides already. That way your newsletter will remain focused, only providing what your audience has signed up for and achieving what you created the newsletter to achieve.