Venturing into a business without plans for promotion is like building a house in the middle of nowhere. No one is going to find you! For your product/service to sell and be sustained in a competitive market, it must be properly positioned in the right place and at the disposal of the right people- your target audience.
It is important to note though, that before promoting your product/service, and ideally, when coming up with a business idea, you need to make sure it is worth it. Do people need your product? Will they embrace it? Is your product solution-driven?
For your idea to be successful, it needs to solve a significant problem that has a real impact on people’s lives. Does this problem affect many people? Will solving this problem make people happier and more productive? Are there existing solutions that don’t work well enough? If your answers to these questions are yeses, then you are on the right track!
Here are some of the easy ways you can promote your business:
- Firstly, find your target audience
In determining the best methods for promoting your product, you need to first find your audience. You can do this by conducting market research to understand market trends, audience demographics, your competition, customers’ buying habits, etc. Also, try to understand the pain points of your prospective customers. The easiest way to do this is by talking to people who you think are facing the problems you intend to solve. Ask them questions about what they like and don’t like about other solutions, then try out different ideas on them. If you think that there are no existing solutions for a problem you are trying to solve, try asking people in your networks if they know anyone who might need these solutions.
To reach a larger group of people you can conduct surveys by creating online forms or questionnaires using Google Forms, Monday, etc. Also, give room for reviews. This way, you can understand what your audience enjoys the most and the least about your product, and see how you can serve them better.
This way, you’re getting the exact feedback and data you need to develop your product and come up with effective promotion strategies.
2. Develop Online Presence
Once you have a good idea, a target audience and have proven it has the potential to be profitable, it’s time to start building your online presence.
Set up your website, social media accounts, and other online presences so customers can find you. Build a strong social media presence from the start. Ask your family and friends to follow you. Don’t be discouraged by a few followers at the initial stage; it all begins somewhere.
Optimise your bio by making use of relevant keywords. For example, if you run a Music School in Nigeria, you should make sure to include keywords like “music school in Nigeria’’, “trained 100+ students’’, and Make use of hashtags in your posts too, so they get categorised under the topic and people interested in your services can find it. Make sure to always include a C-T-A (Call-To-Action) on your posts, telling your audience the next steps to take. I.e “Sign up now”, “click on the link below ‘’, “order here” and many others.
You should also endeavour to focus on one or two social media channels that work best for your business. Focus on channels where you have the majority of your target audience and optimise those channels for your audience. This will give you the most bang for your buck (or, in this case, organic traffic). I.e as a B2B company, you should be focusing more on Linkedin which has more business owners and professional minds. If you run a fashion or clothing line, Instagram and Facebook are surely your best bets. This is because they allow you to showcase your products in photo/video form. They also make online shopping easier and people can browse through products’ photos like catalogues. Instagram and Facebook even launched the Ig & Facebook shop in 2020 where you can browse through photos of products, put them in your cart, place orders, and even make payments the same way you would on an e-commerce website.
3. Email Marketing
Email Marketing is a sure way to promote your business in 2022. This form of marketing is many times underrated, but one of the most effective forms of digital marketing. Emails are unique because they are done on a more personal level, bridging the gap between you and your prospective customers.
Email campaigns can help to keep your products and services top of mind for your consumers. Email marketing also ensures the completion of the marketing funnel. Most times, people tend to forget their customers after the first patronage. With emails, you can send occasional messages to check in, offer discounts, “refer to a friend and get a discount” and so on.
The truth is, that marketing should not stop after the first purchase. You need to find ways/strategies to get your existing customers to stay loyal to your product and to refer other people (advocacy).
To send emails, you need an Email List where the names and email addresses of your customers are written down. This list is gotten through lead generations most times..I.e when they sign up for a newsletter or for a webinar, their details are saved and they automatically become a part of your email list.
4. Join An Online Community
One of the best ways to promote your business is to join an industry-specific online community. Focus on building connections with the members by actively contributing to conversations. You can build a reputation in your field by posting comments on relevant blogs and even offering to write guest posts. This will not only expand your network but can also help boost your and your business’s credibility.
There are lots of groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, where you can meet and interact with like minds and people in your field. In these groups, you will also find your target audience to whom you can share posts from your own social media page too for free.
If you own a hair business, just type in Facebook search “hair” and click on the filter “groups’ ‘ and you will see various groups centred on hair care and hair products..where you’d find people obviously interested in the topic and most likely your target customers. In some of these groups, you can find ranging from 500,000 to 1 million people. There are also various Telegram groups you can also join to get to interact more with people in your line of business and also get the chance to promote your business.
5. Optimise Your Website’s SEO
It is not just enough to have a website nowadays; you need to make sure your target audience is actually seeing your website. With millions of websites existing on Google in 2022, how do you get your website singled out? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps your website show up higher in Google search rankings.
Using relevant keywords throughout your business’s web pages and blog posts also increases the chance of users finding your site when they search online for businesses like yours. However, do not practice Keyword Stuffing- overloading your website with too many unnecessary keywords is unethical and may cause your site to be flagged down by Google. Your content should be simple and coherent.
Make sure to update your web content regularly, with its most recent information, and endeavour to use alt tags in your images to provide the proper context on Google, of what your attached images are about.
6. Get Your Business Listed on Google
You’ve probably done a Google search at some point such as, ‘best cake shops in Lagos’, and immediately Google provides you with a list of bake shops in Lagos, some of which you might have never even heard of before. That’s the power of listing your business on Google! The whole idea is to get your potential customers(people who need your product), to locate you. I mean, that’s the whole idea behind marketing, right?
With “Google My Business” you are able to get your business location listed on Google Maps and local search results, so your potential customers can easily find you. You are able to display important information about your business, including your business name, address, the kinds of items that you sell/ services you render, opening/closing times, contact details, and a link to your website. More recently Google has also released a new feature allowing you to post a link to articles or up-and-coming events. You can also attract more interest and show people what they might be missing out on, by adding images of your store, products, and testimonials to your Google My Business profile. All of the content will be shown on Google and on map results.
If your business is not registered on Google My Business, it would be hard for you to get customers these days. The latest data shows that Google processes over 104,000 searches per second– everybody is looking for solutions to their problems and needs on Google! Think about this in the context of your business, whatever product or service you may be selling. How can local searches benefit your business and what might you be missing out on without one?
7. Build Relationships with Influencers and Bloggers
Influencers can be a great way to get your name out there and increase your organic traffic. Assess influencers on your preferred social media platforms, and select those who align with your business the most. You do not want to get a sports influencer to help with promoting your cake business. You want to get a food blogger/vlogger because they already have the audience you intend to reach.
After choosing your preferred influencer, you can build relationships by following their pages, commenting on their posts, or even sending them some of your products for free, to earn you a free review. This will drive some traffic back to you.
Using mega-influencers with millions of followers could cost a fortune, however, you can start out with nano and micro-influencers ranging from 1000 to 100,000 organic followers, who might be aligned with your budget.
8. Run Ad Campaigns
What’s a promotion strategy without ads? There’s a saying that “to make money, you’ve got to spend money”. A lot of people do not really like this idea but it is one thing to note. Good things come at a cost. Whether running ads on Social media, radios, TVs, or billboards, you have to make sure that it suits and meets your target audience.
These days, social media and Google ads have made the ad promotion process so easy. You can easily segment your audience based on their demographics, interests, and peculiarities. Instagram picks up on some of this information like gender, age, etc from registered accounts and from user activity. You need to make sure your posts’ contents and captions are clear, concise, not misleading, and appealing to the eyes, such that people are drawn to the post, and even if they are not ready to take an action at the moment, they can always ‘save’ to view later. The more people save your post, the higher the chances your post has of appearing at the top of your followers’ timeline (algorithm).
Once the ad is all set, it takes some minutes or maybe hours to get reviewed, and once it is reviewed, engagements on the post, as well as direct messages start to troop in.
When running these ads, also endeavour to attach discounts or free gifts to them to attract more customers.
Promotional marketing requires a lot of energy, time, and resources. Endeavour to try out these steps from time to time, and be patient while they are at work. It could take a while, but it is worth it in the end.