There are hundreds if not thousands of ways to promote your product. Some, such as word of mouth, cost you nothing, while others, such as television commercials and metropolitan billboards, can cost you millions. Effective sales promotions make you more in sales than they cost you in time and money. Small and medium sized businesses can develop effective sales promotions by thinking creatively and acting strategically.
Organize a promotional event
An easy way to promote your product or service to your target audience is to organize an event that draws them together. If your product or service appeals to people with homes or families, organize and sponsor a community barbecue, street party or competition. If what you’re selling targets business professionals organize a charity golf tournament or a luncheon with a keynote speaker. Whatever event you run, be sure that your product or service is featured and have a plan to get names, phone numbers and email addresses; for example, you might organize a raffle or giveaways that require eligible people to submit basic information.
Attend a trade show
Hundreds of trade shows take place in most major cities each year and there are likely five or six that directly relate to your product or service. Do your research and see if it is cost effective to purchase a booth at one of these shows based on the number of potential clients expected to attend. If you do attend, be sure to get names, phone numbers and email addresses and follow up with customers two days after the show while your product or service is still fresh in their minds.
Direct sales over the phone or in person is the oldest method of selling and it is cost effective; you are usually only sacrificing your time. If you are going door to door be sure to have effective marketing material and talking points prepared, and keep good tracking records.
Distribute branded items
Today many companies mass produce calendars, pens, note pads, magnets and other household items, and give them away to potential customers. The key to this promotional tactic is to give away something the client won’t throw away; hence the tendency to produce useful items that people will refer to frequently.
Join or start an association
Joining a small business association can help you expand your selling network as associations are often structured to encourage members to promote each others businesses. If no relevant association currently exists for you or your product, think about starting your own. For example, if you are selling solar water heaters you could start a green energy association, invite people in your area to attend weekly seminars on green energy options, and promote your own product in the process.
Purchase advertising space
Perhaps the easiest if not the cheapest way to promote what you’re selling is to purchase advertising space in a newspaper or magazine, or on a billboard, vehicle or building. If you decide to go this route be sure to shop around for the best rates, do the math on the exposure your advertisement will get, and think about the types of people that will see it.