A promotion plan may not be at the top of every business owner's to-do list, but it should be. While a business plan helps map the direction for your company, a promotion plan helps your establishment understand how to get there by detailing important steps on the road to creating customer relationships. Getting customers to constantly patronise your business could be a painfully slow process especially in a struggling economy, which is why it's important-and always will be-to lure potential customers with promotions. In fact, coming up with attractive promotions has become a bigger deal than ever. When promotions are done in the right way, customers get out of a holding pattern courtesy the incentive to take action before a limited-time offer expires.
The development of a promotion plan requires the following four specific tasks:
1. Develop a very clear and focused insight into why a potential customer would use your business.
2. Identify your target customers.
3. Identify competitors that would also want your target customers.
4. Write down your brand-positioning statements for your customers.
Here are 10 steps to create successful promotion:
[b]1. Develop A Promotional Filing System[/b]
Create a promotional folder that includes all of your past promotional direct mail pieces. Create another for advertising that has a successful track record. Create a third folder for innovative marketing strategies that catch your attention from other industries. When you are ready to create your own promotional calendar, you will have a filing system full of proven and innovative ideas to help you brainstorm.
[b]2. Evaluate And Brainstorm[/b]
Now that you have a collection of ideas to brainstorm from, you can go back and evaluate each one. As you evaluate past promotional ideas, pay attention to why they drove traffic to your business. Also evaluate what did not work so that you don't make those same mistakes a second time. Sometimes your best promotion ideas fail simply because they were held on the wrong day or the wrong month. With a little adjusting it could be a winner the second time around.
[b]3. Develop Your Strategic Plan[/b]
To be successful you must plan promotions far in advance. Plan to implement at least six promotions per year and this is easy when you have a strategic plan in place. You must keep reminding customers to come back to your business. The number one reason why customers don't return to you time and time again is because you allow them to forget you. Keep reminding them and get them excited about your business more often.
[b]4. Involve Your Team[/b]
After you have outlined your promotional ideas for the year, hold a staff meeting to discuss them. Share your ideas on a large calendar board and let your team know you are planning for success. Ask your staff to share their creative ideas too. Set goals for each promotion and offer a bonus reward to workers that reach their goals. Once your team buys into your promotional plans, they will buy into selling more customers on attending too. Plan to have enough staff on hand to make your promotional plans run smoothly.
[b]5. Plan Out The Details[/b]
Evaluate your best promotional days and months. Select days and months that you drive traffic the most to your business. Plan out all the details of your promotions and leave nothing to chance. The more you plan out the details and systemize your promotional events, the easier and more successful they will be.
[b]6. Reserve And Design Advertising[/b]
Plan your advertising and direct mail well in advance. Build excitement for your promotional events by featuring the benefit of attending. Create a call to action. Tell your customers what, where, when and why. Offer short deadlines, powerful offers and guarantees with teeth.
[b]7. Contact The Media[/b]
For your promotional events, contact the media well in advance. Send a press release about them and ask the media to attend. Tell them how the events would be of benefit to the community or share details about them. Take photos at those events and send them along with a follow up press release.
[b]8. Create Attention Getting Direct Mail[/b]
Spend 50 percent of your time writing a great headline that is benefit rich. You must hook their attention quickly before your direct mails get trashed. Make your offers and events so exciting that it trigger a fear of loss in the customer's mind. Allow them to be thinking about what they will be missing if they don't take advantage of your promotions.
[b]9. Develop Promotions Based Around A Theme[/b]
If you want to stand out from the competition, you must be different. The more you conform to be like everyone else, the less successful you will be. Create fun promotional events around unique holidays. Promote when your competition is not promoting. Your promotional events does not have to be sale. There are lots of ways to promote without giving your business away. Make them so much fun that your customers promote you back with word of mouth advertising.
[b]10. Plan An OTB Increase For Special Promotional Events[/b]
Why would you want to create more promotional events? To keep your business in your customer's mind and to increase sale and profits! You must increase your open-to-buy (OTB) and invest in additional inventory. The catch is to keep giving your customers more reasons to come back to you time and time again.