Web designer, content writer and promotional expert Lori Soard talks about using group promotions to grow your business. Get ideas for how to choose promotional partners and types of promotions to participate in.
Small businesses need to reach new clients to grow. However, marketing strategies can be costly. Teaming up with others can help you spread out your marketing dollars and reach new clients you might not have thought of. We have gathered some simple steps to get you started on your first group promotion.
Choose Your Promotional Partners Wisely
Choosing the best promotional partners can be a challenge. The last thing you want is to team up with someone who will woo away your best clients. Instead, seek other business owners whose platforms complement, but don’t compete with yours. Here are some examples:
- Bakery, party supply business and party planner
- House cleaning, home repair and interior designer
- Pet grooming, pet supplies, veterinarian, pet sitter
The goal with promotional partners is to reach the same base of clients, sell them on the products or services of the businesses in your group and send new clients to one another by sharing contacts.
The Least Expensive Promotions
The least expensive promotions involve things you might already be doing, but you’ll start including information on the other businesses and having them do the same for you. For example, if you create a regular newsletter to send to your clients, it is fairly simple to include a small add for each of your promotional partners and ask them to do the same. If there are three other people in the group, you’ve just tripled the people you reach and likely gained new clients without much extra effort on anyone’s part.
Spend a Little, Gain a Lot
Another technique that works well for small businesses on a budget is to combine advertising revenues for a group promotion. For example, I often combine groups of authors through the Author Yearkbook project and utilize the pooled funds to really get the word out to thousands of people about these authors. This is one of the most cost effective ways to seek out additional advertising. Here is how it works:
- Choose a promotion that will draw clients in. Good ones include contests or free items, such as an electronic book that can be downloaded. Make sure all participants are represented in the book or other free item to keep things fair.
- Get prices to run the promotion. Let’s say you plan to offer a free e-book. The cost of the e-book only takes your time to put together, but you have to get the word out. You decide to advertise on Google, Facebook, send out e-mails to current clients (free), send out press releases and place ads in several magazines and local papers. Simply gather the cost of each ad, come up with a total and divide that number by the number of participants. If one person is using most of their time to put the items together, they should get a discount on how much they have to put into the funds as their time is valuable.
- Now, here is the tricky part. You all have websites, so where do you put the free e-book? You can either put it on all four sites and list a different site in each ad or you can create a separate site that represents everyone. This is actually what I recommend to avoid any confusion over who is giving out the e-book and to keep everything fair. A basic site is pretty inexpensive to set up and you can link to each business’ main website on the front page.
Are Group Promotions for You?
Group promotions can be challenging. Hurt feelings can occur if someone feels they aren’t represented equally with all the other businesses. Choose carefully when inviting people to be a part of the project.
Also, clearly layout deadlines of when things will happen. Meetings can be beneficial for choosing an overall goal for the ads and sharing market research. It is also a good idea to have some brainstorming sessions for additional free ways to get the word out about what everyone is doing and to share connections.
Most of all, find people you can work with who are like-minded and out for the common good of the group. Have fun and happy promoting!