The Correct Amount of Promotion

By John Eberhard

Many times a small business owner will come to me wanting help with marketing. The first thing I will do is look at what promotion they have done so far and what has been effective.

Sometimes this will uncover that they have done limited promotion in the past, or that they have relied on just one or two promotional actions. Sometimes I find that they basically have never done any promotion before. In other words, they have gotten by with referrals, or foot traffic, or one or two big clients.

But now they have decided they want to expand, so they are looking into doing more promotion and marketing.

One of the most important concepts I try to get across to new or old clients is: you need to promote your business on as many different channels and media as you can, as broadly as you can, on an ongoing basis.

In other words, you can’t just do one promotion, like one direct mailing, and then stop. Or, you can’t just do one type of promotion, even on an ongoing basis, and that’s all you do. You have to promote using as many channels as possible, as many as you can afford, and do it continually. In other words, a multimedia approach.

Now this appears to be a hard concept for some small business owners to understand. But the ones who do get this and apply it are more successful.

I will tell a story of my own experience recently which illustrates this idea. I have been doing my Real Web Marketing Inc. business full time for 8 years (anniversary coming up next month). Over that time I have mostly relied on email marketing, sending out a regular email newsletter, sending that newsletter also out to a membership email list, and sending promo emails to various email lists I have bought.

But over the last year or so I noticed that response to email marketing was declining. Then I started thinking about email open rates, realizing that only about 10% of recipients even open an email today. So I realized that even past prospects and even past clients weren’t necessarily hearing from me regularly, as I had thought they were.

So I decided to increase the promotion I was doing, to other media.

  1. I compiled a street address mailing list of clients and prospects, then designed a series of 6×9” postcards, each one promoting one of my main services. Then we began cycling through the list, mailing a certain number of postcards per week.
  2. We began running ads each month on the membership email list where we were posting the email newsletter.
  3. There are companies that sell leads for web design and search engine optimization. So we have been trying out these companies, paying for a certain of leads per month.
  4. We ran paid ads on Facebook.
  5. I set up remarketing on Google AdWords. This is where people who visit your site, will then see your banner ads on various sites that they visit after that for 30-60 days.
  6. I started posting every day on social media linking to articles I had written.
  7. I continued doing the email promotion I had been doing before.

The result? We found our leads coming in increased dramatically. They didn’t all come from the sources we thought they would. And our company income was highest ever in April, and then again highest ever in May.

Once again, the principle is you need to promote your business on as many different channels and media as you can, as broadly as you can, on an ongoing basis.

The trick is to find media and types of promotion that will work for you. And to try out media that you can afford, at a pace that you can afford. Realize that you are going to have to try things out and see how they work. But don’t be too discouraged if you get leads from other sources than where you promoted. It works that way sometimes.

It’s a little tricky. You might think that one promotion isn’t working and isn’t contributing to your higher leads and sales. But then you drop it out and they fall.

But even if you find one type of promotion didn’t work at all, drop it but replace it with something else. Keep the volume high.

Good luck with your promotions.