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Creating an effective promotion is one of the most difficult things to master in the world of online marketing. Now, I’m not talking about the actual creation of the graphics that will be used – on a purely technical level, it’s not too difficult. What I’m talking about is the actual thought process that goes into planning the promotion. This post aims to give a few pointers to anybody who tends to struggle with that process, whether you are a beginner or a marketing Jedi Master.
1. Figure out your target audience before doing ANYTHING.
The single most important thing to figure out while planning your promotion is to accurately identify your target market. If you fail to do this, the rest of your promotion has a very good chance of being a total flop. Do some initial market research. Who will be using your product? How will they be using it? What are their likes/dislikes? What are their spending habits? This kind of research saves countless hours (not to mention money!) in the long run.
2. Get your message across in 3 seconds or less.
In most forms of advertising, the general consensus is that you have 3 seconds or less to grab your visitor/readers attention, be it print, web, or television marketing. If you are able to effectively grab their attention during those precious few seconds, you’ve done your job correctly. Sounds pretty intense, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, it’s rather easy to do this.
First, make sure that your message is crystal clear, short, concise, and powerful. You want to engage your customers, not scare them away with a barrage of information. Less is more. Learn to love the acronym K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Second, show the value of the product or service – how will this benefit them? What do they have to gain by using your product or service over the hundreds of competitors that are climbing over each other to land this customer?
Third, make sure you instill a feeling of trust in your customer. There’s no easier way of losing a sale than creating a shady environment within your promo. Does your promotion have certain terms and conditions that your customer must abide by in order to receive the product? If so, add a small caveat explaining the terms.
3. Create a slam-dunk call-to-action.
What is the point of your promotion? To increase sales. Simple as that. And the most only real way of doing this is to guide your customers to the sign up button (i.e. call-to-action). But how do I make sure I’m doing this right? Well, first, don’t hide your call-to-action. It may seem like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve searched a website up and down for a sign up button only to find out that it was essentially hidden from view. When creating your call-to-action, make sure function towers over form. Make your call-t0-action bigger, bolder, and, ideally, a unique color from the other buttons on your website. Remember, if you are using these correctly, they will take your visitor exactly where you want them to go.
4. Make sure the promotion follows the brand.
Nothing will confuse your customers more than having a promotion that is completely misaligned with the brand that’s being promoted. If your brand has a style guide, make sure it’s followed to a T. If there’s no style guide to reference, no big deal. Make sure that it’s immediately apparent that your brand is behind the promotion. You’ve worked hard to create your brand image. Don’t destroy it.
5. Learn from your mistakes.
Unless you are Don Draper, there’s a chance that you’ll eventually make a mistake and totally fumble a promotion. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of chances to make things right. Take this as a lesson on what you did wrong, and learn from your mistakes. At the risk of sounding like a motivational speaker, I’ll leave you with this (accurate and hilarious) quote: “The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when he fills out a job application form.”? ~Stanley J. Randall
And there you have it, a nice little resource for those times when you are fresh out of ideas.
Until next time…