Promotional Techniques

Brochures or flyers — Many desk-top publishing and word-processing software packages can produce highly attractive tri-fold (an 8.5 inch by 11-inch sheet folded in thirds) brochures. Brochures can contain a great deal of information if designed well, and have become a common method of advertising.  

Business cards, letterhead and other essentials — From a marketing perspective, do they convey your image? The right message? Be thoughtful about this category, but don’t give it more than its due.  Buy in quantity.

Direct mail — Mail sent directly from you to your customers can be highly customized to suit their nature and needs. You may want to build a mailing list of your current and desired customers. Collect addresses from customers by noticing addresses on their checks, asking them to fill out information cards, etc. Keep the list online and up-to-date. Mailing lists can quickly become out-of-date. Notice mailings that get returned to you. This should be used carefully and it can incur substantial cost, you don’t want to inundate your stakeholders with information so make the most of your message.  

E-mail messages — These can be wonderful means to getting the word out about your business. Design your e-mail software to include a “signature line” at the end of each of your e-mail messages. Many e-mail software packages will automatically attach this signature line to your e-mail, if you prefer. 

Magazines — Magazines ads can get quite expensive. Find out if there’s a magazine that focuses on your particular industry. If there is one, then the magazine can be very useful because it already focuses on your market and potential customers. Consider placing an ad or writing a short article for the magazine. Contact a reporter to introduce yourself. Reporters are often on the look out for new stories and sources from which to collect quotes.

Newsletters — This can be powerful means to conveying the nature of your organization and its services. Consider using a consultant for the initial design and layout. Today’s desktop publishing tools can generate very interesting newsletters quite inexpensively.

Newspapers (major) – Almost everyone reads the local, major newspaper(s). You can get your business in the newspaper by placing ads, writing a letter to the editor or working with a reporter to get a story written about your business. Advertising can get quite expensive. Newspaper are often quite useful in giving advice about what and how to advertise. Know when to advertise — this depends on the buying habits of your customers.  
Newspapers (neighborhood) — Ironically, these are often forgotten in lieu of major newspapers, yet the neighborhood newspapers are often closest to the interests of the organization’s stakeholders.  

Online discussion groups and chat groups — As with e-mail, you can gain frequent exposure to yourself and your business by participating in online discussion groups and chat groups. Note, however, that many groups have strong groundrules against blatant advertising. When you join a group, always check with the moderator to understand what is appropriate.  

Posters and bulletin boards — Posters can be very powerful when placed where your customers will actually notice them. But think of how often you’ve actually noticed posters and bulletin boards yourself. Your best bet is to place the posters on bulletin boards and other places which your customers frequent, and always refresh your posters with new and colorful posters that will appear new to passers by. Note that some businesses and municipalities have regulations about the number of size of posters that can be placed in their areas.  

Radio announcements — A major advantage of radio ads is they are usually cheaper than television ads, and many people still listen to the radio, for example, when in their cars. Ads are usually sold on a package basis that considers the number of ads, the length of ads and when they are put on the air. . A major consideration with radio ads is to get them announced at the times that your potential customers are listening to the radio.  

Television ads — Many people don’t even consider television ads because of the impression that the ads are very expensive. They are more expensive than most of major forms of advertising. However, with the increasing number of television networks and stations, businesses might find good deals for placing commercials or other forms of advertisements. Television ads usually are priced with similar considerations to radio ads, that is, the number of ads, the length of ads and when they are put on the air.

Web pages — Advertising and promotions on the World Wide Web are almost commonplace. Businesses are developing Web pages sometimes just to appear up-to-date. Using the Web for advertising requires certain equipment and expertise, including getting a computer, getting an Internet service provider, buying (usually renting) a Website name, designing and installing the Website graphics and other functions as needed (for example, an online store for e-commerce), promoting the Website (via various search engines, directories, etc.) and maintaining the Website.

Articles that you write — Is there something in your industry or market about you have a strong impression? Consider writing an article for the local newspaper or a magazine. In your article, use the opportunity to describe what you’re doing to address the issue through use of your business.  

Editorials and letters to the editor — Often, program providers are experts at their service and understanding a particular need in the community; newspapers often take strong interest in information about these needs, so staff should regularly offer articles (of about 200 to 900 words) for publication.  

Press kits — This kit is handy when working with the media or training employees about working with the media. The kit usually includes information about your business, pictures, information about your products, commentary from happy customers, etc.  

Press releases or news alerts — They alert the press to a major event or accomplishment and requesting, e.g., it get included in the newspaper; they explain who, what, where, why and when; some include pictures, quotes, etc. to make it easier for the reporter to develop an announcement or story.  

Public service announcements (PSA)s — Many radio and some television stations will provide public service announcements for nonprofit efforts. Usually, these PSAs are free.

Annual reports – Disseminate these to key stakeholders; they’re ripe with information if they include an overview of your year’s activities, accomplishments, challenges and financial status.  

Networking – Spread the word to peers, professional organizations and those with whom you interact outside the organizations, e.g., educators, consultants, suppliers, clients, etc.

Novelties — It seems more common to find ads placed on pens and pencils, coffee cups, T-shirts, etc. These can be powerful means of advertising if indeed current and potential customers see the novelties. This condition often implies additional costs to mail novelties, print T-shirts, etc.

Presentations — You’re probably an expert at something. Find ways to give even short presentations, for example, at local seminars, Chamber of Commerce meetings, trade shows, conventions, seminars, etc. It’s amazing that one can send out 500 brochures and be lucky to get 5 people who respond. Yet, you can give a presentation to 30 people and 15 of them will be very interested in staying in touch with you.  

Relationships with key stakeholders — Identify at least one representative from each major stakeholder group and take them to lunch once a year. What seem as short, informal exchanges can cultivate powerful relationships of interest and concern.

Special events — These tend to attract attention, and can include, e.g., an open house, granting a special award, announcing a major program or service or campaign, etc.

Special offers — We see these offers all the time. They include, for example, coupons, discounts, sweepstakes, sales, etc.
 
Social networking — There is an ever evolving variety of online tools that can be used by people and organizations to quickly share a great deal of information at very little cost. Many people are now hearing of some of those tools, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Experts are asserting that social networking is a must for people and organizations wanting to share information with others — after all, that’s what marketing is all about! 

About Mary Knight

Marketing coach and strategist, helping small businesses and non-profits to be customer centric. Communication specialist, focused on attention to detail and the achievement of communication results intended. Over 25 years in the field of marketing communications, spanning business and technical writing for varied audiences; design and production of brochures, stuffers, flyers, and newsletters; design and development of training and seminar materials; polishing of presentations; content development and effective layout for Internet sites; general copyediting and proofreading.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.