Know your audience
Optimising your promotional plan will depend on your audience, which falls broadly into two categories.
- B2B (business-to-business) primarily sells goods or services to other companies.
- B2C (business-to-consumer) sells goods or services directly to individual consumers.
Although their goals and approaches may differ, both B2B and B2C will evaluate the needs of their customers. Below are seven areas of focus for both operating models.
Your business needs to be accessible online: it showcases your brand and products to a wider audience in order capture any potential sales that might be missing. Here are seven key things to think about:
1. Boost your digital presence
- Consider launching a website and/or app if you haven’t already, as well as cementing your presence on relevant social media channels.
- Being online could also provide access to vast amounts of data, helping you to further understand customer behaviour and track performance of all marketing activity using tools such as Google Analytics.
- Look into search engine optimisation (SEO) to signpost traffic your way, and paid or organic search results.
Listen to how Peanut founder Michelle Kennedy created a digital community empowering 1.6m women.
2. Create a minimum viable product (MVP) website
An MVP is the release of a new website or web presence new product or feature to confirm customer reaction before developing the final version. Even if your business isn’t an e-commerce product the website could showcase your brand and provide an easy means to interact.
- By moving fast on a website or app (if suitable for your business) you’ll gain a market response quickly, meaning you could test your idea in a real environment without spending time and money on something that doesn’t work.
3. Get to know the nuances of the various social media channels
Be engaging because you’re using this opportunity to build your profile and brand; it isn’t only a sales pitch. If you’re on more than one platform you might want to tailor content accordingly:
- Post original, valuable content that’s good quality.
- Different tactics could be useful for different generations.
- Master a hashtag strategy.
- Social media influencers that align with your purpose could be a good way of growing your network – see if they’ll share your content to their larger audience. Miles Laflin aka 'The P00l Guy' shares his success story.
- Consider testing paid social media promotion to boost the reach of your content beyond your followers.
- TikTok is popular – listen to Daniel Ashville Louisy give a TikTok masterclass to Angellica Bell.
4. The power of emails
A solid email marketing campaign could lead to promising returns. Think of this as an initial conversation with your subscribers.
- Ensure your tone of voice is engaging, personalised and focused on building trust.
- Test any links and make sure copy is error-free and professional, and not too promotional.
- Employ nurture tactics that stagger the message – you don’t want to clog up inboxes.
- Email automation could take repetitive tasks off your to-do list, such as a welcome email or a nudge to finish checking out a basket.
5. The right partnerships could be beneficial
Always do the research: you want the similarities and purpose to align before you sign up. This could involve:
- Using affiliate or aggregate marketing, where one party or website is paid to promote products or services. You generally only pay for the promotion when a click through or sale of your product is generated.
- Using distributors or retailers who have established reach with your audience.
- Finding a strategic partner who is offering a non-competing product but trying to reach the same audience. Products get combined to provide a bundle to customers.
6. Incentives could promote customer loyalty
Incentive marketing might include offers such as referral programmes, giveaways and trials.
- Take a look at what your competitors are coming up with so you don't repeat an offer, then plan ahead.
- As usual, make sure it caters to your target market.
- Clearly communicate the benefits and exactly what action the customer has to take.
7. Offline promotion
This is advertising via traditional offline channels like television, radio, posters, billboards, printed media, in-store demos, sponsorship – there is no online platform involved.
- Expand your reach and communicate to consumers who are not online, rather than relying solely on digital promotion.
- The mix of online and offline is a strong combination, although offline will typically be more expensive.
Build, measure, learn and improve
Measuring your performance is essential to improving your route to market. You’ll want to consider all methods of marketing. Once you have identified key metrics, you could use these as a guide to track overall improvement such as sales volume or customer satisfaction.
- Track all results so you can adjust and improve.
- Use online marketing tools to analyse your digital strategy so that you can target budget and resources in the future. Dashboards, social media metrics reports or analytics software could be used to do this.
- Encourage customers to review you online and follow up with questionnaires. Talk to customers when possible, ask them what they like or dislike the most. Analytics are complemented by direction communication.
- Look for new opportunities and assess challenges within your market so you can plan ahead and stay relevant.
- Assess areas such as why customers are showing interest in your product or service but not following through with a purchase. Or, for emails, are customers clicking on links within the email or simply deleting it?
We (NatWest Group plc) can't accept responsibility for any decisions or actions you take based on this article. It’s for information only and not meant to offer specific advice. And although we think it’s reliable, we haven’t independently checked all the information in it. You also shouldn’t copy the article anywhere without our consent. All views and forecasts in it are ours and can change.