When you first launch a business, one of the biggest challenges is getting the word out about your products or services. As an entrepreneur, you may have created a fantastic offering, but no one will know it exists without promotion!
Promoting your brand is crucial for entrepreneurs to raise awareness and drive sales. However, advertising and marketing can be confusing and expensive when starting. The good news is there are creative, low-cost tactics you can use to reach potential new customers effectively.
In this article, we’ll explain easy promotional strategies for entrepreneurs or anyone with a new business and a limited marketing budget. We’ll break down how to define your target audience, use content marketing, leverage social media ads, create share-worthy experiences, and more.
With persistence and testing, these promotions can help establish your brand, even with limited business experience. You can connect with the customers you want to serve by spending time on the right awareness-building approaches.
Let’s explore some of the most impactful ways entrepreneurs can get their messaging to the right people!
Know Your Target
Before diving into promotional strategies, it’s important to have a clear understanding of who your ideal customers are. Defining detailed buyer personas and target audience demographics will ensure your promotions reach the right people. If you try to promote to everyone, your message will be too generic and ineffective.
By tailoring your promotions toward your ideal client’s interests, pain points, and values, you can craft content and messaging that resonates much more. Think about attributes like age, location, gender, income level, education, and interests. The more precise you can be in defining your target audience, the better you can cater promotions directly to them.
Some Questions to Consider
Here are some quick tips for understanding customers:
- Look at existing customer data and trends – what do they have in common?
- Conduct surveys, interviews, or focus groups to gather insights directly
- Research target audience interests on social media platforms
- Analyze competitor customers and messaging – what responses are they getting?
- Identify pain points your product or service can solve
Promotion Strategy: Content Marketing
Content marketing involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant content to attract and retain customers. This content should aim to educate, entertain, or provide solutions to your target audience. The great thing about content marketing is it allows you to build relationships with potential customers and establish expertise and trust in your niche.
Some types of content that work well include:
- Blog articles: Create high-quality, helpful content with actionable advice. Target relevant keywords and employ SEO best practices to optimize for search engines. (For SEO guidance, check out blogger Brian Dean’s award-winning site Backlinko for SEO Training & Link Building Strategies).
- Videos: Post engaging videos explaining your product, business, or industry on YouTube and social media. Include keywords in titles/descriptions.
- Infographics: Visual content that simplifies complex data or ideas goes viral on social media.
- Ebooks: Offer in-depth guides, reports or workbooks focused on topics your audience cares about.
- Webinars: Host live or recorded webinars with expert guests and share valuable insights.
- Podcasts: Create episodic audio content for long-form storytelling and discussions.
When creating content, research keywords your audience searches for and targets those in your copy and titles. Produce consistent, high-quality content on your blog, social channels, and website focused on a few primary topics.
Promote your content across email newsletters, social media, paid ads, and SEO optimization. Repurpose content into multiple formats. The goal is getting each piece of content in front of your target audience. Value and consistency will grow your reach over time.
Promotion Strategy: Social Media Ads
Social media advertising presents a valuable opportunity for entrepreneurs to reach targeted audiences. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube all offer advanced advertising capabilities to get your message and brand in front of specific demographics or buyer personas.
The major benefit of social media ads is the ability to define your target audience very precisely based on factors like age, location, interests, behaviors and more. You can tailor your ads to be displayed only to people likely to be interested in your product or service. This level of targeting ensures your ad spend goes toward the right people instead of wasting impressions.
Another advantage is that you can set flexible budgets for social media ads and start with as little as $5-10 per day to test them out. The platforms provide extensive analytics so you can measure impressions, engagement, clicks, conversions, return on investment and other metrics to optimize your campaigns. This makes it easy to track what’s working and double down on the high-performing ads.
Get to Know Ad Types & Platforms
Another advantage is that you can set flexible budgets for social media ads and start with as little as $5-10 per day to test them out. The platforms provide extensive analytics so you can measure impressions, engagement, clicks, conversions, return on investment, and other metrics to optimize your campaigns. This makes it easy to track what’s working and double down on the high-performing ads.
When designing ads, take advantage of each platform’s various visual formats. For example, Facebook and Instagram ads can be images, videos, slideshows, Stories, or Messenger ads. Twitter supports videos, gifs, images, and conversational cards. LinkedIn offers text, image, and video ads. YouTube does video ads plus display and overlay formats.
Tailor your ad creative and formats to fit each platform your audience uses:
- Facebook/Instagram – Images, videos, carousels, Stories, slideshows, messenger ads
- Twitter – Videos, images, gifs, polled, cards, direct response
- LinkedIn – Images, videos, carousels, text ads, single image ads
- YouTube – Video ads, display ads, overlay ads, non-skippable ads
Promotion Strategy Experiential Marketing
Experiential marketing campaigns aim to creatively engage potential customers through interactive, memorable activities and events. Rather than just promoting your product, the goal is to build relationships with your target audience by providing fun experiences they’ll want to share on social media.
There are many possibilities for experiential marketing both online and in the real world. For example, you could set up a temporary pop-up shop or booth at local fairs or festivals. This creates a browsing experience for people to check out your products up close. Or you might provide free samples of your offering in high-traffic areas. When people can try before they buy, they’re more likely to purchase.
Scavenger hunts, contests, giveaways and branded events also foster participation and interaction. If you sponsor a local 5k race and have signage along the route, for instance, you gain exposure to runners who share photos on social media. The key is making the experience worth sharing – when attendees post about your brand, it receives invaluable word-of-mouth exposure.
Digital Events & Activations
You can also create engaging online experiences through digital events and activations. Activations are interactive branded experiences designed to engage customers and foster sharing on social media. Examples of digital activations include:
- Interactive webinars with polls, Q&As and live demonstrations
- Social media live streaming showing behind-the-scenes, Q&As, etc.
- Online scavenger hunts and contests with branded clues and prizes
- User-generated content campaigns like photo filters and hashtags
- Augmented reality effects like branded lenses and filters
- SMS/text message campaigns to drive engagement
With creativity and some incentives, you can build share-worthy digital experiences that authentically connect with target customers.
Promotion Strategy: Strategic Partnerhsips
Forming strategic partnerships allows you to tap into other brands’ audiences for cross-promotion. By collaborating with complementary businesses, you can expand your reach and credibility by accessing each other’s customer bases. The key is identifying partners that share your target demographics but have non-competitive offerings.
For example, Nike partnered with Apple to develop Nike+ products integrating with iPods and iPhones. This allowed both mega-brands to cross-promote to new audiences who may be interested in the collaborative products. Strategic partnerships let you pool budgets on co-marketing campaigns and content creation. You also gain more touchpoints to expose customers to relevant offerings from each brand.
Potential benefits of strategic partnerships include increased brand awareness, shared production costs, expanded reach, and ultimately more sales. But it’s essential to find partner brands that truly align with your customers’ interests. Look for businesses that fulfill different needs or serve complementary purposes. A restaurant could partner with a bakery, for instance. Or a boutique may partner with a jewelry store.
Executing Effective Partnerships
Well-structured partnerships take many creative forms:
- Co-branded content like blogs, guides, or webinars
- Joint contests, giveaways or events
- Discounts for each other’s email subscribers
- Social media cross-promotion and takeovers
- Co-marketing campaigns with bundled offers
- Sponsoring local events together
The key is collaborating on campaigns that expose each audience to relevant products. With thoughtful planning, you can execute win-win partnerships that boost awareness and drive sales.
Don't Forget to Track & Optimize
An important final step when implementing promotional strategies is to closely track results and continually optimize what’s working.
For each tactic you test, monitor relevant metrics to gauge effectiveness. For content marketing, look at website traffic, social engagement, conversions, and rank for target keywords. With social media ads, measure reach, impressions, click-through rate, and conversion rate. Experiential marketing can be measured by social buzz, hashtags, mentions, and follower growth.
Use built-in analytics from each platform to get data insights. Identify patterns in your top-performing pieces of content, ads, and experiences. Then refine your efforts to recreate that success. Double down on the specific types of content, messaging, targets, and partnerships yielding results.
A best practice is to constantly A/B test different versions of your ads. Test different images, copy, calls-to-action, formats and target audiences. Look at the results data to determine what resonates best with your goals. Refine the ads and targets that are successfully driving conversions. Continual testing and optimization based on performance data is key to cost-effective social media advertising.
This optimization is ongoing – continually track performance data from your efforts and tweak based on learnings. Promoting your brand is not a set-it-and-forget-it task. You need to monitor, measure, and refine to maximize the return from your marketing activities.
Promoting a new business effectively can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be with the right strategies. The most critical first step is clearly defining your ideal customers and what resonates with them. Build buyer personas and research target demographics so you can tailor messaging and experiences.
Leveraging organic marketing channels like content creation and social media engagement can establish trust and authority with relevant audiences over time. Paid opportunities like social ads allow further reach while measuring results. Experiential marketing makes your brand tangible through share-worthy, interactive experiences. Forming strategic win-win partnerships lends credibility through associations with complementary brands.
Effective Promotion comes down to creativity, persistence, and agility. Provide genuine value, meet customers where they are, and adapt efforts based on what works. Any entrepreneur can build brand awareness and connections on any budget with the right mindset about promotion and dedication to testing and optimizing.