• Lauren Tooley

A Beginner's Guide to Promotional Marketing


Accelerate Your Brand

Pick up the momentum

"Accelerate Your Brand" in neon lights surrounded by curving, neon tubes.

Now that your brand has an established social media presence, it's time to put the pedal to the metal and amp things up a bit. The road is wide open and ready to see your brand accelerate.

Okay, enough with the car analogies... Time to get to the good stuff. We want to help you reach your business goals, which is why we want to help you transition from passive social media to promotional marketing. If the thought of this overwhelms you, but you are ready to take the next steps with your business, let us take the wheel: contact us.


There are quite a few reasons that people, myself included, have come up with to not engage in promotional marketing, including the fact that it costs money and it's like starting a new job that you know nothing about. As someone who has made it to the other side, I’m here to tell you that it is manageable. In fact, I find promotional marketing fun and exciting (though you might not). As with most things, the benefits will equate what you put into it. This is meant to be a guide to get your business started with promotional marketing, but there are professionals (like ourselves) who spend years studying and perfecting the strategy. If you are ready to level up, our line is always open!


Strategy

A SWOT analysis diagram, including details on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Before you can even dream of a sponsored post, it is essential to come up with a strategy. I cannot stress enough how important it is to define your target audiences so you understand exactly who you will be speaking to when you put money behind posts. This usually begins with a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of your company. By honestly evaluating where your business stands in the market, you can understand what areas to promote in your marketing and which you need to improve upon behind the scenes.


After you complete your SWOT, take a look at your strengths and opportunities (Disclaimer: We are not saying to ignore your weaknesses and threats. However, your marketing strategy is not the place to work those out.). The strengths are the aspects of your products or brand that make you follow-worthy. The opportunities are places where you might not have expanded, but promotional marketing is a great place to invest in those opportunities.


Next, you have to decide who would be interested in your product. Looking back at your SWOT can give you a lot of clues. For example, if one of your strengths is your environmental friendliness and one of your opportunities is the social activism in young people then this creates a target market: young consumers who are interested in eco-friendly products. Working through your past product history, opportunities, and strengths, come up with a few target markets that are detailed and specific (not just “people looking to buy my product”).


Platforms


The next question you should ask yourself is “Where can my brand meet my target audience?” There are many places to advertise on the internet, but the most common social media platforms are:

  • Facebook

  • Instagram

  • LinkedIn

  • Twitter

  • Pinterest

  • YouTube

  • TikTok

  • Snapchat

Our last post went into detail about each of these platforms and the type of users that are on each, so check that out if you are unsure of where to start. Our recommendation is to always start on the platforms you currently engage with organically, meaning posting on without putting money behind the posts. So if you regularly post on Facebook and Instagram, try promotions there first before expanding the time (and money) you put into promotional marketing.


Another important platform is Google. While not necessarily a social media, they are one powerhouse of a search engine and have granular audiences for amazing targeting abilities. Google has two types of ads (besides video ads on YouTube): display ads and search ads.


Google display ads are the banner ads that pop up on the top and sides of most websites. These ads can be text based, but are most often graphically based. The beauty of Google is that you can target specific websites, or types of websites, you want your ads on. Back to the previous example, you could have your ads show up on the blogs of eco-friendly influencers that young people follow to reach your target audience. Beyond that, you can also target by interest, uploaded customer lists, or search terms.

Google search ads are the first few search results on the search engine results page (SERP). The ad copy and title are customized by you for each audience to target their interests. Targeting is exclusively based on search terms, but can be further narrowed down by age and geographic location.

Budget


This is everyone’s first question when entering into the land of paid media: “How much will this cost me?” The answer is (sorry about this)... it depends. The beauty of many of these platforms is that a little can go a long way. However, it is going to take some experimenting to figure out the spend of your target markets. Depending on how many people are in each audience, the competition in that area, etc. the cost of a click on your ad can vary.


“Ok fine,” you may say, “but where do I start?” I would start with at least $100 for a 2 week campaign (this is a super generalization and ultimately depends on what platform you’re on). You know your budget is too low if your ad isn’t serving out, meaning that impressions are low or if your return on investment ([sales - amount spent] / amount spent) is too high (like over 200% high). You know your budget is too high if…. Just kidding. Your budget cap will definitely be your financial limitations, not anything you can see in the data. If you have the money to spend, you can find an effective way to spend it in paid promotions. The difficulty if you have the money to spend is deciding which campaign should get what percentage of the total online marketing budget.


Creative / Copy


It is time to put your thinking cap on and get those creative juices flowing. In marketing speak, the creative is simply the photo(s) or video that is the star of your ad. Besides Google search ads, promotional marketing is very visually based. The goal is to pull the user away from their normal content and have them consider your brand, which is new to their online sphere. In order to do that, you have to have thumb-stopping content. This, however, doesn’t always mean a fancier software or a million aspects to the image. Simple can be striking as well. We use a combination of Adobe Creative Suite and Canva (a free platform!) to create our graphics.


The other half of the equation is the copy, meaning the words that accompany your creative. These are equally as important, if not more so. What is your brand’s tone? How do you say what you need to say in the shortest way possible? Succinct, rich copy is key. Just like a chili pepper, you want to pack a punch in a small package. Our favorite way to do this is to reference back to what strengths our target markets are interested in. Then, we work backward and continuously make our post shorter and snappier until we have the perfectly branded and enticing copy for our ad.


Analysis


You knew this was coming since I wrote this post (ICYMI, I love the numbers part of digital marketing). Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the magic ingredient to analyzing a campaign. This is something that you and your team should agree on before the campaign. What conversion do you want to measure? Here are a few examples:

  • Engagement

  • Impressions

  • Click-through-rate (CTR)

  • Purchases

  • Cost-per-click (CPC)

These numbers will tell you a lot about the success of your campaigns. Each has their own indications of other behavior that can be heavily researched if you are interested in learning more!

Each platform tracks your campaign’s data within its user interface. Personally, I love seeing the platform’s performance next to each other which is where Google Data Studio comes in. Google Data Studio is a free data visualization app from Google that allows you to make the prettiest graphs and charts in all the land. Google Analytics and Google Ads data connect for free. To pull in data from other platforms, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, there are a couple options. The free option is to download the CSV file from each platform of your campaign and upload it to Google Data Studio. The downside to this option, besides the massive amounts of time spent, is the fact that it doesn’t update as the campaign is live. Each update is manual and will reflect past, not current, data. Another option is to use a software such as Power My Analytics or Supermetrics to connect your advertising platforms with Google Data Studio so that data is automatically sent over. Even if you just use the platform’s analytics (they all have their own separate dashboards), it is essential to measure how your campaign performed. This includes the effectiveness of your targeting, the success of the creative and copy, and the budget behind the campaign.


Are you feeling gassed up?


It is time to get started! There are numerous resources online that go in-depth about every topic covered in this post if you are ready to take the reins and get going. We know that, as a business owner, you are capable of pretty much anything. We also know how much is on your plate. If you need help lightening your load, let us know. Give us a follow on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn for future posts about digital marketing tips for small businesses!

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