The 3 Secrets Behind an Effective Online Promotion
Note: this is a guest post from Katie McCaskey of OpenWater.
Preparing and launching an online promotion requires careful planning. Many marketing professionals like to discuss specific tools and tactics. These are valuable discussions. However, it pays to take a step back and look at three secrets every good marketer knows.
Smaller is Bigger
Big budgets aren’t necessary. Nor are big crowds. What you really need is to identify and serve your audience. An engaged and enthusiastic crowd is the most valuable, even if it small.
To make decisions about what tactics you’ll use, ask yourself: how does this serve my (small, dedicated, enthusiastic) group? Focus on their needs first. Everyone else it brings in is bonus. Consider working with a “small time” celebrity that speaks to this group of people. This could be a local celebrity or well-known leader in a niche field. (Social media is a great place to find these audience-specific celebrities.)
Publish or Perish
The phrase “publish or perish” (most commonly heard in the world of academia) is relevant to online promotions, too. In higher education that phrase suggests that publication is key to ongoing employment and (hopefully) tenure. In the real world of online promotion the comparison holds. You need media publication to support every step of the promotional process.
Depending on your business and the specific promotion, you’ll be using one or more “publication” channels. Produce some, like e-books or video, before a promotion. Other media, such as live streaming or podcast interviews, might occur during the promotion itself. Produce additional media after a promotion ends, too.
At any point you may choose to co-create media with your audience. For example, you may produce an ebook that interviews industry leaders on a particular topic. Co-creating media is a powerful way to serve your audience and establish a leadership role, while maximizing your time.
Regardless, every promotion needs at least one or more immersive elements. These individually and collectively provide your audience with value. You must establish value and trust before any sale.
Rewards and Referrals
Lastly, all great online promotions include some form of rewards and encourage referrals.
The benefits are straightforward: by rewarding your audience, they are more likely to spread word about your promotion.
There are several ways to include rewards in the structure of your online promotion. Some ideas include:
Product discounts - Customer gets discount code for a referral
Buy one, share one - Customer gets a duplicate item to share with someone else
Cash rewards - Customer gains cash as a portion of the purchase
Discounts and cash are just one way to reward customers and gain referrals. Increasingly, rewards come in the form of personal access, special perks, or exclusive personalizations.
In the end, smart marketers know how to leverage all three of these “secrets”: focus on your audience, produce valuable content, and reward your audience lavishly to earn word-of-mouth referrals. Start your planning with this framework and you’ll have an engaging online promotion.