PromotionsAs discussed earlier, promotion entails more than just selecting the media format to market your business. It can, and oftentimes does, encompass community involvement. This involvement can range from sponsoring a Boy or Girl Scout troop to hosting a charity ball for senior citizens or allowing non-profit organizations to use your facilities.
Your approach to promoting your business should encompass more than creating a sense of awareness about your business. It should include a commitment to community involvement - the desire to give something back to the community and its residents. An excellent way to foster this type of involvement is to meet with community leaders to find out how you can help, and what events are forthcoming that could or will require your assistance. Keep in mind that community leaders can be an excellent networking tool, especially if they feel your involvement is genuine.
Examples of community programs you can sponsor or take part in are:
- sponsor a Boy or Girl Scout troop for summer camp
- sponsor a underprivileged child in day camp
- host and sponsor a charity ball for senior citizens
- sponsor cooperative education for high school and/or college students
- volunteer as a tutor for at-risk (those likely to drop out or fail in school) students
- sponsor a fund raiser for the homeless, or day care tuition assistance for children of single-parent households
- offer summer employment to local high school, middle school and college students
- become active in the local chapters of the Big Bothers or Big Sisters organizations.
- volunteer in a local literacy program.
- employee tee shirts, hats, aprons or jackets with the name of your business and logo.
- ball point pens with the name, telephone number and logo of your business.
- balloons with the name, telephone number and logo of your business
- free samples
- a door prize for the 100th or 1,000th customer to enter your business.
No plan that anyone provides will show you how to promote or advertise your business. These are techniques that you, yourself, will have to develop. Talk it over with your family and community leaders, then decide which activities you can afford to sponsor and have the time to commit to before becoming involved. Involvement in the community doesn't necessarily have a price tag attached. Find a project that you can afford, that you have time for and is of interest to you.
For ideas on how to develop an effective advertising and promotional strategy, see "Marketing Tips, Tricks & Traps". A sample Marketing Plan also is included to assist you in developing an effective marketing strategy for your business.