You’ve probably heard the phrase: If you build it, they will come.
The phrase is a take on a line from the movie Field of Dreams. In the movie, the main character decides to build a baseball field with the self-reassurance that all he has to do is build it and people will show up.
Well, you’re not building a field of dreams. You’re building a virtual business. And unfounded self-assurance, mixed with over-confidence, cooks up disappointment soup.
You see, you can’t just build your platform and expect traffic to come to your it without doing any more work. Expectations are not enough.
You need a clear, solid plan for promotion.
In this installment of Creating a Business That Thrives in the Virtual Economy, we’ll go over strategies and ideas for promoting your business and offers online.
We’ll share how you can effectively promote your products and services online. So you know you need to promote your products and services.
Step 1 of Promotion: Strategy
Create a strategy for promoting your virtual business and products. Your strategy will be based on the following. Answering these questions will help you create a strategy based on your business goals and the resources you currently have available.
Where will you promote?
When will you promote?
Who will you promote to?
Do you have money to spend on advertising? (for example, Facebook ads)
Which social media platforms will you use to market and engage with people?
What’s the etiquette for interacting on the social media platforms you choose to use?
How much time will you spend promoting?
Who will do the promoting? You or someone in your team?
Do you have an email list you can promote to?
How often will you send emails to that list of subscribers?
Do you need to create a free (opt-in) offer in exchange for email addresses (so that you start building an email subscriber list)?
How can you create a content plan so that your promotions are mixed in with valuable content and genuine interaction (so people don’t feel you’re solely promoting yourself)?
When creating your strategy, you’ll need to research your online promotion options. Gear your efforts toward reaching your ideal client where they are. They are probably already hanging out somewhere online (where it’s easier for you to reach them). Are they in groups? On Twitter? Instagram? In forums?
Spend time researching and finding out where your clients are. This will save you heaps of time in the end because when you promote your products, you’ll know exactly where to go to reach your ideal customers and clients.
Step 2 of Product Promotion: Assess
When you launch a product online and offline, it’s a test. You don’t know how your product will be received. Think of every launch and release as an experiment. Your hypothesis is that your offer will sell, but you’re assessing to see how it does.
Take this same approach with promotion. What promotional steps receive the greatest return? Remember you’re investing time – and often money- when promoting. Your goal is to yield a high return for your efforts.
Step 3 of Product Promotion: Adjust and keep going
Once you’ve assessed, decide if anything needs be adjusted. But here’s a caveat, don’t adjust randomly and too frequently. Theres a fine line between adjusting your strategy as needed and overreacting if you’re not get the results you want immediately.
You need to give your promotion initiatives enough time to gauge if they’re working before making changes. The best way to do that is to set a timeframe for how frequently you will make adjustments as needed.
The key is consistency. Meaning, you need to promote consistently but you also need to be consistent with the promotional messages you’re putting out there. Make sure that your promotional images, messages, and all communication is cohesive.
Don’t expect overnight success. It can happen, but is rare. But if you put in consistent effort on an effective promotion strategy, you will see results.