Hints & tips
Hints & tips
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Making a promotional plan
A promotional or publicity plan is a good tool for managing the promotion of your business. It contains information on your (new) target groups and on the objectives that you would like to achieve, such as a better image or more customers. These will decide (the combination of) tools that you are going to use, including flyers, advertisements, posters, PR, etc. When you’ve finished making the plan, you can determine the budget.
» Download our step-by-step guide for writing a promotional plan
The basic story
Part of your plan should be your basic story: a general text about your business that you can easily use for different purposes like press releases, your website, newsletters, etc. The basic story is short and displays the core of your business, which also serves as a guideline for your overall business policy.
Communicating with images
Consumers respond more directly to images than they do to stories. So it is important to have striking and professional high-quality images available.
Check response to your actions
To test if your flyers are seen and read, you could have a coupon printed on the flyers that your customers have to hand in at your outlet in order to get a discount. Through social media you can offer free entry or other advantages. This also gives you an opportunity to check how intensely your social media accounts are being followed.
Your website mirrors your company
Websites are important promotional tools and represent your company in every way. Your website will be a place where your customers can find information, check the events calendar and see what’s on the menu. A website enables you to find new customers, inform customers and bind customers to your business. Good websites are easy to find, attractively designed, up-to-date, inviting, informative and suitable for smart phones. Mention the address of your website wherever you can and consider using a QR-code (or Quick Response code containing the url of your website) on merchandising with which your site can be easily accessed with a smart phone.
A clear navigation system makes your website accessible and attractive. Visitors will revisit your website if it is engaging and if they can easily find what they are looking for. You may consider making separate buttons on your homepage to communicate the specialties of your outlet, such as your beer range, the live music on the programme, the DJ agenda, etc. Also provide links to your social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare, You Tube and Flickr. Visitors who click the links may immediately decide to follow you or become your virtual friend. Many customers of course visit your site only to find the address, telephone number or opening hours. That is why many businesses put these details on their homepage.
On-trade is a people’s business. So it is important to give your website a personal touch. Showing some individual photos, or maybe a group picture with short statements or quotes, will make visitors to the website feel comfortable with your outlet.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in the search engines' ‘natural’ or unpaid search results.
You can enhance this process by registering at various search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Lycos. Registering is almost always free of charge and with the use of a list of key words your website will become easier to find.
Keep your website up-to-date
Visitors will return to your website when they know that the information is always new and up-to-date. For a website there’s nothing worse than ‘news’ on the homepage that is already several months old. Also, the announcement of new promotional offers will make your website more attractive for future visits. Having a photo gallery with pictures of the latest events will also encourage traffic to your website, especially if you link this gallery to Facebook.
The importance of social media
Nowadays, social media can play an important role in the promotion of almost anything – including your business. When used in the right way, they are an important and relatively cheap promotional tool. It may be labour-intensive to remain up-to-date on all social networks, but it will suffice to choose only the networks that are popular with your customers. Facebook is very suitable for telling the stories of your business, together with photos, films, and experiences. Your Facebook friends can respond, which makes it very lively and interactive. LinkedIn is a business network that connects people who share a passion and field of work.
» Download our step-by-step guide for social media
Friends and followers
The nice thing about social media is that you can very quickly and very simply let your digital friends and followers know what is going on in your business: new kinds of beer, a new menu, job vacancies, live acts, etc. Social media is a tool for sharing with your friends and followers online. You can share information, but of course you can also give things away, such as free tickets, discounts, a recipe or beer and food tips. As a result of all these regular updates, your customers will feel more and more involved in your business.
There are many websites that provide information on popular destinations for a night out or simply a nice meal. Registering your website on these digital guides is certainly worth the effort. Usually you just have to fill in some standard data and a short description of your business. Sometimes you can also upload a photo.
Good contacts with the local media such as newspapers, broadcasters, magazines and websites are important for getting good free publicity. A well-functioning and up-to-date address list is essential, but maybe even more important is to have strong personal contact with the media and journalists.
Press and free publicity
Free publicity is a relatively cheap way to get media attention and it’s trustworthy to your customers. Most media are looking for unusual and special things, so sending out a press release is only useful when you really have something special going on. Make sure that your press releases meet certain requirements. Sending a catchy picture with it will increase your chances of having your news appear in the media.
» Download our step-by-step guide for free publicity
Work on personal media contacts
Like all human beings, journalists are sensitive to personal contact. This makes it worthwhile for you to work and keep working on contacts with the media and journalists. You could organise a press launch for special occasions and invite journalists to your events. After you have sent out an invitation or a press release you can call some of your contacts to verify if everything is clear and check if they will attend. Working on these personal contacts will give you the best results in free publicity, especially in the long run.
Who is the spokesperson?
If you have only one or two spokespersons for the press you will feel more secure about the uniformity of the information that is communicated. This is especially important in cases of mishap.
Prepare for an interview
Good preparation for an interview makes a big difference. If you prepare yourself properly chances are larger that you will be able to tell the story that you want to tell. To prepare, you can ask the journalist what subjects will be addressed. You can also make a factsheet for the interviewer to make sure that important data are assembled in a correct and concise way. After the article has been published, it is worthwhile to upload it to your website.
A promoteam for special events
When you have special activities or programmes taking place at your outlet, you might want to attract an audience larger than your regular customers. To do so, you might consider hiring a promo team. This way you can address people directly and tempt them to visit your outlet for this special occasion.
Transportation as a promo-tool
One promotional tool that should not be underestimated is the company car. When you display your logo and website address in a striking way on your company car(s), you will be advertising your company everywhere you go. In addition to using cars, you can also use bicycles and scooters for this purpose. This tool can be deployed in a very active and creative way and is much easier and less expensive than many other promotional tools.
The good old flyer still works
Despite new technologies, traditional flyers and posters are still a good way to advertise special evenings and events. You can distribute them at your own outlet and at locations that your (future) customers frequently visit (shopping centres, sports clubs, cinemas, etc.). But it doesn’t stop there; good old-fashioned flyers can also benefit from new media: you can distribute your flyer online.
Advertise your business
Sometimes a simple ad – or better yet a series of ads – is an effective promotional tool, especially when you are organising a series of activities. You can place ads in the local newspaper, magazines or website depending on your target groups. No matter how small your ad is, always include your address, your website and your logo! Sometimes placing an ad may lead to some extra free publicity.