How to Promote and Get Results

There’s nothing more frustrating than spending an exorbitant amount of money and time on an ad and don’t receive a return on investment (aka, ROI). One of the biggest lessons I learned when I was promoting my nonprofit years ago, was to stay in within my comfort zone for content creation so I could have a plethora of options for my marketing mix. The uncomfortable part was distributing the various content through every possible channel without knowing the response- and yes, it was completely uncomfortable.

When I was initially preparing for this podcast, I was sidetracked by all the different possibilities. I have so much to share and asked myself what could I add to compliment the other episodes.

“Should I talk about a marketing mix?”
“What if I expanded on Google ads since Kent and I already spoke on it from a previous podcast?”
“Maybe I should talk about Facebook pages and their ad center.”

Then it came to me. Focus on the easiest way to make money, which is by putting yourself out there.

In other words, tell errr-body about who you are and what you’re doing.

Anyone Can Promote

One of the best ways I learned how to promote myself–including a product, cause, service, or organization–was the candy bar at church when I was a pre-teen. In between Sunday School ending at 11:15am and church service starting at 11:30am, the church groups would sell chicken, chips, soda, coffee, candy, and more yummy goodies.

I sold the candy and chips because I was good at math, and loved talking with adults. The profits went to our youth group for trips and supplies. Plus, it was fun missing a little of the church service too.

Despite being a shy kid, I always loved to be challenged so it was a great fit.

I also knew older adults didn’t want to say “no” to little kids working hard for a great cause, so it was an easy sell. This is why I believe Girl Scout Cookies continue to be sold by little girls, and not placed on shelves because anyone who is determined can promote and sell their goods. Even though Keebler has some knockoffs, I’ll still show love to the young lady hustlers.

The rule still applies today, but technology has made it easier and harder. Anyone can promote anything, but they don’t always know how to sell and close the deal so they don’t end up in a sales position. Posting a new business on social media isn’t going to instantly overflood your business and make you a multi-millionaire. However, it starts with a post informing people to help them become customers. That’s called a conversion, which we’ll talk about that later.

Plus, sales aren’t for everyone.

Achieve Your Results

So let’s get to the promotion strategy. If you’re just starting out, don’t be nervous or anxious. Think of selling a product or service someone really wants it, but they don’t know you exist. Therefore, you’re helping them in the long run.

In the meantime, you have to get your message out there.

To keep this really simple, I used my sweet potato pie baking experience. I love sweet potato pie! That was and still is one of my favorite desserts. Here’s one of the first pies I made. I posted it on Instagram.

In order for me to promote and get the results of sweet potato pie orders, I have to build a system to keep track of my activities and tasks in the right priority. Another word we call this in the marketing world is a funnel. A marketing funnel helps you create awareness about your product or service, build interest, feed the desire, and encourage action. Having a funnel marries the marketing process to the sales process. When it’s successful, your system will turn a prospect into a happy customer.

Well, that’s the goal but it doesn’t always happen that way.

S.M.A.R.T. Goal

As I said in the podcast, I thought about going into business with my pies. I had a lot of great feedback from the folks I gave them too so it became an option. However, it’s not my passion.

So alas, as I promised to share via the podcast, the best tool to use when starting something is a S.M.A.R.T. goal method to lay the foundation. On our business website, we provided a podcast and a quick article on how to implement it for social entrepreneurs.

But it can work for anyone. SMART goals help the individual focus on one thing and nothing else.

Here is the quick list I mentioned on the podcast of how to make the S.M.A.R.T. Goal process work:

    1. What’s the result you can truly achieve?
    2. Create a tool or instrument to track your progress.
    3. Initiate an initial test and see if it works.
    4. Make adjustments.
    5. Develop consistency.

Each of the above-numbered bullet points has its own merit to be thought through. Don’t rush it. Take your time and focus on quality.

Also, this needs to be customized to whichever product or service you’re starting with. I wouldn’t suggest using it as a cookie-cutter approach. Be creative and make your own with this mind.

In the podcast, I mentioned Facebook Insights to use as your tool It’s super user-friendly.

When you promote your posts, you can really learn a lot of the basics to get started. A simple boost is always advertised, but not always the best method. Here’s a great video from Hubspot to explain why.

Keep Going

In the world of marketing, promoting is a neverending task. I’m sorry if I burst someone’s bubble. But it’s true. You have to keep going with figuring out which post/ad is relevant to your audience.

This is where it’s easy to hire a marketing agency–like NW & Associates, LLC which is a proud sponsor of the show–to help you create your digital assets to run this marketing campaign, or you can do it on your own.

The old adage question for budding entrepreneurs, “What’s king in business?”
Answer: Cashflow (access to your own cash)

The old adage question for marketers, “What’s king in marketing?”
Answer: Content

I’m not saying to just post anything, but you do need to post something. To learn the best type of content to publish, check out this piece by Neil Patel. He makes it pretty simple but I encourage you to adapt your own style.

And to keep it real, you’ll make mistakes. You’ll create a lot of content that you’re too embarrassed to push out. It’s ok. Just as long as you don’t stop. You cannot quit. Make every theme, campaign, or tactic a learning environment.

Because ultimately, you need to find what works. Every piece of your marketing content could be the next big success. As Mark Cuban says on Shark Tank, “work like someone is trying to take it from you.” When you put out enough content, you’ll know which ones work and which ones don’t.

The Promotion Killer

I believe the real reason people have a hard time promoting is that it’s hard to promote yourself. It’s so much easier to promote someone, or anything else. When we talk about another company and your experience, that’s great branding which a different topic.

However, it’s good to understand branding isn’t selling. And selling isn’t always marketing. I wrote an article I see so many mistakes a startup company makes when they start.

Remember promoting is helping the buyer that doesn’t have a clue who you are. They’re called a prospect. The next step is to make them a ‘lead’ in your funnel if they show interest.

No one can support you or be interested if they don’t know about you. That’s why building awareness is critical. And how do you build awareness?

You get known by promoting yourself, your company, your product/service and teach them who you are and what you do or what your product does.

If you’re promoting yourself or your company, have the same confidence you’d have it if it was your benchmark competitor. You can do something every day. You can stay within your comfort zone, but building awareness means you’re promoting your content into circles that don’t know who you are or what you do.

Creating customers through a great marketing funnel takes time.

Marketing Funnel: A marketing funnel from Nathan Webster of NW & Associates, LLC.

The best example I’ve seen coffee. Just because you have a coffee shop next door to Starbucks, doesn’t mean you will have the same success. Yes, technology has helped you start a business and get the word out, but know you have to start with building awareness before anyone takes action. It may start with samples. Or, you can line the street with balloons. You can also put out several ads on different social channels. Again, something is better than nothing.

CTA’s (aka, Call to Actions)

This leads me to the last thing. You need to have multiple CTA’s. In other words, getting me to act is critically important.

Don’t forsake your promotion by not having confidence in your product.

Within your post, ensure you consistently ask for the sale of your product or service.

If I was going to start my sweet potato pie business, I’d be saying the following in my Facebook posts:

    – Would you like to buy a pie?
    – Have you tried a slice?
    – Do you want to sample a piece?
    – Come out to the local farmer’s market and find me. Who’s stopping by?
    – Tell me where you work and I’ll stop by.

The CTA invokes a requested action, so the viewer doesn’t have to think about it. It’s either a “yes” or “no” to proceed. The Facebook user will either stop scrolling and take action or keep scrolling.

So if you want the desired results as stated in step #1, keep showing that ad to them so they cannot refuse on the 20th time they see it. Hence, why you make the first promotional goal an attainable objective with some hard work.

Host: Nathan WebsterNW & Associates, LLC (aka, Mr. Social Entrepreneur)

Enjoy the show!

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Dream Big,

Author: nathanwebster
From a US Marine to nonprofit executive director, I've been fortunate to do a lot of stuff. My quick history is I’m a brand marketer with a background in social good. In the process of running a small educational nonprofit, I learned the value of storytelling and digital branding. That’s how I got involve in marketing, websites, consulting via my podcast as well, and being an adjunct business professor at the local community college.