As a small business owner, you know that promoting your company is essential to its success. But with so many different marketing channels and strategies to choose from, it can be tough to know where to start.


One way to make sure your promotions are effective is to plan them out in advance. By taking the time to work on your overall goals, you'll be able to create a promotional strategy that gets results.


Here are a few tips to help you plan your promotions for the year:


Define your goals. What do you want to achieve with your promotion? Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive sales, or something else? Once you know what you're hoping to accomplish, you can start to research and think of the ways that can help you get there.


Appeal to your target audience. When you know who your target customer is, it’s easier to plan for your creatives (graphic designs), messaging and incentives that are more likely to resonate with them.


Choose the right channels. There are a variety of ways to promote your business, from online ads to print media. Think about which channels will be most effective for reaching your target audience and achieving your goals.


Set a budget. Determine how much you're willing to spend on each aspect of your promotion, from advertising to giveaways.


Decide on your timeline. When do you want your promotion to start and end? Make sure you give yourself enough time to develop and execute your plan. 


Now that you’re ready to plan your promotions, here are some marketing ideas to help you get started:


1. Social Media Holidays

Go beyond hashtags and encourage customers to share videos or posts featuring your product and holiday theme. If you're up for it, you can even create your own holiday that’s related to your product or service (like taco or flower day).


2. Featured Employee Pick

More than likely, your customers already rely on your employees for recommendations. Take it a step further and show off their expertise by featuring their personal stories behind your products or services.


3. Limited Time Loyalty Campaign

A limited-time loyalty campaign can provide an influx of customers and boost sales during the holidays or slow business periods. This can also be done as a referral program by offering customers an incentive for referring a certain number of customers during a defined period of time.


4. Exclusive Waitlists for Loyal Customers

Launching something new or re-introducing a past product or service? Create demand early with a waitlist so you can easily reach customers who are ready to buy. You might want to offer a discount or bonus incentive to the first few who join.


5. Contests and Giveaways

Like events or holidays, contests encourage customers to shop your brand with the payoff of a reward. Simple social media photo contests featuring your product and in-store drawings are just two ways to increase customer interest and purchases.


6. Charity Partnerships

Donating a portion of your profits to charity encourages customers to buy while supporting a compelling cause. However, choose your charity with care and share why it’s important to you so the partnership appears sincere – customers can sense opportunism from a mile away.


7. Eye-Popping Print Designs

Netflix is known for its attention-grabbing billboards and you can apply the same principle to your promotions, too!  Think outside the box and use print materials to get people talking about your brand.


When it comes to promoting your small business, advance planning is key. By taking the time to set goals, understand your target audience, and budget for your promotion, you can create a successful marketing campaign that will help your business achieve its objectives. And don’t forget to have some fun with it – after all, promotions are a great way to get customers excited about your products or services.


This article was written in partnership with getWise - a technology platform that provides on-demand expert advice for small businesses and women to accelerate their business or career.  

Tanya's getWise profile