Attention is a scarce resource. The average human only has an attention span of 8 seconds, down 4 seconds from where it was in 2000, according to a study by Microsoft. These few seconds may not seem much, but for marketers, they can spell the difference between a new loyal customer, and another disinterested passerby.
Marketers have to be smarter than ever, especially if they want to be heard above the noise of countless social media feeds, non-stop notifications, and endless offers from competitors. Below we’ve compiled a list of promotional marketing ideas businesses can use to gain exposure.
1. Hold useful and fun classes
Businesses can foster both loyalty and gain exposure by holding useful classes. Canadian athleisure wear and yoga brand Lululemon holds free in-store yoga classes once per week, conducted by local instructors. These classes, along with sponsoring health-events like Sweat Life in London, help the company showcase both their product and a very visible commitment to customers.
2. Host round-table events and webinars
Panels and talks are a good way to establish thought-leadership and authority within the industry and among your target audience. However, marketers looking to host these types of events need to remember that the focus should be on generating value and insight, not promotion.
If a physical event is beyond your budget, try hosting webinars. They cost less, are relatively easier to plan, and have lower registration barriers—most invites are sent through email. These live video seminars are also an efficient way to get in touch with highly engaged potential customers. While traditionally webinars attract considerably fewer attendees, the typical viewer will be willing to watch for 61 minutes.
3. Design unique and interactive in-store layouts
Every day, some half a billion users casually post tidbits of their life on Instagram Stories. Quirky and uniquely designed displays can easily start marketing themselves on visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.
But store layouts shouldn’t just look great—they need to improve the customer experience, too. Walking into a Lush store is a real visual and olfactory treat. All products are placed invitingly on display, free for customers to sample. Ikea stores are ingeniously designed to beautifully showcase their products, a “catalogue in physical form”, as a professor of built environments from the University College London calls it.
4. Look into hiring micro influencers in your niche
One only need look at celebrities like the Kardashians to see how powerful influencer marketing can be. However, many businesses are off-put by the cost—a single post from a relatively well-known influencer can cost upwards of USD £700 (about $1,000 USD).
Fortunately, you don’t need individuals with millions of followers. Micro influencers—or influencers with 50,000 to a few thousand followers—can be just as effective, if not more. These individuals are celebrities in their own niche, while at the same time are perceived as relatively more relatable and approachable than influencers with millions of followers. These interesting VIP and kid-next-door hybrids often command a tight-knit community of highly engaged and loyal followers.
5. Go the extra mile with customer service…
Ads get your products exposure, but it’s the reviews, comments, and ratings that will sell it. In today’s highly connected world, reviews are trusted 12 times more than sales copy. Roughly 94% of online shoppers check reviews before buying an item.
One of the most effective ways you can encourage reviews is by going above and beyond in customer service. Over 80% of customers are likelier to purchase again after a positive experience. They’re also more likely to recommend you to friends and family.
6. …and leverage social proof
Positive reviews are premium currency for your business. So when you do get testimonials, display them prominently on your site. Sprinkle nice things customers have said in your product description and marketing copy.
If you have the resource, create case studies around your most successful customers. These prove your product or service even to the most skeptical and can work as a lead magnet for prospective customers.
7. Be tactfully social
The power of social extends to your own marketing channels. Most businesses probably have some sort of presence on one or two major channels. In fact, the competition is fierce, and some users are getting tired of the endless deluge of ads and sales messages, which lowers the potency of marketing campaigns on social media.
To break through the fatigue fog on social media brands need to come up with fresh approaches, truly useful content, and stop spamming followers. You don’t need to post ten times in a row to get noticed. The right post at the right time can get you more engagement than content blasted well past midnight. Marketers can also look past major, crowded channels like Facebook and Twitter into other platforms like Quora or Pinterest. Some experiment with AI-enabled chatbots on Facebook Messenger
8. Give freebies
Everyone likes free stuff. But don’t just start doling out random shirts or USBs with company logos. Make sure that your giveaways are relevant to customers and your brand. Tangible gifts and promos need to be things people actually want.
You don’t need to break the bank just for giveaways, but make sure they look presentable and are designed according to your brand style guidelines. Marketers can also boost exposure by leveraging user-generated content. Instead of just giving away goods, hold contests and ask followers to post content on Instagram or Twitter as entries.
Today’s consumers are more savvy, discerning, and are afforded more choices than ever before. To compete in this hyper-competitive space, marketers need to put the customer in the core of every campaign. “Customer-facing” needs to not only be lip-service but a concept that guides every pound spent on promos—because once you build content with an eye on customers’ needs instead of only your bottom line, then they will come.