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Sales promotion follow-through

As you may know advertising comes after a good marketing foundation has been put in place. In order to build this base, you need to get a good group of marketers together and start from the bottom up. Here are a few tips to start up your marketing and advertising strategy:

- Know your customers and their needs
- What works for advertising? What have your customers responded to?
- How are you going to reach your potential customers?
- What is your advertising budget?

Having the answers to these questions will help you lay out a good roadmap for the beginning of a great sales promotion. There are three basic sales promotion strategies: new customers, discount opportunities, and reasons to buy from your company more frequently. Of course all these things will allow your business to grow and increase your sales.

When you are acquiring new customers you need to be aware of your target market. You must anticipate their buying patterns and give them an incentive to buy from your company. Many companies promote seasonal discounts and slash prices on items that are considered to be out of date, or out of season. You can follow through on this sales promotion by having in house drawings, luncheon events, or weekly incentives. This gives your potential customers a reason to come back two, perhaps three times within a week.

Always know your competition and how you can structure your sales promotion. For example, Papa Murphy's pizza uses the slogan "we make it, you bake it". Some other pizza companies have taken this phrase to a new level by saying "we make it and bake it". This is a small sales strategy that works to promote one competitor against another. The trick is if you are offering something that you perceive to be better than your competitor, you better have something better to offer. You wouldn't want to slash prices on a TV only to have hundred of customer complaints due to faulty rebate offers.

If you are inexperienced, don't hesitate to hire a professional. If you are running a sales promotion and you do not have an art department to create a newspaper ad or a direct mail piece, hire a freelance artist. Some advertising agencies will supply you will an art designer in exchange for a contract. Having experience and a unique design will catch the attention of potential customers.

You must plan for items in your sales promotion that will be "hot ticket" items. Remember the "tickle me Elmo" fiasco in the 90's? This children's toy was so popular that retail stores were out of stock during the holiday season. Plan for popular items so your customers do not become frustrated over an ad they received yesterday, only to find out that the item is already sold out. Studies have shown that the first week of the ad promotion will be the largest in sales. Plan for this by ordering extra supplies in the beginning; that way if you sell out 3 weeks worth of stock, you can order more before you have touched your 4th week.

Another key factor in follow-through with your sales promotion is to honor the price listed in the ad. Many customers become discouraged when they find out the $199.00 price was only for the first 100 items sold and they are purchasing the 152nd item sold. Honor your customers by honoring your ad. Try to avoid small stipulations that will annoy your customers. You don't want your customers to have a bad experience with your advertising promotion and spread bad information about your company all over.

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