If you don’t promote it, your offer is a waste of time.


Recently, another professional writer in one of my groups went into one of his favorite coffee shops. He asked for the free coffee that goes with the sandwich he bought.

The manager approached him after he got his food and coffee, telling him that it was the first time anyone has requested that special in weeks.

Even though the offer is clearly marked on his window. Even though the shop has good foot traffic.

He asked how he could get more people to take the offer.

This is a common situation with small businesses.

So many businesses place an 8×11 poster in their shop window and expect that piece of paper to bring in many people taking the offer. This is an impulse buy offer for people already visiting your business or walking by.

Sometimes it can work out well and bring in a lot of additional orders. But often, just sticking up that paper isn’t enough.

The trick to making a good promotion work well is making your offer stick out in your prospect’s mind. Often, an individual needs to see an offer 7 times before they act upon it.

I know. That seems stupid. But it’s how it is.

It’s life. We are all so very busy. We all have so much to keep track of already, just in living an average day in our life.

That sign in the shop window may become so familiar to us after the first time we see it, that we no longer notice it.  Sometimes if it’s not exceptionally eye catchy, we don’t notice it the first time.

Store window overload can make us blind. Even if you’re conservative with your space and don’t put out too much, we may still be blind. Everyone hangs stuff in their windows and we get used to not reading posters before walking in.

A good promotional effort will use 7-10 points of visibility so it keeps your customer thinking about it. 

  1. The sign in the window.
  2. A placard where they wait in line. (That’s logically where we look for deals.)
  3. A card at your table.
  4. A Facebook post letting them know it’s’ still available every so often.
  5. A post card mailing to the community.
  6. An email to your email list.
  7. An ad placement with the local radio station.
  8. An ad in the community advertiser supplement.
  9. An ad in the local newspaper.
  10. Flier on a community ad board.
  11. An Instagram announcement.
  12. Your business blog.
  13. A well targeted social site ad.
  14. Chalkboard placard on the sidewalk.

How many ways do you have at your disposal to get announcements to your people?

Make a list and utilize many or all of them in your promotional efforts.

Many will be free to use.

Think proactively and creatively. At the time I’m posting this article we’re in the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The businesses who recover from the disruption will be the ones who valued their businesses enough to continue communicating and serving.

The ones who recover well and come out ahead will be the businesses that get creative. That think beyond this crisis and find new ways of reaching their customers. 

Plan out future events and promotional efforts for your business while you have time. When you succeed, your customers and staff succeed too.

Be well,

Diana Cacy Hawkins