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Marketing Your Illinois Business

Marketing Your Small Business: Promoting Online

June 7, 2023

If you own a gaming location in Illinois, you already know how much competition is out there. To achieve sustainable success in this increasingly oversaturated market, it is necessary to promote your bar effectively online. However, a major trap many small businesses fall into when promoting their establishment online, , is doing it without clear goals - or having goals, but no real strategy for achieving them. 

When promoting your business online, your goal cannot be simply to increase your sales. Every company’s goal when promoting is to increase their revenue in some way. If you want your future promotions to actually lead toward a successful future, you need to dive deeper.

For example, say you are a stakeholder in a bar, and you notice that a lot of middle-aged people frequent your establishment on Thursday nights for the NFL game. This results in your business doing very well on that day during the season, but it does not continue following the conclusion of each season. If you want to promote your business to recapture those customers on Thursday nights, you should first formulate exactly what you want to happen should your promotions be successful. In this example, a good promotional goal would be: Target men and women aged 40 - 65 to drive revenue through beverage and food sales on Thursday nights from February to August.

A good promotional goal will have the following characteristics:

  • Who: Your promotion’s target audience cannot just be “everyone”, especially not as a small business. You need to tailor your messaging to the specific type of individuals you would like to reach.
  • What: What would the people that you reached need to do in order for you to accomplish your promotional goal? In the example, the target audience would need to contribute positively to the location’s revenue on Thursday nights when the NFL is not in season.
  • Specific: A good goal should leave very little room for interpretation; it should be immediately clear to anyone who reads it what you are hoping to accomplish. If multiple members of your team are confused by what your goals are, chances are your customers will be as well. The promotional goal in the example is very specific regarding what improvements are expected and the time frame for the promotion.  
  • Measurable: You need to be able to measure your goals in order to determine the effectiveness of your promotional campaigns. In the example above, you could compare your revenue on Thursday nights from May 2022 (before promoting) to May 2023 (after promoting) in order to gauge the promotion's success.

After you have taken the time to formulate a goal statement that considers ‘who’ you are trying to reach and ‘what’ you want them to do, while also ensuring that it is specific and able to be measured, your next step is to strategize.

Your promotional strategy needs to match with your promotional goals to have the best possible chances for success. In other words, it needs to be relevant and interesting to the demographic you are targeting. For example, if you have a promotional strategy with a goal of attracting more 21–30-year-olds into your establishment, you probably would not want to host a live music event with an Elvis impersonator, because it wouldn’t have much relevance to that age group.

Finding the right niche to promote your business can be difficult, but it can also be a lot of fun! Look for new and exciting ways to connect with your target audience and to keep them engaged with your business. Please check out some of Accel Entertainment’s other resources on how you can take your promotion to the next level!


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