How’s Your Vision?

With technology at my fingertips, I am a better friend. 

I used to rely on my memory for all the important dates in my life and the lives of my friends…birthdays, anniversaries, coffee dates, dinner plans.  

As I’ve aged though, I’m finding my memory bank is overloaded with too many “files”, and there’s a lot of details that I unintentionally forget. 

I’ve started to put EVERYTHING into my smartphone calendar and check each week in advance to make sure I remember to celebrate any upcoming events and show up on time for things.

In a way, it’s marketing myself to my friends each time I connect with them.  See how much I care about you?  See how valuable I am as a friend? 

My friends are important to me, and I don’t want to lose them, feel disconnected, or have to go get new ones.

Sound familiar?

It’s just like the relationship you have with your existing customers.  It needs to be fostered. They need a reminder of how great you are and that they should visit you more often.

When you have busy days running a business, it’s hard to think about what’s coming up in the future.  You have so much to remember, and your vision needs to extend further into the future.

How many times has a holiday appeared, a special occasion, national day, or some big event that has everyone’s attention and you’ve thought… “Hmm, I should have tied some marketing or an event to that.”

Then you say to yourself “for sure, next year I’ll do that…”.

Right now, the holiday season is upon us, we’re all knee-deep in personal and business-related holiday busy-ness. The days speed by in a blink of an eye.

And then suddenly, it will be January – and many businesses will be wondering where their customers have gone, and sales will dwindle to a trickle as everyone recovers from the holiday hustle.

There’s always big events approaching, or slow seasons that need averting, an election, the Olympics, the Academy Awards, National Car Care Day or Burger Day … there’s unlimited number of events in the year to take advantage of with marketing. Not to mention all the regular marketing you can do with seasonal ebbs and flows in your business, new products, and special events.

Doing unique promotions gives your marketing a theme and relevance. It’s what is on your customer’s mind during that month. It builds connection.  This is slip-stream marketing and a very powerful marketing technique to use when promoting your business. Thinking ahead when planning your marketing calendar ensures that you are “Digging the well before you thirst.” 

If you don’t sit down and make a conscious effort to decide what will work best for your business, and schedule out a plan, all those opportunities will be missed yet again.

As this year heads towards the end, we encourage you to gather the key players in your business and make a marketing plan for 2024. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, just a rough guideline of the milestones and markers that are relevant to your business that you can tie into your marketing.

To start:

  1. Review your monthly sales peaks and valleys of 2023 to help you pinpoint when you need to focus on increasing sales.
  2. Print out a blank calendar
  3. Note the key events you marketed last year that were a success and want to repeat
  4. Take into account each month of the year, and add what events might be happening that you can tie in with. It could be a standard holiday like Easter or Halloween. Or it could be something really obscure but fun. A great resource is https://nationaltoday.com or https://nationaldaycalendar.com
  5. Start at the beginning of the year and find a reason to market each month

 

If you had a winner the previous years, repeat it!  You get bored of your marketing MUCH faster than your customers ever will.  And if they responded well previously, chances are they are looking forward to seeing it again. Think of ways you can improve the results – what worked and what didn’t work last year?

If you weren’t happy with a promotion, fix it or eliminate it! Improve a previous mediocre campaign – with a more enticing offer or a different list segment. Or if you think there is no way to improve it, stop doing it.  Every piece of marketing needs to make you more money than you spent deploying it.

Running around last minute trying to generate more business in a slow period is not productive, nor does it get you the best results.  You should know what you’re going to be doing to promote your business ahead of time.  We work months in advance to make sure our clients have several promotions available to choose from.

Who What When?

Once you have your marketing calendar filled with the events you want to target, then think about what is required for each.  What kind of marketing?  How many emails do you need to send? Social Media posts?  Are you going to run a contest? Does it need a direct mail campaign to go with it? Do you need to create a new product or service to support it?  What will success look like? Then delegate who will do which parts of each event by what date.

Once your marketing plan is laid out for the year, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you have a plan in place to generate sales each month. You can always modify and pivot if something unexpected comes up, but having a plan in place will give you focus and motivation.

Once you have your marketing plan in place, you’ll be able to see where there’s room for some free time. You ARE planning your own personal free time, aren’t you? 

How many vacations did you take last year?  Did you work every Saturday or Sunday?

For most entrepreneurs, the concept of FREE time and vacations is foreign to them. The reason most business owners don’t take time off is because they don’t think they deserve it until they finish some project or achieve some goal, or the business will fall apart if they aren’t there.

The truth is, you must take FREE time and vacations to re-energize your batteries and prevent burnout, and the only way to make sure you take time off is to schedule it in advance.  Otherwise, it will never happen.

So, sit down with your calendar and plan out your marketing AND your vacations and days off for the next year right now. You’ll be surprised at how much your vision improves.

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