Are you capturing every possible opportunity to make a sale? If you do not plan your annual marketing calendar, you may be missing some!
It takes time to figure out what works best in marketing your business. (Even huge companies with huge marketing budgets and high-powered advertising agencies have to experiment some.)
Once you have determined which strategies work best for your product or service, your location, your personality, your budget and your target market, then you need to execute them! (I hope you see from this list why it is so difficult to market your business by yourself!)
Most small businesses have a website, which requires some attention all year. Besides that, there are online and print advertising, direct mail, email campaigns and many other strategies. Because we don’t have unlimited resources of time and money, it is important to plan when we will market.
First, determine the exact strategies you will use and their corresponding actions to promote your business. Next, look at what worked the best last year and the year before, and when they were executed. You may also want to research what has worked well for your competition.
Now create a ‘promotions calendar’. You may use a whiteboard or tape several pieces of paper together, but it is best to create a physical, written calendar.
Write in the marketing events you already know you will do – for example, monthly newsletters or networking meetings. I recommend adding in a quarterly return on investment analysis to keep checking on what is working and what is not.
Next is when your creative side and your business side need to play well together. Start with identifying your slow times of the year and create a promotion to drive sales during this time. If you don’t really have slow times or a seasonality to your business, then you will need to create consistent, regular marketing events throughout the year.
If January is traditionally slow, what happens in January that you can use? Well, people go on diets, set resolutions and start anew. If summer is slow, when do you need to step up your marketing to prevent a dramatic slowdown?
What can you offer your prospects to motivate them to buy when you need them to? Offer bonuses? Offer discounts? Keep your target market in mind when making these decisions. Offering discounts to wealthy people might be less appealing to them than giving bonuses, for example.
By calendarizing your marketing, slow times and opportunities will not sneak up on you and you can take full advantage of every sales opportunity!
Copyright (c) 2007 Audrey Burton