Somehow it’s already time to prepare for the holiday season. I’m really not sure where 2016 went, but before we know it it’ll be 2017 and the fun starts all over again. It goes without saying that the holiday season is the busiest time of year! Before your store gets so busy and things begin to just be a blur, take some time to plan ahead. It’ll help you to be more focused and efficient during the holiday season – and help to drive sales because everyone will be on the same page.
One of the easiest ways to stay on track during the busy season is to use a tried and true method – the calendar! A calendar is certainly not a new invention, but when used correctly it can be a huge time saver. A calendar can help you map out and plan for a lot of different areas of your business including when you want to hire for additional help, plan specific promotions, introduce new inventory, etc. Taking time to sit down to plan all of this out can help to keep your holiday season on track both in the store and online. Sending your holiday calendar to your Marketing Specialist gives them the opportunity to plan store specific posts for hiring, promotions, etc. and to coordinate email marketing dates effectively.
Working on a calendar in advance to send to your Marketing Specialist creates an opportunity to effectively plan your holiday marketing schedule in advance. For example, your Marketing Specialist will know about your Black Friday deals and can coordinate Facebook posts and email marketing campaigns to support the same messaging in advance. But it won’t just help your Marketing Specialist, sharing your calendar in advance with your employees will help them gear up for pushing promotions in the store. This will help to save everyone time (and sanity) as the busy season begins.
There are a lot of options available to you for calendar resources. You can give the old pen and paper a shot first, but this may not be as easy to share as doing something on your computer. Our favorite option is to create a google calendar. This keeps your calendar online which is accessible at any time from anywhere, but it’s also easy to share with as many people as you’d like. You can also use a calendar template on excel, if you’re comfortable with excel this a good choice as well!
Planning out a calendar will help to make your life as a business owner a little easier during the busy season. So before Halloween passes, give this a try and give everyone the opportunity to make this your best holiday season yet!
Social media marketing is essential to your business’ success in this day and age. Social media helps your business in numerous ways that you may not realize. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others are all searchable and appear high in Google results, which allows your website to be seen in more than one capacity. The goal of social media marketing through such applications as Facebook and Twitter is to let people know more about your business and to build relationships with customers. By posting pictures and information about community events, in-store events, sales and more, you are helping your customers associate with you and your business. This is essential because people buy from people they like and from whom they trust!
However, it is important to continue to focus on other advertising/marketing mediums as well. In order to ensure that you are reaching all of your customers, you must find a healthy balance between print and online marketing. Use your established print advertising channel as an opportunity to draw traffic to your website and social media sites.
In order to stay relevant to all of your customers, it is important to stay active through print and online marketing. There are many benefits to both. This will afford all of you the opportunity to advertise in more than one market, allowing for a greater opportunity to get more traffic on the web. In contrast, you now have the capacity to post your print advertisements on your Facebook and on your website! Also, include a call-to-action on your next print piece to direct traffic to your website or Facebook page! That way, all of your bases will be covered!
As social media marketing continues to grow, it is essential to your business to grow with it. Social media is a great opportunity for businesses, but works best when you can promote it through currently established channels. As a small business owner it’s important to learn to include all aspects of marketing into your advertising campaign.
Businesses, especially in today’s economy, should always be striving to find creative and successful ways to get their name out there. Have you ever considered approaching other local business owners to see if they are interested in cross-promoting? Asking local retailers to partner with you is a terrific way to gain exposure and gain access to more client potential.
Cross-promoting involves two or more parties who set up a program where each party helps promote the others’ products and services. It is a new way to build awareness around your business, your products and your services. Cross-promoting is simple and easy (aren’t we all looking for that these days?) It takes little time, some networking, maybe some printing costs and that’s it!
A great example of this would be one that took place in my home town; a local small tent company partnered with a local pizzeria to gain likes on Facebook. In this specific example, the tent company wanted to hold a contest. In addition to the tent company’s promotion of their contest, the pizzeria promoted the contests through their own Website, Facebook and in-store signage. The winner of the tent company’s contest received a gift certificate to the pizzeria. Both businesses now have access to each other’s customers. You can even make the deal sweeter to customers by exchanging 10-15% discount on products or services for each other’s customers “Mention that you saw our flier at the pizzeria and receive 10% off”. Each business owner is happy and traffic has increased! Your reach will expand even further while also bringing in more revenue for the company.
Follow these 4 simple steps:
- Identify Potential Partners—Same type of customer but you both provide a different service. Become their customer and build the trust and loyalty.
- Sell Your Idea—Present your ideas to the business
- Run the Campaign—Simple and easy! Sweeten the deal to give an extra reason to keep the customers coming back to both businesses.
- Repeat—Run another campaign 5-6 months down the road to keep the relationship alive and strong.
Partnering with another local business, even a local advertising group, can be solicited in many creative ways. Cross-promoting can thoroughly utilize your marketing efforts simply, efficiently, timely, and productively. You can build your website clientele, e-mail list, in-store traffic and MORE! BEST OF ALL: You are attracting FREE customers to your business! I’ll shake to that!
Whether it’s Relay for Life, Red Ribbon Week, a local Little League or Dance Studio, most communities have at least one large event or community team in need of sponsors. Community events and special local programs are the perfect opportunity to participate both personally and as a business. Becoming more involved in the community will give you additional marketing avenues to promote your business and online presence.
Community involvement can help your business grow because it promotes trust, builds solid relationships, and puts a personal face on your business. When people trust you personally, they will likely trust you as a business partner. When you are known in the community, you are more than just a business, you are a real person who is a member of the community.
Sponsor a local sports team in your community. As a sponsor, your business name can be associated with the team and can be printed on the jerseys, billboard or banner in the outfield or in a program pamphlet or brochure. By stamping your brand with your logo and web address, in the community, you develop brand awareness, reach to a variety of target markets, and impact customers at a minimal cost. At these special events you can give out t-shirts with your business’ information and URL. You can even reach out to a wide variety of customers through print and your website community by promoting these local events that you are sponsoring.
Sponsorship offers businesses a variety of ways to reach out to their target audiences while receiving recognition for having a positive impact in the community.
So the next time you attend your son’s little league game, your daughter’s dance recital, or your grandchildren’s soccer game, take a look around and start building these important relationships. Community is always about people. Enjoy being a part of the community. When you are sincere about community involvement, you might be surprised at how much your business will benefit and how fast it will grow. Who knows, you might even enjoy coaching
When working with new customers/clients, we like to first look at ways they can work smarter instead of working harder – especially when it doesn’t cost any more money. “Integrated marketing communications” or IMC, includes the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues, and sources within a company into a seamless program in order to maximize the impact on end users at a minimal cost. Or in other words, shoot everything at the same target! Your coupon offers, events, etc. should work together and should be promoted across all platforms in which you participate – the web, social media, email marketing, etc.
It is important to take this communication one step further, and that is into your print-based media. If you run ads, produce flyers, or do direct mail, these pieces should communicate the same information you have on your technology-based media. Offers on the web may vary slightly, but should work in sync with your print. Even a promotional calendar can support your web efforts. Make the monthly coupons on a calendar the same ones you offer online. Print the dates your sales circulars are available, or your actual sale or store event dates right onto the calendar. If you have special events held at your store, take photos and include them as the image for that month on next year’s calendar. Include a map, store hours and locations and phone numbers on each month.
Think about your integration like a triangle – print, technology-based efforts and social media all work together and support each other.