Habits are built as a result of repetition. The philosopher Aristotle said many hundreds of years ago that “we are what we repeatedly do.” And this applies as much to where your customers buy gifts as much as it does to losing weight or smoking.
It also applies to you.
If not, you’re wasting valuable time.
No matter how much you think you hate marketing, growing a successful business is dependent on it. And it can’t be haphazard either.
Planning what you will market and how you will do it as well as reviewing how successful it was, and tweaking the ideas for next year are essential to a successful marketing plan.
I’ve been collecting all kinds of information for and about the industry for 25 years. Some of it, I’ve stuck into folders. But the information that has been most useful to me is what I have organized into a Marketing Calendar which is actually a binder with tabs set up for each month.It’s a process that I’ve been using for many years and have taught to my students in my small business classes. This is how I use it and I thought that you find it helpful as you collect information.
You can set this up at any time and add to it throughout the year. I have printed out blank calendar pages (you can find these online for free) and create a calendar for each month.
I go through the year and identify the holidays that I consider most important to target. This is where I will want to focus most of my time, energy, and budget. This is when most customers have been trained to spend money on gifts.
There are occasions for gift retailers to market their gifts throughout the year and they shouldn’t be overlooked. Likewise, we shouldn’t let them sneak up on us either. There’s Easter, St Patrick’s Day, Administrative Professionals Day, Valentine’s Day, and many others.
During most months, there is at least one opportunity to market your business for a known holiday. But, also consider all the many obscure and unusual holidays that you can fill in with to help keep your marketing and business in front of your customer’s eyes. There are reasons to celebrate for just about every day of the year. And if there isn’t one that suits you, you can be inventive and create your own. You may only want to use the offbeat holiday to add interest to a newsletter or facebook page.
As I decide what promotions I want to do for that month I add it to the calendar along with a page that I record the details of what I will use to promote it, the cost, and other notes. The calendar is also used to record the dates that I will be emailing or sending a piece of direct mail that month.
Consider what lead times are needed for marketing each holiday. You can never be too early in preparing your marketing campaigns and, with this marketing calendar, you won’t be too late. It’s not just a matter of when to start your marketing blitz, but for effective results you need to plan and prepare your marketing materials well in advance.
Plan your calendar for several months in advance. If you wait until the first day of the month arrives, you may already be too late.
After the promotion is over, I record what the results were. I’ve found that you may not see results from any one promotion (like a newsletter or post card) immediately. It may take promoting for a whole year before you hear from a customer.
I keep several years of my marketing calendar in my binder so that I can review what I did in previous years, what worked and what didn’t. I’ve also added a financial page for each month so that I can tract what I have spent on marketing during that month. This makes it much easier to budget your marketing for future years.
Let’s share information. This is how I organize my marketing. How do you do it? Post anything you wish to share in the comments.
9 thoughts on “How to Create a Marketing Binder”
Thanks Joyce. I do something similar with a monthly calendar. This year, I am using a free downloadable located here: https://thrivehive.com/2016-marketing-calendar. I had to join their mailing list but otherwise it is free and includes various holidays and promotional ideas for marketing. I use this to plan my monthly overview, and keep a printed copy on my bulletin board so it’s always in view. I use a separate spreadsheet for my weekly content planning. This includes email, blog, and social media planning. Similar to your process of saving each year’s calendar, I keep a spreadsheet that tracks all of my promotions each month from year to year. It also makes it easy to re-use or revise ideas from previous years.
Thanks for sharing, Mary. There are several different ways to organize.and I plan to check out the downloadable at thrivehive. I hope others will share how they do it as well. The best thing about this is that we can all learn from each other.
Thanks! I have been not at all that organized! I am going to have to be!
Joyce, I never got to the group that Cherie Regor had many years back. Is this going to be something like that? I always wondered what it was like in that group…wondering what I missed out on?
The average/mean delivery cost in a very high distance area like I’m in, was $4, in my beginning years. Later on, it went to $6 when there was a delivery service, Longer distances were $9-$11 or so. That was wonderful! Think it was around the time range of the bursting of the tech bubble 1999-2000, that many floral shops ended up going out of business owing the delivery service. There were also very few competitors in the gift basket industry, both locally and nationally. The delivery service eventually went out of business. I really miss having them!
Thanks for your comment, Sherry. Cherie’s MCN program was wonderful. I learned so very much from her. The differences between her MCN program and what I am doing are: Her program cost over $300 a year to belong to while this is free. Also her program was in a forum format and I have found that, since then, people won’t participate in forums.
What this program will be is my sending out emails only to those who have expressed an interest. They will be regular but not on any set schedule as I have to fit this into what actually makes money for me. Some will be short; others longer; but they will all be things I have learned through the years and will mostly be about marketing. I invite any of you to submit articles (short or long) that you think will help the group as well. Since I will be linking to blog posts, everyone has the chance to comment and share as you have done.
Thank you Joyce,
I too have a binder with each month. I keep track of themes I’ve used in the past, a “brainstorming” tab for ideas that come to me but don’t have the immediate time to do something with them and reach out and market to my clients recording it here.
Love the info. Thanks!
Hi Joyce! Just caught this article. Eager to read about your binder concept, but link is not working. Could you please repost link or content after it says, “Read the rest of this post here.”
Nicole: Thanks for letting me know about that. I removed the link to “read the rest of the post” and added the rest of the post to the page so you should be able to read it now.
Thank you Joyce! Thanks for the great info too!