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.