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branding, marketing plan

Planning Ahead

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Planning your marketing strategy makes it more effective.

(Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post, and I will receive compensation if you click on the link and purchase the product. I only link quality products that I have personal experience with and rate 5 stars.)

I know we all get a little bit irritated when we walk in to the big box stores and they are putting out Valentine’s Day candy and gifts…and it is the week before Christmas. (Seriously, I was doing the last of my Christmas shopping, watching workers busily moving Christmas aside and putting out Valentine’s things.)

While this is annoying as a consumer, as a business owner, I urge you to take head of the example set before you. Valentine’s Day doesn’t come as a surprise to the big box guys, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to the little guys, either. Make sure you make a plan for marketing on and around holidays.

Depending on your business, your plans will look a little different from the next guys. I urge you to put the holidays, funky days, and fun days that you want to acknowledge and connect with your customers with, on paper. In fact, we’re going to call this your marketing calendar. All of your marketing plans will be written down here, but most importantly, you will execute them this year.

I use a Happy Planner for my life plans – including my business and marketing plan. I downsized this year from the big one to a medium size one. I’ll let you know soon if its a little more convenient. I got a Happy Planner because I wanted to use all of the fun stickers and really let my creative side flow, but honestly, I don’t spend time decorating. I make plans and execute them (usually).

So, it’s January, and while there is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I don’t really have a marketing angle for this particularly. What I am looking ahead to is Valentine’s Day.

If you are in a brick and mortar or service related business, plan a little customer appreciation gift. Get some little cards – business card size is perfect – and write heartfelt notes on them. Google “Inspirational Quotes” if you are short on words. Something short and sweet will do. A small treat to go with the card is a nice touch – candy, little plush animals, even flowers. Party supply stores carry little goodie bags that are holiday themed – get some with hearts and put some little candies, your note, and a company pen in it.

Get creative! This is your business and your goal is to show your customers that you appreciate them and to build brand loyalty while you are at it.

For your online presence or online only business, plan your posts ahead of time. Get your graphics in order, schedule the posts, and make sure you wish your customers an enjoyable time on Valentine’s Day. Theme your graphics with hearts and cuddly creatures. Make sure you respond to any comments you get – even if they are just wishing you a happy day, too. Say thank you!

Traditional holidays are not the only fun ones to use in your online marketing strategies. Use fun, funky days – you know the ones – National Cheese Day, National Hotdog Day, etc. Pick 4-6 per month, get a corresponding photo to use (make sure to observe copyright and licensing rules.)

Remember, engage your audience, be real, add humor where you can.

Until next time,

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branding

Brand Recognition

No matter what problem your business endeavors to solve, you need to be recognizable. Potential clients will likely pick the brand they’ve seen the most and remember the most. Building brand recognition will help you bring in new customers, as well as helping you establish a loyal customer base.

You saw a need, and you created a solution for that need – enter: your small business. Now, you have to show your community that the solution is available. How are you currently doing that?

Building brand recognition is multi-faceted, but one thing is key – whether in print, online, or on your signage, the image needs to be consistent.

I want you to answer the following three questions in the comments below:

Do you have a logo?

What inspired your logo?

Do you use your logo in all of your marketing endeavors?