Don’t cool off on your Marketing Planning this Autumn

Is fall your busy season? Don’t get too comfortable!

Although fall is a fairly steady season in most industries, winter can hit small businesses hard for a variety of reasons. No matter how busy you are finding yourself in Q3 and Q4, you should set aside time to have a plan for nurturing leads and clients in the slower months, and that process should begin today.  

Here are 4 things you can do now to gear up for slower periods in your industry. These tips will help you prospect new leads and also remind current clients that you are available and ready to work hard for them.

Prepare a hard-hitting winter e-newsletter
Don’t be overwhelmed or intimidated by the idea of a newsletter – it doesn’t have to be a design masterpiece or have 5 pieces of original content. A good newsletter has a interesting subject line, a solid introduction and personal update, and then a few pieces of relevant information that directly relate to your industry, or the services and resources that you offer. You do not have to draft all of this yourself! If there are industry publications or online resources that you trust, share their content in your newsletter. Be sure to credit them appropriately. If you need a template and a way to distribute the email, I suggest taking a look at Constant Contact or MailChimp.

marketing, small business, marketing planning

Plan for a Christmas / Holiday / Happy New Year mailing
Why are these always so last minute!? An end of year mailing is such a great, low cost way to reach your clients and leads with a warm seasonal message – and if you have the resources, you can be extremely creative too! I recently had a technology/IT provider give me a branded removable hard drive and keychain when I attended a seminar. I keep it in my laptop bag and use it frequently; great idea! I had another company give me a beer cozy with a funny tagline. If you want to keep it simple, at a minimum, send a thoughtful holiday card with a personalized message using any and all information you have in your database. If you can spend a small budget, sending a little branded item to your top clients and leads can go a long way. Start now! Don’t run out of time when everyone is trying to order things in the busy holiday season.

Create or clean up your database and add notes, lots of notes!
Do you have a database of your clients? Whether you use a CRM or an excel document to track your leads, take some time and look through it and update information on everyone you have worked with in the past year. Add personal information that you remember from your interaction like birthdays or kids’ names. Add the date of your last correspondence and reach out today if you left anything open-ended or were not the one to send the last email.

Develop a social media plan for personal outreach.
Hopefully, you have a presence on social media and are posting regularly on the outlets that make sense for your industry. Unless you are able to dedicate a person or company to help you with this task, I am in favor of limiting your social media presence to two channels. Posting and sharing content on social media is great and worthwhile, but what people often forget to do is add in a layer of consistent engagement with their social community. Use facebook as your business to like and comment on the posts of your clients and leads. Comment on their blogs and make sure you are congratulating them publicly for milestones and achievements.

Don’t wait until you find yourself on your heels in January scrambling to drum up business. Make time to prioritize staying strong and busy during the period from Q4 through Q1.

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