Smart Small Business Marketing for Q1

2018 is right around the corner, and there is a lot of planning to do to set your business up for success in the New Year. Here are my top 4 challenges for you as you look ahead to January.

Make a Marketing Calendar.

Keep your goals, finances and expectations clearly outlined with a marketing calendar for your business. Start by mapping out the first quarter of the year. Choose a theme for each month that relates to what is going on in your business in Q1. Create content that covers these themes. It could be product focused, or educational, or it could be building the framework that may set you up for a busier time to come in Q2 or beyond. Setting up your calendar with clear objectives will keep you business goals in order and give you something to come back to if you begin to feel off track. Think about your marketing in buckets, and then lay out the steps you will take and the collateral you will need to help you plan the launch, event or promotion over the month (or several months.)

FOR EXAMPLE….

Define your top level initiative for the month or quarter: January New Product Launch

Outline your support channels: Read on for some ideas about how to think these through

  • Website – how will you showcase your product on your homepage and in your online marketplace?
  • Blog – what story will you tell about your product and how it can be used? Think video, testimonials, vivid imagery…
  • Email marketing – how many emails will you send with unique messages to promote your launch, what is your call to action? Is there a promotion involved? Where will you link them to?
  • Social Media – how will you use the collateral you have created to compel your audience to engage with your product?
  • Print Pieces – do you have a need for any printed postcards, one-sheets, or coupons?
  • Advertising – are there any opportunities to advertise your product locally or nationally?
  • Video – does a short video or a live-streaming event make sense as a part of your launch? How many places could you share it (email, youtube, facebook, blog, etc)
  • Other support material? Giveaways? Promotions?

By laying out all of these ideas and creating timelines and to-dos, you are creating your marketing calendar. Some people prefer to keep their marketing calendar as a broad overview of goals by month, and some like to break it down by weeks of the year. Find what works for you and make sure to look at it periodically to keep yourself on track.

Up your video game.

Video is the future of marketing – some experts are saying video will account for 80 percent of all web traffic by 2019. Make sure video is a part of your plan. I think a lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs get a little intimidated by the idea of creating a video, but at this point, there are enough tools, apps and online editors to make your video production a breeze. PLUS, Your content is over 1000% times more likely to have engagement (likes, comments, and shares) if it is delivered via video. If you can’t wrap your head around what a video would look like for your business, take the baby step of doing some facebook live or instagram story behind the scenes videos at the very least from your smart phone. Start to get comfortable incorporating video into your marketing strategy.

Commit to 2 social media channels.

Hopefully you are already using social media to engage your audience and find new leads. I tell my clients that they should only use two channels to promote their businesses, and there is no magical rule about which channels you should choose. It totally depends on your business and how you intend to use social media to achieve your goals. If you aren’t sure what channels to focus on to grow your business, definitely reach out to me to discuss. To succeed in social media you need to post quality, curated content on a consistent basis.

snail mail, direct mail, small business marketing

Give snail mail a shot.

I am a digital marketer, but I found two new clients this past year after sending out 20 personal marketing pieces in the mail. That is an extremely solid return on investment considering all it cost me was a few evenings and 20 stamps. If you can make the mailed piece personal, that is definitely the best approach, but if you don’t have the time to personalize pieces and want to get your offer out there, be thoughtful about your approach – make sure you have a very appealing visual design as well as a compelling offer. This article from Entrepreneur Magazine is an oldie but a goodie and includes great tips for direct mail pieces. Also, a handwritten note as a follow up or a thank you is always appreciated in this digital age. 

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