Do You Have A Promotional Calendar?
Have you even looked at a calendar lately?
A big mistake that small business owners make is they don’t plan ahead. I get it! You are so stuck in the day to day, that it is hard to think about what you will be doing 3 months from now. I hate to be the wake up call, but if you really want your business to grow, you have to get out of that habit.
One of the first things I do with my one-on-one clients is break out the calendar and push them to start thinking 6 months in the future. Valentine’s Day is in February, summer vacations start in June, and Christmas is December 25th every year!! If you don’t get ahead of them, you are going to miss out on opportunities to get relevant information in front of your audience. Waiting until February 1st to think about Valentine’s Day (if that is appropriate for your business) is too late!
I am not saying you need to do something special around every traditional holiday. I am saying you need to make a plan for what you will be focusing on in your business throughout the year, not just tomorrow.
A technique I use for strategizing in to the future is to assign a theme to each month of the year. (Mostly because I love of theme.) This exercise is intended to bring focus and to give you concepts to build on when it comes to initiatives, promotions, social media, and content creation.
Themes should be broad and simple, but help you get thinking about the future with some sort of purpose and intention.
Here are my business’ “Promotional Themes” that I will be building on throughout the first half of 2016.
January – Brand Building
February – Community
March – 10 Minute Tricks
April - Checklists
May – Creating Space
June – Collaborations
These are simple and non-specific so that I can interpret them for inspiration. After I have my themes, I go through each one and define how I will use it for my marketing activities:
Since January is so over, let’s talk through my plans for February. This is the month in which everyone’s favorite holiday, Valentine’s Day, falls. Since it would make absolutely no sense for me to create a promotion around Valentine’s Day specifically (because a marketing coach kissing clients is a no-no), I used the idea of “love” to come up with the theme Community. For me Community = Love. So for the month of February, I intend to do the following:
- Host an event where I invite people in my community that I love (small business owners) to network and share ideas
- Create content (blogs and emails) that will help small business owners build community around their brands (and encourage repeat customers)
- Share on social media businesses/organizations who are supporting great causes in my community
- Share on social media businesses that do a really good job of encouraging their clients to become their community (gyms, co-working spaces, online coaches, and others)
- Send some lovely gifts to people in my Community who have supported me
- Give back to my Community by hosting another round of free "Coffee & Consults" date TBD
You might have the same theme, but a completely different list of actions. You could be hosting a sale, or a contest, or an event. But guess what? You wont' be doing any of this if you don’t make a plan!
Sit down and put to paper. Six themes for the next six months. Seriously. Do it now.