For the last few months I’ve been writing in Scribbles about the best marketing tools you can use for your business. We’ve looked at a range of different marketing activities that work really well for us here at Appletree and that work for our clients too –
I hope some of this year’s issues gave you good ideas for you to use for your business. However, there is one thing that you still need, no matter which marketing tools you use. Without it, much of the marketing you do won’t actually work.
Whatever marketing you do for your business – whether that’s networking, social media, public speaking or anything I’ve written about in Scribbles – nothing will work properly for you, unless you have a marketing plan. Too many people launch into doing all sorts of marketing, because they think (or hope) that it might work. But they don’t stop to think first about what they want to achieve, who their ideal clients are or what sort of marketing might work best to attract those ideal clients. Let me explain with a couple of stories.
I wrote recently on my blog about how I offered some free marketing support to the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary. You can read the background story here.
One of the challenges faced by the marketing team at the Sanctuary was coming up with ways to keep their supporters interested. Between us we worked out 12 monthly campaigns for the whole of 2016 – something their marketing could focus on each month. We started by looking at some of the key events that they hold during the year – a fundraising dinner in the spring, an open day in the summer, the Oxford half marathon in October and Christmas shopping in December. Then we filled in the gaps, to make sure we had something to work on for every other month. Next, we worked back from each key event, to plan the marketing that was needed, to make sure that each event or campaign got the right coverage.
For example, the January campaign is called Muddy Mutts, where people are being encouraged to send in photos of their muddy dogs – something very common at that time of year! Anyone can take part via Twitter and the Facebook page. A prize will be given to the muddiest mutt and the whole campaign will be used to encourage people to think about giving a dog from the Sanctuary a home. Since the competition starts in January, we wrote about it in the December newsletter. A new webpage was created in November, to which the newsletter could link. A whole range of social media updates were also prepared and photos of muddy mutts were collected, to get the campaign going. It’s not just a case of starting a campaign on 1 January and hoping that it works; it’s about planning ahead.
Look at your diary for 2016 and start making some plans for what you want to achieve throughout the year. Then start filling in the gaps, to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get the best results from your marketing.
How does Planning work for Appletree?
Running workshops and seminars is a great to promote what we do here, by sharing our marketing knowledge and expertise. During the summer of 2015 I started planning some events for later in the year and the start of the 2016.
I always use a spreadsheet, like the one shown from Chapter 8 of my book, Magnetic Marketing, to plan our marketing. I contacted some people who could help me put on the events and we agreed a number of dates and topics. Then I started to fill in the spreadsheet. First I list on the left hand side a number of marketing activities I want to use – this newsletter, my blog, networking events and social media, for a start. Weekly dates are put into the top row and the dates of the events are written in. Next, I work backwards from the events, looking at how each marketing tool can be used, how and when.
For example, for a workshop I’m delivering in December, I wrote some promotional material to send to the organizer, so that he could talk about it at the networking event the month before, in mid-November. I filmed a short promotional video for the event organizer to send out, in the weeks leading up to the event (their first promotional email was sent out by the end of November.) The event is featured in this December issue of Scribbles (see below for the details – clever, isn’t it, this planned marketing?!) In the first week of December we started talking about the event on Twitter and LinkedIn, in updates that were written and scheduled a couple of weeks before.
And while all that was going on, I ordered a new batch of Magnetic Marketing, fully updated, which I could take to the event.
If I just started telling people about the workshop two days before it, there wouldn’t be many people there. Two days is not long enough to promote this sort of event – you need plenty time and you need to integrate a number of different marketing activities.
Create a plan for your marketing for 2016 and for different events or campaigns, to get the best results from your marketing and not miss any great opportunities.
Planning in Practice
edition of my first book, Magnetic Marketing
, is now available! It’s been updated and added to and will teach you the nine stage Marketing Planning process that I’ve used successfully with hundreds of small business. Order your copy here
If you’d rather work through a Marketing Planning process with a group of other people, I’m running two workshops where we’ll be doing that.
17 December 2015
– a two hour session at the Thames Valley meeting of the PSA (Professional Speaking Association) in Reading. You don’t have to be a member to come along – all visitors are welcome and you can book online here
. It’s a great networking opportunity too.
22 January 2016
– a 90 minute workshop for the Swindon CIPD group (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.) If you’d like to attend, get in touch
and I’ll send you the booking details.