Is it Too Early to Book Your Christmas Party?
In July this year I ordered the Appletree Christmas cards. Did I do it because I just can't wait for Christmas to come? No. I did it because we have a plan for our marketing, which allows us to make the most of our budget and not miss any opportunities.
This issue of Scribbles is not about Christmas parties – sorry! It's about how to plan ahead so you make the most of the opportunities that come your way, without costing you a fortune.
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Here are a couple of good reasons to plan ahead with your marketing.
Christmas is Coming – Eventually
In July the Christmas card catalogue dropped through the letter box. Instead of chucking it into the recycling bin and trying not to think of anything festive until November, I went through the catalogue and picked my favourite design. Then I looked at my database and counted up the number of clients, suppliers and hot prospects to whom I want to send a card this year. That showed exactly how many cards I needed to buy and I placed the order straight away, so that I didn’t forget about doing it. The cards were delivered a couple of weeks later and they'll sit in the cupboard until November.
Why did I order the cards so early? Because the company from whom I buy them offers a generous discount of 20% if you get your order in before the end of August. That's a really nice saving! The other reason for ordering so early, is because I hand write all the envelopes and write personal notes into every one. I sign them and then stick stamps on, ready to go into the post box in the first week in December. That way, they reach Appletree’s friends and colleagues in plenty of time to be enjoyed.
I can make the most of the early bird discount, because I have a database of contacts. I keep it up to date all through the year, with all sorts of details, including who I'd like to send a Christmas card to. That way, when it comes to early bird ordering time, I can get the order in easily and get the discount.
Planning ahead with your marketing means that you can save money and grab good opportunities.
I’m working on new talk to deliver at networking meetings. It will be a clever mix of marketing and magic while giving real value to the audience. I started thinking about the talk a couple of months ago and am booking dates to deliver it – but not until 2015.
Why wait? Because this particular talk will require quite a lot of rehearsal before I'm happy to go public with it. The content is fine – I know what I'm doing with that – it’s the ‘magic’ part that needs work. And that’s all I'm going to say about it.
Another reason for waiting is because many networking groups book speakers well in advance. Approaching organisers and asking for dates next year is getting me a much better response that trying to fit in a few events between now and the end of the year.
And the final reason for waiting? The more notice you have, the more you can do to promote the events – and the more the network group organiser can do too. Bigger audiences are much more fun!
So what's in your Marketing Plan for the rest of this year? How is your Plan looking for next year? How will it help you save money and get better results?
Plan Your Marketing to Save Time and Money
If you like doing your Christmas shopping well in advance, here are three great little stocking fillers.
One in Ten – my second book is all about how to find the inspiration to start your own business and then find the motivation to keep you going. It’s full of real life examples of mistakes to avoid and tips to help you keep going in business. It’s currently just £10 + postage if you buy it here.
Who’s Paying for Lunch? This is the best book I’ve read recently about how to get more sales. If you run a small or medium sized business and want to sell more, then this book will show you exactly how, with no messing around. Buy it online here.
Enlightened Business is a jewel of a book. If business for you is about more than just making money and working silly hours, if it’s about giving something back and looking for the real reason that you run your business, this one is for you. It’s a beautifully written handbook for people who want to make a difference through their work and business. You can buy your copy here.