Depending on the products and services you offer, it’s likely that business slows down during certain times of the year. For some, it’s summer and for others, it’s winter. Whenever it hits, the off-season can be viewed as both a blessing or a curse. Sure, you’d prefer to be hitting consistent sales numbers all year long, but this “down time” can be extremely valuable for getting around to some of the tasks you’ve had to push off the rest of the year — one of which should be outlining and updating your marketing plan.
When the rush slows down and you find yourself with an hour to spare here and there (okay, maybe 30 minutes is more realistic for a business owner), here are five ways you can refresh and revive your marketing plan to make sure it’s in step with your business goals.
1. Review and Reassess From the Ground Up
Start with the foundational elements of your business including your mission statement, short-term and long-term goals, core products or services, and key customers. Have any of these shifted over the years? If they have, now is the perfect time to realign. Consider new goals. Investigate methods for reaching a different audience or promoting new products. Depending on the scope of your shift, you may want to consider a rebrand. Take a close look at where you started, where you are, and where you’d like to be, then take steps to ensure that your branding and marketing efforts will help you move forward, rather than hold you back.
2. Update Your Website
If it’s been a while since you’ve taken a close look at your website, now is a good time. Review all the pages and links to make sure everything is loading as it should and review all the content to make sure it’s still accurate. Check contact information, employee information, product information, photos, etc. and make updates as needed. If you’ve opened a new location, added a new product or service, or changed a phone number, make sure the change is reflected on your website. And, it goes without saying that if you’ve updated your branding, it absolutely should be updated on your website.
3. Take Inventory and Update Your Printed Materials
Perhaps you have closets full of outdated brochures, business cards and pens with your old logo. It’s time to let go! Holding on to materials you can no longer use wastes valuable space, and keeping them on hand increases the risk of them being used accidentally. Toss the paper goods in the recycle pile, donate the pens to a school, and then take inventory of the items you still can use. If you’re running low on stationery, business cards, brochures or promo items, now is a great time to stock up for the year. If you’ve been putting off a reprint because you want to update your materials, the slow time is the time to do it!
4. Implement a Social Media Plan for the Year
If you don’t use social media to promote your business regularly, you’re missing out on a great cost-effective opportunity to build brand awareness, reach potential customers, and communicate with existing customers. Your first step should be to set up a company Facebook page. If you already use Facebook and/or other social media outlets to promote your business, the next step is to outline a social media plan for the year. In order to benefit from social media you need to post regularly — aiming for two posts a week is a good starting point, but it can be time consuming. Laying out a plan in advance makes it much more manageable. Your plan can be as simple as a calendar with holidays highlighted and special dates and events that pertain to your business. For example, a pool company might want to post about the first day of summer, and a salon might want to post about a kids’ haircut special the week before school starts. Outline your social media content as far in advance as possible and you’ll find it much easier to keep your Facebook page current.
5. Outline an Annual Plan to Keep in Touch with Customers
You know that keeping in touch is an important part of maintaining a relationship with past clients, yet this is exactly the type of project that gets pushed to the back burner when business picks up. Take some time to think about how you’d like to show appreciation to your past and present clients in the next 12 months. You can host a client appreciation event, send birthday or holiday cards, or have special VIP promotions throughout the year. Outline what you’d like to do and when, and get the ball rolling now so you’ll be more likely to carry out your plan — and with far less stress!
If you aren’t sure where or how to start, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you plan and implement any of these projects!