It often happens that I’m invited to meet up with a friend or business colleague for coffee or lunch at a restaurant I haven’t been before. In order to make sure that I arrive on time and with as little stress as possible, I usually go online for a map and directions. As a backup, I have GPS in the car if needed. And that’s just to make sure that one little meeting goes well.
If you don’t have a marketing map for 2012, you’ll be arriving ‘late’ to many opportunities and missing dozens of others. If you don’t want to keep driving your business around in circles, hoping to arrive at your desired destination by luck, you need to get directions and follow them! You can start with the 2012 Marketing Calendar for small business or for salon and spa, or use 365 Days of Marketing to build a plan to use all of the marketing channels available to you – from traditional marketing to cooperative partnerships, social media, events, etc. – in order to get things moving in the direction you want them to go.
November 6 is ‘Marooned Without a Compass Day’
- Be sure in-store signage is up to date.
- Create directory signs to be placed at eye level at the ends of aisles.
- Create signage to help customers choose the right products to use at home.
- Create signage and scrips for emails, social media, etc., that suggests products for home use as well as provides them with “You might also like…” add-on ideas.
- Make specific gift suggestions; tell customers what products make great gifts, and for whom they would make the best gifts.
- Create a floor map directory noting the route to the offices, departments, rest rooms, reception or other areas that visitors to your building most commonly visit. Post it in your entry, reception desk or waiting room, give copies to first-time guests, post it on your website or include it in an annual e-mail newsletter.
It’s only natural that from time to time you will need to reorganize or renovate:
- Draw up a new floor map following any remodel, renovation or re-organization project to e-mail and/or direct mail to customers and prospects, or one that can be handed to customers at the door or utilized at an open house event.
- Use this opportunity to draw attention to new products or services and hold an open house with door prize drawings, contests, entertainment and refreshments as well as product demonstrations, professional consultations and product sampling.
Educate customers as to products or services—solutions—you provide that they may not have been previously aware of, or which they may not have needed previously (but do now):
- Throughout the year, use your communications channels and events to put the spotlight on various products, services, departments, specialists, etc.
- Use your e-mail newsletter, blog, Facebook and other social media and your website to introduce new employees, products or services to your customers as soon as possible.
- Pair new items in promotions with best-sellers and clearly define their benefits in messaging across all of your communications channels.
- Create time-limited promotions to help fill appointments books for new employees or to support the launch of new products.
Create a formal mentoring or apprenticeship program within your business for your own employees, local students, adults in need of vocational training, etc. Help subsidize or provide resources for continuing education for your employees.
Partner with a local counselor, life coach or motivational speaker to hold a workshop on what people can do when feeling “marooned” or lost. Compile a list of recommended reading, audio books and videos. Add some of the best titles to your retail or impulse buy offerings, or post them online.
Post links to local resources that would interest your most important or ideal customer types on your Facebook page, e-mail newsletter or blog:
- Create brochures listing local attractions, the best dining, entertainment and family recreation centers, activities for rainy days, options for hiking, swimming, golf, etc. and which also features relevant products or services.
- Solicit ideas and recommendations from customers and post links on Facebook. Send copies to local hotels, motels, car rental agencies, travel agencies, etc.
Work with marketing partners and local education institutions to hold a career or job fair for adults, college or high school students:
- Work together to establish job shadow and intern programs.
- Create a community support group for job seekers or employers, or set up a specialty job listing resource online.
- Invite your marketing partners to participate in regular meetings to discuss ways to “map out” pathways to improve local economic health in order to benefit independent businesses and the community.
Don’t leave yourself ‘marooned without a compass’ in 2012: even though this is probably a busy time of the year for your business, set aside time to map out your route to success in the New Year!
Elizabeth Kraus is the author of 365 Days of Marketing.
Dispel all the little white marketing lies that might be holding your business back – check out the 2012 Small Business Marketing Calendar: Little White Marketing Lies on amazon.com. With hundreds of marketing ideas laid out for 2012, you’ll get into a marketing groove and build a bigger role for your business in the lives of your clients!