As the new year approaches, and the outlook for the economy remains sketchy at best, small businesses everywhere will have to have a good marketing plan in order to succeed. It’s imperative to not only focus on what and where you will be spending your marketing dollars, but also how you will measure success and failure. But there are also things that can doom a good marketing plan from the get go, and things that you should remember and try to avoid. For example, despite trying to mine new customers in a new year, you also don’t want to forget about the customers that you do have and have already been loyal to you.
It’s widely known that acquiring customers costs anywhere from 5-6 times more in marketing dollars than retaining the ones you already have. Brad Sugars posted a story earlier this month on Entrepreneur.com regarding the 5 Ways to Kill a Marketing Plan, and points out a number of key things to remember when putting your own plan together for 2009 and beyond. In this piece there are several key tips including heeding your numbers and keeping in mind the difference between marketing and advertising.
The truth is 2009 is going to be a challenging one for all businesses, including small business. But if you can focus your resources and time effectively on a well thought out marketing plan, it will be easier to execute and ultimately bring more dollars through your doors.
Will you put together a marketing plan for 2009? What will it include?
Have you heard the news? President-elect Barack Obama has rounded out his cabinet at the tail end of last week by naming Karen Mills as the head of the SBA. Check out this article on Mills in Forbes Entrepreneurs.
Do you think that her background in Venture Capital and her role as chair to Maine Gov. John Baldacci’s Council on Competitiveness and the Economy will help the SBA?
This Webinar will discuss the finer points of writing effective copy for your marketing materials. Topics and examples will cover:
1) How to write powerful and compelling copy for your marketing materials.
2) Why marketing copy is so important.
3) The nuts and bolts of crafting effective copywriting.
4) Examples of how to write for different mediums. Read more…
There’s no question that the holiday season is here and aside from any last minute sales, it’s time to turn the page and get on your customers’ minds as we ring in the New Year. If you missed out on sending holiday cards, or are a fan of direct mail, you can send out New Year’s cards that offer a special coupon or discount for your customers. You can also make a long lasting impact to valuable customers by sending out 2009 calendars that include your logo along with special sale dates or coupons specific to certain months.
The New Year is also for you to reassess your business plan and to set goals that will help you get where you want it to be, Evan Carmichael offers a 10-step guide to doing this in an article on his site.
One of the biggest clichés with the New Year is making a resolution. However in the current economy it is important to make a marketing resolution for your business that you stick to. While personal resolutions are easy to forget about, forgetting one for your business could mean falling behind the competition.
As the classic GAP New Year’s commercial asks, what are you doing for New Years?
Earlier today, I came across a YouTube video created by Cynthia Dixon who talks about using car door magnets and other forms of signage to boost business. She also walks you through the design and order process on our site.
Do you use signage in any way to promote your business?
Many of you have recently sent in questions pertaining to the surge of press focused on Obama’s small business policies and wondering if we should expect more help from the government in the future?
Only time will tell if Obama will give small businesses the attention they rightly deserve. Here is a link to a BusinessWeek article on this very topic. My suggestion would be to take matters into your own hands on two levels. First, write your representatives and let them know where you stand. Small Businesses are crucial to the economy and reminding the powers that be never hurts. Second, consider taking matters into your own hands. Don’t wait for the government to make the economic climate better for you. You know your customers; market to them more effectively than ever before. We’re in the process of developing a Webinar on marketing in a down economy that is scheduled for January 8 at 4:00 p.m. EDT (click here to register).
This Webinar will discuss how promotional products help build your brand identity outside of traditional marketing channels. Topics include:
- Outlining key goals
- The importance of a budget
- Identifying products that will resonate with your customers
- Using products as internal brand builders
With a faltering economy and so many small businesses struggling to find ways to get customers through the doors, one of the most tried and true marketing methods might be the answer. In a piece posted this week, DM News’ Bryan Yurcan suggests that you tackle the tough economy using direct mail in a targeted way. Things like standing out, being creative, and keeping in contact are all highlighted and various experts weigh in. Read the entire piece here.
Are you still using direct mail like postcards and brochures despite today’s economy? If so, what trends are you seeing?
This Webinar will discuss the importance of a logo and how to brand your business. Topics and case studies will cover:
1) The importance of a logo to small businesses.
2) Examples of successful and recognizable logos.
3) Tips to creating your own logo.
4) How to create your own custom logo in five minutes.
The holidays are no time of year to let your website lag behind. The holiday season offers small businesses a great opportunity to bring wintry flair to their sites and share holiday cheer with their customers. Recently I had the chance to speak with VistaPrint’s Senior Marketing Specialist and Website guru Benjapon Jivasantikarn on some important guidelines for decorating your website for the holidays, including why you should make the effort, how you should execute on it, and what you should avoid.
Why: Create an emotional connection with your audience
The holiday season is typically a joyous time for customers, and to celebrate with them is a smart way to build rapport. Decorating for the holidays not only keeps your website fresh, but it also sends a message that your website is up-to-date. Customers are more likely to trust a business that maintains its website and updates its content. With the current economic situation, holiday decorations can help lighten up the atmosphere and show optimism.
One needs to look no further than Google to see the types of changes and graphic designs that keep people coming back for more. You’ll notice that on the Google home page, the logo is constantly updated with seasonal accents, holiday trim, and homage to daily events. The changes are small, but they can make a big impact to the overall theme of the site and the long term loyalty to it. Connecting with your customers over a joyous holiday is always a smart way to build a rapport as well as loyalty. If your site is the same each time, someone with a more intuitively designed space could win customers over next time. Much like a brick and mortar store, the upkeep and merchandising, as well as the work you put into the store design, comes into play in converting sales. Read more…