Businesses and nonprofits always seem to focus on the beginning of the holiday shopping season with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday kicking things off, but many fail to capitalize on the "Golden Week of Marketing." The week that begins Christmas day and ends on New Year's Day presents an incredible opportunity to reach new and past customers and potentially set up strong sales during the usually bleak winter months.
Think about it! In order to reach your target audience, they need to be available to receive your marketing messages. There is no other time of the year where so many people have the same week off from work at the same time: Christmas Week. While folks are spending time at home with their families, celebrating the holiday and the upcoming new year, they are also spending much more time on their social media channels either catching up with family and friends...or simply killing time.
This is prime time to reach your audience! Take advantage of the opportunity! Christmas Week is a great time to launch a New Year's promotion and run ad campaigns. This is a golden opportunity to drive sales in January which many business owners report as the slowest month of the year. It doesn't have to be!
Over the last several years, I have given several seminars and webinars for small business owners and nonprofit organizations who wish to do their own marketing. Typically, these people do not have any budget to hire a marketing person, much less an outside marketing agency, so the burden falls on their shoulders.
Business owners and nonprofit boards are usually very good at their craft, trade or service, but know very little about what it takes to advertise and cultivate leads. Over the years of teaching marketing seminars, I have developed a simple formula that almost anyone can follow to successfully market themselves and their organization.
Simple...but not easy.
Like anything else in the business world, marketing is not an easy concept...but for those willing to dedicate the time necessary to succeed, my simple formula for success will reward you with a steady stream of customers, clients, donors and volunteers.
My formula for marketing success starts with your website. Your website does not need to be fancy or elaborate. It simply needs to be functional...and most importantly, it must present you and your organization as the authority in your industry. Your website should be the cornerstone of your entire marketing strategy. Everything else you do to market your business or nonprofit should lead visitors back to your website.
After you have your website in place and have told Google about it, the next steps for most businesses and nonprofits should be an email marketing strategy and one social media channel. Stay tuned for followup articles where I will give you all the tools you need to market yourself, your business or your nonprofit organization.
With so many options available now to market themselves on the Internet, some small business owners may be questioning where to begin. Most entrepreneurs spend most of their time running their business and usually have very limited time and resources to GROW their business. I recommend to most business owners that they begin marketing themselves with one channel, master it, then move on to adding another channel.
Hopefully, you already have a website established. If you don’t, I recommend that you start with this. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be professional looking. Once you have your website published, the next best place to focus your marketing energy is in email marketing. No other marketing channel provides a better return on investment for your precious time and dollars than email marketing. Facebook is a close-second, but I will address this in another post.
There are several platforms available to advertise your business through email marketing. If you’ve never done it before and intend to do it yourself, I highly recommend Constant Contact as your starting point. Once you get the hang of it, you may find that you want to move into a more robust system. Constant Contact makes it very easy to get started in email marketing...and you can do it for free!...at least for a little while. Once you feel comfortable creating campaigns and managing your contacts, you may find that MailChimp might be a better solution especially as they have a free plan that can be used indefinitely. (Eventually, you will need to pay for Constant Contact’s service.)
One of my favorite services I provide my clients is help with their email marketing. I feel that it is a science all of its own. When done properly, well-written email campaigns can turn prospects into customers, current customers into repeat-customers and hopefully cultivate raving fans who actively promote your product or service. When done improperly, email marketing can have the reverse effect leaving a bad impression of your business.
If you would like to try your hand at email marketing, follow this link to try Constant Contact for free: bit.ly/CTCT-Free-Trial Once you sign up, please CONTACT ME. I would be happy to help you design your first template for free and later, if you still need help, I would be happy to become your resource partner in marketing your business.
Today, one of my Facebook friends posted in frustration, “How do I get these men from Africa to stop sending me friend requests?” Another friend was quick to offer the following solution and after confirming it, I thought I would share it. Are you getting unusual friend requests? Try this:
Under the Facebook menu, click on “Settings”. On the Settings Page, click Privacy. You really should review all these settings, but to answer the question at hand, look for the section called, “How People Find and Contact You”
Click on the “Edit” button next to “Who can send you friend requests?” You will see that there are two options. “Everyone” or “Friends of Friends.” Choose accordingly!