Sample Quarterly Marketing Calendar Activities
12 strategies that’ll keep the phone ringing and draw visitors to your website
Mail a minimum of 1,000 direct mail pieces,
ideally a postcard, to your target audience. Direct mail continues to be one of my favorite forms of advertising because you can buy the “exact” name and title of your target audience; therefore, there’s hardly any waste. And, when compared to all the clutter within social media channels — direct mail is still one of the sure ways your message can be seen. Yes, it’s more of an investment compared to social media; however, your message is visible and if you’re on target, e.g., marketing to the correct audience with a useful message, and your marketing piece has a longer shelf-life.
Use Google Offers, Eversave, Amazon Local
or another emailed daily coupon offer. Generally speaking, there are no upfront costs. Still, you must discount your products and services deeply in order to pull in business. However, there are so many of these daily deal companies, I suspect many will go out of business during the next few years. Only a couple will survive all the competition.
My vote goes to Google Offers and Amazon Local, simply because they’re such powerhouses.
Still, if there are no upfront costs and you can offer a steep discount to pull in new customers, then do it. Keep in mind that your goal should be to wow this customer and, therefore, retaining the customer for life. What’s more, for geographically-based businesses, most daily coupon companies isolate your message delivery to the zip code. Almost any small business will benefit from daily coupon offers.
Facilitate public speaking opportunities.
If you are comfortable talking in front of people about your expertise, then I highly recommend public speaking as an effective and low-cost way to generate new business. What’s more, once you’ve spoken in front of a group, you can then schedule yourself to return year after year. I’ve written a detailed blog post called: Book More Speaking Engagements – Simple & Effective Strategies to Secure Public Speaking Opportunities & Grow Your Revenue. My suggested strategies will help you book your next speaking opportunity.
Mail a note/postcard, etc.
to your entire customer base no less than every six months. You’ve worked hard to acquire your customers. Hang onto them by touching them offline. You and I know that a postcard takes a ton more effort and expense than an email — your customers understand this too! Thus, this extra effort will reflect well on your business and distinguish you that much more from your competition. What’s more, your message will most likely stand alone, since many businesses fail to implement direct mail. A lost opportunity for them; more exposure for you!
Call 10 different past customers every two/three weeks.
Approximately one out of every 10 will need to do business with you again. What’s more, most will not be aware of all your services and products. Educate them. If you’re uncomfortable calling, email them instead. However, this is far less personal. In today’s digital world, a simple phone call easily distinguishes you from your competitors.
Distribute a news brief to the media
and don’t forget about TV!
Attend one target audience related networking event.
For example, if you’re a human resources consultant and you have medical recruiting experience, then you may want to attend the local chapter meeting for the National Nursing Director Association, i.e., a group where your hiring decision-makers socialize. You’re busy; therefore, only attend events where your decision-maker or their influencers hang out.
Follow up with a call or note to networking contacts from previous interactions. I like mailing notes. No one does it anymore; helping me stand out. Plus, it gets me away from my computer!
Implement an ongoing campaign within
a Val-Pak, SuperCoups or something similar. Yes, you’re stuffed inside something with a bunch of other advertisers, but it’s automated, for very little money — pushing fresh leads your way. Said another way, a message is always out there about your business, in addition to your website, Facebook Page, etc. If your products or services are high-end, then these advertising vehicles are probably not the best fit.
(either live or virtual) then submit the details to online calendars such as WhoFish, Gary’s Garage, Craigslist, BackPage and CitySearch. Keep in mind that most online calendars let you include your website URL, creating an inbound link back to your website, a.k.a. increasing your website’s popularity. Why host an event?
Event marketing opens up doors for small businesses, including: giving your audience a chance to meet you face-to-face and experience your business without the pressure of walking in off the street and feeling like they have to buy something, and it provides an excuse for you to distribute a news brief to the media. Other than providing refreshments and special offers, the act of hosting a live event can be virtually free, but gain you exposure that you would not normally receive.
Shop your business.
Go to your online store and buy something, or call your brick and mortar and ask questions. Did you enjoy your shopping experience? No or sometimes? Then make it better. When you do, only add automated improvements. This is particularly true when running and marketing a brick and mortar. If you have an exuberant amount of tiny details that require a lot of training and your receptionist quits every six months, your solutions are not sustainable. It’s imperative that you shop your online store and/or visit all your web pages every several months. At minimum, you’ll almost always find dead links, as well as new hurdles that your credit card vendor may have imposed without your knowledge. You won’t know unless you buy something from yourself. I use my shopping cart no less than once a quarter. If you’re an affiliate for someone, do the same thing. The vendor you sell for could have change vendors and, therefore, all your links land on error codes.
Expand your pricing.
Always have an extremely low entry price, then something higher, then even higher and then out-of-this-world expensive. When a customer first comes to you, be it online or walking into your shop, you have no idea what this person is willing or able to spend. Offer varying price points. For example, “Enjoy a $10 manicure for first-time clients (gratuity not included)” or “Purchase an annual therapeutic massage membership today for $800, saving you $40 each month.” Related to your overall pricing strategy is this report I wrote detailing: how to increase prices without irritating customers.
By implementing the above marketing activities every quarter, your phone will ring. However, sales leads will do you no good if you lack follow-up. And because you’re so busy, you need an organized way to receive and manage leads. At minimum, I recommend emailing your customers and prospects once a month with either a promotion or educational message, keeping your business top-of-mind so prospects can find you when they’re ready to do business with you.
I use Constant Contact. It’s an easy-to-use, professional email collecting and delivery service. It also provides statistics so you can measure your marketing efforts, and it allows you and your prospects to pick and choose from different lists/topics to join. For example, if you’re a financial advisor, when prospects join your email marketing mailing list they could select from: “College Planning,” “Understanding Annuities,” “Managing Employer-sponsored 401(k)s” or “Retirement Planning & Tax Reduction,” and so on. This way, you have a better understanding of what’s on your prospect’s mind, enabling you to tailor your messages.
Also, if you are launching a new business, you’ll find this starting a new business resource helpful.