Mother’s Day is coming up again very quickly – in 8 days, in fact. I won’t ask if you are prepared. The more important question is: Are your prospective customers? As a mother of two small children, I would take a completely clean house over flowers any day (after all, who is going to maintain and clean up those flowers really?) And so would many other moms I know. This year, BIGresearch from Worthington, Ohio estimates over $15.7 billion will be spent on Mother’s Day, with 39.3% of that spent on gift certificates! So it is only fitting that this week’s topic is Promotional Calendars.
Don’t Miss Those Promotional Opportunities!
Sometimes called a promotional calendar, sometimes called a retail calendar. Whatever you call it, it is a planned schedule in line with all the holidays and special occasions that allows you to promote your business. With a quick online search you can find a generic promotional calendar online, but it’s up to you to add the creativity, and the marketing.
Planning Ahead: It’s best to plan out at least 6 months of promotions at once so that you can think through all the components of each and be prepared. For each you should plan out which marketing channels you want to go through and how you want to get the attention for your promotions. Do you want to do a special event to attract attention in the community? Do you want to send out a special direct mail campaign? Offer a coupon in your newsletter? All of these take different lead times, so it is important to know when your deadlines are for each so you can write your copy or arrange printing in advance.
Streamline: Don’t be afraid to follow a formula that works. If you know that you want to run a promotion around a holiday or special occasion every other month for the next six months and you know that your customers respond to coupons, participation in community events, and radio spots, plan all of those promotions in advance. Buying media is often discounted if you buy several placements in advance and you can save time and money by writing and designing all 3 coupons at one time. Plus, you have the comfort of knowing that you have some great promotions in place and can try to find additional occasions to talk up your promotions before and after the occasion.
Evaluate: This is a step that many small businesses forget but it is very important. Measure and evaluate your promotional campaign! Did you get any new leads from the marketing event? How many? How many of those leads turned into sales? What was the cost per impression or cost per sale? What was the long term advantage? Many marketing initiatives such as public relations and community service have long term effects that may not have immediate results. But as you build those relationships with the media or the community you will find the benefits are well worth the time.