If Jingle Bell Rock is playing on the radio, you know it must be December. And, for many, December means that the money left in the marketing budget equals zero! You planned the best you could, but now you have one month left….but no money.
But you chose to be a marketer because you are creative, and it really doesn’t take all that much creativity to figure out how to reach potential clients with no out-of-pocket dollars. Here are a few ideas:
If you haven’t already done so, December is the perfect time for an email marketing strategy. Most email marketing companies allow you to send emails at no cost up to a specific minimum number of emails or number of subscribers. They provide pre-designed templates for you. You just upload your list, select a template, input your specific copy and go!
The easiest way to get started? Send a holiday greeting to your friends, customers and vendors! Then develop a plan for 2014. Work on topics and schedule them into your calendar. Download our free Internet Marketing Content Calendar to help schedule your email topcis. If you have a lot of December downtime, write and design some eblasts. You can finish them up, schedule them for a future date and just let them sit and wait for the day to show up. Remember, schedule eblasts on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday unless you work in an industry where everyone works through the weekend.
Speaking of emails, take a minute to look at your personal email signature. Are you just typing your name and leaving it at that? Here’s an opportunity for a small company ad – info about your mission or products. Add a photo or a video. Add your personal signature. Spruce it up for the holidays!
Need more help getting started with email marketing? Our free ebook, "An Introduction to Email Marketing," will help get your started the right way.
Social Media. Love it. Hate it. Social media marketing is a no-cost way to reach out to clients and prospects. Set up Facebook posts about everything from industry news to company parties (be careful with the content – this is your company account, not a personal account!). Obviously, if you have a retail company, you should be all over social media for the entire month!
Have key company employees spend a little time to update their profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook so that everything is up-to-date and represents the company properly.
Design and send holiday messages. More people will be taking time off work during the holidays = more people spending time on social media outlets. Spiff up that presentation you gave last summer and put it on YouTube or SlideShare – then tweet about it. The ideas are endless.
Download our ebook, "How to Enhance Your Internet Presence with Social Media," for help getting started with social media marketing.
Walking in a Website Wonderland
Remember how you’ve been complaining that you need to update your website??? Well, now’s the time! Review your entire website and determine what needs updating – and then do it!
Now, take it one more step. Take a hard look at the CONTENT of your website. Is it content-rich with articles, blogs, videos that will draw in a visitor? Don’t fill it with "A History of ABC Company" but rather with educational, helpful content that will attract website visitors in and keep them coming back.
All I Want for Christmas is a New Client
Prep for 2014 by reaching out to prospects in December. Take a look at your prospect list and target 5 to 10 key people or companies and think about how you can connect with them. Start by writing a personal letter – nothing formal or FORM about it. Make it conversational and personal. Be honest and tell them you want their business and touch a few key benefits of working with your company.
And close with an Ask – for a meeting. You might have to wait until January to follow-up because December schedules get so spotty, but it will be a start. Then schedule a tickler in January to follow-up…and do it!
Please Come Back for Christmas
Do you look back on the past 12 months and think "Wow – I haven’t talked to this client all year!" We all have clients that go dark for a number of reasons. December is a great opportunity to reach out to these clients – make a personal phone call. Don’t leave it to emails, letters or texts. Contact them personally and tell them how important they are to you. Have a frank discussion with them about their current needs and find out why they have strayed.
It’s also a good time to survey all your clients. Use a free service like SurveyMonkey or something more involved, but reach out and ask them about your working relationship over the past year. Ask them what they want from you to make the relationship more successful. Ask them what their biggest concerns are for the coming year. And then design a follow-up plan for 2014.
Now that you have all your no-cost marketing strategies in place for December, you might have a little time left for 2014 planning! Here’s a quick starter to planning 2014 based on what you learned in 2013:
- What worked right in 2013? Are you going to repeat it in 2014? What went wrong in 2013? Are you going to fix it in 2014?
- What is changing in your organization or industry – or environment – in 2014 and how are you going to respond?
- Find a way to engage those "surprise" clients you may have encountered in 2013. Make them a regular customer.
- Do a quick materials audit – are your business cards, brochures up-to-date? What’s your website look like – does it have outdated info? Is it time for a website redesign?
- What needs to go on your marketing to-do list for 2014?
- Set new benchmarks for the year. If you have 2013 numbers, use these to help determine realistic goals for 2014.
Now, go have a happy holiday!