5 New Years Marketing Resolutions You Can Actually Keep.
Every year I try to take a few moments to consider how I want the next year to go. Like many others, I end up making resolutions that slip away from me throughout the following year. This year there are a few things I am determined to keep up with that will hopefully make a difference for my wedding business. Here they are.
So many times I end up making marketing decisions on the fly because I don’t take the time to plan ahead. I know that each year I will be asked to update my profile on an online listing site, submit a new ad for a bridal magazine, be in a bridal show, participate in some type of community project, etc. My goal this year to to plan ahead for these known marketing opportunities. This is how I’m going to do it. First, I have scheduled three days during my downtime at the end of December/beginning of January to focus specifically on a schedule of marketing events or a Marketing Calendar. This calendar will attempt to list all of the upcoming marketing opportunities. From bridal show dates, to open houses and tasting events, I will try to plan my whole year. I know things still come up last minute but I will be more prepared to jump on an opportunity or turn down an advertising request with my whole year at my fingertips. Next, I will work on my budget. I usually look at what I spent the year before and adjust that amount up or down depending on what I want to do. Third, I will schedule time to work on each individual marketing opportunity. If I schedule this time in advance as if I were scheduling an appointment with myself, I would be more likely to follow through. Fourth, I will determine action steps for the major marketing opportunities and put them on my calendar with deadlines….do you see why I think this would take 3 days? It’s a lengthy and involved process but I’m sure if I invest the time on the front end, my year will go more smoothly and I will be much more deliberate and careful in the execution of these marketing opportunities.
Grow Your Network
I love getting to meet new people, especially in the wedding and special events industry. I have some great friends and referral partners already but I want to get to know more people. My goal for next year is to identify 10 people I want to get to know and make a plan for connecting with them. These people may be potential referral sources, vendor partners, or just fun people. The idea here is to deliberately expand my network in order to increase referrals, expand product offerings, and have more fulfilling relationships both personally and in business. Who are 10 people you want to get to know? Who do you know that can help you with an introduction to some of these people? Are there any associations you should take part in where these people can be found?
Clarify Your Story
I have read a lot lately about the importance of storytelling in marketing. We’re in a marketing environment where a person’s attention is at a premium and it is more and more difficult to win a portion of that attention in order to share something about our business. Good, authentic stories are helpful in winning attention and connecting with prospects in a real way. My goal this year is to refine and clarify the story of my business and brand by talking about where we’ve come from, why we do what we do, why what we do is important and unique, and what all of this ultimately does for our customers. This adds a human element to marketing and business and can really make a business stand out among competitors who are constantly shouting “Choose me! Buy from me!”
Create Useful Content
Content has been the subject of many marketing blogs, books, and presentations over the last few years. I’ve read countless times the need to look at our businesses as publishing business where your valuable content is what draws people in. Content can be pictures, blog posts, articles, videos, testimonials, memes, quotes, and much much more. Why is content so important? People are sick of just being advertised to…they tune it out. A good article or moving photo can help pierce that armor of indifference that people have towards advertising. In addition, it can help, inspire, instruct, reassure, and entertain a prospect to the point that they connect with your business differently than if they just heard an ad about a new product or service. My plan this year is to provide content that is helpful for prospects, that highlights my vendor friends, and adds depth to my website and service offerings. This is probably going to be the hardest thing for me to do. Creating content takes time and energy…it’s hard to dedicate that kind of time and energy when I have to work in my business as well. Here are a couple things to think about though….how can I create content out of the day to day things I have to do? People love behind-the-scenes pictures, not just staged pictures of a finished product. How can I get other people to help me create content? You may consider guest blog posts, interviews with industry leaders, or video testimonials. Are there other sources out there that can help you with your content? You may think about purchasing articles written by someone else, recording your response to the content of another, getting an intern, or hiring someone to help with this. Is there anyone you have on staff already that is capable of helping in this area as well? Also, using a calendar to plan things in advance is always helpful.
Have you noticed the amount of videos that show up in your Facebook news feed lately? It seems as if Facebook puts a greater weight on videos than anything else these days. I’m hoping to employ video this year on my social sites as well as on my website. So where do I start? I don’t know anything about video production. Do I need a video camera? Do I need special editing software? Should I hire a professional to do all this for me? How am I going to afford it if I do? I’m sure you’ve noticed that not all videos are professionally shot and edited quality videos. I think there is something to be said about a refined and beautiful professional video…especially on your website. However, in a world that moves so quickly, by the time that video is complete, it could be irrelevant. I think that a short clip of a set up shot on your iPhone would suffice for an Instagram post. I think a quick video testimonial from a client would make an impact. A virtual tour of your venue or a video slideshow of the detail shots from a recent reception could draw a lot of attention. Creativity and variety may outweigh the need to create professionally done commercials. I think each has it’s purpose. Next year, I plan on having a professional video made, one that helps me share our story. I also plan on creating a few amateur videos on my own as the moment arises and I recognize the value of capturing something in the moment.
I am looking forward to a great New Year and hope that as I put my resolutions in writing, it will help solidify in my mind the resolve to keep these resolutions and make great things happen in 2015. Do you have any marketing resolutions for the new year? I’d love to hear about them.
Featured Image by Dafne Cholet