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Planning now can help in small business marketing for ’19

One simple, but often ignored marketing tool for small businesses is the calendar. Crazy busy small business owners to sales professionals employ calendars for their appointments to follow up calls and fail to use this same tool for marketing.

Right now the fourth quarter marketing should already be planned and should be the process of being executed. Planning time for marketing now is devoted to the first quarter of 2019.

Depending upon the target market B2B or B2C and industry, marketing campaigns should be evolving to reflect current market trends as well as local to national market forces. Whether paid advertisements to social media postings to podcasting, all should be planned.

Marketing activities should not succumb to the last-minute spray and pray actions. You know what those actions are. Spray your marketing all over the place and then pray something sticks.

The best way to start building your marketing calendar is to schedule all known regular meetings, such as chambers of commerce, trade associations, professional associations, local civic organizations such as Kiwanis or Rotary, etc. Next schedule all learning engagements from required continuing education to personal development. Finally plug in any other known commitments including, but not limited to weekly, monthly or quarterly internal or external meetings as well as trade shows. This planning also helps to determine the necessary budget.

Now you can see where you have time to construct your marketing efforts from content writing to podcasts. Possibly in January you may wish to do a series of podcasts. Now is the time to start working on those podcasts. Research your industry. Here are some interesting statistics on podcasts per Edison Research.

• 64 percent of Americans have heard of podcasts

• 44 percent of Americans have listened to a podcast

• 26 percent of Americans listen to podcasts each month

• 1/3 of Americans 25-54 listen to podcasts at least monthly

• Women listening to podcasts jumped 14 percent between 2017 and 2018

Whatever marketing vehicle or channel you employ to spread the message about your business, your solutions, planning is essential to ensure you are delivering the best message at the best time to the best audience for the greatest impact to your sales results.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is an author, speaker and executive coach. Her weekly column explores issues that impact the bottom line of firms with fewer than 100 employees. She can be reached at 219-508-2859.

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