Got a little time on your hands this summer?...
If things are a little quieter than usual, now's the time to plan your marketing
I don't know about you, but this week (and indeed last week), have been pretty quiet. The school holidays have started so people are away on annual leave, the Olympics are on and lots of things have come to a bit of grinding halt. Of course there are many industries and businesses that are mega busy at this time of year. Anyway, the point is, if you are quiet or busy, it's always good to take stock, and do some planning for the rest of the year.
So here's my list of things you should do (and things I'm doing myself) to make the most of the rest of the year.
Analysis of the year to date - do some analysis of any marketing and sales activities and see what has worked and what hasn't. How much have you spent? How much time have you invested? If you don't feel you're getting value for money/time, then it might be a good time to either re-evaluate, try a different approach, or maybe stop altogether. For example, I joined a networking organisation 18 months ago. It's really fun with lots of interesting people. But, its just not generating sufficient new business for me. So, I've made a decision to let it run until the end of the year, and if it doesn't start 'earning its keep' then I won't be renewing it. There are other ways in which I can spend £600 a year having fun with nice people!
Work out what you want from the rest of the year - there are four months left for the rest of 2012, what are you going to do with them? What can you do that will make a difference to your business? What things have you 'meant to look at but haven't had the time'? Well now is the time. I'm working on some new products and services to launch in the autumn.
Experiment with your social media - most small businesses complain about the amount of time it takes to use social media properly (you could hire someone to deal with it for you of course, hint hint). If you're not getting much response to your content, or if you're not getting around to writing any new content, then this would be a good time to get to grips with it. If you are posting like crazy then do some real evaluation. You'll find a list of evaluation tools here. If you find you're just not doing it enough, then I recommend creating a posting calendar. It's easy, just a spreadsheet or a simple paper calendar, and decide when is the best time for you, and plan your topics. By the way, I've been experimenting with different types of content on my Facebook page. I spend time thinking about useful, sensible things I can share with my readers, but the post that generated the most comments and response was "Man gives tortoise the kiss of life". So maybe I've learned that sometimes it's good to lighten up and have some fun.
Find out what your customers like and don't like from you - Your clients and customers may also have some times on their hands. So this could be a good time to get some feedback on what they would like to see more of, and what new things they would like. If you are a professional services firm, you could strategically pick off some clients and invite them to an informal lunch/dinner to chat to them further about the services you provide. Alternatively you could use the services of an online survey site like SurveyMonkey - I've used this dozens of time for clients (and myself) and it works well. It's cheap, quick, and you get some good analysis.
So there's four things to think about if things quieten down. Oh, did I mention that things have gone a little quiet this summer? You know where to find me!.