There is still time

red clockIt’s November. Usually at this time of the year, a lot of businesses have already given up on meeting goals or projections, and those who have hit their numbers are ready to enjoy some well earned “down time”.  Not so fast…

There are still two full months left – that’s 57 days.  Many people think it is too late to start a new campaign.  Not true.  They figure ramp-up time would take too long.  Also, not true.  Plus, they think it’s too hard to get their message through all the holiday hoopla.  Wrong again.

Let’s just break it down.  With 8 weeks left, here is an example of a marketing campaign that you can put to work right away.

Week 1 – Research: What’s going on in your industry?  What’s the “hot topic”?  What are people worried about?  Be specific and get details.  This is the key to a great campaign – focusing on what your audience cares about.  Figure out how your company, products or services can address their concerns.  Create some messages that tie directly to this issue.

Week 2 – PR: Target the top 5-10 trade publications in your industry.  Find the contact info for their editors (usually on their webpage or check out the articles they’ve written and Google them).  These folks are always looking for real news over the holidays.  That’s exactly what you’re going to give them.  Based on the research you did last week, you are going to email all of the editors at these top publications with your story idea.  Keep it short, on point and make sure you explain how it is relevant to their audience.  Remember this is a news piece featuring you, not a promotional piece pushing your stuff.

Week 3 – Content: Based on the story ideas you came up with for the media, build a few deliverables you can use in all your marketing.  Create a video and post it to YouTube. Keep it under 3 minutes, watch the lighting and background, and make it about your customers.  Host a webcast where you present information and take online questions.  Again, short is good. A 30-minute webcast with Q&A is a great way to respect people’s time and give them great info.  With the content of your webcast, you can create a white paper.  Turn it into a .pdf and you have a valuable resource to share.

Week 4 – Email outreach: Armed with all your newly created content, create a series of weekly emails to go out to all your existing customers.  These folks know and love you so they are going to be interested in what you have to say, especially since it is dealing with one of their biggest issues at the moment.  Write and schedule the emails to go out on Tuesdays mornings (data shows that is one of the best times).  Post the content of the email on your blog.  Make sure that the email and the blog have a specific call to action…call me, download the white paper, watch the webcast.

Week 5 – Social Media: It wouldn’t be a marketing campaign these days without leveraging your social media networks.  Take everything you have created and push it all to your social networks (actually, you should be doing this at every stage of this process :-) ) FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter – use it all.  Be sure to tailor the info for the network.  For example, LinkedIn is more polished and professional than FaceBook, so make sure your message and tone is too.  Answer questions on LinkedIn. Join Groups on LinkedIn and FaceBook.  Follow chats in your industry on Twitter.  This is how you find new people and they find you.

Week 6 – Send Greeting Card: Yep, thats right, an old fashioned greeting card.  It can be a “thanks for your business” or maybe a “happy holiday” or even a “looking forward to 2011″ card.  The idea is to connect personally with people.  Everyone is used to getting cards this time of year. Make yours special, hand write a note, wish them the best of luck in 2011.  With all the electronic stuff we get each day, this is a nice touch and will set you apart.

Week 7 – Follow-up: At this point you should be getting responses from your videos, emails, social media, etc.  Now is the time to follow-up.  If possible do this directly, one-on-one.  This is the whole purpose of this exercise, to get prospects contacting you either via phone, email, Twitter, whatever.  Respond to FaceBook messages.  DM to all the folks who RT your message.  This is your top priority.

Week 8 – Relax: Now is the time to put your feet up and enjoy the results of your efforts.