Another year gives new opportunities to reach new goals, set new targets and create even more success in your business than you ever have imagined before.
It’s the perfect time to revisit your business plan and the marketing strategy that you have been following over the past 12 months and to see what new strategies you can put into place for the next 12 months ahead.
If you take a step back and think about where you were this time last year, how much have you progressed or achieved in those 12 months? You may even surprise yourself, not realising that you completed so much, evaluating can be a great process to go through in order to set new goals and achieve even more in a given timeframe.
Start with business goals and objectives
If you have one long term objective for your business, what would that be? Now break that down into achievable goals that you can work towards in smaller bite-sized periods.
- What steps do you need to make in order to reach each goal?
- How can marketing help you get there?
The most essential ingredient in making sure your marketing will have a positive effect in your business goals and objectives is to ensure that you are making your goals SMART.
- SPECIFIC – Focus on one clearly defined metric. Set concise goals that sum up what you want to achieve, how you will get there and by when.
- MEASURABLE – Have a way to measure the outcome of your actions.
- ACHIEVABLE – Make the goal achievable, attainable and realistic.
- RELEVANT – Ensure the goal is going to benefit your business, relevant to your overall plan.
- TIME-BOUND – Set a time that the goal should be achieved by, in line with business objectives.
When you’re setting out your marketing goals, filter them through the SMART process and direct them through each of the key points in order to create a goal that is in line with your business’s overall plan, it has benefit and purpose, it can be measured and it will maximise the impact when it is achieved. The more specific you are with your goals and how you’re going to action them, the bigger the impact will be when you get there.
When we break down each goal and step, we can give it proper recognition and attention. Our marketing efforts can then be broken down even further to match our goals and ensure we give each point its own marketing funnel.
Make social media marketing fun!
The clue is in the name “social”. Your online marketing should be enjoyable, not a chore, and play a part in showcasing and allowing potential customers to discover who you are, along with getting to know more about you.
- What do you love about your business? Shout about it!
- What do you want customers to know about you? Share it!
When you put real life emotion and authenticity into your voice, people get to know the person behind the brand, giving them opportunity to love what you’re about – eventually getting into your sales/lead funnel that will help you grow your business.
Make social media engaging
When you’re having fun and sharing what’s important to you and the business, entice people to engage with your content. And this often needs to be spelled out – they don’t necessarily know to take action, unless you ask them to.
Ask them to click through to your website, to drop a comment, to give feedback, to give opinion. People are more likely to engage when they’re invited to do so. And think about what you want them to do when they do engage, where do you want them to end up and what expectation do you have from them seeing your post?
Social media is all about the engagement. You could have 100 likes on a Facebook post just because an image looks pretty but are they actually engaging with the message you’re giving and are they ready to take action from that piece of content? How can you change the way you say something or the look / feel of your content to catch their attention for the better, and reach your ‘ideal’ audience?
Create a social media strategy
In everything you do or produce within your marketing remit, there has to be a plan or strategy behind it. A marketing strategy will help you pull everything together, give you direction and clarity on who you’re targeting, who you want to reach, why you’re doing it and how you’re going to perform the actions. A strategy guides and keeps you on track and gives you the opportunity to measure results, whether successful or not and steers the path to a better result by a given time frame.
The idea behind a strategy means that you get to know, understand, love and add value to your audience. It means that you’re not wasting time doing something that has no goodness for your business but gives you the steppingstones to really dig deep into your audience, your target market and can give them exactly what they are looking for. You can provide solutions to their pain points and provide value into their situations, even when they don’t know they need it!
So, if you’re looking to start this year with a plan, purpose and a mission, how are you going to get there? Can you put strategy into your social media marketing and give this year the opportunity to take you to new heights? Yes! We love to help you get there. Contact us and let’s talk about making this year, YOUR year for business success.
And as a free gift to you, we’d like to offer our free downloadable social media checklist, just in case you’re happy to go it alone. We’d rather give you a little step up than send you away with not knowing where to get started. Enjoy 😊
We’ve come to the end of the year and there is so much to celebrate – sometimes we do not even think things have been that great – but just take a step back and look at where you were this time last year and realise how much you have accomplished. You’ll be surprised at the growth and success you have managed to achieve – give yourself a ‘well done’ pat on the back!
And as we move into a new year, a blank canvas of opportunities and experiences, how can we ensure that we finish 2019 on a high?
This is the very first step to take in order to see self-worth and achievement. When you’re thinking clearly and positively, you are much more likely to see things in a clear and positive light. Self-confidence comes from positive thinking and when you believe in yourself and your abilities, you will achieve a great deal more! Let’s face it, if you don’t believe in yourself, who else will?
How do you feel at the end of each day? Are you stressed, anxious, happy, thankful? Working to end each day on a positive note will leave you refreshed, able to leave your business at the office while you enjoy some personal time aside from it. When you are positive, this can be an easy thing to do, if you’re stressed about something within the business, this could be a harder step to follow.
Find the balance on how to stay positive, change your mindset to allow yourself to be confident in your abilities and achievements. And know that you can do it.
We all need a little motivation once in a while, so how can we stay motivated in order to know that we’re on the right track and have the power inside of yourself to want to push forward in the new year? It can be as easy as finding an accountability partner or business coach or finding inspiration in someone or something else to enable you to know you can keep striving. Getting and staying motivated is vital, no matter if you’re at the end of the year and wondering whether to carry on, or mid-way through striving to meet a business goal or target, without motivation we lose focus, faith and confidence in the ability of success.
If you’re not feeling the motivation at the end of this year, but know that you love what you’re doing and you’re definitely in the right place – try a new approach, network with other like-minded business people and give yourself new (achievable) goals to etch you back in. By the time the new year comes, you’ll be wondering what all the doubt was about!
Harness the power of social media
This goes without saying, for a small business owner you must be harnessing the power of social media to showcase your brand, raise your brand identity and awareness and allow people to get to know, love and trust you. YOU are what the business is about and social media is a place where people can get to know who you are, what you’re about and the behind the scenes of your business. Show off what’s happening in the office, who you’re meeting, your networking events, your team and your clients. People buy from people, word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool and even if that talking is done online, people will shout about your business if they love what they see… and more importantly people will listen to those voices of opinion – make sure they’re giving a good impression!
What social platform will you find your ideal audience? That’s where you need to be visible. Get to know people, engage and start conversations and allow people to know that you’re passionate about what you do.
Have a plan for the new year
It’s all well and good just scraping through this year, but you need to know where next year will take you before it’s too late. Setting business goals, gaining momentum, having focus and creating a strategy will save a lot of wasted time and energy in the new year and will also allow you to know that you’ve got to the end of December with a clear vision of what’s next to come.
How can you create that plan for your small business? Break down the steps and plan each section:
- What goals do you want to achieve by this time next year?
- What do I need to do get there?
- How can my marketing play a part in those goals?
- How do I ensure my marketing efforts meet my business goals?
These are just a few steps that you can work through, and if you’re interested in learning more about business focus and social media strategy, ask us about our next workshop or 1-2-1 coaching. Planning is important, yes you may be able to get by without strategy, but how much more effective will you be if you plan out where you want to be and how you’re going to get there – before the time comes – so you’re ready to finish this year with a positive and motivating mindset.
When you win a race, you’re given a medal. When you win a game, you receive a prize. It’s the same in business; when you do something good or if you achieve a goal, reward yourself! It doesn’t have to be something big; it doesn’t have to be something noticeable with the people around you but it’s great to feel good when something is going right. The end of the year is the perfect time to celebrate all the good things that have happened in your business. The end of the year is an ideal opportunity to recognise all the achievements you have made. Finish this year on a high, go out with bang as we head through to another twelve months and more challenges and opportunities to face. Smile, be happy, give yourself a prize for all the hard work you’ve accomplished.
Balance and Perspective
At the end of the day, there is never enough hours or manpower to get through everything you need to do, so don’t beat yourself up about it! If you stay on track and keep focused, plan out your work and reward yourself when you achieve, you’ll keep a balanced perspective. Balance and perspective are precious words as a small business owner as it can be hard to juggle life, manage work and home, knowing that you’re doing good or are on the right path. Keep these words in mind through all that you do, keep the balance through work, personal life, mindset, actions and achievements. And in all you do keep perspective on what’s right for you and your business and what makes you happy and inspired. When you’ve got balance, you’ll find peace, when you’ve got peace, you can focus on what you love to do.
Here’s to the end of 2019 – well done for all that you have achieved and have accomplished this year.
And happy new year! – Here’s to what is to come in 2020 – may you be blessed, full of joy and find happiness in all that you do.
If you’d like to discuss your marketing goals and strategy for 2020, we’d love to talk, contact us today!
Life can be chaotic, we’re busy people leading busy lives and it all has the potential to become stressful after a while. Running your own business comes with its own stress points too. However, how you manage that stress and the various scenarios that take place, can play a big part of whether that stress will bring you down / create burnout, or make you stronger.
As a business owner, there are things that will keep you up at night and play on your mind, and it can be hard to switch off, keeping work and pleasure separate. So, how can you manage the stress and the constant flow of interruptions? The quicker you can learn to manage stress levels as a business owner, the better your health and business success will be.
Prioritise your time
It’s easy to get snowed under with the pressures of work, to take on everything yourself and to find yourself in the middle of high workloads without a hole to breathe from. And the way to get through this is to learn to prioritise. Without schedules or a plan, it can be easy for tasks to merge into one and to forget what is most important, leaving half-done jobs left on the table. (You may find our social media checklist beneficial)
When you get to this point, it’s time to take some ‘me time’. Burnout is a real issue and more and more business owners are facing this scenario way too often. Me time is important to take stock, refocus, rethink priorities and what matters most.
The art of delegation can be a small business owners’ best friend. It’s not a case of ‘giving up’, it’s a part of growing a business and expanding and taking on the responsibilities that you need and want to, finding other people to help support you as you grow. This takes away the stress from you, and relieves you from certain responsibilities that can free up your time for what you need to do, including taking some personal time for you and your family.
Use tools to help your business
Gone are the days where everything has to be done manually. There are many tools out there which can help with the automation of your business, tools that can make your life much easier and manageable when it comes through getting through daily tasks.
Apps, software, online-programmes, equipment etc, there any so many tools that can help you manage your business, taking the stress away from you as a solo business owner. Yes it can take a trial and error period to realise what works for you, but when you find the ones that do work, you’ll never look back!
Make a list of what tasks you need help with and research what tools could possibly help the health of you and your business. Ask other business owners what they use and what they could recommend. You could try social media groups to ask for advice and to discover new tools that already work for other business owners that you could try. In turn for finding new ways to manage your business, you can manage your stress levels.
Listen to your body
Our bodies are great at indicating when they need to stop or slow down and there comes to a point where we need to listen to those signs. If you need a break, take one. If your body needs to stop and get some fresh air, a chance to refresh and take stock – give your body what it needs.
Your body knows when it’s tired and we lose concentration when our body gets to the point that it feels it’s losing. That’s when it is time to stop – listen to your body!
A rest will give your body time to refresh and breathe. You may not be one for stopping but taking that time to refresh can far out way the time it takes to rectify any errors – it’s worth taking the time.
“Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.” ~ Ralph Marston
Learn to recognise what works well
When we’re feeling stressed, it can be easy to focus on the negative things that are happening rather that what is working well. Recognising achievements and positive outcomes can have a positive effect in our mindset. Stress comes when we feel we are not coping or are not achieving what we set out to achieve. When we switch the mindset to praise ourselves for the good and the positive, our bodies realise that we are in control of what outcomes we produce and are more inclined to think positivity and feel happier about what’s happening around us.
We can also learn from the good things too and by focusing on these things, we keep our minds active, stay vigilant and break the cycle of negative thinking.
Let go of what is not working
You may have been doing something for months or even years, but if it’s not working – ditch it! There is absolutely no point in carrying on with something that does not work for you. This can also be said for things that are not working in the practicalities of your business and personal life. Find a routine that works for you, whether that be a change in the way you manage your daily activities or the way you organise your projects. When something works, it gives you a better sense of achievement and you’re likely to feel happier in yourself and more productive.
Managing stress levels as a small business owner can be tricky but it’s achievable. Stress can get you down, it can even result in burnout but before you get to that level, do something about it. Talk to the people around you, find networking groups for support, discover different places to work or meet new faces. There are a number of ways in which you can help stress levels stay on par.
As we’ve mentioned above, delegation and outsourcing is an effective way to manage your workload which results in less stress for you. If marketing plays a big part in this and you’ve not got the time to get out there and tell people about your business, perhaps it’s time to outsource. We’re here and happy to help at the click of button, even if it’s just a sounding board to see what options are available for you. Get in touch and let’s talk.
It’s Never Too Early To Plan Christmas Social Media Campaigns
Plan ahead: It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark. ~ Richard Cushing
If there’s one thing that is true for marketing, it’s that it is never too early to plan a social media campaign. We see Christmas or seasonal items appearing in shops much before the season arrives, the marketers are ready with campaigns and promotions in plenty of time before we decide to hit the shops.
Why? Because it allows our minds to think about their products and promotions for when we are ready to buy. If we’ve already seen an offer that we like, we’re more likely to purchase that item when the time comes rather than wondering around a dozen shops or websites to find what you’re looking for.
If marketers can make an impact in your mind, and make it convincing, appropriate and enticing, you’re more likely to buy from them.
The same goes for social media campaign.
And as we head towards the Christmas season, many people have started their Christmas shopping or have an idea of what they want to buy. They’ve already started to think about the people they need to buy for and what types of gifts they would like. This makes it easier for brands to sell as they have campaigns running on social media way before December that puts triggers in our minds, which brings us straight back to their product when we are ready to purchase.
Have you started your Christmas marketing campaigns?
Now is the time (if you haven’t started already) to get plans and strategy into place for your Christmas social media push. These can drip feed over the next few months, but now is a great time to get them out into the online world and where your brand can start to be noticed and recognised.
Christmas campaigns are about speaking directly to your audience, pleasing them and tailoring to their needs. Your bottom line shouldn’t be the main thought in this process – it’s about engaging with your customers.
Marketing campaigns are successful when a brand is recognised. So, creating social media content is about raising your brand awareness and letting people get to know who you are. The more you are known, and people start to notice you, the more successful you’ll be.
Do what it takes to get noticed, this may be by getting a little creative, eccentric, different from the norm, anything that allows your brand to stand out from the crowd.
Christmas is a busy time, it’s a season where every brand out there is pushing for attention and in order to get noticed your business needs to do something different, that other brands are not doing.
What could you do to spice up your Christmas marketing campaigns?
1) Get creative with your social media profiles
Spruce up your social headers and profiles with some festive graphics. You don’t have to be super talented in the graphics department, you can head over to Canva to create some free images, or if you don’t have time, ask a Virtual Assistant to help! Have fun with your social headers, make them memorable. If you create a theme or series, you could change them on a regular basis to gain a little more engagement from your audience.
Here’s a Facebook header example:
2) Utilise key festive dates
You may be focusing on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years day, but there are many more days out there that you could get creative with. We’ve got a few on our social media planner, including #CyberMonday #ChristmasJumperDay and a few more which could be interesting for your social media content. It’s all about creating engagement and excitement – jump on the trends and turn them around to suit your brand and audience. You may not be promoting your business or offers, but you’re getting people to interact with your content. They’ll start to know you and like you and will share your content with others – then when you do promote your products, you have a ready made audience to speak to.
Download our free 2020 Social Media Awareness Days calendar for key dates
3) Engage with your followers
This may be something that you’re already actively doing, but if it’s not, now is a great time to start. Bring a little Christmas cheer into the conversations, jump onto conversations that are happening where you can a) add value and b) have fun with it, both while raising your brand profile.
If you’re using any social listening tools, use these to discover people mentioning your brand as to not miss any opportunities that arise.
4) Run a giveaway or competition
Everyone loves a giveaway, especially around Christmas when people are already buying gifts for their family and friends. When you’re planning your giveaway, you want to think about what you’re trying to achieve by doing it – don’t make it a wasted exercise.
Are you looking to raise brand awareness? Are you looking to gain more followers? Do you want to grow your email list? Depending on your goal, gear your campaign around how to achieve the right outcome.
If you’re wanting to grow your email list, you’ll want to ask people to ‘sign up’ in order to be in with a chance of winning your prize. If you’re looking to raise your profile, ask people to comment and tag another person in their submissions, in order for more people to hear about you. If you simply want to gain more follows, ask people to like your page and share your posts. There are lots of outcomes and ways of achieving them but try to focus on one for each campaign, it will make it easier and less complicated to manage.
5) Create a festive offer
You may not want or have the means to do a giveaway so a festive offer could be an easier campaign to do. Christmas is one of the biggest times of the year for businesses to earn income. Campaigns that are planned and run well have a good chance of being taken seriously, whilst growing your audience and raising your brand awareness.
Use words like, one day left, Christmas countdown, buy-one-get-one-free – these are all appealing and give a sense or urgency to the buyer.
Get creative with your visuals but don’t make it too crowded, allow the offer wording to stand out, be bold and showcase what you are offering.
You could also offer free-shipping for a limited time or one day only and have a message that shouts about that particular day being important.
6) Create an event
Have you ever thought about holding an event to create excitement or awareness? This could be online or offline, meeting people face to face or holding a ‘live’ event online. People like to see the face behind the brand and to engage with real-life people. So much is automated in the world we live in that to physically see or hear a person that represents a brand is a novelty for many. Utilise that and build up momentum prior to the event. Use your email marketing to invite and remind your audience and use social media to promote it. The more momentum the better!
7) Create templates
When you’re creating your Christmas graphics, stick to a theme or a create a template where wording or images can be changed but that doesn’t give you a headache every time you want create a new one. Make your graphics simple, make them bold and make them effective. If people cannot recognise your brand from one image to the next, it’s not going to be as successful. Branding plays a big part in how your business is perceived and received.
Here’s a couple of examples:
8) Be joyful with your Christmas promotions
Christmas is a festive season and should be full of joy – your social media content needs to be social and engaging, where people can enjoy interacting with you and your followers. You want to get people excited about Christmas, about the holidays and of course about your brand!
You could do this by asking simple questions about their Christmas experiences or do they prefer X or Y product. This will not only give you great research into your audience but will help you market the products or services that are favoured.
When it comes to creating a marketing campaign, too early is always better than too late. The more preparation you can put in, research into your target audience and gain insights into what your customers want or would like to see and hear, the better the impact it has on your business.
Do you have any other ideas that you could use for Christmas promotions? What’s your favourite and most successful promotion you’ve done? We’d love to hear your comments below.
If you’d like get started in promoting your material for Christmas but just not sure how and where to begin, get in touch, we’d love to help!
For further reading, check out our post from last year about preparing early for Christmas social media marketing
Marketing is important for anyone looking to promote their services and this is applicable to absolutely anyone; from those just starting a business, to freelancers, entrepreneurs to small or large organisations.
Many larger companies will have a marketing team where they can hire a social media manager to do the job however it’s not as easy for freelancers who are trying to make a name for their business, with just themselves to do the work.
As a freelancer you know your business better than anyone else and therefore can push your marketing in the direction that you know it will hit your audience but how do you do that well and effectively when time management can be a factor as well as understanding all the social channels in order to do a good job?
Embrace social media
Don’t think that just because you are a small fish in a big pond that social media is not important – it most certainly is. And for some freelancers it can be the main stream of marketing that brings in new clients and reaches out to even more people.
Whether you personally love or hate social media, as a freelancer you need to be using it to promote your services.
Embrace the social networks as if they were your best friends and find a channel that works well for you, and stick to it.
Which social network do you use?
This will totally depend on your type of business and who you are looking to attract. Before you do anything, you need to establish the basics.
- Who is your ideal client?
- Are you working B2C or B2B?
- What do you want to achieve from social media?
- Who is your competition and what are they doing?
By working on these basic questions, you can give yourself a basis to build your social media content around.
If you’re a B2B freelancer you will probably find that LinkedIn is a great place to discover clients. Check out our recent post on why LinkedIn is good for your business.
LinkedIn is a great place to network and build on your relationships, showcase your knowledge and expertise as well as getting your name known within the industry circles.
Facebook is good for brand awareness and building a community. Facebook is still the largest social network and one that is great for building a following. By creating a Facebook group and providing value through this to an audience that is interested in your services, you’ll build trust, reputation and loyal customers. If you’re not ready to create your own group, there are plenty that you can join and add your value to. Be sure to jump into conversations and give solutions to people’s problems. This way you become recognised as an expert and people will come to you when they need assistance. The way you manage this will determine if these people turn into paying clients.
Twitter is a place for opinions and news so this is a place to find your audience’s conversations and to offer solutions. You can search for #hashtags relating to your industry and follow trends that will lead back to your audience. Building a following on Twitter can be relatively easy if you’re prepared to put in the time to keep up the pace – but sharing your knowledge will definitely get you noticed.
If you’re love images and can showcase your portfolio or service through imagery, then Instagram or Pinterest will be the place for you. Instagram is rapidly growing and with 75 million people a day scrolling through their feeds, you have good reason to want to use this platform.
Instagram allows you to get creative so whatever you are doing, wherever you are, you can capture the moment and create content that will grab the attention of your audience. Motivate and inspire people, give them a reason to want to follow you and if they like and appreciate your creativity enough, they may even get in touch to work with you!
The same can be said for Pinterest, which has become an extremely effective search engine facility where people are searching for inspiration every day. Your images do not have to be perfect, and with Pinterest you can add text to tell your audience what you are offering. Just be super clear on what you’re offering and who your attracting and if you get the content right, people will discover you.
Pulling it all together
With all your social media efforts, there are few things that need to happen throughout all of it: engagement. The key ingredient to social media marketing is engagement. Without engagement, all your efforts, time and hard work will fall flat and will be for nothing. No one wants to think they are working for nothing, right!
With this in mind, all of your content needs to have a reason or a way for people to engage with you – on every single post or tweet. There should always be a call to action or a next step they can take. Even if you’re just asking for a ‘comment below’, the audience knows what to do next.
With so much content out there, it is so easy for a user to read and scroll past without a second look. But if you catch the eye of the audience and ask them to take action, they are inclined to do so.
In this way you build reputation, trust and expertise. People will recognise your name and your identity becomes your brand, you are building a name for your business which can grow and develop.
And when people engage with your content, be sure to engage back! Show that you are human, you have an opinion and you value theirs. Create relationships with your audience and provide value to them in every way possible.
Social media is a key part of a freelancers success and the more you do it and start to love one or two particular platforms, the more you will get to know your audience and love them too.
Don’t spread yourself too thin
This is one of the hardest things to stick to, there are many great social channels out there and sticking to one or two can be a hard discipline to get into the habit of but it’s much better to do a few extremely well than to be on all networks but do them all not-so-well. Your reputation is at stake with every post that you create. With every piece of content that you produce, it needs to be clear, to the point and be focused on your ideal audience. You can set up personal channels if you want to talk about things irrelevant to your freelancing business. Your business is your focus and yes you want to be ‘you’ but you also need to come across as professional and approachable. First impressions count when it comes to potential clients. Make that first impression good wherever they find your services.
Do you have a website?
Social media is great for promoting your services and shouting about what you can do, but do you have a landing page on where they can go to find you? This landing page or website is as important as your social media profiles. If someone finds you on Facebook and clicks a post to get in touch with you but is hit with an out of date, old website, they will move on to the next freelancer. Spend some quality time updating your website (or landing page) and ensure that it’s always up to date. If you change your prices or a service that you provide, update your website. Simple.
All the above should be workable if you manage your time well. As a freelancer, your time is most valuable as you only have one set of hands! (Unless you outsource your social media marketing of course!) But the fact is that you can only do what you physically have time to do. Planning and organising your time is important for any business owner, so the need to factor in your social media marketing is something that should be a part of that plan.
Social media should be fun and never a chore – planning ahead and being in front of your time is the best piece of advice we can offer and always know what’s coming up so there are no big surprises.
If you’d like help, we’d love to chat with you about how to go about putting a strategy and plan in place for your social media marketing and to get the most out of it for your business. Get in touch today!