Some business owners feel they should only advertise during their “busy” seasons. They believe, for example, if they are a pool company that spring and summer are the only times to advertise. Don’t let potential customers forget about you most of the year. You must have an on-going message. Now, should you ramp up advertising efforts during your peak times? Absolutely. But you must also maintain top-of-mind awareness all year long. You want to be the first that comes to mind when a consumer needs to buy your product or use your service. Consistency is what will set you apart, it is what will win the day and get you the sale over your competitors.
Your marketing plan is a year-round effort. You should always have a presence on social media, posting regularly all twelve months of the year. Also, you should have a “base advertising buy” that serves as a constant reminder to your customers. Whatever your preferred advertising methods, you should have a minimum budget every month to continually promote your business.
The strategy is as follows:
Marketing budget = 8-10% of your gross profit.
Every month you should invest in the advertising of your business.
Allocate funds with a mix that makes sense for your type of business.
Peak Seasons: Increase your budget by 5-10% (or more if you can afford it).
If your sales dip by 2%, increase your marketing budget by 2%.
These are ways to make sure that your business maintains healthy profits, no matter what the economy is doing.
8-10% of your gross budget is what you should minimally spend for business growth. This is what’s going to keep the wheels turning by making sure people are continually aware of your business and what you offer. Some of the most successful businesses (including my own clients) subscribe to this because it works.
2) Advertise Monthly
Always promote. Don’t just market during select times of the year. You should promote ALL OF THE TIME. It is what separates the mediocre businesses from the successful ones.
3) Ad Mix
Your marketing mix will depend on your budget and type of business. Sometimes you can come up with this on your own, but sometimes it helps to consult with a professional. Either way, make sure that spending levels make sense with the size of your business and the media outlets you choose to reach your customers.
4) Peak Season
If you have a peak or busy season, make sure you increase your ad spend by at least 5-10%. This will ensure that you have the best possible sales during your busiest times of the year.
5) Budget Management
Here’s the secret sauce. If your sales dip, then your budget should increase. The knee-jerk reaction of most business owners is to slash marketing budgets when times get tough. That is the worst thing to do. If your sales decrease by 2%, then you should increase your marketing spend by 2%; that’s correct, INCREASE by how much your business decreased. This is the strategy employed by the best and most successful businesses. This aggressive way of attacking marketing is truly what will get the results that you want and expect from your advertising efforts.
Implement these methods for the greatest chance at long-term success. Whether you do it yourself, hire in-house, or use a professional advertising agency, make sure that your business has a voice all year. Make sure you are visible to consumers - and when they need you, you will be the first that comes to mind.