It’s October, the summer is over but it’s a little early for festive cheer, so what better way to fill the gap in your marketing plan than with a Halloween themed campaign? It sounds good, but for many small business owners it can seem a bit uncomfortable – how on earth could they link their business with Halloween? And why should they bother?
Simply because you can. Marketing for small businesses can get stale quickly with repetitive, predictable campaigns. By keeping your marketing flexible, and reacting to the season you can keep things fresh, and keep your customers engaged all year round. With that in mind, here are our top tips for a scarily good Halloween marketing campaign.
If you are a small business, focusing on B2B clients, don’t spend time trying to work out how to make all of your service offerings sound spooky! As you would with any campaign, keep the plan focused. For instance, if you are an accountant, you could just plan around ‘making tax less scary’; or if you build websites you could offer one ‘horribly good’ deal for the week.
The same goes for B2C like hospitality and retail businesses. If you are a restaurant owner, you could have a spooky-themed menu for one week, or some Halloween themed cocktails; or in a retail store you could choose one small group of products to promote using your Halloween theme…which brings us nicely to…
No, Halloween is not a theme – it’s too broad! If you choose a more specific theme, like scary movies, or Frankenstein’s monster, or even pumpkins – it will help all of the planning go a lot quicker and help you create a more coherent campaign. Step one is what you are promoting, step two is how you’ll promote it.
Don’t limit the Halloween theme to your campaign-related graphics and print work or it will feel completely out of step with your brand. If you have a physical location that customers come to, like a shop or restaurant, then get to work on the Halloween décor. If you are online only, you can get creative with your social media graphics, website banners, or even a temporary themed logo or profile picture. By spreading the theme subtly across all of your marketing, you will make it feel less jarring and more part of the bigger plan.
The next step is to plan out your campaign and include all of your marketing channels (e.g. social, email, video, website, direct mail, POS etc.) then plan the frequency of contact on each. Don’t go overboard with lots of extra posts or emails as you’ll frighten more people away than you’ll attract.
Just because Halloween isn’t an event that you automatically associate with your business, doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with it! Halloween is a fun time of year when you can get away with things being a little messy, so embrace it and test out some fun new ways to market your products.
If you’d like to speak to one of our team about how we could help you create a spooktacular Halloween marketing campaign, you can get in touch here. Alternatively, pick up the phone and call us on 01600 891525 – we’d love to hear from you!
Like hiring staff, outsourcing is never an easy decision for a business owner to make – there are lots of things to weigh up and consider. So when you do finally decide to take the plunge and outsource to a marketing agency, it’s worth making sure you are doing everything you can to make the partnership a success.
As well as defining your budget you need to decide what marketing you can (and should) keep inhouse. It’s important to be realistic about your resources and your talents. If you aren’t sure what you can handle, then you should be honest about this when you start to engage with agencies.
The easiest way to get the best out of your relationship with an agency is to make it clear who will interact with them and who will be required to approve budgets, outputs and anything else. Clearly defined roles are key to success so nail it down before you do anything else.
Just because an agency is the biggest in your city, or has won the most awards, does not mean that they are the right agency for your business. When you are hiring staff you have criteria that an interviewee must meet, so set similar pointers before you interview an agency. Engage with a few companies and choose one that you feel a connection with, that you trust with your brand, and that offers the services that you need.
If you’ve told your agency that you want to increase your social media presence and then you end the contract with them because your sales are the same…you are at fault. You need to set expectations for what you would like to see done, and what results you would like to see from that work (these may not marry up, but a good agency will advise you on strategy…we’ll get to that in Step 5!).
Tasks checked off a to do list is not going to generate business. If your agency knows why they are doing something, what the goals are, then it will be much more effective. A good agency will help you create a strategy and plan the actions to achieve it rather than taking a list of actions with no reason.
Reviewing the results of marketing efforts is crucial to the success of any team – inhouse or outsourced. An agency will be able to report on everything in detail that they were involved in to show what worked, and what didn’t so your next marketing decisions can be evidence based.
The team members within a good marketing agency live and breathe their profession, so if they advise you that your ideas for a campaign will not bring good results, don’t dismiss them before hearing their reasons. Respect that you have brought in experts who know more than you and listen to their suggestions.
After all to quote Steve Jobs…
Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.
If you’re interested in talking to our team about how we could help you step up your marketing in the second half of 2021 we’d love to hear from you. Contact us here for more information or give us a call on 01600 891525.
Your brand is more than your logo or your name; it should be the whole experience that your customers and potential customers receive when they come in contact with your business. Your brand strategy is the definition of what your organisation stands for – its values, the promises you make to your customers, and the personality that you deliver your work with. Yes, it includes your colours, fonts and logo, but it also has something more than these aesthetic elements, it has your tone of voice, attitude and identity.
A successful brand strategy is the key to you being able to communicate more effectively with your customers and potential customers. It should direct all of your interactions with them, and shape how you are perceived in the marketplace. You should carry out a brand strategy as the very first stage in setting up your business – before you even come up with a company name as it can inform all of the decisions you make from day one. So what are the core elements of a successful brand strategy?
It is the crux of all marketing and sales techniques – it’s easier to hit a target if you know where it is! In order to build a brand strategy, you need to know who it is supposed to appeal to. You should know what your customer needs, and how you solve that problem.
There are many ways of defining your target customer. Some businesses like to focus on an area of interest, or a geographic location, whereas others define one or more very detailed customer avatars. If you are already trading, look back at your customers to date and use what you know about them to help inform your strategy going forward.
Who are your customers considering alongside you? Who are you being measured against? Once you know this you can look at how your competitors are positioning themselves in the marketplace and make decisions on where you measure against them. Will you stand out or blend in? What sets you apart? Remember, you don’t need to focus only on your local market, look at your national competitors to see how they are positioning themselves.
The final element is the biggest of all – who are you? In order to create a successful brand strategy, you need some self-awareness regarding your business and its products or services. This should include the absolute basic information about what your business does and how it does it, as well as more ‘intangible’ information, for instance, the emotional benefits that your business provides.
Brand Strategies tend to include your brand story, and positioning statements that will inform how your staff speak to your customers and how you interact with people on social media and other public forums. All of these things are developed through a combination of knowing and understanding your target customer, your competition, and your business. So start with the basics and it will grow from there.
If you’re interested in talking to our team about how we could help you create a winning brand strategy we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at email@example.com or give us a call on 01600 891525.