3 Crucial Keys to Creating the Best Coupon Design
Direct mail response rates rebounded sharply in 2016. According to the DMA, the rates were the highest since 2003. House list response rates were 5.3% and prospect list rates responses were 2.9%. With numbers like those, competition for both print and digital coupon redemptions will only increase in 2017.That means it’s more crucial than ever that you design a coupon that will reach out and grab the attention of your target audience.
Yes, 81% of consumers use coupons regularly according to NCH. Sure, you have your loyal clientele that will always support you regardless of your offer and will use your coupon. But we’re betting your primary reason for using coupons is to entice new prospects to give your business a try. So it’s time to roll up your sleeves and make sure the coupons you create are as effective as possible.
Valpak developed The Best Practices to Creating Coupons that Get Results: A Coupon Lookbook to help you with your coupon creative from start to finish. Here are the highlights of how to create an effective coupon, but to benefit the most from all the best practices and successful coupon examples, be sure to download the FREE Coupon Lookbook.
To increase response and redemption of your coupons, you’ll want to consider three things: the headline, the design, and the offer.
Key 1: The Coupon Headline
What makes your coupon stand out? It starts with the headline. It’s the first thing potential customers see, making it the most important piece to get right. It’s typical for consumers to just take a quick glance at the headline, so you need to make sure the consumer wants to read the rest. There are a few things you want to remember when creating your headline:
Key 2: The Coupon Image
The best coupon design includes an image that will reinforce your headline and offer. It’s almost always good to use photography when advertising by mail as it taps into consumer emotions. That said, it’s important that your images are positive, happy, and identifies with the consumer, creating a connection. A positive image will not only associate happiness with your brand, but it makes your ad that much more appealing and it’s more likely that the consumer will take action. Remember, a single, large image is better than multiple small images. The best coupon designs will build desire and persuade consumers to take immediate action.
Key 3: The Coupon Offer
Now that you’ve got their attention with the headline and the image, keep them engaged with a clear, concise and valuable offer. Your specific offer is going to depend on your audience and your industry, but the goal is always going to be the same: To increase the value of your brand for consumers. You may want to try multiple offers to speak to a wider audience or to test effectiveness. Be very specific on your expiration date to inspire customers to act fast. Also ensure that your disclaimer of limitations is clear, so you don’t set yourself up for potential problems. Avoid a “bait and switch” approach. It may bring consumers in, but it will rarely convert them into customers.
Create The Best Coupons Today
Spend some time reviewing your previous direct mail advertising and coupon designs. Are there ways you can improve them in the future using these 3 tips for the best coupon design? If you focus on getting these 3 crucial aspects right, you’re bound to have a higher success rate. Are you interested in learning more about designing your coupons and direct mail ads? Would you like to see some successful examples and learn coupon best practices? Download our FREE Coupon Lookbook and use it as a guide for creating your future direct mail advertising. You can also reach out to your Valpak sales representative for help.
For dental offices, digital marketing is essential to staying competitive. Using both an unpaid and a paid digital advertising strategy can be an effective way to stay in the game. “Paid digital advertising strategy” most often refers to internet ads—those ads you see in search results, either on the right margin or as the top 3 search results, also called Google’s “3-pack.”
For example, Google AdWords, a digital marketing platform, is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising technique, which means you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. By developing a focused PPC ad campaign, you can drive targeted traffic to your website and generate more new patient appointments.
When utilizing digital advertising in your marketing strategy, it’s important to track your ad performance to understand which campaigns are converting—that is, which ads are actually getting new patients in the door. One way to do this is to use call tracking. This feature provides a dedicated phone number, making it easy to track how many calls and new appointments your practice received as a result of clicking on a paid ad.
Another part of your digital marketing strategy should be A/B testing, also called split or bucket testing. A/B testing is the comparison of two ads, landing pages, apps, etc. against each other to determine the highest performer. If you use Google AdWords you can execute A/B testing by making changes to the following factors:
DON’T: Ignore your target audience
Identify and focus on the target audience for your search engine marketing. For instance, two distinct target audiences for a dental practice are often:
Yes, the internet and social media is basically free to use, but gone are the days when it’s easy to get in front of your target audience on the World Wide Web. With all of the competition taking over the web space, investing money will help you not only get eyes on your content but will allow you to streamline and target who you are reaching, where they want to be reached.
Paid investments such as Google AdWords and Facebook advertising allow you to send a strategically-placed message to your specific target market at a time and a place where they are already spending their time.
A dental offices’ paid search strategy might involve targeting patients who are searching for teeth whitening services, emergency dental care, or pediatric dentistry to enhance their search engine marketing efforts.
DON’T: Skip social media
Engagement on social media has an influence on your Google ranking. The number of shares and the usefulness of content on social media can affect this.
People are highly influenced by a recommendation from someone they know, and social media is one of the best ways to leverage word-of-mouth advertising through ratings and referrals. Encourage patients to follow your practice on Facebook or Twitter and check-in by posting reminders in your waiting room or including it on appointment cards. On Instagram, encourage patients to “show us your smile” and tag your practice in their smile photos. Post videos on a regular basis and integrate personal content with dental-related information to increase engagement and help with search engine marketing efforts.
DO: Create quality content
The most important rule for marketing on social media is to create quality content that your followers want to see, matched to clearly defined objectives in alignment with your marketing strategy. If your objective is to find more patients, your content should reflect how your practice stands out from your competitors and utilize great reviews from past clients. On the other hand, perhaps you want to increase interest in your cosmetic procedures. In that case, provide content that makes patients aware of the services you offer. Always keep your target audience in mind your and make sure your content defines how your practice will meet their needs.
Consistent blogging can help to establish you as a thought leader and attract new patients by demonstrating that your practice has the knowledge and expertise they’re looking for to solve their particular problem. Ensure that your posts include keywords—dental practice, teeth whitening, dental impacts, for example—to improve search engine rankings. To find keywords, do a search for words or phrases related to your services. Google AdWords as well as keyword.io provides a Keyword Planner to help you find keywords. Or, you can ask for help. Once you’ve selected the words you like, you can add them to your content, working them into the title, text, and description of the post.
Examples of blog post ideas include dental tips, end-of-year reminders to use insurance benefits, issues your older patients should be aware of, and the different types of dentists and dental specialists, to name a few.
DO: Use a landing page to capture visitor information
A landing page is the destination of a lead that has clicked on your digital ad. Effective landing pages provide the lead with information promoted by the ad, info about your business, and a form where they enter information that your business wants to capture, and an effective CTA, or call to action. Examples of landing pages include:
It’s important to develop effective marketing strategies for your dental office, including search engine optimization (SEO) to increase your website’s online visibility. Improving your Google ranking is critical. Effective SEO can help you rank higher when people search the internet for your services. When searching for a new dentist, more than 70% of people begin their search on Google, but they rarely look beyond the first page of search results, so you want to make an effort to rank on the first page.
On-page SEO optimization is essential for targeting a local audience. Ensure that your website makes it clear where your practice is located. Include it on your homepage, your contact page, and other pages of your website. Identify and use keywords that will help reveal your dental practice in organic search results. In other words, you might seed your website content and metadata with words and phrases like teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry, dental implant costs, and cost of braces. However, be careful not to overdo it. “Keyword stuffing” is not necessary
Use variations of phrasing to optimize for keywords. For example:
It takes time and effort to attract new dental patients. Ensure that you are deploying your resources in the most effective way for both organic and paid search by developing a strategic search engine marketing approach.
Get started today!
For the past several years, automakers have experienced record sales growth fueled by discounts, rebates, and attractive financing terms. Consumers who have held off on buying a new vehicle during the recession—the average vehicle on American roads is 12 years old—may be motivated to help dealers continue the trend of sales growth in 2017.
Along with rollbacks in regulations, a cut in corporate taxes, and new investments in infrastructure, the auto industry could be poised to reap the benefits of an improving economy. This is not to suggest that dealerships can relax, however. Continuing the trend of sales growth will require savvy marketing to stay competitive.
We say “may” and “could” because more than ever, consumers have access to a tremendous amount of information and knowledge. It’s essential that your car dealership marketing taps into this information flow. You need to produce relevant and useful content you need to consistently connect with consumers to increase awareness, create desire, and influence purchase decisions through convenience and offers.
Even in the age of digital marketing, direct mail remains a powerful way to influence consumers. Direct mail pieces that use rich images are more likely to attract your customer’s attention. Additionally, consumers are more likely to respond to direct mail advertising that includes information on options, financing, and leasing information, as well as special offers.
Use direct mail to send current offers to surrounding neighborhoods or target car owners of vehicles that are over 5 years old. With direct mail, you can promote special offers inside a mailer like the Valpak Blue Envelope®, on an oversized postcard, or even in a circular that displays severals models in your inventory.
Don’t underestimate the importance of online reviews. Millennials, in particular, rely on reviews from their peers when making purchase decisions. It’s important to monitor your dealership’s reviews on Facebook, Google, and other platforms, as well as to follow up with replies. Good reviews are valuable. Use them as testimonials on your website, on social media, and in your advertising materials.
Video has become a powerful marketing tool. Consumers are increasingly turning to video for information on brands and products. Develop a video marketing plan to use on your website and on social media. Your dealership marketing video doesn’t have to involve a professional videographer. Consider taking a video that tours a new automobile model from the buyer’s view, pointing out unique aspects of the vehicle.
Online car shopping is more prevalent than ever. With competitors like Carvana.com, Carmax, Autotrader, and other surfacing online sites, it’s imperative that your dealership website is constantly updated to reflect actual inventory, current prices and offers, financing options, live chat, home delivery options, and more, in order to compete with the changing terrain.
Finally, keep in mind that consumers want a smooth, easy experience when purchasing a car. Use technology to streamline and improve the finance and insurance process. Your marketing materials should emphasize your dealership’s easy car buying process and provide some specifics on how you’ve implemented new strategies to get customers in and out of the dealership quickly.
By leveraging new technologies, as well as more traditional marketing methods, dealerships can stay competitive and be well positioned to compete in a market that may experience a decline in sales following eight consecutive years of growth. Today’s car buying consumer maintains high expectations for connection, response, trust, and reliability. You can help meet that need through timely and effective marketing.
Hustle and negotiation will remain a critical element of growth, but effective marketing will enable dealerships to leverage an improving economy and the easing of regulations to continue the positive sales trends of recent years.
Get started today:
It won’t be much longer before it’s the second Sunday in May and your customers are celebrating another Mother’s Day. This represents a major opportunity to increase profits—after all, there were 85 million moms in the US in 2016, and more than $21 billion was spent on the holiday in 2015. Your advertising campaign can go a long way toward tapping into that, while also strengthening your relationship with your customers.
In today’s post, we’ll discuss tips on how to approach this holiday and share five Mother’s Day marketing ideas you can use for this year’s campaign.
Not Just Flowers and Food
When it comes to buying gifts for mom, there’s the gifts that everyone expects: flowers, food, and jewelry. But the truth is, there’s a lot of room in holiday spending for a mother-load of other options. After all, while 67% of consumers bought flowers for Mother’s Day that only represented a little over $2 billion in spending. Only 35% of American consumers spend on jewelry for the holiday. The average spend per customer was $172 in 2016.
That means one of the places customers spend for Mother’s Day could be your store, no matter what kind of store that is. In fact, 27% of Americans will shop for their gifts online and another 23% plan to spend at a small or local business. Nearly 30% will shop at specialty stores, and 55% will be looking for special outings. If the holiday isn’t cornered by a particular market or kind of store that means it’s going to come down to your message and the value that you’re offering.
Be Emotionally Creative
It’s important to remember that Mother’s Day is an emotional holiday. While emails that feature “Mother’s Day” as the opening of their subject lines see 16% higher engagement rates, those that evoke emotion see 21% higher open rates in the critical weeks leading up to the holiday itself. Furthermore, 63% of American moms want gifts to include quality time with their families, while a quarter of them want a “gift of experience.”
Essentially, it won’t be enough to declare something is for moms and slap a discount on it. Moms—and the people shopping for them—are looking for something significantly more meaningful. Take the 2016 #OneToughMother campaign from Teleflora. Yes, the industry is one typical to Mother’s Day, but the approach is a powerful one that any industry can learn from. It speaks to the dedication and sacrifices mothers make, acknowledging them with the respect they deserve while stirring a sense of affection and gratitude in their children and spouses.
Marketing Ideas You Can Use
While the most common techniques used for luring in shoppers for Mother’s Day are free shipping and price cuts (55% and 44% respectively), they don’t do much to elevate your brand above the other marketing noise. Take advantage of these five Mother’s Day marketing ideas to set your brand apart and capture the attention of moms and shoppers alike.
Costs per impressions, or CPMs, are actually highest in the two weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, so it’s not too late to develop or improve your holiday campaign with our Mother’s Day marketing ideas. No matter what kind of industry you operate in or what kind of store you run, there’s going to be an effective promotion to help generate engagement and lift sales.
Develop Your Mother’s Day Marketing Strategy Today!
Need help? Valpak can help you promote your Mother’s Day offers using print, digital and direct mail in our 2017 Mother’s Day themed promos. Contact your local Valpak Marketing Coach for details.
While “frictionless shopping,” “branded apps” and “mobile payments” are hot retail topics, more retailers have been quietly investing in and testing digital coupons to support these efforts. These retailers report that print coupons are still relevant to consumers and to their sales.
The Role of Digital vs. Print Coupons
Coupon use overall has risen 30% since 2008. Given the impact of digital on all sides, it would be easy to credit this completely to digital coupons, especially when the digital redemption rate is 77%. Digital coupons have also proven to be an excellent method for bringing in new customers—46% of those using digital coupons are purchasing a product or service they haven’t used before.
However, it’s important to recognize that print coupons still represent significant ROI for retailers, in part because they’re cheaper to utilize. Print coupons still make up 44% of the coupon market. Furthermore, 80% of consumers are omnichannel deal hunters using multiple mediums.
Print coupons are also key for certain types of shopping, most notably grocery shopping. Half of all supermarket shoppers said they searched printed circulars for deals before their last visit, while another 32% clipped coupons from printed sources like newspapers.
Snapshot of Print Coupon Efficacy
46% of all consumers prefer print coupons over digital ones. In fact, 87% will redeem the paper coupons they receive in the mail, specifically 82% tap newspapers and coupon books. More importantly, 77% of consumers select where to shop based on where they can use paper coupons.
Despite these large statistics, it can be easy for retailers to assume that these are all older shoppers, or all shoppers with a smaller budget. This simply isn’t the case. Here’s a snapshot into who’s using print coupons:
Coupon Best Practices
Simply knowing that consumers still value print coupons isn’t enough to use them effectively. We’ve gathered a few notes to keep in mind when developing a coupon strategy.
We’ve discussed design best practices in thorough detail before in our “Coupon Lookbook,” but here’s a brief checklist to keep in mind:
Market research on your target audience is key to effective distribution. It doesn’t matter how many consumers clip coupons from the newspaper if that’s not where your customers are spending time. Opt-in formats, such as online circulars, can be particularly successful because it’s an automatically qualified audience. Direct mail services, like those offered by Valpak, can go a long way to expand your reach, especially when utilizing thorough segmentation of and targeting to specific audiences.
A Note about Digital Coupon Distribution
There are multiple ways to offer digital coupons, from simply providing them on your website or branded app to pushing them through social media and mobile. Marketing firms like Valpak can help you fully utilize digital channels, including email marketing. Take advantage of digital coupon companies like Valpak to build brand awareness and reach new customers.
Hopefully, it’s easier to see that consumers still value print coupons, despite the growing popularity and implementation of digital coupons. Especially given the effectiveness of print coupons, your business should still value them as well. Develop a marketing strategy that utilizes the format (or formats) that best suit your campaign by taking advantage of the design and distribution best practices we’ve mentioned.
Everyone has that special small business that they turn to time and time again for quality services and products they trust. Maybe your small business is one of them—and now is your chance to get some well-deserved recognition.
Win the 2017 Shop Small Contest
Valpak and American Express are inviting consumers to tell us all about the small businesses they can’t live without, what brought them together, and why they choose to Shop Small®. Oh, and there’s something in it for both of you!
If one of your customers submits a nomination for your business, you could win a $5,000 American Express Gift Card and a free 12-month Valpak marketing campaign. Even if you don’t win the top prize, you could still be one of three winners to receive a $1,000 American Express Gift Card and a free 3-month Valpak marketing campaign. Plus, your customer could win an American Express Gift Card for up to $5,000, too!
Spread the Word
Dates to Remember
The nomination period begins January 30, 2017, and ends April 15, 2017. Winners will be publicly announced on May 1, 2017.
How the Shop Small Contest works:
It’s a Win-Win-Win
Valpak will announce and promote the 2017 Shop Small® Contest on the Valpak Blue Envelope® mailed to over 35 million people through their website, social media, press releases, print, and blogs.
The kicker? Winners will be announced on a national level, which means you could gain the exposure you only ever dreamed of before.
Go ahead. Take a chance. There has to be a winner and it may as well be you.
Contact your local Valpak representative to discuss participating in this campaign.
If you are not yet an American Express merchant, you could find a rate that’s right for your business. Learn more at OptBlue.com.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Void where prohibited. Promotion is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C. who are eighteen (18) years of age or older, or the age of majority in their state of residence, whichever is older at the time of entry and eligible small business nominees. Promotion begins January 20, 2017, and ends April 15, 2017. ARV of all prizes awarded in the promotion is $44,200. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received and skill of the entrants. See official rules for additional small business eligibility requirements, entry instructions, judging criteria and other important details. Sponsored by Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, Inc., 805 Executive Center Drive W., St Petersburg, FL 33702.
As a valued Valpak client, you are already aware of all the benefits you receive from your ad in the Blue Envelope. You also already know about Valpak.com and all of the ways we track your ad’s performance. But, did you know we have other exciting and effective products that can take your direct mail campaign to the next level?
Talk to your Valpak Marketing Advisor about our Large Print Formats. Large print formats include multi-panel flyers, circulars, and coupon booklets, and give you more advertising space to show off your menu, photos, location, and other business information!
Larger print formats ensure your ad will be noticed inside the Blue Envelope. Larger formats disrupt a consumer’s coupon-sorting routine — a folded, thicker piece with more space to feature your brand’s content makes you stand out!
Multi-panel flyers, circulars and coupon booklets are great for announcing upcoming events, anniversaries and sales, or for showcasing multiple products and/or locations. Mailing larger print formats in between your standard coupon mailers are also a great way to keep your current customers engaged and excited for more.
Contact your Valpak Marketing Advisor today to discuss all the ways your business could benefit from a larger print format!
There are plenty of reactionary voices that point to Valentine’s Day as another consumer-driven holiday engineered by businesses to make money. But the truth is, there are also millions of people that celebrate Valentine’s Day as a day focused on romance, love, and intimacy. And if the old adage, “the key to the heart is through the stomach,” is true, that means you can’t afford to leave the holiday out of your restaurant marketing.
Why Valentine’s Day Matters to Restaurants
According to a survey from Statistic Brain, nearly 62% of consumers will celebrate Valentine’s Day, spending roughly $13.3 billion annually. Of those spending money, over a third (34.6%) will go out to eat and another 12.6% will purchase gift cards (a portion of which will be for restaurants). That’s a healthy chunk of spending that makes it worth investing in Valentine’s Day restaurant marketing. A hearty strategy will help bring you a good return on your investment.
Design Your Valentine’s Day Marketing
If you want guests to be struck with Cupid’s arrow and fall in love with your restaurant, you need to put effort into romancing them. One of the first places to start is with your advertising.
Target Your Local Area
Take advantage of services like Valpak to reach out to the community around you. Direct mail is effective for sharing special offers with current and potential diners, especially if you take full advantage of services that allow you to segment and personalize mailers.
Direct mail is effective for sharing special offers with current and potential diners, especially if you take full advantage of services that allow you to segment and personalize mailers.
Utilize Search Engine Marketing
The role of paid search can’t be underestimated, especially in an increasingly mobile world. Take advantage of major platforms like Google Adwords and brush up your SEM to ensure your restaurant features prominently in key ad spots.
Pay for Social AdvertisingSocial advertising claims a large portion of mobile advertising; Facebook alone claims 19% of $70 billion spent on ads in 2015 and 22% of American’s mobile internet time. Don’t pass up an easy opportunity to reach a targeted audience.
Heart Your Radio
Believe it or not, in the rising digital age, 90% of adults still listen to the radio at some point throughout their week. In fact, radio reaches 54% of the US daily. This will boost the effect of your other advertising campaigns, especially if you take advantage of popular radio personalities.
Your physical restaurant itself is one of the best marketing tools you have, so be sure to show it some love throughout your campaign. Wait staff should mention any special promotions—especially to couples who are regular guests—and have clear signage and fliers to help entice them to dine at your restaurant on the holiday.
Speaking of your actual restaurant, it’s important to remember to craft the right atmosphere for Valentine’s Day. The decor, music, and even your menu, should reflect the type of experience you want your guests to have, and some of that transition can begin before February 14 to help build anticipation.
Extra Tips for Full Hearts
Don’t forget that you can and should do more than just cut prices for the day, and any special offering should work its way into your marketing. For instance, Statistic Brain also reports that more than half of women (53%) said they would end their relationship if they didn’t get something for Valentine’s Day, which may include a romantic night out and a fabulous dinner. You can further expand on that by offering gifts like flowers or candies.
Partner with Other Local Businesses
Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to partner with other local businesses. For the night, or the whole week, you might consider adding luxurious, hand-crafted chocolates from a local candy store to your menu. If you already have a menu full of decadent desserts, you could hand out a coupon for that store with your bills all week. That store could also include coupons for you along with every sale they make.
Adjust Your Menu
Consider having a specialty menu printed up for the day. This could be as elaborate as an intimate prix fixe menu or as simple as making menu favorites shaped like hearts. The more you can make it feel special, the more attractive it will be to guests who are celebrating. It could also be sent to your preferred demographic prior to the holiday as part of your direct mail reservation campaign.
Most importantly, you should start your marketing campaign now! This is one holiday that people still plan for in advance. If you wait too long, a competitor could capture your diner’s attention first. You should be courting Valentine’s Day guests by the end of January at the latest.
What it comes down to is this: if you want to win hearts (and dollars), you need to market your restaurant around Valentine’s Day. The statistics associated with the holiday show a clear win for restaurants that make an effort to advertise, offer promotions, and build an engaging atmosphere that resonates with diners emotionally. The tips we offer are sure to help you maximize your efforts.
Start Valentine’s Day Restaurant Marketing Today
The home improvement industry is unique. Most products and services are what they are and do what they do day in and day out. Yet many home improvement products have just one season to shine.
Depending on the time of year, consumers have very different home-related needs. Spring is the season for garden planting and summer might be a time to spruce up the outdoor patio for BBQs. Fall finds many splitting time between yard cleanups and holiday decorations indoors and out, while winter tends to be filled with serious indoor remodeling projects.
That’s why marketing for your home improvement company is so important. No matter what month or season it is, people will have home improvement needs. Here are some of the top ways you can reach potential home improvement customers year-round.
Taking out local ads is one of the best ways to make sure your name is top of mind when people start thinking about home improvement. Don’t just blindly take out ads in the local paper during the holiday season, spring cleaning, or other times of year when you think people are improving their homes. Instead, research advertising options specific to your local area throughout the year.
You have many more outlets and chances to reach the right audiences with the right message. Really think about who would respond best to targeted direct mail, search engine marketing, digital coupon offers, radio, or TV. Also think about offering coupons and specials to local residents at different times, something that Valpak can help with in terms of integrated print and digital coupon promotions.
A blog can help market your home improvement company on a consistent basis. When you offer useful tips, insights, and thoughts that people can readily utilize in their home improvement efforts, your brand credibility rises fast. The better and more useful your content, the more people will begin to see you as a thought leader, and keep your business in mind as they consider new home improvement projects.
But be careful of giving away too much, or telling people how to do the job for which they’ll eventually pay you. Rather, give tips for smaller home tasks they can do themselves, with the end goal being that they’ll eventually contact you when bigger, more complex issues arise.
Even in the home improvement industry, social media marketing is a must. Similar to your blog, the content you share on social media should be useful, entertaining, and contribute toward establishing your industry thought leadership. Also make sure to include local area information about your business, customer success stories, and positive reviews across your social media channels.
You can also use creative content in combination with targeted advertising on social channels like Facebook and Twitter target your ideal audience. Consider creating how-to videos and tutorials for home improvement and repair, then offer that valuable, search-optimized information through paid ads and social media.
HolidaysNo matter what time of the year it is, there’s a holiday or special occasion around the corner. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, the Fourth of July, or Thanksgiving, you have a chance to get creative and tie in home improvement with the holiday.
Think about each specific holiday and how your services can enhance their celebrations. On occasions like Christmas, some people might want to spruce up their home before having relatives over. Others might prefer to wait until after the holiday dust has settled before pursuing bigger home improvement plans. Either way, make sure to capitalize on holidays and include appropriate messaging.
People approach their home improvement needs differently depending on the season. This is especially true in areas with drastic climate changes like the southern gulf or upper midwest.
No matter where you’re located, you’ll want to educate customers on potential home improvements they can make for each season. Fall might be a time to shore up insulation in preparation for winter; spring is a great time to clean out gutters. No matter what you decide is appropriate for each season, make sure to communicate your message through your blog, website, social media, and local advertising.
Want to strengthen ties to your community? Charities can quickly help you build that bridge. Keep a calendar of charity events and make it a point to volunteer at some of them as well as donate. You’ll get a chance to not only put your name out there but to also meet future customers in person. You can also sponsor a cause either financially or by offering your services. Consider offering your services in exchange for sponsor trade and corresponding exposure to the community.
Consider donating a portion of your proceeds or profits for a certain period of time to a non-profit. For instance, during the month of November, you could donate 10% of your proceeds to help renovate a local homeless shelter. This shows that you care about the local community, and also ties in the services you provide from a marketing standpoint.
Get Started Today!If you don’t already have a year-round plan for your home improvement company marketing, now is the time to get going. Here are a few things that you can do today:
When developing a marketing and advertising plan for a small business, it can be difficult to know where to allocate your money to get the best results, or even how much should be planned for your small business marketing budget. It’s an investment of both time and money that could exponentially grow your customer database if done effectively. As with any investment, there’s a measure of risk. So how do you know if you’re making the best possible use of your advertising spend and marketing budget? Today’s post explains how to plan a small business marketing budget in eight basic steps.
1. Identify Needs
The first thing that you should always do is define your goals and identify your priorities. The point of developing a budget is to help you spend wisely and stay on track with your marketing dollars.
Remember that your marketing budget needs to fit within your overall budget, and it should never be so high that it impinges on your business’ ability to function. After all, you don’t want to blow the budget on SEO and social media marketing if you need to spend it on materials for an event.
Identify both short term and long term business and marketing goals. Prioritizing them might mean allocating more or less over time, and both are important for improving brand awareness and revenue.
If you already have marketing campaigns in the pipeline, be specific when budgeting for the goals of those campaigns. For instance, if a particular campaign goal is to generate leads, it will have different spending requirements than a campaign advertising a limited-time special offer.
Be sure you have a marketing plan in place that accounts for the entire buyer’s journey. Now is the time to think about what goes on behind the scenes of a successful marketing campaign. Market and competitor research will cost money, as will hiring a contractor to set up or evaluate different channels (e.g., website, social media). Skip them in the planning process and you might spend more than you should on them in the long run.
2. Identify Your Targeted, Ideal Audience
Knowing your audience is critical to your budget, and it goes hand in hand with identifying your priorities. It will help you identify how many people you’re trying to reach, and it will also help you better identify the frequency necessary to generate the desired impact and inspire action. Segmentation is also important because it will help you identify which types of campaigns will be most effective for which groups.
3. Determine Marketing Channels
In one regard, this is an aspect of identifying your target audience. After all, you don’t want to waste marketing dollars on advertising on a channel that your customers aren’t even using. However, different channels will have different costs, and not all channels will need to be used in the same way for every campaign. For example, your social media spend might go toward regular Facebook ads or promoted posts, which your brand would continue making no matter what campaign was running.
Identifying the channels you plan on using can also help you avoid more surprise costs as well as overreaching your capabilities. You’ll consciously include or exclude channels based on your market research and plan for A/B testing, rather than just randomly advertising on a particular channel and hoping it brings success. Remember that you should investigate all channels—digital, social, traditional—rather than making assumptions and choosing at random.
4. Plan Annually
Advertising success requires a long-term view, so plan your marketing strategy for the coming year, not month. While there will always be unexpected events you’ll need to handle, identifying key holidays, seasons, or other events that impact your business and affect the cost of advertising is important.
For example, competing for TV advertising slots in 2016 was exacerbated by the presidential election. This drove up prices, while events like the debates drew viewers from their normal viewing habits. Sometimes buying in advance can lower your advertising costs, but this isn’t possible if you don’t plan ahead and look at future opportunities by planning annually.
5. Research Opportunities
The combination of our previous two steps—identifying channels and planning for the next year—help form the basis for this step. Go out of your way to explore what’s set to happen over the next year and how it impacts the channels you plan on using to discover new marketing opportunities. Dismiss the fear of missing out by identifying the opportunities you can afford to take advantage of rather than jumping at the chance last minute, which would not only be out of your budget, it would probably be much more expensive than if you’d planned for it.
6. Select Based on Potential ROIEverything should look to ROI and the impact on your bottom line. That means taking a big picture look at your marketing goals. What are the opportunities you want to take advantage of, which channels you want to use to reach which audience segments and what are the costs associated with each? Compare your intentions with past campaigns and the ROI those offered so you can select the options that are most likely to be successful.
Remember that there’s no one size fits all path, nor is there a guarantee of success. You also can’t afford to do everything. The data you’ll collect throughout each step will help you realize which tactics are most likely to be most successful and have a positive impact on your revenue.
7. Set Total Spend
According to a survey of small business owners done by Valpak, more than 50% of the responding SMBs appear to be marketing on the fly when it comes to allocating their marketing and advertising budgets. Over half of the survey respondents site using a “bucket” approach, dipping out funds for marketing buys without specificity. A striking 82% use “flexible” budgets that are adjusted at varying intervals according to either earned revenue, market trends, or, when tracked, media performance.
As a rule of thumb, a business needs to consider spending between 6% and 20% on marketing annually, depending on how long they’ve been in the market. Remember, the marketing dollars you have to spend are limited by other budgetary concerns. Take a look at how much your business has already been spending on marketing compared to past results.
8. Break into Monthly Budget
Align your total advertising spend against your marketing calendar. The amount you budget to spend monthly might fluctuate based on your needs at the time, or the needs of the calendar. Your events, sales, special promotions and the calendar holidays all affect monthly budgets.
These steps are best practices that will help you build your small business marketing budget to set your business up for success. It will help you align your marketing strategy and goals with your bottom line, thus allowing you to execute each campaign with confidence.
Start Building Your Small Business Marketing Budget Today!
• Review your budget-building process. Compare to the steps outlined above and determine if there are steps you’ve ignored or to which you haven’t given the appropriate attention
• Ensure your budget realistically accounts for ROI so that your revenue is improved by your marketing and your budget reflects growth
• Take a close look at the channels you’re using. Is your audience present there? Are you trying to take on more channels than your business can support
• Do you have processes and analytics practices in place to gauge whether your marketing is working? You should be able to adjust your marketing throughout the course of your planned budget if necessary, to avoid wasting money because you weren’t monitoring progress
• Do you have a process in place for handling unexpected costs? For example, will you have the flex room to capitalize on real world events that happen unexpectedly
• Remember that this is simply the starting point for a solid marketing budget. Continue expanding your knowledge base and find more tools to refine the way you spend your budget