You’ve got a date with success. Remember to show up.

Picture this.

You’re out to lunch and someone approaches your table.

POTENTIAL CUSTOMER: “Hey, I’ve been hoping to run into you!  I’ve been following your work, and I’m really impressed.  I’ve got a large budget and I want to spend it with your business.  Can we set an appointment to talk about it?”

YOU: “Sure. “

At this point, you promptly get up from the table… and walk out.

What??? No one trying to build or maintain a business would EVER operate this way– yet, busy business people walk away from potential customers EVERY DAY when they refuse to plan for their marketing success.  Let’s change that.

If you’re working in small business, you’re likely juggling multiple tasks– staffing, inventory, ordering, accounting, customer service and more.  While you may recognize the importance of your marketing, your social media or advertising campaign can fall of your list of priorities in the bustle of daily business.

One of the smartest marketing moves any business person can make is SCHEDULING THEIR MARKETING.  Consider your other planning calendarprocesses.  You’re likely paying quarterly taxes.   Use those quarterly deadlines as your opportunity to plan your upcoming marketing.  Here’s the key: don’t just plan it, calendar it– and calendar every step.

Here’s an example of what that may look like.

Let’s say your a photographer who specializes in family photos.  Your goal this year– to increase your holiday sessions.  The first step is establishing the end date of your goal, whether that is a special sale or an event.  From that date, work backwards.  In this case, that end date would be the day you want to deliver your completed photos to your clients.  Recognizing that many families will want photos for Christmas cards or gifts, let’s assume you’ll  need to deliver completed photos by December 1.  Considering the amount of time in editing and delivering, let’s say you’ll want all photo shoots completed by November 20.  This means you’ll want  to hold most of your sessions between November 1 and November 20.  Now… get the word out.  Your calendar may look something like this:

  • October 1 – post to social media about getting photos now for the holidays
  • October 5 – schedule ad to run in local paper on October 10
  • October 6 – post again across social media about early bird discount
  • October 10 – post to social media with examples of fun family shoots
  • October 12 – set up booth at local business expo
  • October 14 – post to social media: last call for early birds
  • October 20 – sponsor school fall festival photo booth and pass out cards
  • October 25 – post to social media – limited appointments still available

Since you’re planning to do most of your work in November, your marketing must happen well in advance of your December deadline, but odds are, your Christmas shoots aren’t going to be on your mind before Halloween. By putting the dates on your calendar, you’ll have the reminders you need to take action before the opportunity passes and you’re forced to play catch up, or you skip your marketing efforts all together.

Think about what events are important in YOUR business, work backwards and get those marketing dates on your calendar.  Hold to them like you would any other appointment.  You would never stand up a client.  Don’t ignore your appointment with your business marketing.  Your potential customers are waiting for you.