The cobbler's children really should have some shoes … and all of you agencies out there really should have some marketing.
I can't tell you how many times over the past few years, when chatting with advertising agencies, marketers, designers, web developers and other companies about their own marketing efforts, that this old cliché has come up: "The cobbler's children have no shoes." My clients are too busy helping their clients with marketing to do any of their own. But really, isn't it time to get some shoes on your kids? I work for an email marketing company, so I'm a bit biased, but why not start with a monthly campaign? It's the most cost-efficient, stylish way to market your creative company.
Most articles about best practices suggest you reach out to your list at least once each month. If you don't do that already and are stuck for ideas, why not start with a few traditional holidays? You know, Valentines Day for February and so on. Using that basic framework will make planning your annual calendar seem simple. After you start with some of those favorite, more expected occasions, throw in a bit of your own style by emphasizing what makes you stand out as a company. You can start sending regularly anytime … even on Valentine's Day.
February: show 'em some love
For a twist on Valentine's Day, highlight one or more of your current clients, a project you completed for them and the successful results of your work. Or take the time to highlight a client that just hired you for an upcoming project. And if you're looking for something that will really stand out, you can even create a custom, love-themed stationery to frame your email campaign.
March: lucky you
Why not run a promotion to give away your free GoodWorks account? Every Emma Agency partner is granted a free charity account to pass along to a 501c3 non-profit. We waive their monthly fee, plus give them up to 5,000 free emails per month. For more about why this kind of promotion is effective, take a look at a recent article touting the benefits of pro bono work in Advertising Age.
April: go ahead, be a fool
Make them laugh and include a link to a funny video. Who doesn't like to escape for a minute or two to see LOL cats, Charlie biting his big brother or the evolution of dance? One of my favorite Emma Agency partners does this regularly in their monthly newsletter, and I have to admit I'm disappointed each time they don't include an amusing link (which is rare). My favorite of all time? This Happy Father's Day email.
May: survey says
Ask for customer feedback, referrals or testimonials with Emma's survey feature. (Surveys are free with every Emma account, so collecting helpful information from your audience doesn't cost you extra.) Want some survey tips? Just check out these blog posts full of ideas and best practices.
June: time for some travel
Tell your audience where you'll be. Vacation is on everyone's minds during this time of year, so fill your folks in on upcoming speaking engagements, conferences you're attending or some training you've just completed. Maybe you can even offer to meet them on the road.
July: bring on the fireworks
Show off some of your recent work, service or awards, or share a few things that your audience may not know about your company. Is there a particularly compelling story in your company's history? Or do you have a favorite non-profit that your clients may want to know about?
August: back to school
Show your customers that you're a valuable resource for important information. Link to a recent article that your clients will find useful, or even a few. Actually, this approach is one you could do each month. See our recent blog post on link digests for another quick content idea.
September: help them fall in like with you
Focus on your social networking savvy during this busy month. Ask people on your list to like you on Facebook, follow your Twitter feeds or subscribe to your blog. And be sure to add sharing icons to your email campaigns, like you can using Emma's built-in social sharing capabilities.
October: Scary good staff
Introduce them to your staff or a new employee. Putting faces to names for your clients can add warmth and a personal connection. Consider writing bios for each of your employees, or asking them to answer some fun questions to show off the personalities on your team.
November: give thanks
It's a novel idea — thanking your customers, both past and present, for their business. But trust me, it can go a long way. Just a simple thanks will do, but you can also think about using Emma's surveys & forms feature to invite them to an open house or party.
December: holiday greetings
Save on the postage and printing costs for your holiday cards. Who has the time to sign, stuff and send those anymore? My favorite holiday greeting of last year came from an Emma customer, Fanscape. I especially loved how they incorporated each employee into the card with the videos.
January: resolve to get started
Take this opportunity to look back at the year and recap some success stories. You might even suggest some new services your clients could resolve to add into their own marketing mix, or give them some inspiring ideas for starting the year off right.
Pulling together a calendar really doesn't take much time — it just takes a little forethought and some attention to detail, so that you're putting your own brand's stamp on the traditional holiday messages.