Your Plan for 2008?
For many businesses the holidays are the busiest
time of the year. But now that the holidays are over
it’s time to plan for this year’s activities. Jerry
Heisler, president of the Heisler Group, Inc.,
strongly suggests that you plan ahead to be sure you
are touching all of the bases you want to cover in
the New Year. Here are some of his thought starters:
1.) How much would you like to grow your business in
the New Year? (What do you need to do to achieve
your growth plans?)
2.) How many new customers do you want to add? (What
can you do to keep the customers you’ve got?)
3.) How are you going to achieve that growth?
(Advertising: direct mail, newspapers, Yellow Pages.
Promotions: sales, special events, loyalty
You get the idea. It doesn’t have to be complicated,
but you do need to have a road map to where you want
to go. Once you know, start inputting your calendar
with the dates of when you’re going to do your
advertising, hold your sales, or your events.
Nothing is cast in stone and you can alter your
plans as the year progresses, but a plan is
Need ideas to keep yourself in front of your
customers? Try these.
Do you have lots of holiday merchandise on hand?
Hold a sale.
January has always been a great time for post
holiday sales. Why not gather up merchandise that
didn’t sell at the holidays and have a sale? If
you’d like to know how well your promotional efforts
are working, offer a discount to customers that
bring in the postcard you mailed to them. That way,
you will be able to measure the effectiveness of
Do you have a new product or service to offer? The
beginning of a new year is a great time to start.
Perhaps you have a new service you are offering or
improvements to an existing program. What better
time to begin then in a brand new year? Are you a
photographer who has a new portrait style? Do you
run a health club with new membership offers? How
about a restaurant with a brand new menu?
A colorful mailer with a special offer is an
excellent way to introduce your new offerings. Be
sure you offer something of value to the recipient.
How about a discount if you buy the product or
service within the next two weeks? As we’ve
mentioned before, your mailers will perform in
direct proportion to how well you offer something of
interest to the recipient. Most people are
interested in knowing what you can do for them. So
be sure and tell them.
Have you considered a loyalty program?
Every business depends upon having a large group of
loyal customers who keep coming back day after day,
year after year. A loyalty program is a great way to
encourage people to keep doing business with you.
By loyalty program, I’m referring to offering your
customers some reward for being loyal to your
business. The airline frequent flyer programs are
among the biggest loyalty programs around. As we all
know, they give miles that can be redeemed for free
flights, hotel stays, merchandise, and other
benefits. They work.
What can you do to start a loyalty program in your
business? Think about some of these:
• A card that you mark or punch every time the
customer visits. After a certain number of visits,
the customer receives a benefit.
• 10 cups of coffee and you get a free cup.
• 12 car washes and the 13th one free, or perhaps a
free service, such as a wax job after the 12th
• Membership to an elite group after so many
• Visit us three times and you then become a member
of our “Preferred Buyers Club.” Members receive
advance notice of sales, 10 percent discounts, and
invitations to special, private events.
• Buy our products or service six times a year and
we’ll waive our normal $50 membership fee. (Several
of the major car rental firms charge annual dues to
be in a “Preferred Group,” but with a minimum number
of rentals, they waive the charge.)
Can you schedule an event?
Events are another means of keeping yourself in
front of your customers. Art galleries regularly
hold “showings,” where a particular artist is
featured, often with the artist present.
Refreshments or cocktails might be offered. This
draws in present and potentially new customers.
Home improvement contractors can hold a “show,”
where they display their products and services.
Remember, whatever you do, be sure there is
something in it for the customer. The event itself
offers the opportunity to see products and services.
Be sure to enhance the experience for your customer
by offering a gift, a discount, or something else of
value. Always ask yourself….is this something I
would want to attend if someone invited me? If not,
what would it take to make you want to go? If it
wouldn’t excite you, it’s not likely to attract your
customers and prospects either.
Hopefully, we’ve given you some things to think
about in the New Year. Jot down some additional
thoughts of your own. Plan to get your business off
to a fast and profitable start.
---Source: Reprinted from Modern Postcard Dec. 2007
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