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Lesson 6: Marketing and Content Plan

Insure you are on track and that you are making an impact with your marketing content.

Okay, lesson number six, coming up with a plan and making sure that you know in advance what you’re going use in your advertisements. My name’s Ryan Spelts, and I’m a small business owner and a marketing coach.  I have lots of clients and we deal with every different sort, the ones that come up with what they’re going to advertise on the spot, the day that they need the ad mixed in with those who are very well organized and know what they’re gonna do well in advance. In my book, there’s a section called Brainstorming, which is a crucial aspect to coming up with effective marketing. I know most people’s minds don’t work like mine. I consistently think about marketing, how to tell stories, how to put the message out that I want to put out, and how to get people excited about the services and things that I do. It’s something that I consistently think about. So if you’re not that way, then I recommend sitting down, finding a quiet moment, and making sure the phones are turned off. If it’s half an hour, an hour, three hours or even a retreat where you get away and figure out the whole year. I need someone to talk to when I need to brainstorm. My wife is the best at this, she is an incredible brainstormer, much better than I am, and so I often use her to bounce ideas off of, or we sit down together and brainstorm. If you don’t have that kind of relationship or maybe your partner doesn’t want to do that then find someone who you can talk to. Find someone who can be that sounding board and come up with ideas. In my book each month is rep represented, and within each month are some themes.

You can use themes to make decisions for each month of the year.  January, February, March…So for example, in March, luck could be a theme. That’s a pretty common theme, but you got Shamrocks on St. Patrick’s Day, fly a kite March Madness for basketball, daylight savings, Dr. Seuss, Dr. Seuss’s birthday in March, ladybugs, Easter, sometimes when Easter’s early in March, topsy-turvy weather. If you live in a place like Utah that has crazy weather, sometimes it’s super sunny and nice, and then half an hour later it’s a snowstorm.  Early spring Birds, baby animals, Aqua Marine, daffodils, National Peanut Butter Day is the 1st of March. So that’s kind of a fun one. Flapjack Day, Employee Appreciation Day, International Women’s Day. I am sure there are many more. But each month you can choose a theme that makes sense for what you are marketing. Or if you want to stand out, do something that is a little off or different. Think Christmas in July but maybe not so cliche. There is a continuum from conformity to controversy. Great ads flirt with controversy.  

If you want a free copy of the book, please fill out the info here.


Brainstorming will give you some ideas, and the book covers those theme ideas, but there’s something deeper to marketing effectively that takes some time to really think about and consider and come up with a plan.  Here is an example, I have a client, timeless Medical spa, they’ve recently just changed hands and have new owners, but the previous owner would sit down at the first of the year and she’s a good friend of mine. Debbie Williams, she’s awesome. And she would make a plan of what she was going to market and each month I would come in and talk to her about what she planned to run for the coming month. She’d pull out her trusty sheet and she would have 12 months listed. And each month she would talk about the products she wanted to focus on, and what events they had coming up.

She held a twice-annual open house where they would invite everybody and they’d offer big discounts on all of their products. With a med spa, they have facials, skin resurfacing, injectables, weight loss, etc. They had all these cool products and she would mix it up, often focusing on products that had manufacturer’s discounts on certain months, that way she could coordinate that with her ads.  Each month she would focus on one or two things to keep it simple and keep people focused on the products she wanted without confusing them with too many options. 

In my publishing business, we come up with a general annual publishing plan, and we also come up with an annual promotional calendar. This is an example of a promotional calendar. And then each promotion that we run for advertisers, we have on a flyer, but on the back, we also have the full year’s promotional plan.

And there are a couple of blanks. Those are months where we don’t really have a promotion or we can plug something last minute in there. There are also months when we can focus on renewing or getting new annual contracts from advertisers. But you know, each of the things that we do for the year is planned here. And then within that plan, there’s another layer. So for example, each year we run a favorites contest. It’s actually just finished running this year. People voted for their favorite local businesses at connectionpub.com locals can vote for their favorite real estate agent, their favorite plumber, their favorite hamburger, their favorite french fries, and all their favorite local things that happen here within Weber County and Davis County in Northern Utah. We market that and we have sponsors who come in and they sponsor the page as well as outside advertising. We use that sponsorship money to put ads on different platforms and expand our reach. This year we paired magazine ads with Spotify, Facebook, and billboards and we had our biggest vote year ever, so it worked. That is an example of layered or omnichannel marketing.

So within my marketing plan, my promotional calendar that my salespeople take with them and go to the different businesses and tell them what we have to offer for the year, I then take an additional measure and promote certain things that I know will bring more readership, more eyeballs to our publications and will benefit us in the long run. There are multiple layers to it, but you need to have a plan and you need to have your budget set out in advance as we talked about in Lesson #1. 

Once you’ve got your budget, then make a plan within that budget to say, okay, here are the things we’re gonna do this year. And then from time to time, if you have something big, like an open house or whatever, as Timeless did, then increase your budget for that month and say, okay, we’re gonna increase it to this amount. Now be careful. Don’t spend all the profit you’re gonna make from that one event on your marketing, but talk about it more. Get more people interested in it. Generate excitement regarding your special event. Make it something that’s bigger and special. Any kind of event you can create a lot of energy around is really powerful. Event marketing, we’ll talk about later in another lesson, but create a plan, and have a brainstorming session. Create an annual plan. Know what you’re gonna talk about and how, and then use that in your content creation.

Use that everywhere you can and talk about it across the board. Again, ryan spelts.com. If you want a copy of the book you can click here. It has each of the months in it where you can utilize all of the different ideas like June Father’s Day, summer fun Days, or Monday fun Days, swimming, sunscreen, sandals, boats, water skiing, and camping. You can use those as a theme within your ads and all of your content creation. And they work great.

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