We are heading into the holiday season -- which means lots of sales, but also lots of demands on our time. There’s a lot to do before the end of the year! In the heat of the busy season, it’s so easy to let operations often get in the way of completing marketing tasks. To make the most of your selling season take the time now to complete your campaign plans, all the way down to how you’ll respond on different channels.
The more we can turn that work into manageable to-do items, the more likely you are to keep your marketing projects moving forward towards closing sales.
Today I'm diving into the four key components to consider when you are planning your campaigns: Cadence, Content, Engagement, and Partnerships. We’ll cover how each of these impacts the success of your campaigns, and I’ll share things that you can do right now to calm that content chaos that will soon creep in with the holiday gift season.
Join me in Episode 34 to learn how to connect your brand to your consumer’s needs, decide what your offers are in your campaign plan, acquire skills in marketing and creating new content to spend less time chasing down sales, and focus more on your goals and campaign plan.
Virginia Foodie Essentials:
Steady sales come from steady marketing.
The more you can turn that work into manageable to-do items, the more likely you are to keep your marketing projects moving forward towards closing sales.
The number one way to extend your reach with any marketing tool you use is to show up for your audience and use that tool consistently.
Your campaign needs to originate from content that your audience can relate to.
Social media is a tool that should be used at the top of your sales funnel driving your audience toward the next step on the way to close sales.
Engagement is all about making connections.
Finding good partners is a no-cost way to amplify your campaign.
Key Points From This Episode:
Marketing and creating new content
Planning ahead and creating action steps
Four key steps to complete your campaign plan
Engagement tools to use
Creating partnerships and connections
Social media tools for your business
Other Resources Mentioned:
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Click Here for Full Transcript:
[00:00:00] Georgiana Dearing: Digital marketing provides numbers. But the truth behind the numbers lies in the audience. Who are you talking to? What do you want them to do? What tool are you using to reach them? And what are you doing to continue the conversation you started?
[00:00:18] Welcome to The Virginia Foodie Podcast, where we lift the lid on the craft food industry and tell the stories behind the good food, good people, and good brands that you know and love. If you've ever come across a yummy food brand and wondered, "How did they do that? How did they turn that recipe into a successful business?" Then we've got some stories for you.
[00:00:45] Hello Foodies. It's another Marketing Monday, and it's fall and that holiday groove is creeping upon us all. And along with colder weather and spice lattes, folks in the food business are also thinking about the holiday selling season and all their promos and sales campaigns that we'll soon be cranking out. You have to admit. Sometimes the holiday season comes with a little tinge of dread about the volume of work we'll need to tackle between now and the end of the year. And your marketing, creating new content, and pushing it out there? It's so easy to let that falter. We all know that steady sales come from steady marketing. But for most emerging brands, operations get in the way of completing marketing tasks all too often. The more we can turn that work into manageable to-do items, the more likely you are to keep your marketing projects moving forward towards closing sales.
[00:01:39] In my coaching groups, I'm always talking about planning ahead and creating action steps that you can just turn on and execute as part of your normal working day. And that's why today, I'm talking about the four key steps to campaign planning. We are going to assume that you have some sales targets that you want to hit, and you've included some growth over last year's sales. But you can't stop there. It's not enough to say that we're going to run a Black Friday or Plaid Friday or Cyber Monday Sale. We'll offer some discounted shipping on large orders. And yes, we'll support some holiday gift bundles that were suggested by our retail partners, and then leave it at that. Deciding what your offers are in the bottom floor of a campaign plan. Getting all the tasks done in order to communicate those promos or what makes running those campaigns daunting.
[00:02:28] I'm going to share four key steps to a complete campaign plan that will make your life easier this holiday season. These are things that you can do right now to calm that content chaos that will soon creep in with the holiday gift season. The first part to a strong campaign plan is establishing your cadence. Plan now for how often, where, and when you're going to show up for your audience. The number one way to extend your reach with any marketing tool you use is to show up for your audience and use that tool consistently.
[00:03:01] Literally, step one for increasing engagement regardless of the tool you use is to be consistent in how you apply it. I talk about this in my social media group, but showing up includes tools like email. How many of you, small brands and even larger brands, how many of you send one outreach email and then wait for them to choose your product line? Or maybe you send it with the intentions of following up but work gets in the way, and you never do. Or what about connections you've made in a trade show, how many of you followed up with every connection you made through a trade show?
[00:03:36] This episode is rolling out during the Specialty Food Association's online show, Fancy Food 24/7. Their dashboard has an excellent matching system that lets you define what kinds of buyers you're interested in. And they send you the contact information you need to connect with buyers that are interested in your product categories. It's well worth the price of admission. But how many of you who participated this spring used all the viable contacts you received on your list?
[00:04:05] Yes, I get it. The day-to-day operations of running a craft food brand often get in the way of Smart Marketing. Consistent, persistent marketing that drives sales for your brand. So showing up and being consistent with your content is step number one for any sales and marketing campaign. Right now, before you do anything else, plan when you're going to execute your campaign. Put it on the calendar. As in, I will send emails on Tuesday mornings. Or I'll check my social media streams every day at lunch before I eat my sandwich. It's the little things planning ahead that are what you can lean on in times of high volume sales. Those checklist items become executable tasks during your normal working day.
[00:04:52] So step one is planning your cadence. Step two is planning your content. Your campaign needs to originate from content that your audience can relate to. You want campaigns that come from your audience's point of view. You can't just say, "I make this great tasty food and I use quality ingredients." You really need to tell the story of your brand in a way that the reader or listener can see how you are the best fit for them. In buyer communication, you also need to demonstrate that you're a great business partner for them by sharing relevant statistics and examples of past performance and most importantly, that you've done your homework by understanding what their brand is all about. It may seem like more work, but honestly, you'll spend less time chasing down sales if you only focus on companies that really are the best fit for your business goals.
[00:05:45] Why waste time on accounts that will either one, eventually say no, two, say yes, but then your sales are so low -- or you can't meet all their demands -- and the connection fails. The same holds true for B to C content. Consumers like to find brands that are matched to their lifestyles. “Our luxury single-sourced chocolate gifts subscriptions are now 20% off.” That's mostly about you. “Remind mom why you're her favorite with a monthly chocolate subscription” is about the gift-giver.
[00:06:17] The first example puts all the work on the shopper to figure out how your brand can solve their shopping problems. The second example provides a solution that includes a perception about the impression their choice will leave with the recipient. Both buyers and shoppers want to see themselves in your brand. And when you can connect your brand to their needs, it frames their decision to pick you. And that 20% discount? That's just a bonus to get them to close right now.
[00:06:49] So we've planned our cadence. We've come up with some content. Now, you need to think about engagement. Engagement, it's a big buzzword for social media because it's one way we measure the success of the content. How many people were liking, commenting, and more importantly, sharing your content? In social media, you want to be sure that you're getting the right kind of engagement too. Viral videos of a CEO in a chicken costume dancing around in the rain and get lots of eyeballs in your account. But it was all teenagers sharing TikTok posts, and you're selling premium cuts of organically grown chicken breasts. You've not developed the right kind of engagement for your brand.
[00:07:29] Social media is a tool that should be used at the top of your sales funnel driving your audience toward the next step on the way to close sales. Engagement, it's really about making connections. Digital marketing provides numbers. But the truth behind the numbers lies in the audience. Who are you talking to? What do you want them to do? What tool are you using to reach them? And what were you doing to continue the conversation you started? You have a role to play in keeping your audience engaged.
[00:08:02] One of the biggest mistakes I see brands make is they put their content out and then wait for the response. Outreach should not be a one-and-done action. You need to continue to connect with your audience. You'd never walk into a party, introduce yourself and then stand in the corner, waiting for people to come to talk to you. Maybe you would, but you wouldn't get many results. You'd never stand in your trade show booth and wait for the distributors to come and initiate the deal. You'd be nurturing the conversation along to find out if you're a good fit. Your marketing campaigns should do the same thing.
[00:08:36] Understanding the person on the other side, anticipating their needs based on your experience of how your brand best performs, and then keep the conversation going with them in the ways they prefer. Moves up social contexts to email, or gives email subscribers choices. Some buyers so on a barrage of newsletters to wade through. Other buyers like a more high-touch experience. And for heaven's sake, if you were contacted with a question or a request, be sure to respond properly, even if you can't give an answer right away. Acknowledge the question and set an expectation of when you'll be able to respond. And then keep that commitment. So make a plan for how you handle engagement for your campaign? How will you nurture those leads once your campaign is in motion? Plan now for all the next steps, and then make some action items that you can check off as a holiday hustle takes on.
[00:09:29] The last item in your campaign plan is about partnerships. Marketing automation is wonderful, and there are so many ways to cut time on creating and sharing your content. But any campaign should plan to include some outreach what's traditionally called networking and B2B sales. The world has changed a bit, and those in-person networking events are less frequent. But I participated in a handful of industry share groups, and it's great to see brands cheerfully sharing their contacts and Intel on what worked for them.
[00:10:01] So don't hesitate to share your plans with your peers. You'd be surprised how much you get back. You can also leverage your social channels to make connections with brand partners. Your Instagram account may be consumer-focused, but back-channel DMs, private direct messages are a perfect way to make that first connection with another brand or business that you'd like to work with. I've personally grown clients at a conversation that started in the VA Foodie Instagram account. If you're telling your brand message well on your social media channels, it's easy to tell if your brand is the right fit for whomever you message. They're getting your brand story right there in the flavor and tone of your images and captions.
[00:10:43] One other place that is increasingly becoming important for B2B networking is LinkedIn. Having a polished LinkedIn profile with clear brand messaging and a strong statement about your best business partners is a very effective tool. LinkedIn is the best way to present a professional front for your business. And it's another way to research buyers and conduct outreach. I've found buyers, distributors, and even packaging experts for my clients using research on my LinkedIn account. Finding good partners is a no-cost way to amplify your campaign.
[00:11:18] Once you've committed to a cadence, outlined your content, and mapped out how you're going to engage with your leads, take a moment to identify partners who can help you either with B2C content sharing and promoting or B2B leads and Intel. Do some outreach now and you can support each other later. And that's it, my friends. The four key components of planning a marketing campaign: cadence, content, engagement, and partnerships.
[00:11:46] If you can commit to regular touchpoints and email schedules that you can create now and a social content calendar that's planned in advance, then develop relevant content for each audience. You are halfway there. Follow that up with personalized engagement and some outreach to targeted partners, and your campaign will net meaningful results for your brand.
[00:12:08] If you've got questions about campaign planning, feel free to reach out to me for a free half-hour consult. You can email me or send me a DM on my social streams. I'm happy to help. And if you run a successful campaign recently, I'd love to hear from you. I'm always on the lookout for great stories about how brands have engaged with buyers or consumers. Maybe we can share your story on another episode. And that's it for Marketing Monday.
[00:12:36] Thanks for listening. And if you want to learn more about how to grow your own food brand, then click on Grow My Brand at vafoodie.com. If you're a lover of local food, then be sure to follow us. We are @vafoodie on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Join the conversation and tell us about your adventures with good food, good people, and good brands.