Whether you are a promotional wizard, have inherited a marketing role within your organization, or are a single practitioner wearing many hats, you can learn to easily and affordably create, plan, organize and edit calendared promotions for the coming year. Doing so will help you realize your vision of marketing success.
At this time each year, as the soothing hum of visitors and scrumptious holiday smells fade into memories and the pace of social, cultural, and political life resumes its steady clip, we are so often left with more than a few reasons to be holding a little tension in our shoulders.
Though sitting fireside, sipping tea from the comfort of a cozy armchair and planning the year to come may seem idyllic, the reality generally more closely resembles the feeling of a sprinter set at the front of the curve—as we look over our shoulders, hoping to make some improvements from our last race around the sun.
It is, however, undeniably worthwhile as a practitioner, to take a beat and a breath—tea in hand or not—before sprinting forward, and to set some intentions for marketing success. It is the space created by this pause that allows us to reflect on where we’ve been and to ask ourselves the big questions about what we want in the year ahead.
What intentions do you hold around your client base and the relationships you foster with them? What is your message to them this year and what channels and tools do you have at your disposal to communicate it most effectively?
Before attempting to answer these questions or beginning to craft a promotional strategy, take a moment to consider the following:
This includes both your existing and prospective clientele. What are the needs and demographics of your current clients? What services do you already offer, and what adjustments might you make to better support them?
If you are seeking to expand your client base, considering what networks or target markets benefit most from your services will give you a clear indication of where and how to initially make contact.
Consider what relationships you want to foster with new and returning clients alike. This is an opportunity to get creative with the treatments you choose to offer and with the ambiance, energy, and sanctuary created by the physical environment you offer your client base.
The nature and quality of the professional relationships you intend to build will act as the cornerstone of any promotional strategy you generate, and a guiding principle to which you can always return.
Let this specific vision that you wish to manifest guide the message, channel, and tools you utilize for your business.
This consideration is both very simple and deeply nuanced. It may be the quickest question to ask, yet also the most thought provoking—and potentially time consuming—to answer.
Simply put, what do you stand for? The deeper you go here and the more layers you peel back in this reflection, the clearer you will be in your intentions, in your messages, and how to communicate them.
What drew you to massage therapy initially? Why do you do the work that you do, and what makes it meaningful to you? What sets your practice apart? Do you have something unique to offer your clients and the world? Are your practice’s founding principles solidly reflected in your work, or is it time for a change? What do you want to communicate in 2017?
Once clear on what you stand for, you can begin to translate it into the language you’ll use to attract the right clients, build the right relationships, and arrive at your intended destination of marketing success.
If you stand for healing within your community and empowerment through self-care knowledge, for example, you might consider articulating this through workshops or educational materials that you could promote or distribute through a variety of channels.
Many communication channels exist through which to network with your professional community, but it is essential to assess each individually—its function and limitations—for its alignment with and support of your unique business need.
Newsletters provide a space for intentional messaging and a platform to create customized content to reflect your business, often for a monthly or annual fee. These messages are received by an organically growing group of interested recipients (consider a newsletter signup list at your front desk) and can be sorted by separate distribution lists (those interested in specials versus those interested in workshops).
Free social media channels like Facebook and Instagram provide a potentially large network a brief glimpse into your practice and a way to get connected. This is a great space to include images and video content that gives your community a visual feel for the nature of your work.
Now that you’ve reflected on how and whom you’d like to serve and which channels you might best convey your intended message to them, it’s time to get organized. This used to mean busting out your favorite highlighters and sticky notes.
Whether or not you consider yourself a marketing wiz, an increasing number of virtual tools are available to help you create, plan, and manage calendar communications and promotions for the year. There are also an increasing number of tutorials for how best to use these tools and communication channels.
There are now free platforms designed to organize and timetable content. Here you can create cards specific to each project, promotion or communication channel that can be stored, rearranged, and viewed in this online database by simply logging in.
Benefits of this type of platform might include:
- Cards that function like virtual stickie notes, allowing users to outline specific projects and providing the option of assigning a due date, collaborator and categories.
- Share-ability enables the tagging of other Trello users on cards to keep content collaborative and all participants in the loop! This is an especially important feature for those with multi-person marketing efforts.
- Calendar and list views visually arrange your promotions in either parallel compartmentalized lists or laid out in a calendar format by the dates assigned.
- Color-coding allows users to create color-coded categories that can be assigned to each card—visually clarifying timelines for each communication channel.
- Search-ability allows users to easily find their intended card or content, amidst the number of variables at play on each card, including titles, collaborators, labels, due dates and notes.
Implement for Marketing Success
Once you’ve set clear intentions for the coming year and have become familiar with the relevant organizational tools at your disposal, you are ready to lay out your promotions. You know your business better than anyone! When storyboarding your content and deciding when and how each card or project will function, envision your year in its entirety and think:
- Seasonally: Are certain services you offer more relevant to your clientele during specific times of the year? What might they appreciate
- Generously: Offering deals and specials within your practice is a tangible way of appreciating your client base and fostering a mutually generous relationship with your community.
- Communally: Establishing a referral program encourages promotion of your practice via word of mouth. This builds connection and community both within and beyond your treatment room.
- Informatively: Using newsletter and social media channels allows an opportunity to gain credibility as both an education resource and an expert in your craft, this is something people will come to rely on and return to.
There is something uniquely satisfying about stepping back and examining the fruits of your organizational labor—your very own calendared 2017, complete with storyboarded messages and promotions along color-coded channels.
Whether organization comes easily to you, or if you’ve found this process from intention to implementation a pain-staking one, it is certainly worth the work.
A clear vision of how you would like your practice to grow and knowledge of the best channels and tools to make it possible empowers you to make this vision a reality—to take it into your own hands in an affordable, editable, and shareable form.
So perhaps, you can get around to that tea and cozy armchair after all.
About the Author
Bonnie Campbell acts as director of outreach and marketing for KM Herbals, Inc., a private label manufacturer of botanical and aroma-therapeutic personal care products. Valedictorian of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of San Diego, Bonnie graduated with honors and a degree in Communication Studies and Sociology.