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The Off-Season: A Time to Plan Marketing Strategy

In many industries, there is a busy season.  Accountants have tax season, doctors have flu season, retail has Black Friday.  In Maine we have summer tourist season.  The off-season, while being a chance to work at a slower pace is also a time to do marketing.  

The off-season, while being a chance to work at a slower pace is also a time to do marketing.”

I love to sew.  I love the construction process, I love picking out fabrics, and I love the final result.  However, I learned that the part that takes the most time is planning the project.  It takes much more time to research your pattern, figure out what you need (zippers, buttons, interfacing, elastic…), cut out the pattern pieces, and pin pieces together than it does to actually construct the garment.  Running the fabric through the sewing machine (the part you think about when you think of sewing) is actually just a tiny fraction of the project.

Monarch Butterfly Computer Art
Monarch Butterfly Computer Art

Similarly, marketing is the same as sewing.  It requires a lot of planning, and getting the parts needed.  When we are in the off-season, we need to take advantage of that time to use our imagination, play with ideas, prepare ads and social media posts, and finally store finished projects away for your busy time.  

I recommend getting your calendar out.  Look at your calendar and think about what is coming up in the year ahead.  In the case of Kennebunk, we have leaf-peepers to come in the Fall, we have visitors who come up for Christmas Prelude, Memorial Day weekend is big, and of course we have Summer Tourist Season.   Looking at the calendar helps us to think about what events we need to plan for.  Do we need advertisements, do we need artwork to be done. Brochures, press releases, magazine submissions and social media posts can all be prepared while business is slow. 

Did you know that customer emails and social media posts can be scheduled to send weeks in advance of going out to customers?  You can have readied things to go out when you are too busy actually running your business to worry about reaching customers.

Marketing takes planning and preparation.  Good luck using your quiet time to make the most of your business growth.

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Clean and Lean – Writing for Clarity

Reaching your audience is already a big challenge. It’s your goal to make it as easy as possible for clients to find you and grasp what you can do for them. There are many ways we can overcomplicate our message. We can use words that are difficult to understand, we can overstuff our website with information that hides our main point, and we can make grammatical mistakes that can really confuse our audience.

Eschew Obfuscation: Avoid confusing your message.
Avoid Confusing Your Message

One common way to lose your audience is to use technical jargon or overly formal wording. We want to appear professional and knowledgeable, so of course we pull out the thesaurus and try to sound authoritative. Or we are so used to industry terminology that we forget how foreign it sounds to the average person. Both of these things will cause readers’ eyes to glaze over. A way to solve this is to imagine explaining what you do to your grandma. Keep your vocabulary conversational and choose words that will be understood by someone not trained in your industry.

Another way to confuse your message is to lose it in descriptions of your philosophy, the history of your facility, or a biography of how your business came to be. All of these things are valid to have on your website. In fact, sometimes these stories help set you apart from your competition and allow your target audience to find you. However, don’t hide your main message. “We can do X for you.” If, for example, a reader likes that you ride horses on the weekend, but doesn’t know you run an outdoor adventure camp, your message has failed to serve its purpose.

Also, have a friend look over your work. Are there typos? Have you repeated a word too often? Does your message really say what you think it says? Another viewpoint can help you get your wording just right and avoid embarrassing mistakes.

Finally, rewriting and editing is part of the process. Keep exploring word choices and looking for ways to pare your message down until it is lean and clean.

Good luck with messaging and have a great time crafting those websites!


For more information read:

May I Have Your Attention, Please? by Mish Slade; Copyright Mish Slade 2016

Building A Story Brand by Donald Miller; Harper Collins 2017