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Marketing is a super-corporate word.  It's very succinct definition is, keep in touch. As an owner, everyone is tuning into your voice, and your message.  That includes your staff and your customers.  The easiest way to make sure your message is clear and concise is to literally sit down, uninterrupted, with a blank piece of paper (or 10), and a calendar.  What is the most important message you can say.  Once you know that, you will know how to change that message for the year, the season, the month or the day. Remember, keep the central message must be consistent.   It is really a way to keep in touch with the people who hunger for your food, or your product. 


Start from the beginning:  who is your ideal customer?  Write the main message directly to him or her.  You may want to add a tone to that message:  casual, formal, familiar, but the message is still there.  The beauty of the message is that it permeates the business, the staff, and is addictive to your clients. 


Now, with the message in tact, determine what you need to say to that ideal customer throughout the year.  Look at the calendar by the year, the month and the day.  

YEAR:  Is this year an anniversary for your business.  If so, then you will start to know EXACTLY what steps surround an anniversary:  Maybe you have a party.  You will decide how to put that party together.  Do you use social media or a PR firm to spread the word?  Create a written invitation?  Send an email invitation?  Perhaps staff participate, by asking them to choose the customers that they know are proud supporters? Put the message out in social media.  Local media would want to know, create a press release. 

MONTH:  Is there a holiday or an annual event in January that matches your message perfectly?  One restaurant in Baltimore drives people to an annual gathering to make kraut--it's local, it's in season in January.  It's a perfect match:  your customers need something to do in quiet January, and this restaurant serves a menu with local ingredients.  They happily put out the message on social media, and it goes viral because it's such an odd, fun, old-timey activity.  

DAY:  Is there a day that is worth highlighting:  National Grilled Cheese Day, Biscuit Day, or National Seafood Day?  Here is a resource that you can skim to find what particular days are relevant to your menu, for food product, and have fun with it.  When you plan ahead, you can be incredibly creative -- invite the 5 customer that you know love your latte art, and give them a chance to try out steaming milk on the espresso machine themselves.  

You take away from this blogpost?  As an owner getting your message out is essential. It is your marketing plan, so keep in touch!   Best way is using that consistent message all year long. It is a key to your success. Having your messaging ready means that it is easy to complete the task.  We are fortunate that social media is primarily a free service.  When social media is not an appropriate option, debate the next best form of sending out messages, so you can afford your messaging.  Then, actively get the message out, each day all year long.  

ACTION: set a meeting with yourself a week from now, for 1 hour, and have your calendar right there. Start filling it up!