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Monday, December 27, 2010

Keep Momentum Going into the New Year

 A smart plan will allow you to carry the year-end momentum into January
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone. Nonprofits are making pitches for donations. Service businesses are offering special gift packages. Yes, the holidays are here, signaling a frenetic end to another year.

When the calendar year changes, don't step off the gas and coast into 2011. Instead, continue your November/December momentum into January -- and beyond -- with some simple planning that will help you get the New Year started on the right foot.

Try a New Promotion or Program
Business-to-consumer companies are most likely to feel a momentum drain in January. Given the pace of the holidays, it's expected that there will be some slowdown, but that doesn't mean things have to come to a screeching halt. Build a First-of-the-Year promotion to help drive post-holiday sales, such as "Come in for the first time in 2011 and get 10% off your purchase."
If you don't have one already, January is a great time to launch a loyalty program for your most fervent customers -- the very customers that are subscribed to your email newsletter. Give them a reason to continue receiving your newsletter and open it when it arrives in their inbox.

Forecasting For the Future
Business-to-business organizations can use the calendar transition to reignite clients for the year ahead and get the creative juices flowing. Depending on your business, you might provide your clients with an overall outlook and forecast for the New Year based on your expertise. Offer marketing tips that will help get clients' January started off on the right foot.

It's also a good time to offer a promotion or discount for clients and prospects to come in for a consultation that will help them plan for the year ahead. Remember that businesses are spending money during the holidays as well, so a discount can be helpful in spurring them to spend additional money with you.

Continue To Say Thanks
Similarly, nonprofits and fundraisers can get a jump on January by using a newsletter to recap the year gone by; thank donors, volunteers, and supporters for their help; and begin telling your readers about your goals for the year ahead, and how they can play a role in your organization's success. Make sure to give a calendar of events coming in the new year, so people can pencil them in on their fresh 2011 calendars.
No matter what your line of business, the end of December through the first couple weeks in January is the perfect time to thank your customers for their business. No sales pitch needed, just a simple thank you for their support.

Make the Most of Your Downtime
This might seem like a lot to do, and you probably want to have a little downtime this month to relax and enjoy the holidays with family and friends. Fortunately, you can relax if you do a little planning and developing now.

You can write end-of-the-year and January newsletter content now, build the newsletters, and schedule them to go out automatically during the coming weeks and month. By building a schedule of newsletters and having the content ready to go now, you can roll out your campaign while you're taking the time to relax.
This scheduling also puts you in a good habit for the year to come. In January, you can build a master schedule for the year so you're not scrambling to come up with content or ideas at the last minute. Knowing in advance what you want to send out will give you time to develop and write content that best serves your audience. The plan does not have to be detailed; just a simple list of topics for each month can be enough.
Whether this was a good or bad year for you, start the next one off right. January is a great time to start the master planning process for your entire email newsletter program. Doing so will help you keep your momentum rolling right into 2011.

(source: Constant Contact)

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