Before picking a date for a promotion or event it's important to understand how the various online resources at your disposal can work for your business. Since you want to attract and catch the attention of new customers, it's important to understand how they find information and -- more importantly -- how to ensure information shows up when and where they are looking.
When individuals look for information about events and promotions that might be of interest, they typically look in one of two places: online search engines (ponds of information) and social media (rivers of information).
Google and other search engines are constantly crawling websites for relevant content for their users. I consider these to be ponds because your goal here is to stock the pond with information for when people go fishing for things to do. Here are two things you can do to ensure that your content will be found by search engines and shown to potential customers:
There's a constant flow of information going through social media streams towards consumers and when you post content it joins the stream. If you are lucky, your content shows up in one of their streams; even luckier still and it will arrive when a prospective customer just happens to be looking for what you offer.
While consumers have some control over the information they see, companies like Google and Facebook also do a fair amount of content filtering on their own, making it difficult to know whether your content is reaching your desired audience. Not surprisingly, both of these companies offer the opportunity to pay to improve or boost your odds.
Email Marketing is the predictable and effective stream for reaching your existing customers. Assuming you follow best practices and send emails one or two times per month, you should be sure to include upcoming promotions and events at least twice before each event.
Ideally, coordinate the timing of emails with postings on your website. Here is a stream of email posts that you could follow: at least 45 days before the event, use a "Save the Date" type of reminder; the week prior to the event, send a "What's Happening This Week" note, and if it's a big event, send a "Reminder" email 24 hours before your event.
Facebook had been gaining momentum as a potential social media alternative to email marketing; however, recent changes by Facebook have made it more difficult for local businesses to count on content making it into the streams of the individuals who "like" the business. We still believe it's worthwhile to post content to Facebook, but recognize the following:
Coordinating your resources will result in the maximum impact possible for events and promotions. Use this as a framework until you come up with the cadence that works best for you:
60 Days in Advance
45 Days in Advance
7 Days in Advance
24 Hours in Advance
24 Hours after Event
Perhaps the Web hasn't made your daily life more efficient and enjoyable up until now. But if you follow this framework, you'll make significant improvements, based upon what I've seen with thousands of local businesses around the country.
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