Welcome to the Marketing in the Wild Podcast. I’m Julia from Stratos Creative Marketing, where we are obsessed with finding real-life, in-the-wild stories about business and marketing.

Today, we’re gonna talk about my top tips for marketing. I have seven of them. They are good! I have tested them, they are accurate, they are true, and I’m excited to share them with you. Why in September? Why are we talking about the holidays in September? Well, that’s for number one. Number one is starting early. So number one is starting early because the holidays are a busy season for everyone, both for you, both for your customers, for your employees, should you have them. Maybe you’re finishing up and you do your work. So you wanna start early. Start thinking through, hey, what sales are we gonna do at the end of the year? Or what sales are we gonna do for the holidays? Black Friday, are we gonna do anything? Are we gonna be doing a new year holiday? Whatever it is, you should start thinking about that now. This is gonna give you time to hire it out if you need help, or it’ll give you time to do it well and proof it and make sure that it is perfect and ready to go. The more time you allow yourself to be strategic, the more strategic you will be. That is not rocket science, you guys, but take the time. Don’t wait till the last minute. And if you don’t, you’ll be ahead of your competition.

Number two, be consistent before the holidays. I recently got some emails from a company that we used to work with. I have not heard from them in two years, you guys! And suddenly, they’re coming out with all these sales, and I’m like, “Wait a minute, where have you guys been?” They were not consistent. I haven’t seen them. Be consistent before the holidays. Let your marketing plan run on autopilot. So if that means, hey, right now, let’s just put a bunch of social posts up, let’s recycle things, whatever it might be, be consistent so that people aren’t surprised that you came out of nowhere once you wanna start asking them for their money during your sale.

Number three, know your goals. A business with nebulous goals will not survive. Neither does a marketing plan. If a marketing plan has nebulous goals, it will not work. Be clear on your goals so you can make a marketing plan that supports those goals. I’m not just talking about like, oh, we want X number of sales on Black Friday. I’m talking about, what do we want quarter four to look like? How much revenue do we wanna bring in? Because then you can start reverse engineering; how are we going to get that revenue? Or maybe you’re trying to build your follower base. What do we need to do during these last few months of quarter four to do exactly that? How many new clients do you want? If you’re a nonprofit, how much do you wanna fundraise? Know your goals because then you can focus on the marketing streams that are gonna push your business forward. If you’re working on fundraising, leveraging your email list rather than social media ads, if you want more clients, you might focus on your sales funnel. If you want more followers, maybe you will do ads so you can reach new people out there. Know your goals so that you can reverse-engineer.

Number four, don’t confuse your people with too many sales. So in a previous life, I worked in MLM, and we were often supplied with materials that we could use for things like Black Friday. I remember one year where they had a different sale for us to do on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday. I think they even threw one in for Sunday, and then Cyber Monday. Literally, there were four sales. We had no idea what was going on and neither did our followers, because all we were doing was posting crap, honestly, because we were just throwing things out there, hoping something stuck. Do one sale at a time. Do one for Black Friday, do one for the end of the year. I’m not saying don’t have a couple things in it. Sometimes we will do a sale on our templates and then a sale on a workshop, but don’t have a different sale on your templates and then on your workshop, and then on your DIY club, and then on your done-for-you services. That would be too confusing. Pick something and stick with it. Maybe for you, that’s saying, “Hey, we’re gonna have 20% off storewide.” That alone is one sale. Yes, you’re putting everything on sale, but it’s one sale. It’s not gonna confuse people. Or maybe you just wanna put one product on sale. That would also work. Whatever it is, just don’t confuse people.

If you’re a nonprofit, also don’t confuse people with too many asks. Have an ask, stick with it. Don’t confuse people saying, “Hey, do you wanna donate? Hey, do you wanna come to this event? Hey, do you also wanna share this on your Facebook page?” There’s a time and place for everything, but just make sure you’re streamlined. You might say, hey, this is how much we wanna raise, and because of that, we’re having an event, and because of that, we want you to share, but make it connected so that people are not confused. As the great Donald Miller says, if you confuse, you lose.

Here’s another one. This is number five. Balance your holiday sales with nurture content. Don’t go heavy hitting on the sales, you guys! Make sure you sprinkle in some nurture. And this is where all the way back to number two, you wanna be consistent. You should be nurturing people all year round so that when you do ask for their money, they are not surprised and they don’t think that you’re just money hungry. But that’s the thing, you guys, is you have to have both. And also, you could combine some of it. Like what if you have something that’s sales specific, but it also gives education as to why that works or how it works? Or what if you give somebody a nurture content that’s like, hey, here’s five tips, and then also buy the material that has those five tips in it? Buy the book, buy the course, whatever it is, balance it. Otherwise, people are gonna tune you out honestly. So make sure you do that. There are lots of big brands that might, just during sales time, only do sales. If you’ve been nurturing all year round, you have a little bit more liberty to do that. But if you have not been nurturing, you need to balance it even during that season.

Number six, rally your supporters. So this one is particularly important for my nonprofits. If you have an end of year fundraising goal, ask people to commit to donating ahead of time. It’s kind of the same thing with a kickstarter. You wanna have people who are like, “Yep, I’ll put my money there and I’ll put it there right away.” Because once people start seeing the donations come through, they are more likely to give. People want to give to a successful project. So they’re gonna be more likely to give if they see donations coming through. So get some of that seed money. For those of us who have businesses, ask your people, like your in-real-life people, like your friends, family, everybody like that, ask them that when they see your posts, if they can like them, share them, whatever they feel comfortable doing explain to them that that is going to help your business grow, especially during the holidays, because as the algorithm works its magic behind the scenes, the more people who like and share your posts, the more people will see it. So rally your supporters behind the scenes and ask them to help you and support your cause.

Number seven. I could not make a list without number seven, and this is because I have had a revolutionary life change since I was in those MLM days. For a lot of different reasons, we don’t have to get into them. And side note, I have good friends who are in MLMs who are great. My experience was a little lackluster. But anyway, I mentioned to you, we got inundated during the holidays with, hey, get these sales out, get these sales out, you have to make your quota, all of those things. I got burnt out, guys. I got burnt out so badly. And then I entered into the marketing world, and I was helping my nonprofits with their end of year stuff, and I got burnt out also. Or I would have businesses doing heavy Black Friday sales, and I wouldn’t get to enjoy Thanksgiving. Guys, that was not the life that I signed up for when I started working for myself. So number seven is to protect your mental health.

I like to ask, what is our minimum viability? So if we know our goals, which is number three, what do we need minimally to produce that? Could we produce that without any sales? Like without any holiday sales? If so, maybe I’ll skip them. Why add to the noise if I don’t have to? Other people might disagree with me, but I’m like, hey, I would rather enjoy my end of year. Here’s the other question that I ask myself, is if we get more than our minimum viability, so say we get like two times as many orders for whatever it might be, could we actually sustain it in a way that is not gonna kill us? Like will my team suffer if I take on double the work just to meet my sales? Like just to have this holiday sale? So that’s my other question that I ask myself. So what is my minimum viability? Can I reach it no matter what? What do I actually need to reach that minimum viability? And if I get more, can I sustain it? Those are two questions that actually help me set my goals or reframe my goals so that above all things, I’m protecting my mental health.

Here’s the deal guys, is we didn’t start businesses to sacrifice our lives. Yes, yes, yes, there are seasons for sacrifice. I get it. 120%! Right now, I am recording in the beginning of August, and we are gonna take three weeks on the road, and I am working and hustling hard these next two weeks so I can take the following three weeks off and on the road. So I get it, sacrifice happens. But we have to really think about, what is our pattern of sacrifice? Do we have a pattern of sacrifice that puts us in the losing seat? Or is this a momentary sacrifice so that we can do things that we want to do? I think it’s one of the most important things to talk about in terms of holiday sales, because holidays are known as times that we spend with our families. And if we are not showing up for our families and we’re only showing up for our businesses, what does that say to them? And what does that say to us?

So I’m gonna step off my soapbox, but I really do hope that these seven tips are helpful to you. So let me recap them real quick. We’ve got start early! Get started now. Think it through. Be consistent. This is something you’re gonna start now. This is why we’re talking about this already in September. Be consistent. Let things run on autopilot. Number three, know your goals. What do you wanna accomplish in quarter four? What do you need to make that happen? Number four, don’t confuse people with too many sales. Do one sale, maybe two, and run with those so people know exactly how you’re showing up for the holidays. Number five, balance those holiday sales specific posts with some good nurture content so people know and love you, and they don’t forget that you actually care about them. Number six, rally your offline supporters. I mean guys, really, friends, family, you name it, rally those people and ask them to help you during these couple months. Number seven, protect your mental health. It’s one of the most important things that you have. So protect it even amidst the busyness.

Guys, here is to a great September and a great fall leading up to the holidays. I mean, guys, there’s only like 102 days before Christmas, but don’t freak out. Let’s get started now so we can have a great end of the year!

Friends, thanks for tuning into this week’s podcast episode. I am so glad that you have. If you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have, I just ask you to subscribe so you know each time we have a new episode coming out. If you loved our podcast and wanna give us a rating or a review, I promise, we will read each and every one of them. A special shout out to our friend, Carson Childers, who is producing our podcast. We really appreciate him and all the hard work that he’s done for us.

Also, thanks to the Stratos team. They have been behind the scenes doing all of the graphic design, brainstorming, et cetera, et cetera. Really, this wouldn’t be possible without them. I’m thankful for each and every one of you guys.

Lastly, listener, we’ll be back next week and I hope you will be too.