In this age of hyper-speed marketing, it's most likely time that you start adding "mini campaigns" to your year-long marketing plans. Think of these as quick hits that fill in the gaps between your major marketing efforts.
The challenge and opportunity for businesses -- especially those that rely on a traditional marketing calendar based on holidays, seasons and sales cycles -- is that marketing communications can catch fire or sizzle quickly on social media channels. Of the 140 million tweets on Twitter that are posted every day, 92 percent of retweets happen in the first 60 minutes. Content also churns over on Facebook, where the site's more than 500 million users help businesses extend the reach of their campaigns by clicking the "Like" button.
Conversely, the average email marketing campaign is said to have an average lifespan of 48 hours, with most emails being opened within the first 24 hours. That's a long shelf life compared to how quickly content and promotions shoot through social media.
The key is to not think about marketing in terms of the tools and destinations available. "This is my Facebook campaign." "This is my Twitter campaign." "This is my email marketing campaign." "This is my YouTube campaign." Think more about the message and how to best distribute it across the media.
For example, use Twitter as the hook where you spark conversation, and link back to Facebook, where you engage consumers in greater participation. Then use what you learn in your email newsletter and on your website for deeper content integration. Make sure that your content crafted appropriately for each channel.
Here are six examples of ways to spice up your year-long marketing campaign without investing a lot of time and resources:
1. Respond to Current Events
Engage customers over social media by sparking dialog around news or events that relate to your field or industry. Interpret the news, and offer your opinion, while inviting customers to chime in with their concerns and views as well.
2. Introduce a New Product or Service
If you have a new product or service offering then inform your customers about it. You can even share an often-overlooked service or product in a "Did you know?" format. Enhancements to your business provide ample reasons to reach out to customers with mini marketing bursts.
3. Invite Customers to a Special Promotion, Demonstration or Event
You don't have to plan months in advance to invite customers to a product demonstration, open house or another impromptu event. And you can connect into local happenings in your town or industry.
4. Share a New Company or Customer Video
This is another way to create an engagement marketing opportunity. Share a casual video message from yourself or one of your employees, or a customer testimonial video. Producing video can be fun, easy and, most importantly, engaging.
5. Give Thanks in a Customer Appreciation Message
It never hurts to tell customers, "We just wanted to thank you." Neither does showing them how you're using their feedback by telling them, "You spoke, we listened: We've made some changes to our business." Or, celebrate your in-business anniversary by thanking customers for their loyalty.
6. Offer a Free Report, Tips or Other Timely Information
You don't always have to ask customers for their business. Sometimes, you'll want to give back. You can do so by providing knowledge and insights in the form of how-to guides, white papers, service giveaways or some other limited-edition offer.
It's hard to predict which mini marketing campaigns will catch on and go viral, and which won't. That's OK. Create opportunities. Try new ideas. Test the waters without investing too much time or draining your budget. That's what social media and customer engagement marketing are all about. Engage your customers in a variety of ways, across channels, and see which mini campaigns turn into your greatest engagement marketing moments.
Gail Goodman is the author of Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wins In a Socially Connected World (Wiley, 2012) and CEO of Waltham, Mass.-based Constant Contact Inc., a provider of email marketing, event marketing, social media marketing, local deal and online survey tools and services for small businesses, associations and nonprofits.