Business Anniversary Ideas: Mark Those Milestones

It always amazes me when companies overlook the simple things, like their own birthdays. Marking major milestones, like 10 years in business, is a great way to engage customers, reinforce credibility, and garner press. Here are five business anniversary ideas to weave into your marketing plan.

1. Note it on your website. I’m not talking words, but rather some sort of a visual that appears on every page. (Yes, you’ll want to note it in words as well.) Adding a banner graphic that notes the anniversary and having it link to a retrospective blog post is a good strategy. (Bonus: add the banner to social sites, like FB, Twitter, and LinkedIn.)

2. Create a promotion around the number. For example, if you’re celebrating 10 years in business and you’re an acupuncturist, have a contest where you’ll give one lucky winner 10 FREE treatments. You can get a lot of mileage out of a contest like this, since you can promote it through your website, newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, email signatures, etc. To enter, people can fill out a form and write a brief statement (250 words or less) as to why they should be the winner and what they’d use the treatments for.

3. Expand your “About Us” section on your website. Add  “Through the Years” or a “Time Line” (or both) on your site where you visually walk people through some of your major milestones.

4. Throw a party. Seems obvious, right? Company anniversary celebration activities are a great way to let your business be REAL. Throwing a party mid-year (late June is a good time) is always a great way to thank people for their involvement in your success. I’m talking employees, customers, and vendors alike. Here in Massachusetts, a cool, fun place to hold a corporate event in Kimball Farm (great ice cream!) in Westford, Mass. Michael Katz of Blue Penguin has been holding anniversary events there for many years.

5. Give gifts. Identify your top tier clients and send them a gift that signifies your business milestone. For example, if you’re celebrating 20 years in business, consider sending an arrangement of day lilies to your top clients with a heartfelt thank you note (the day lily is the flower associated with 20th anniversaries).

Have some other ideas? I’d love to hear them. Leave ’em in the comments.

8 Company Newsletter Ideas to Try Out

Need some company newsletter ideas? Here are eight to consider.

1. Private Sale/Private Offering. Construct a newsletter around a special sale or offering that will be available to subscribers only. Promote this fact on Twitter and Facebook and grow your list while you’re at it. I recently worked on this concept for one of my retail clients, and we got a good number of sales out of it as a result.

2. Inside Views. I don’t know about you, but I love learning about the real people in companies, especially those I do business with. In a time when corporate “spin” is in our faces more than ever thanks to the Internet, it’s refreshing to hear real thoughts and real views from real people. Do a “Q&A” feature with some of the people in your company. Ask questions that invite real answers — in other words, answers that provide insight into who these people are as human beings (e.g. favorite movie, favorite book, three songs queued on their iPods).

3. Highlight Charitable Giving. I’m not suggesting that you toot your own horn, but what you can do is provide real exposure to some of the charities and nonprofit organizations that you and your employees support. (Always a crowd pleaser in November.)

4. Blog Roundup. Sure, we want to believe our clients and prospects are flocking to our blogs and hanging on every word we write, but the truth is, life happens. Even when you consistently post great articles, not everyone will see them the first time around. So do a newsletter article where you recap those key blog posts: ones that garnered the most comments, ones that provoked controversy, and ones you feel are important “can’t miss” articles. This strategy can work well when you’re tight on time and can’t bang out a complete article or when you’re coming off the holidays or summer, since people might have missed some key blog posts due to travels and general craziness. For many of my clients, we’ll do this at least once a quarter.

5. In their own words. Ever thought of giving one of your clients the pulpit? Somewhere between a customer story and a customer testimonial, a customer letter “in his or her own words” could be refreshing. DO NOT EDIT CONTENT. Simply fix glaring punctuation/spelling errors and anything that’s factually inaccurate.

6. How’d we do that? You take what you do for granted, but chances are you have some readers who might be really curious about a certain aspect of your business. For example, if you’re an online retailer, you could provide insight on how you choose the lines you carry. If you’re a custom cabinetmaker, you could do a before and after “refurbishing” series, complete with images or video. You get the idea.

7. Do the opposite of what you normally do. Do you usually focus on customer stories? Offer some how-to articles instead. Do you normally write long articles? Find one great image — like a cartoon — that gets your point across and then attach it to an offer. People find value in any number of things. Mixing it up is a great way to keep your audience engaged.

8. Did You Know? Chances are your customers — even your best customers — don’t know everything that you do or every product you offer. Take a hard look at service offerings or products that you think should be resulting in more business. Then highlight two or three in a “Did You Know We Offer This” sort of article.

Need help coming up with fun things to put in a newsletter? Hi. Contact me.

Messaging Strategies: Two Approaches

I recently worked on a messaging project for a client who’s in an industry where everyone says the same thing. Part of the reason for the message’s “sameness” is due to legal and compliancy issues. But the other reason has to do with fear.

When I thought about it, I realized this situation is no different from any other messaging challenge for any other industry. Basically, you can approach messaging in one of two ways:

1. Churn out the same consistent (and often expected ) messages that many, if not all, of your competitors are churning out and focus on your reach and how often you bombard the market with your message

Or

2. Turn the message upside down and on its head. Choose a different message that no one else is focusing on and/or take risks in how you deliver the message

Both strategies have pros and cons. But knowing which strategy you’re going to use will help make other decisions (like who to use for your marketing and writing) go more smoothly.