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Looking Ahead to 2016

nov15-calendar-01Are you ready for 2016? We know, we know. There’s still a few weeks left in 2015, and you’re just coming through the end of the busy fall wedding season.

But if you wait until New Year’s Day to plan 2016, it’s already too late. Take some time to plan for next year now, and you’ll be able to hit the ground running when you get back to work after the holidays.

Where to Start

Start planning for next year by looking at this year. What worked this year? What didn’t work? What new things did you try? How did your business grow and change over the last 12 months? Take stock of how things have changed – good and bad – over the last several months, and you’ll know where you need to go in the future.

Time to Plan

Once you know where you’ve been, you can decide where you want to go in 2016. Make tangible goals so you have specific things to work toward. A few ideas:

  • Hire an assistant or more employees
  • Learn a new skill
  • Increase your social media presence and engagement
  • Participate in a bridal show – especially if you’ve never done it before
  • Add more dates to your wedding calendar
  • Add a new product or service

Think About Your Budget

The time to set your budget for 2016 is now – not after New Year’s. Look at your whole budget, but since marketing is our focus, we want you to make sure you set aside part of that budget for your marketing efforts in 2016.

We spend a lot of time sharing free ways you can market your business – social media, blogging, etc. – but you do need some sort of marketing budget. You should participate in at least one bridal show, so set aside money for booth fees. “Promoted posts” on social media an easy and inexpensive way to boost your reach on social media – just choose which media works best for you: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and even Instagram offer promoted posts.

Some other marketing budget considerations, especially if these things need to be updated or redesigned:

  • Print advertising in magazines and bridal show programs
  • Business cards
  • Flyers, brochures, and other handouts
  • Website maintenance, domain renewal, hosting, etc.

Make a Social Media Plan

Social media isn’t going away – in fact, it’s becoming more and more of a required marketing tool. If your business isn’t on at least one social media platform, you’re missing out! If you’re just getting started, we recommend choosing one platform to start – Facebook is the easiest choice for most – and dedicating yourself to posting regularly to that one site.

Your social media plan should include:

  • Learning about your audience
  • Finding sources for information that appeals to that audience
  • How often will you post? Set up a schedule for yourself that you will follow and stick to. We recommend at least three times a week; once a day would be better.
  • Setting aside time each day or week to schedule posts and respond to your fans and followers
  • If you’re not going to be handling social media yourself, you need to delegate an employee for the task