Your Guide to Planning Marketing Campaigns

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Here are some questions to consider as you start to think about your marketing plans.

What are our goals?

Conduct a SWOT analysis to determine where to direct the marketing plan and where the store is starting from. Having a starting point will make creating your goals and assessing your success easier.

  • Strengths: What are we good at? What’s working? What do our customers like about us? What advantages do we have?
  • Weaknesses: What do we want to fix/strengthen? What can we become more efficient at? What do our customers complain about?
  • Opportunities: What makes us unique? What do customers want that we can provide?
  • Threats: What could hinder our growth? What or who else could our customers seek out/buy from?

Create SMART goals to address areas for improvement with the marketing campaign.

  • Specific: What are we trying to achieve? How will we reach this goal?
  • Measurable: How will we know when we have achieved this goal? What metrics do we need to track?
  • Attainable: Is this goal realistic? Do we have the tools, skill set, and/or resources?
  • Relevant: Why is this goal important? How will this goal support our overall business objectives?
  • Timely: When will we accomplish this goal? What is the timeline?

Who are our ideal customers?

Knowing who you are wanting to attract for holiday shopping helps focus your efforts. Stores can’t be everything to everyone, but narrowing down the type of customers you currently have and would like to reach will assist with your marketing strategy. Customers use various social media platforms differently, so consider who you‘re trying to reach and meet them where they spend their time. Use different versions of the same assets for different platforms.

  • Who are our best customers? Why?
  • What are our typical demographics?
  • Where are our customers located?
  • How can we help them solve a problem?
  • What are the most important factors customers consider when deciding on a purchase?
  • What information do customers need in order to make a purchase?
  • How, when, and where do customers get their information?

What can we use to accomplish our goals?

With your goals and ideal customers in mind, consider some best practices and resources to meet those goals:

  • Assets and Shareable Content

    • Use ABA assets from our Marketing page to drive shopping.
    • Take advantage of ABA content for your customers, like the Indie Next List, Kids’ Indie Next List, Indie Gift Guide, Reading Group Guides, and the ABC catalog for young readers. Send them by mail and digitally to customers to promote titles.
    • Create graphics! You don’t need to be a graphic designer; Canva is a free tool with templates to get you started. Check out ABA’s Technology Recap: Canva Tips & Tricks.
    • Use your phone to record short clips, like bookstore tours, stacks of books perfect for gifting, or book reviews. This adds more engagement and visibility. According to Wyzowl, 66% of consumers say they’d rather watch a video than read about a product.
  • Digital Marketing

    • Email Marketing

      • Keep your emails short and to the point, and use a familiar sender name so your message doesn’t get lost.
      • Craft an engaging subject line. Start with action verbs, use numbers, or pose a question. Don’t be afraid to have fun and be creative!
      • Add shareable call-to-action buttons linking to a specific page on your store’s site to increase engagement and visibility. Examples include “Take a Peek at our Gift Guide,” or “Shop This Season's Must-Haves.”
    • Social Media Marketing

      • Use free tools on platforms (Facebook, Threads, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, etc.) that you are already using that can be geared towards this campaign.
      • Spend a little money on strategic paid promotions, such as $20 to boost a Facebook post about the “Top 10 Children’s Books for the season,” aimed at customers ages 35-45 who live within 20 miles.
      • Review past Marketing Meetups focused on social media for tips on best practices, analytics, creating videos, and more.
  • Website

    • Is there a special webpage for the campaign through your website that customers can be directed to?
    • Can you add a banner or announcement to draw attention to the campaign on the main webpage?
  • Promotions, Giveaways, and Activities

    • Share top picks for your wish list or a gift guide for the special readers in one’s life. Something like the “Five People in Your Life Who Deserve a Great Read This Season.”
    • Have printables and templates available for download or screenshotting, such as a shopping list to help your customers remember everyone they need to shop for. Helping anticipate your customer’s needs is one of the best ways to drive sales.