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What Thanksgiving Can Teach Us About MarketingThis Thanksgiving, as you’re asking Aunt Mildred to pass the mashed potatoes, think about marketing.

Okay, so maybe that’s a little weird. Maybe wait until dessert to think about marketing, or maybe think about it on the drive home. The point is to think about it at some point during the day, because Thanksgiving can actually teach us some pretty valuable things about marketing

Not buying it? See for yourself.

Plan Ahead

Even if you think Thanksgiving and marketing couldn’t possibly have anything in common, it’s hard to argue with the fact that Thanksgiving, just like marketing, takes planning.

Most people start preparing their stuffing a day (if not several days) in advance, shop around for the best turkey, and coordinate with relatives to see who is bringing what.

It’s not as if you wake up an hour before your guests arrive on Thanksgiving, grab any old bird at the market (since the turkeys are sold out by this point), shove it in the oven and throw up your hands, shouting: “Well, here goes nothing!”  I mean, I suppose you could do that, but at that point you’d probably be better off just ordering some pizzas and calling it a day.

Just as you wouldn’t want your guests to get to your home and wonder what happened, you wouldn’t want your prospects and customers to get to your slapped together website, or read your sales-y email tirades and wonder the same thing.

Good marketing takes careful planning and strategy so that you can reach the right people at the right time with the right message. If you don’t put the time into your marketing, your message will eventually fall flat.

So if you want to keep your Thanksgiving guests (and your customers) coming back for more, you need to give them what they’re looking for so they have a reason to return.

Be Part of the Conversation

You ever sit down at the Thanksgiving table where one relative desperately tries to reconnect with everyone and catch up on the past year while everyone else silently scans their iPhones in their laps?

The sad reality is that you could be shutting out your customers in a similar way. When was the last time you checked your social media accounts to see if anyone commented on your posts? How many emails have people sent you that have gone unanswered? Pay attention to your customers and keep the conversation going; they want to connect with you, and they want you to be an active participant in that conversation.

So instead of burying your head in the sand, get out there and communicate with your customers and prospects. Answer their questions, help them solve their problems before they even know they have them. That’s how your business will be remembered when it comes down to deciding to work with you or your competition.

Bring Something to the Table

You know that one relative who always has an excuse for why he didn’t have time to pick up a pie, but has more than enough time to mooch off of everyone else’s dessert?

Yeah, don’t be that guy. When marketing your business, bring something of value to the table. Don’t rely on your competition to come up with all the great ideas and then try to steal their thunder. Remember, there’s only one Apple, one Coca Cola, and one you. Figure out what makes you different, what you and only you can offer, and bring that.

Give Thanks

And finally, the most obvious lesson to gain, what Thanksgiving is all about: giving thanks! Stop and take a moment to think about how you can show gratitude to your customers, the people who keep your business afloat.

Maybe they’ve given you a positive review, or referred you to a friend; thank them for that. Were they there at your last networking event? Why not send them a personal thank you for attending? Even something as simple as downloading your content offer is deserving of a thank you. Recognize the little ways that people take an active interest in your business or outright support what you do, and they’ll be much more apt to continue doing so.

Remember, the more customers you can gather round your proverbial “Thanksgiving table” by carefully planning, participating in conversations, and showing gratitude, the better off your business will be.

So here’s to a Happy Thanksgiving, and to even happier customers! 

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