I have no idea how the conversation started.

But while I was out to dinner with my nine-year-old twin girls the other night, they asked me for a pen and started taking notes on a napkin.

If your experience is anything like mine, notes on a napkin can only mean one thing … they had a big idea, and in this case, an idea for their own business — a nail salon/spa/restaurant they’d name EJ’s. (Their first initials put together.)

I have to admit, I was pretty impressed.

Who wouldn’t want a tasty homemade meal after getting your nails done?

They started rattling off all these ideas for how they could get the word out about their business and get people to come in.

Some marketing ideas included:

  • In-store events like movie nights
  • Exclusive one-of-a-kind experiences
  • Special sandwiches for kids and adults
  • Commercials that tell a story
  • Special deals around the holidays
  • Holiday events like Easter egg hunts for kids with half off massage for the parents
  • Birthday specials for customers
  • Renting the space for parties

Not a bad start.

After they filled the second side of the napkin with menu items, which they were very adamant had to be homemade, I chimed in to tell them that they could use Constant Contact for their marketing.

All of a sudden I was the cool guy at the table.

(They’re big fans of Constant Contact, and all of the really cool people I work with here.)

They excitedly asked, “Will you help us with our business?”

Well, how could I say no?

So I asked them if they knew what marketing was. After a short gathering of thoughts they agreed on a definition.

J. shared, “Marketing helps you get people interested in what you’re doing.”

I can work with that.

I elaborated a bit to say, “Marketing helps you get the right people interested in what you’re doing.”

I explained that they’ll need to think carefully about the specific people they want to come to their business. This way they know how to talk with them and how to best share their story.

This is important because when you focus on people and work to create a great product, service, and experience for them specifically, it makes it easier to attract more people just like them to your business.

This also helps you create and grow great relationships with them, so they become loyal customers and more likely to tell their friends about you.

“Make sense?” I asked. To which I was met with nodding heads.

So far … still engaged.

I outlined the basic things they’d need to think about to make their marketing plans successful.

The first one was to make sure people can easily find your business.

I pulled out my mobile phone and opened up my Yelp app. I showed them how when we’re out and about, I can search for a place for us to go to eat, which is how we ended up at this restaurant on this particular evening.

I explained how important it is that the information found about the business be accurate and how enhanced information, such as a menu, in the local listings can help you make a decision about whether or not you want to go there.

“You want to see what they have and what you might like before you go all the way there!” E. exclaimed. She got more excited when I told her that Constant Contact can help manage local listings.

Next, once people come to your business and they have a great experience, you’ll want a way to stay in touch with them.

This is where you ask your customers to give you their email address so you can let them know about those things you have going on with a newsletter campaign.

Then, you can set goals for all those special things you wanted to do, and create offers and promotions that map to those goals.

Once you know what you’re going to do, you figure out what content you’ll create in support and where you’ll share it. To get the best results, you’ll want to think about using all the channels available to you to get the word out. Channels like email, social media, and mobile.

Then you can run specific email and social media campaigns and you can manage those events you want to have with Constant Contact. You can even get feedback about how you’re doing from your customers by sending them a survey.

And you’ll be able to evaluate how you’re doing and make smarter decisions by looking at all the reports Constant Contact gives you about your marketing campaigns.

“Pretty cool, right?” I asked. “Awesome!” They replied.

That’s when the food arrived and it’s probably a good thing because that’s about all they could take in one sitting.

But the good news is that over the course of the next few months we’ll be exploring all of the ways you can create your own campaigns that drive action and help you do more business. So be sure to stick around.

I’ll keep you posted on when EJ’s Nail Salon, Spa, and Restaurant opens to the public. And if you’re nice to me, I’ll see if can get you a great deal for your first visit.

What about you? What types of campaigns do you run to get more people to your business? Any advice I can pass along?