Today is my son's birthday. He turns 18—on the edge between boyhood and adulthood. This milestone makes me happy and sad at the same time; it's a time of reflection and celebrating what he's achieved throughout his youth. It's also a time of excitement and looking forward to new adventures to come.

Business birthdays can have the same benefits. They are a good way to mark growth, reinforce your trading credibility and track record, and they also help to build your business and personal brand. How do you celebrate your business birthdays? Learn more in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

So how can you boost your marketing efforts by taking advantage of a business birthday? The key is always to revisit your marketing objectives. Don't just throw away money on random ideas that don't support your broader marketing goals. For example, don't give away something of high value like a gift unless it supports your marketing objectives to increase your website traffic, build your mailing list or boost your year-end sales.

Here are five ideas to make the most of your business birthday:

1. Run a competition. Consider giving away a number of items that reinforce your birthday message, such as 10 bottles of champagne for the best 10 comments on a blog post, or choose five winners drawn at random from email sign-ups.

2. Develop a discount code or voucher. Create a special discount voucher, promotional postcard or code to be redeemed online or in person when visiting your office or storefront to boost customer traffic.

3. Throw a party. A bit of birthday cake and some champagne goes a long way to create publicity and a buzz about your business. Invite your existing and potential customers, influential contacts and suppliers in your network to help celebrate your business milestone.

4. Recognize the efforts of your employees. If you employ staff, recognize their role in making your business a success and organize a staff party or meal, team reward or incentive, or even a gift for every staff member to help boost their feelings of company pride, loyalty and motivation. After all, keeping and motivating great staff is important, particularly in the current business climate.

5. Gift your customers. Send your valuable customers a personalized gift that carries your birthday message. Again, try to make it fit the theme and offer a discount if they continue to use your services or reward them for increased spending with your company.

Read tomorrow's issue of PCT for more business birthday celebration tips.

What ideas have you used to successfully to celebrate your business birthday? Let us know:

Source: Orchard Marketing Associates is headed up by Sarah Orchard, a Chartered Institute of Marketing chartered marketer, who has more than 15 years of top-level marketing experience with leading service sector brands.