“Hang on a sec,” you may be saying after reading the title above, “it’s freaking September.”
Indeed, it is, which means we haven’t even gotten to Halloween, which means we’re not even close to the holiday crunch, right?
One mistake small business owners unwittingly make over and over again is slamming unprepared into the biggest season of the year. Whether you sell products in a store, are in the service industry, or provide a hospitality offering, lining your ducks up now in a sweet little row will make all the difference.
To say nothing of the fact that everyone in your life, including your employees, your family, and your customers, will be grateful you did.
Advance Planning — Tackle It Now
- Pinpoint popular trends going into the holiday season and make sure your business can meet precise needs. Customers are savvier than ever these days and know what they want. Get there before they do.
- Start planning your promotions now, including email and social marketing campaigns, and set them to go out automatically so that you can focus on the business as the days get longer and busier. If you’re offering deals, make sure they always direct customers back to your website.
- If you’re in the business of selling a product, think about adding a little extra by customizing your packaging or gift wrapping.
Polish Up Your Social
- Make sure products are updated, correctly priced, and available on your site. Consumers have zero patience with outdated info when a simple click will get them the item they want elsewhere.
- If you have access to solid data from last year, such as from Google Analytics, use the most successful keywords in blogs, newsletters, and emails to reach your target audience.
- Connect with your customers across all available channels to remind them you’re out there and ready for their business. Use these platforms to clearly define why they would pick you over the competition.
Show Your Appreciation
- If you’re sending snail mail cards to clients and customers, order them enough in advance that you have the headspace to thoughtfully consider the options. And don’t make the mistake of sending online cards in late January — it won’t showcase your organizational skills.
- Happy customers who spread the word enthusiastically and sincerely are the best marketers. Give five-star customer service and interact with them authentically at every opportunity.
- Don’t forget your team. Plan now how you will reward them for jumping in with both feet and supporting you during the most stressful, tiring, and rewarding season of the year.
Give yourself an early holiday gift: take the time now to ensure your marketing efforts and your business are well primed for the season by checking off these items on your to-do list.
Then you can party like a rock star when the holidays arrive — you will have earned it!