5 expert tips and ideas to prepare your small business for the holidays
The holiday season is back and in full swing. Before you know it, you’re scrambling last second at Bath and Body Works trying to put together a somewhat decent gift for your in-laws. But for small business owners and managers, decking the halls requires a completely different type of mental and physical preparation.
Winter brings along the busiest shopping season of the year, and having everything fully prepared can lead to a holly-jolly Q4. To make life easier, we’ve created an overview of the essentials you need to tackle the daunting holiday period.
1) Remember Remember the 27th of November
November 27th, infamously known as Black Friday, kicks off one of the most chaotic shopping weekends in the world. An estimated $17.2b was spent among Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday alone in 2018; how would you feel knowing you missed out on some of that cold hard cash?
Cater your marketing strategies around these dates using in-store and online promotional deals, social media and website content, and direct mail. You’ll also want to make sure that you have everything in order logistically, such as inventory and additional employee scheduling, to properly support your in-store foot traffic.
Key Takeaways: Though all three dates may not be necessary for your business, it is essential to participate in the ones that do matter. Map out your promotional and operational plan ahead of schedule to get the word out in time for your customers to act.
2) Strategize Your Marketing Communication
With so many other businesses doing the same preparation for the holiday season, it’s your job to outshine their efforts – especially in terms of your content strategy. To do this, you must utilize the most effective channels and messages to reach customers with the highest intent to purchase.
Email: Email is the most engaging tactic for letting your existing customers know about promotional deals, store events, and anything needed to know about your business. Remember, these contacts have more than likely purchased from you before, so their intent to buy is already significantly higher. Use holiday templates and themes to get your contact base in the festive mood.
Social: If you’re a savvy digital socialite, you know that social media is a key method to reach your target audience. Our advice to you? Plan out your content ahead of schedule so you can focus on engaging with your customers in real-time. You don’t want to be spending time each week crafting new posts, which takes away from other essential work duties.
Web: Your website is the first thing you should update with new holiday information. We can’t express the importance of having your site perform at a high level, especially your mobile pages. Conversions fall by up to 20% for every second that a mobile page is delayed; how are you supposed to get your message across if users bounce before they even get to your website?
Key Takeaways: You’ve taken the time to create a strong message, now it’s time to put it out there for your customers to see. Take a minute to understand which channels are best to deliver your message and schedule it in advance so you can make tweaks with minimal effort.
3) Hone In On Your Website
If there’s any time to ensure that your website performance and keywords are optimized to the best of your ability, it’s now. 8 out of 10 consumers reported having been influenced by internet search prior to purchase, illustrating the leverage that intent-based search can have on the average holiday shopper.
In a digital age, it’s not shocking that these numbers are so high. Put yourself in a customer’s perspective: how many times have you searched online to figure out where or what you wanted to buy?
While performance and relevant keywords are crucial to generating website traffic, it’s also important to support your website with attractive promotional deals for the holidays. This could be free shipping, a coupon or discount, or holiday guide; all of which can be an effective tactic to close a final sale.
Key takeaways: Ensure your website is performing up to speed, utilize free keyword research tools to increase search-based page traffic, and add holiday promotions to your product mix to close a final sale.
4) Clean the Bells and Whistles
Part of preparation is making sure that all of your t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted. Making sure your holiday hours are correctly listed, your addresses are accurate, and all online information about your business is up-to-par are just some of the many tasks that should be on your radar. You don’t want to be facing a plethora of issues when you’re neck-deep in the trenches, especially issues that have the potential to do some damage to your business.
Key Takeaways: Don’t allow things to fall through the cracks that can creep up later on. (Pro tip) Search your business online and see what you find. You will be able to immediately identify any errors in your business listings and eliminate the possibility of incorrect information.
5) Show some love to your team
Your business wouldn’t be able to conquer the holiday season if it weren’t for your employees. The time between mid-November and the end of the year is brutal; from family commitments, traveling, to immense financial pressure, the added stress from the work environment can be even more discouraging to your team. It’s your job to keep employee morale high even after retail Armageddon arrives at your front door.
Though company Christmas parties can be hit-or-miss, sometimes it’s best to keep it simple. Asking your employees how they would like to celebrate is an easy way to cater to a more interesting event for everyone. Remember, they know what they like better than you do!
Establishing a yearly tradition, such as working on a charitable project for families in need during the holidays, is also a great way to bring the team together and focus on something other than work.
Key Takeaways: With the added stress of the holiday season, your employees are the ones that have been right beside you in battle at every moment. Show your appreciation for them by celebrating as a team, whether it’s a fun gathering or charity event.
Although it is important to put your brand out there during the holidays, it shouldn’t be limited to ¼ of the year. Managing and optimizing your digital presence can be a full-time job on its own, making it tough for business owners and managers to handle when things get busy. For those looking for a little extra help, Business Warrior gathers public information about your business and prioritizes any errors that may be hurting your bottom line – so you can tackle the holidays with ease.
For more information about Business Warrior, you can follow the link here for your free 14-day trial.