Yes, it’s July and that really is the C word but as many of our customers and readers will be aware Christmas orders for retail are well and truly under control and that while many of us are thinking of tans, they’re thinking of turkeys and toys!
If you’re an established business you’ll have an idea of when your festive rush starts in earnest and based on previous years you’ll be aware of plans that have been successful or otherwise and will most likely have an outline plan in place on what needs to be done and by whom.
On the other hand if your business model has changed, your resources have been reduced or you’re enthusiastically looking forward to your first Christmas as a business owner, there can be a lot to take into account so we’ve put together a few pointers that you might like to consider to keep Christmas 2012 as stress-free as possible!
Content, products, images – start collating them now and if you’ve got the option to upload data with a view to publishing later as in WordPress for example, use any quiet time now to minimise the work later.
End of summer, back to school, Halloween, Christmas – typical email themes for the coming months. Whether you’re seasonally focused or work on a strict schedule, allocate dates now so you’re working to deadlines that suit your business and give your customers sufficient time to order.
If you’ve kept to a dedicated marketing plan and budget for the year to date well done. If however you don’t quite have the ideal budget remaining – or indeed have any cash to spend, start thinking creatively now. Marketing your business doesn’t always mean spending money – products and/or services can be ideal for bartering!
Blogs & Social Media
Don’t suddenly start bombarding your customers with sales messages or the latest special offers for Christmas – nothing is a bigger turn-off for a fan or follower. Use quiet time to prepare some draft blog posts now so the blog won’t be abandoned in the festive chaos.
If your employees share the job of posting to facebook or twitter, ensure it’s realistic for them to continue if they’re working a packed restaurant or bar, or forced to choose between the customer in the shop and the queries coming through social media. When it’s quieter in January you’ll be looking for your fans to re-engage with you, don’t abandon them because you’re busy at a time when they’re in the mood for shopping!
If you’re in retail you’ll quite probably be open up to and including Christmas Eve. If however you’re selling online, particularly if you’re selling overseas ensure that you include details in your content/product/email plans. Pop a note in the diary to check-in with An Post so you know as quickly as possible when your last selling date is.
The 2013 Plan
Within five months it’ll be “January Sales” time, even though it’s no longer unusual to find some in place before you’ve even posted the cards. Allocate a day(s) to put together a plan for next year as while you’re looking after today’s customers you’ve got to keep looking for tomorrow’s sales. Our post on putting together a plan is a handy read if this is new to you and you’ll find it here.
Book The Experts Now!
Even though you cope with managing retail, web, customer service, social media, accounts, email and everything else that comes with being a business owner most of the year, if you think you might need help with the end of year accounts or keeping the web up to date, start looking at your options now. There may be many options but you’ll frequently find that the most affordable or most reliable, or indeed most suited people you’d like to outsource to are booked up many months in advance!
At The Marketing Shop we offer outsourced marketing solutions to small business owners in areas such as Adwords, Email, Websites, Blogs, Copywriting, Marketing Consultancy and more. Talk to us or drop us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in outsourcing for Christmas, high season, holiday or maternity cover or even just on a once-off project.