Are You Digitally Ready for the Holidays?
Many businesses assume that just because they’re not in the retail business that they don’t need to plan for the holidays. The fact of the matter is that it’s possible for all businesses to take full advantage of the holidays. While you may not see the dramatic spike in sales as the traditional retailer, you can capitalize on the most wonderful time of year. For example, my family is in the new residential construction business and people aren’t exactly sleeping in tents outside our office on Black Friday. Actually, I would be willing to bet that building a new home is probably at the very bottom of their list when they’re checking the Target ads.
What we can do is to stay relevant online, so when all the tinsel has settled in the New Year and they are ready to build a new home we will be at the forefront of their mindS. I also serve on the board of directors for a couple of non-profits that have large fundraisers in the summer months. Again, running a mud run is most likely not at the forefront of people’s minds, but we can stay relevant and proactive offering special deals if they sign up early or a Christmas special. In today’s world with everything at our fingertips and information coming at us at record pace, it is more important than ever to stay vigilant and fight for that split second consumer spot.
“How do I do that?” you might ask or better yet, you may be saying, “I can’t do that, because I don’t have the time or the budget.” The truth of the matter is it’s no longer a question of time and affordability, because you can’t afford not to do it. According to SMB DigitalScape, small businesses that are not digital commerce-ready may find it hard to compete as consumers increasingly shop ‘til they drop from their desktops, tablets, and smartphones.” (Samtani, 2012)The best part about advertising in the digital world is that it is more versatile and offers versatility to customize a message every week, day or even hour!
Here is a quick digital holiday timeline:
- Develop a weekly promotional calendar
As I mentioned our business is not a traditional retail business, so the word “promotional” has a different meaning to us because we can’t exactly offer 50% off coupon for a new home. Simply adjust the definition to meet your needs. Our idea of promotion is mostly about relevancy. We can accomplish this by wishing our clients a simple “Merry Christmas”, offer them tips on putting up Christmas lights or a combination of both. Whatever your idea of promotion is, now is the time to plan your holiday calendar. An hour or so now, will pay off in a multitude of ways later.
- Get social media content ready to post
This task often starts out fun and exciting, until it’s not. I know, I’m just as guilty as the next person. I start with good intentions, but more pressing business matters get in the way and my social media content gets put on the backburner day after day. If you plan your content now to go with your calendar, you will thank yourself later.
- Plan your holiday imagery
After you’ve got your promotional calendar planned, now plan your holiday images to go with it. You can find royalty free images online or take festive pictures of staff.
- Dot your i’s and cross your t’s
Now that you’re holiday promotions are planned out, it’s time to make sure your website and social media details are error free and have all pertinent information to make it easy for clients to contact you. This means making sure your physical address, phone number(s), email address(es), social media links are working, etc. When these things aren’t easy to find within a few seconds, customers will go elsewhere and they have the ability to do so with ease. Again, this is something that can be accomplished in most likely an hour or two, but will pay tenfold in the end.
- Analyze the data
If you’re not collecting data, you need to start today. You can install a free version of Google Analytics on your website. There are other paid analytics programs out there as well. If this seems overwhelming and scary you might want to consider hiring a company like Cyberspyder to help you mine your data to turn it into customers.
Making sure you take these steps now, will assure you have a merry and bright holiday season and will help you start the New Year with a bang.