- And Start the New Year On Top
The holidays are upon us. For most business owners that means an increase in sales – or at least it used to. In today’s frustrating economy, small and large businesses alike are facing record lows when it comes to sales. Even those in the service industry are seeing less and less clients.
So what’s the answer?
Try these 11 ways to survive and thrive this holiday season.
1. One great way to boost sales and awareness of your company is to enlist the help of a publicity-marketing virtual assistant. These experts specialize in helping you to get more publicity. They can handle everything from writing and sending out press releases to creating entire media campaigns. Let them write better descriptions for your products, find the best keywords to drive traffic there, do research to find where best to locate your target audience, and then finally handle all your PR needs. Publicity-marketing virtual assistants take the time to learn their niche and to develop a relationship with their clients so that they can bring amazing results. See, your holiday sales can meet and exceed last year’s sales after all.
2. Do specialized holiday marketing. It’s not too late to take advantage of all that can be done this year to make more sales. Consider having a Lingerie Day sale in support of Cancer Month or a Cyber Monday sale. Add a contest to your site. Send out postcards and gift certificates.
3. Press Release/Article Writing and Distribution – Article marketing works. It’s a great way to get more exposure for your business and when done right, can result in front page stories, more clients, and lots of sales. Get active and write a press release about your business making a holiday or New Year connection. For example, share how you are giving back during the holidays, especially during the Christmas season, or any promotions you have, etc.
4. Set up your very own speaking bureau—Set up speaking engagements for the New Year. In January businesses go back to all work, no play after the holidays. It’s a perfect time to get out there and connect with businesses and line up speaking engagements. Also, consider a seminar or workshop series too.
5. Create a Holiday Blog Tour. If you have products or tips for the holidays, connect with other bloggers. Ask if you can provide some holiday tips. Bloggers are busy this time of year too, so they will appreciate the added help. And the best news, you get more exposure.
6. Reconnect with ALL your clients and let them know how you appreciate them and perhaps how you can help them with other needs they may not even know you offer. Send a personalized holiday card or greeting. For local clients stop by their office and drop off presents, candy bottles for the staff and/or their favourite coffee for their afternoon pick-me-up. For potential new clients, drop off a Holiday cup full of wrapped candy with your business card or perhaps get your business name printed on the candy bar.
7. Set up a publicity-marketing campaign designed especially for and around your company or brand. Write down a publicity-marketing plan for the year that will focus on brand recognition. Most importantly, make sure your brand represents your company the way it should to your target audience.
8. Update your website. Take a look at your website and see if it is the best that it can be. Pay special attention to your homepage and keywords. Look to the overall appearance, the professionalism of your wording, the explanations explaining the benefits you provide, etc. In fact, everything in your site needs to convince a client to work with you. Now ask yourself, “Does it do that?” “Is this something I can be proud of?” Too often we throw together a website, just to have it done. Remember this can often be a client’s first impression of you. Is it selling you well?
9. Use your email newsletter, Twitter account, Facebook Fan Page, and website to encourage your customers to share what they love most about your small business online. Encourage them to upload a photo, create a video, or pen a blog post about the products or services they love most. Also make sure to instruct them to tag the content with a predetermined tag. You can make the incentive whatever you want it to be, but offering each participant an X% discount off existing sale prices would be well received.
This approach works best if you make the announcement on your own blog and request that participants include a link to their shared media in the comments section of the post.
10. Don’t Forget to use Email – Properly! While email is generally overused it is still an inexpensive and easy-to-implement option for maintaining contact with existing customers. To be effective, do remember that mass email marketing should only be used to communicate with those you have already done business with or who have expressed an interest in your business or services and have asked to receive email from you – otherwise known as permission marketing.
Here are some tips for using effective email marketing to support your holiday marketing efforts:
- Keep the e-mail short, sweet and with direct links to your promotional offers rather than the home page – You want to make the process as easy as possible for your customers.
- Clearly state the intent of the email in the subject line – For example, “Thank You for Your Business in 2009 – Here’s a Special Offer Just for You!”
- Segment your customers according to their buying habits – Most commercially available email list management programmes have a variety of tools that can help you make sure your readers only get messages that are relevant to them.
- Be festive in your design – It’s the holidays after all!
- Follow the rules of the road – Don’t forget that online marketing is regulated, so whatever tactics you employ be sure to follow government guidelines that apply to list management, SPAM, and other rules of the road.
11. Bad Things Often Happen during festive seasons – Running a business can be a thankless job. Customers having a bad day take out their frustrations on you, someone posts a nasty reply to one of your blog entries, or a dissatisfied customer shares their unhappiness about you with all their Facebook friends. Do put plans in place to combat any such happening during this festive season.
Here are three tips to help you deal with negative feedback and criticism.
- Know you’re not alone. We’ve ALL been there. It doesn’t matter how small or big your business is, stuff like this is going to happen. So know that no matter what just happened to you, there are a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners out there who will both sympathize and emphasize.
- See it for what it is. All criticism is not created equally. Sometimes what someone is saying has absolutely nothing to do with you and everything to do with their own issues. Sometimes they have a legitimate complaint but the person is so unhappy with their own life they blow it completely out of portion because they just want to strike out at someone and you’re the one they picked.
- Be kind to yourself. When these things happen, it can hurt. And that’s okay. Call a friend. Or better yet, your mother (if you can). Write about it in your journal. Take a walk. Don’t bury your feelings, let yourself feel bad and then let it go. Don’t tell yourself it doesn’t matter and let it fester inside you, deal with it. Get it out of you. And then let it go.
The holidays are a great time to make money, even in this trying economy. If you’d like further information, or help with your publicity-marketing needs, please check out our website at: http://whytehallcommunications.webs.com