It is that time of the year when society enters its comfort zone. Unwinding, relaxing, spending quality time with friends and family. We look at 5 things you could do to ensure your business stays on top of things during this period …
The two week period – Christmas to year-end and the first week of the new year – tend to be a period of lull in business activities. Employees disappear on holidays and partners/subsidiaries tend to be set to automatic Microsoft Outlook messages.
For business owners, however, there never really is a period of total relaxation. Whether at home with family or sipping beverages alongside a resort pool, the “what is happening with my business?” question perpetually lingers.
Here are 5 ways we think you could prop up your business and best utilise the holiday season break to benefit you, and your employees and partners, when normalcy resumes in the second week of January:
1. Keep Social Media Buzzing
Just because your business is not running at full capacity does not mean social media has to shut down. Your social media presence, if anything, should push harder for outreach during the holiday period. With content auto-posting tools such as Hootsuite, setting periodic tweets, linkedin messages and facebook posts, celebrating holiday events via photos in pinterest, tumblr or flickr, etc., could go a long way in enhancing your brand image.
Social media has the advantage of providing informality to businesses. You can position your products, send out goodwill messages and season’s greetings without having to explicitly plug your products and services, thus acting as a subtle yet strong technique to empower your brand image.
2. Ensure E-Content Is Mobile-Friendly
Don’t forget that the holiday season equals travelling, equals limited internet connectivity. During this frenetic period where everyone is shopping for the best deals, having a mobile-friendly presence for your products and services is optimal. Especially for those business owners who have a B2C focus, the ability to reach out to consumers with your products and services portfolios through smartphones and tablets could acts as the decisive difference between operating a successful holiday season business and failing to efficiently cater to your market.
3. Connect, Network, Greet
The holiday period provides businesses with a great opportunity to connect with partners and clients. Keep your business cards handy. Year-end reviews, management conferences, galas, meetings with partners for round-ups and target setting, etc., offer a fantastic avenue for business owners to network. And once you have connected, make sure you follow-up. Personal follow-ups work wonders in helping businesses build a rapport with existing and prospective clientele. Make sure you herald the collaboration and thank them for working with you.
Also, make certain that you greet your customers, partners and subsidiaries. Creating email campaigns to greet all stakeholders during the holidays might add a great touch to cementing partnerships. Adding notes of appreciation and “thank you” messages might be a good way to close a year as well as usher in the new year.
4. Plan Ahead For The New Year
We are all well-versed with the first week back at work after holidays; the first day of which we spend the most part sorting through a deluge of emails and shooting “Sorry for the delay” responses to clients who are soliciting urgent assistance. While this comes with the arena, planning ahead for the new year could see to it that this ‘catch-up’ act does not affect other de rigueur tasks.
Keep what your customers want in mind. Knowing what they might expect from your business over the holiday period is crucial to delivering a top-notch service. Bundling regular services and products with holiday greetings and offers will act as catalysts to greater brand loyalty in the new year. The age old expression of “the customer is always right” always applies.
5. Appreciate Customers; Reward Loyalty
There is no better time of the year to make regular customers feel appreciated – so don’t forget to let them know that. Besides the routine holiday greetings, go that ‘extra mile’ to make them feel ‘extra appreciated’. Creating special offers, sneak previews, even exclusive sales, all help bolster the concept of being rewarded for loyalty.
Additionally, social media can be used by businesses to offer loyal customers with shopping tips, surprise deals, etc. Creating a forum for customers where they could seek advice and suggestions, compare notes with other customers, discuss what more they would like, et al, would subtly translate into customer retention due to the customers’ enhanced involvement with your business. Knowing the stressful shopping aspect of the holiday season, advice would always be welcome and any help would be greatly appreciated by customers. Remember, rewarding customers for brand loyalty during the holidays is a two-way benefit street, a win-win proposition.
See to it that you make the most of the holiday season; use this period to bolster your business’ identity, spread holiday cheer and make customers feel valued.
The LSBF team wishes you all a Happy New Year! Here’s to a joyous and prosperous 2014!
Are you a business owner? Do share with us your tips for boosting your business during the holiday season!
<Principal image courtesy Raghav Tayal / Some rights reserved>
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