Getting your business ready for the upcoming holiday season needn’t be difficult or time-consuming, even if you’re a busy business owner with limited time and resources. To help out our fellow community of business owners, we’ve put together a holiday checklist for small businesses to ensure you have everything you need this holiday season.
1. Holiday product lines
One of the first things you’ll need to look at is if you’re going to be offering any holiday-specific product lines in the run-up to Christmas. This can be anything from your hottest products to limited edition collections – all that make perfect gifts. You’ll want to outline which products you want to push for your holiday collection and promote them across your online shop, social media and email marketing channels.
You can do this by creating a new category on your online shop and featuring it prominently on your main menu. This can also be supported with a banner promoting your holiday products, linking to that category.
You can always get our design team to create an amazing promotional banner for your online shop. Find out more about our banner design service here.
If you also have a blog on your online shop it might be worth creating a blog post to list what products are included in your holiday promotion and what discounts and offers customers can take advantage of. Make sure to give a brief description of each product and link to the correct product page to make it as easy as possible for customers to find the products they’re looking for.
2. Email marketing
While having a blog post and a new category is a good starting point for your holiday promotions, you need to get the word out about it using other marketing methods. Email marketing is still one of the most powerful tools you have in your toolbox. Hubspot released their email marketing stats for 2020 and 59% of respondents said that marketing emails influence their purchasing decisions.
Business owners should be taking advantage of email marketing throughout the year, but particularly around the holiday season when you may want to also take some time for yourself. Automating your email marketing over the holiday season can ensure that your business is still hard at work taking orders and marketing your products, without you having to lift a finger.
Having your emails automated over the holiday season means your valuable customers and newsletter subscribers are still getting great content, product lines and offers straight to their inbox.
There are a few core emails you’ll want to make sure are set up and ready to go before you take time off. Those are your;
- Christmas day sales
- Boxing day sales
- Your generic “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” style email
- Teaser content for your January sales.
Here’s a great example from Molton Brown.
With retail stores potentially being shut this year, it’s more important now than ever before to make sure you’re connecting with your customers online and encouraging them to shop online with you. Email marketing is a huge part of this, but to make it as easy as possible for you over the holidays, make sure you’ve got your emails set up to be sent out on a certain date at a certain time.
3. Social media
You can also set up your social media to be sent out automatically using a social media scheduler such as Buffer. This ensures that you’re still pushing out content to your followers over the holiday season and keeping them engaged with your brand. This engagement is key to retaining customer loyalty and growing your business.
If you don’t already use a scheduler to plan out your social media content we recommend setting one up so you can plan your content in advance, giving you more time to focus on running your business. You can connect all your social media channels and schedule content to go out at peak activity times for your audience to help increase your chances of a high engagement rate for your posts.
You should also be tailoring your content around the events taking place across the holiday season. If you’re running a boxing day sale, make sure to talk about it on your social media channels to make sure that any loyal customers or followers know and can spend their Christmas money with you!
4. Holiday mode
When all the preparations are done for your online shop over the holidays, the last thing you want is for something to go wrong with any orders or expected delivery times if you’re planning on taking some time off.
Holiday mode is an essential tool for online shop owners. When used it will display a message across your online shop, letting your visitors know that you’re on ‘holiday’ between X dates. This is highly customisable so you can advise if you’re still taking orders while you’re away or not and when you expect you’re able to get these orders sent out.
It’s always a good idea to ensure that if you do plan on taking orders over the holiday season, to advise the customer that their order will be received but their items won’t be dispatched until you return, and advise the return date.
Remember to pause your normal dispatch emails for your customers until you return so you are still able to take orders and send a confirmation email, but the dispatch email isn’t sent until the items are actually dispatched to the customer.
This way, you get a break to spend time with family and friends while your online shop is still taking orders for you in the background.
5. Update Google My Business
Something that might slip off your radar is updating your Google My Business listing if you have a brick and mortar shop. You’ll need to update your opening times over the holiday season and if possible, direct those searches to your online shop.
You can find instructions on how to update your Google My Business opening times here.
If you’d like to learn more about setting up your own online shop, read on for more insights into running your own online business here.