Holidays are coming and as you look back you may be wondering how will you make this very last month of the year more profitable for your business.
One thing’s for sure. A lot of entrepreneurs are still struggling to accomplish more and employ faster and simpler working methods. And here you are, trying your very best to make it all work out over the next few months of the coming year.Don’t feel bad. Every business has slow periods. So if your business gets slow, work on these 45 things. You may have done some of these and some are new so go see what you can come up with!
Marketing During the Holiday Season
1. Buy your clients or customers a special but inexpensive gift
Show your appreciation by giving something back to your loyal customers or clients. A useful business gift is great for encouragement and inspiration.
Good items include travel mugs, notebooks, or business card holders. For long-term clients you can give epic gifts like leather briefcases or a portable Bluetooth speaker. The list goes on and you can think of creative ways to market these items as well by putting your logo or contact info.
2. Promote a giveaway for your business
Offer something for free like a one-hour consultation, an email-delivered gift card to Amazon, or a small product or service.
At Virtual Assistant Talent (VAT) we always offer free phone consultation for people who would just like to know anything about working with virtual assistants. Or, occasionally we offer a monetary discount or promotion when they start a subscription.
3. Send out handwritten note cards
The holiday season is all about giving, and giving thanks. So take time to thank your clients and give them some free business ideas or tips. Be amazing! They will remember how much they like you and may hire you for future projects.
4. Identify 3 areas of life/business where you can start saving money
Saving money is just as important as generating income. More savings means more money to allocate for important business needs. Start simple by giving up Starbucks for a month and make coffee at home. Or, think about finding less expensive phone plan or car insurance.
If you have a local secretary why not think of outsourcing those admin tasks to remote virtual assistants who are a lot cheaper? Look for reliable virtual outsourcing companies who can provide you quality Virtual Assistants (VAs).
5. Send a Holiday-themed newsletter or press release
Another way to send your season greetings is through newsletters. Include an interesting topic and feature someone or something in your business.
6. Create limited-time special discounts and free shipping
People tend to buy items out of urgency. Take advantage of holiday shopping by offering discounts and free shipping.
7. Clean up your email inbox
Clear up email clutter and unsubscribe from blogs you haven’t read in a year.
8. Build up your email list
Create a signup form and give away your free downloads as bait. Then, send out a nice email campaign by using free mailing programs like Mailchimp.
9. Record and post a free video tutorial
Make a short video that will add value to your customers. An example would be how to use your products, or how to do something useful related to your business.
10. Do some pro-bono work
Donate some of your money or volunteer your services to a charity, business, or random organization. You will be doing good for others as well as your portfolio.
Getting Ready for the New Year
11. Do write an actual online marketing plan
Even if you don’t have a definite well thought-out business plan, just start on making a simple outline—even if it’s only a few pages. To get started, here’s a free resource you can download: Business Plan Workbook
12. Create a marketing planner
Make a planner that breaks down your key tasks into daily, weekly and monthly.
13. Give your website a “face-lift”
Consider revamping your web design a bit. Maybe it’s time to update the navigation buttons and colors? Do you need to add more valuable links to direct your visitors to more helpful content and other sources around the web?
Does your website benefit your business with these 7 items? See what your web pages should be.
14. Build up your LinkedIn profile and connections
Take time to optimize your LinkedIn profile by adding more skills, summary, posts, etc. Build connections and relationship with the people in your niche.
15. Strategize your next blog post
Different styles of posts that attract readers:
- Tutorials – articles, slides, videos, audio instruction
- How To Articles (DIY posts, recipes, quick tips)
- Current Events/Hot Topics – including news related to your industry or controversial topics
If just don’t have time to blog or don’t have anything in mind to write, here’s what a blogger/content writing VA can do to help promote your business.
16. Be more lovable! Create a free resource for your visitors to download
Free resources page can not only help but delight your clients as well. Here is an example of a blog resources page.
17. Offer a freebie as a resource when people land on your website
Give something in exchange when your website visitors sign up for your email list. It can be an eBook, a PDF, recording, etc.
18. Follow up former prospects via email
Check in on past clients who expressed interest in your business. Send some emails and ask them how the (insert product name/service) you provided for them last year is doing. Do they have further questions? Suggestions?
They might be ready to hire you for their project or purchase from you, and they’ll be thankful that you refreshed them.
19. Ask testimonials from your clients/customers
At VAT, we send out a short email asking for reviews from our clients. Stack these all in your website and you have some irrefutable praises for your business. Take a look at this testimonial page.
Also, you can embed any tweet testimonial in your website by using Twitter Search
- Search your business name and Twitter handle to see what people have been saying about you.
- Click “More” on the Tweet you want to embed
- Select “Embed Tweet”
- Then copy the code that pops up and
- Place it on your website’s Testimonial page
20. Draft your business/project workflow
Write out what should happen from the moment a client contacts you to the moment you deliver your goods or services. How will you manage the project on your end? How long should each step take, and so on. If you are working with a VA, write out the whole process to ensure you follow the same steps each time. This will help ensure a smooth transaction with all the clients.
21. Conduct a website blog post audit
- All links are still working
- You’ve linked to other content on your site whenever applicable from within each post
- All your images are displaying correctly
- All the information you share is still up to date
Add new information when necessary, and continually make your blog content attractive.
22. Check Google Analytics
Are there any pages with an extremely high exit rate/bounce rate? Find out why and identify which posts and pages are most popular.
23. Don’t forget SEO
Make sure all your blog posts and pages are optimized for search engines. If you use WordPress, check out the search engine optimization (SEO) plugin.
24. Take new and vibrant photos
Get new photos of you, your products, your team at work, your office, or your customers enjoying your products. New pictures always entice readers, regular and new visitors, social media followers, etc.
You can do so by hiring professional photographers or doing a few photo tricks with your iPhone or Android device.
25. Find yourself a peer group
Same with reading, you can acquire new information by talking business ideas with other people. Look out for peers who live the small business lifestyle as well like your colleagues, friends, and online communities. Talk with them once a month or whenever possible to keep you on your “A game.”
26. Learn to use a social media platform expertly
If you think you find a social media channel that might be valuable to your business, take the time to really learn it. For example, Pinterest is really good for showcasing products online so play around it for a few days.
Note the ‘pins’ that draw your attention and see why they are most effective. Then, find some top pinners in your industry and see what they’re doing right.
27. Time for a new, appealing banner
Design a new Facebook or Twitter cover photo for your business. Use a free drag-and-drop tool such as Canva, Pixlr.com, or PicMonkey.com to make your graphics.
28. Ask yourself, how will I make my business succeed in the coming year?
Write out a detailed goal list on how you are going to spend the 240 mornings available to you each year to make your business grow.
Things You Can Do On the Side When You’re Laid-back
The following are activities you can do while sitting around this year with “nothing to do”.
29. Organize the files on your computer AND your desktop screen
Yes, you should do it whether you like it or not. It will help you focus better and avoid distractions. Put one folder for all your “Desktop” items, and then separate one for any documents or projects that require immediate attention.
Add another folder or notepad that will hold all your to-do items. Everything else should be stored away in the most logical folder for it.
30. Get new business cards
If you’ve updated any information on your business card such as website url or logo, it’s time to order new cards. You can go to popular business card printers like MoxyOx, MOO, and GotPrint.
31. Buy a good book on business or online marketing
When you buy a book in Amazon, it is recommended that you read its full description and reviews. Reading is a great way to increase your knowledge—it’s like compound interest as Warren Buffet puts it.
32. Keep your creative juices flowing
Do something creative even if it’s not directly related to your business. Write a short story, paint, blog about something you love, cook a delicious meal you’ve never tried cooking before, etc.
33. Make a financial plan to save up for something you need for business
Get that next item you can use for business such as a camera, laptop, or software. Think about cutting on expenses when it comes to dining out, entertainment, and other vanities.
34. Read a free eBook
Same as #15, continue learning by taking advantage of free resources. You may want to take a look at this: The Ultimate Facebook Marketing Blueprint for Business – Learn top techniques to generate leads/customers for your business using Facebook.
35. Create email templates
Simplify your work by creating standard reply emails that you can quickly edit whenever a potential client emails you.
36. Take an online course
Look for online classes or local small business class from lynda.com or Skillshare.
37. Repurpose all of your marketing materials
Review all the articles, images, and videos your company has that can use a change. Design it yourself or hire a designer VA.
38. Create some useful content you can sell
Pull out all the useful information and how-to resources that you have, lay them out chapter by chapter, and create a passive income stream! Share your helpful knowledge through selling an online course, eBook, printed book, etc.
39. Start a new project, or collaboration with other business
Most entrepreneurs and business owners are good at more than one thing. So if you think you can do other stuff other than running your business, start it!
40. Running out of tweets?
Upload your Buffer queue or Hootsuite account with a tweet each month for every blog post or free info on your website. It’s so much easier than looking for something you wrote months ago.
41. Go into research mode
Search several interesting and highly trafficked blogs in your industry that you can learn from. Or, find great information about a certain topic and save it as a resource for a new blog post on your site.
42. Create a style guide for your blog
Follow your new style guide. It will help you achieve conformity, consistency, and visual appeal. See instructions here.
43. Use Gravatar next to your comments
Make sure your picture shows up next to all your blog comments.
44. Call sales leads and set appointments
If you are just sitting around why not call some of your prospects to do some sales talk. Better yet, hire a virtual personal assistant to set appointments so you can talk to them further.
45. Post ads in Craigslist and other business directories
Similarly, in your down time, you can do some Craigslist posting to get your business out there. A VA can assist you if you don’t know the ins and outs of ad posting.
Hopefully, these items will get you going this holiday season and will give you a head start for 2017. So go on, start on a few things right now and don’t forget to share it with your fellow small business owners! And remember, you don’t have to do all of it yourself – consider outsourcing certain tasks to a VA to save you time and get that better work-life balance in the New Year!