Business Tips

  • Holiday Traditions to Keep Your Small Business Top of Mind

    As a small business owner, your main goal with any form of marketing should be to keep your small business top of mind with your customers. Because at the end of the day, marketing isn’t about selling, it’s about matching.

    You need, I have.

    When a customer has a need, or someone they know has a need, you want your business to automatically pop into their head. You want that need to essentially be synonymous with you business, so that any time the need arises, people automatically come to you.

    So the strategy of keeping your small business top of mind at all times is a really solid one.

    And I don’t mean that you should be sending emails every single day straight up selling – because that’s a one way ticket to everyone losing interest in you. The way to keep your small business top of mind is to stay in front of people in fun, useful, educational, purposeful, MEANINGFUL ways. And the holidays are a perfect opportunity.

    The holidays are a time that is inherently traditional. We eat certain food, decorate our homes and businesses, gather with the people we like/love the most, and we are conditioned to expect things like sales on our favorite products, holiday movies and shows to come on TV and certain events to take place like parties, parades and other things of that nature.

    So how can we, as business owners, use this time to weave ourselves into the traditions of our customers? I feel it’s important to mention upfront that like anything marketing, the ultimate key is consistency. Once you do something, it’s important to be consistent with it in order for people to expect it in years to come. Because that is, after all, how traditions are formed. Here are a few examples of fun things you can do during the holidays to keep your small business top of mind!

    Give a Seasonal Gift

    holiday gift giving to keep your small business top of mind

    Gift giving is such a big part of the holidays, so what better way to show your customers some love than to give them something special? Here are some ideas!

    • A pie or other yummy something delivered to their home, or even better, their place of business so their coworkers see it! I know this may not be realistic if you have a lot of customers, but you can always do a combination of this and the one below if you are into the holiday treat idea! Set some parameters for yourself on who receives what. If a client has done business with you for X number of years, if they’re a new client this year, if they’ve sent X number of referrals, they get a pie, and everyone else gets something different.
    • A voucher for a free item at a local bakery. This is an awesome way to cross-promote with another small business! The idea is that you’ll hand out (or mail) vouchers to your customers, and that when they come in to redeem, the bakery owner will keep track and at the end of each week until the expiration, you’ll pay for the ones redeemed. This is great because you don’t have to pay for the ones that aren’t redeemed, but you’ll still get in front of those customers and they’ll see that you took time to think of them, even if they don’t take you up on your offer.
    • A gift card. Again, this may not be realistic to send to hundreds of customers, but you can mix it up however you choose! A simple $5 gift card to a local coffee shop and a nice handwritten card can go a long way.
    • An industry-specific gift. Sample sizes of your favorite product if you’re a hair stylist, free whitening kit if you’re a dentist, a bar of seasonally scented soap if you’re in the body care business, a tire pressure gauge or ice scraper if you’re in the car business, dog treats if you’re a vet, groomer, trainer, etc. It doesn’t have to be something big, just specific to what you do, and of course, bonus points if it’s fun/useful!

    Sell Something Seasonal

    Your traditional holiday “top of mind” idea doesn’t have to be something you give away…it can be a sales opportunity that people look forward to! We’ve all seen cosmetic companies with their special holiday bundles, people stampeding into Starbucks to get the Insta-worthy holiday cup and numerous other seasonal indulgences.

    In my favorite holiday movie, Christmas with the Kranks, the local boy scout troop goes door to door in the neighborhood selling trees. “Hello Mr. Krank. We’re selling Christmas trees again this year! You got a Canadian Blue Spruce last year…” This little exchange leads you to believe that this is something the troop does every year and that the Kranks typically purchase a tree from them. A perfect example of how a business (or organization, in this case) can weave themselves into a family’s holiday traditions.

    So what are some things that you can sell at the holidays? These don’t necessarily have to be industry specific…note my first example below 🙂

    • Holiday scented soaps and candles – these are a great impulse buy and an easy gift for people to give! I used to take my dogs to a groomer that sold holiday candles in November and December, and I bought one two years in a row and loved them! This could easily be something that customers learn to look forward to.
    • Products or product bundles only available at the holidays – make up, clothing, cookware, jewelry…create special bundles of your customers’ favorite products and only offer them at this time of the year, maybe, but not necessarily, at a discounted price.
    • Calendars – you’ve probably seen local places like animal shelters and fire stations sell calendars around the holidays. Not only is it the perfect time for a calendar because we’re about to go into a new year, but calendars can also be fun and useful…making them great for your own home or to give as a gift. Full size calendars or even small desk calendars are something a lot of people enjoy.

    Send out a Card

    This one is so fun! I have worked with a number of small businesses who send out holiday cards every year to their customers, and people love anticipating what the theme of the card will be (usually the employees will choose a theme and everyone will dress up). This is something that you can have a lot of fun with, but is also a great way to keep your small business top of mind. And if your customers are like me and love to display their cards all season long, you also have the opportunity for others to see your card and ask “who is that?!” 🙂

    If you don’t want to send a printed card, you can have a similar effect on social media and through email. But if you really want to get the most mileage out of it, I’d recommend doing all three – mailing, emailing and posting on socials. We’re all about recycling good content here!

    And speaking of sending emails, if you have helpful, holiday related information to share, that is another great excuse to get in front of customers. A holiday recipe, safety tips, gift giving guides, decorating tips or anything specific to your industry and the holidays are all great ideas.

    Host an Event

    Events are one of the main things that people look forward to throughout the year, but especially at the holidays. One of the more infamous examples of a business putting on an event that people look forward to is the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade has become a staple for millions, but it started in 1924 as simply a way to encourage people to shop at Macy’s for the holiday season. Here are some examples of events you can host that people will look forward to:

    • It would be criminal to not list holiday parade first after that wonderful intro, lol! It doesn’t have to be as big of a production as Macy’s, but hosting an annual parade will be something people will look forward to. It can be in your parking lot, through a major neighborhood or somewhere in town…all just depending on where you can get permission. Make it fun by getting other businesses and families involved.
    • Have a holiday festival. Games, food, prizes…what could be better?! Again, you don’t have to do this all on your own if you don’t want to…bring it other local businesses and use it as an opportunity to cross-promote!
    • Host a holiday charity drive. There is nothing better than giving back at the holidays. By hosting an annual charity drive or fundraiser, you are able to give back to people in your community, and people will learn to associate your business with giving…which is the best thing to be recognized for (in my opinion, at least)! Collect clothing, food, gifts and/or money during a certain time each year and partner with a local shelter to make sure everything is given where it’s needed the most.

    ***REMEMBER! Anything that you do or send (at any time of the year) needs to be reflective of your brand. This means it needs to look put together and include your branding (logo, brand colors, business cards, etc.). The goal is to get people to recognize your business, get excited about what is taking place and come to expect it year after year.

    Okay, friends! Hopefully this gives you some inspiration on ways to keep your small business top of mind during the holiday season. If you skipped to the bottom, here’s the gist:

    1. The holidays are a great time to get in front of customers and weave your business into their traditions.
    2. You can do so by giving gifts, selling seasonal items, sending cards, hosting events and more!
    3. Anything you send needs to include your branding and be reflective of your business…no throwing things together like a slob kabob.

    Is there something your business does every year? Share it with the class!

    READ MORE!

  • Social Media Management: How to Set it and Forget it.

    FACT: More effort does not equal more value. Not when it comes to sweeping, and definitely not when it comes to social media management.

    Think about it this way: Either you sweep your floors yourself every single day, or you set your Roomba to do it for you when you are out running errands. The end result is the same whether you kill yourself trying to accomplish it or if you get something to do the work for you…your floor is [mostly] rid of dog hair and dirt.

    Unless you’re brand new around these parts (and if that’s the case, let me be the FIRST to say helloooo!) you know that I’m a huge fan of automation. I automate everything that I possibly can, including my welcome emails and content upgrades. The phrase “set it and forget it” makes my heart sing, because it means that you put in a little bit of work up front and then you let things work for you for weeks, months, or even forever. Now that’s an ROI i can get behind.

    Something I used to seriously overwhelm myself with was social media management. Like sweeping the floor when you have indoor pets…posting on social media is a DAILY necessity for your business, not only for brand development, but website traffic and lead generation as well. I have known this from the beginning, so I’ve always tried to stay on top of my social media management – but I was RUNNING MYSELF INTO THE GROUND, Y’ALL. Logging in during “peak posting times” to manually post content, trying to keep up with what I posted when and when I should post it again AND engaging with my followers turned into a living social hell. But what I didn’t realize is that this overwhelm was completely self-inflicted…because there’s a much better option out there when it comes to social media management (and it’s FREE).

    (more…)

    READ MORE!

  • Time Management: How Time Blocking Exploded My Productivity (+ FREE Time Blocking Template!)

    I used to wake up every day with pretty high hopes for myself. I would go to bed each night, think about the tasks I needed to complete the next day and say to myself…“I’m going to wake up and knock. that. shit. out. No problem.”

    Yeah, that hardly ever happened.

    I wasn’t napping, I wasn’t “taking quick breaks” to go to Target and I wasn’t watching ANY TV. So why wasn’t I getting anything done?!

    I was multitasking.

    “But multitasking is a good thing.” Eh, debatable. 

    The thing about multitasking is that multiple tasks have your focus at one time (like that word breakdown?). It can be a great thing if you’re working on one thing while other things that don’t require your attention are happening in the background (i.e. you have a load of clothes washing/drying while you’re on a conference call). But if you have a list of tasks to do that all require your undivided attention to finish, you’ll never finish everything by trying to multitask. You just won’t.

    Effective time management is one of the top things that entrepreneurs struggle with, especially when their business is based out of their home. It is so easy to get sidetracked and jump from one task to the other, and when 5:00 rolls around you realize that you haven’t gotten anything done even though you’ve been working feverishly all day long.

    I get it. I really do. Because that was me. 

    Now…introducing the best thing to ever happen to my time management skills: Time Blocking. TADA!

    (more…)

    READ MORE!

  • What Should I Post on my Business Website? + Kickass Content Cheatsheet

    I talk a lot about the importance of having a website for your business, and it’s not just because I am a total website geek…it’s because it really is important.

    I don’t know about you, but one of the first things I do when I hear about a new business is look it up online. I want to know what the business is all about, what other people think about it, who owns it, etc. I basically want to know all I can possibly know about it before I even make the first contact with that business. The reasoning behind this is simple enough: we all like as little risk as possible.

    It’s true. Generally, people don’t like surprises and they want to be “in the know” when it comes to just about everything. If I’m going to try out a new restaurant, I want to see their menu and read what other people have to say about it before I go there. So if I look up that restaurant name online and nothing comes up, that’s an issue for me. It may even stop me from going there, which sounds super dramatic, but it’s true! I want to know what to expect from that business beforehand so that I am less likely to be disappointed. 

    Creating your business website is simple enough (I give a step-by-step tutorial in my post Starting a Blog on Your Lunch Break: The No BS Guide.) but figuring out what to post on said website is the hard part…or so you thought 🙂 In this post, I’m going to give you a jumpstart to creating kick-ass content for your business website and explain all the things you need to include to make sure you’re getting the most out of it.

    (more…)

    READ MORE!

  • Customer Retention: 3 Incredibly Simple Ways to Stay Top-Of-Mind

    I was in a marketing class recently, and the main speaker was a real estate agent. One of the things she said to the class really stuck with me, and that was:

    “I would rather have somebody tell me they straight up chose not to refer their friends to me than for somebody to tell me they forgot I’m a real estate agent.”

    My first thought was, well that would be pretty effed up for someone to tell her they just chose not to refer their friends to her…” But the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with what she said.

    We are living in the most connected times in all of history. We keep up with our friends and family in real-time through phone calls, text messages, emails, social media, etc. every single day. So when you own a business, the same opportunities for connection are available to you, although many businesses aren’t taking full advantage (even though most of these methods of communication are 100% free).

    (more…)

    READ MORE!

  • 26 Things to Create for Your Business/Blog Using Canva

    There are two types of people in this world: there are Photoshop and Illustrator wizards, and then there are the rest of us.

    Seriously…it’s difficult. 

    I fall squarely into the second category, and even though I like to think (key word being “think”) that I have an eye for good design, I have zero talent when it comes to graphic design. ZERO. Zilch.

    When I first started blogging, I would browse through Pinterest, all wide-eyed and slack-jawed, wondering how in the world are these people coming up with these amazing images for their pins? Meanwhile, I’m adding text to photos in Microsoft Word (sad, but true).

    (more…)

    READ MORE!