At this time of year, you are probably looking forward to shutting your small business down for a few days over the festive season. Good and early preparation for the season can be key to enjoying a peaceful few days with friends and family, knowing that your online presence is working for you.
Here are a few tips for an effective online presence during your holiday shutdown:
- Get the admin done early
Before you take off, update your website with the latest information about new products and services, customer testimonials and other new details that may of interest for new and current customers. And include any special offerings and timeframes for deliveries. In addition, you may want to get administrative work done, like billing clients; ordering inventory; and paying suppliers to help give you the peace of mind of knowing that important stuff is sorted.
- Send out a festive season mailer to your email database
The end of the year is a great opportunity to connect with your customers. You could send out a final email newsletter for the year to wish clients the best for the festive season, let them know about your festive season operating hours, and recap the year. If you are running any season specials, you can also take the opportunity to promote them to your customers.
- Let customers know when you’ll be away and provide emergency contact details
You can use digital touchpoints such as your website, your social media accounts and your email autoresponder to let customers know when you will be closing down and reopening, how you or a team member can be reached in an emergency, and other relevant info. You may want to consider sending targeted customers a personalised email or making a quick call to let them know when you’ll be away and back. Of course, social media doesn’t take a break, so you should periodically check in on your accounts to help respond to urgent customer queries needing your attention.
- Back up your data
Before you switch off all your devices, be sure to back up your data. You don’t want to lose all your information and hard work if, for example, a power surge or flooding in your office space damages your equipment. Consider keeping backups of your data on cloud services. Remember to back up your website, too, if you are not using a hosting provider that offers automatic backup and one-click restore.
- Schedule content to maintain a high online profile
Even if you are taking a break, you don’t need to put your marketing efforts on ice for the time that you are away. Prepare some articles for your blog and some social media posts to help keep customer engagement going. You can pre-schedule your posts to go live, at desired times, without needing to be at your computer while you are out of the office.
Remember that office equipment like computers, routers and printers are drawing power even when you are not using them. Shut them down and unplug them to save power and protect them from lightning and power surges. It also might be a good idea to switch off the really power-hungry appliances you may have in your shop.
- Put someone on standby
If possible, consider arranging for a team member to be on standby to deal with urgent customer requests and look after your website and social media accounts for customer contacts. Your customers appreciate knowing that you are there to respond to them, even it is during the annual shutdown time.