Monday, December 7, 2020

Preparing a Business for Winter Holidays

 Best practices for business during the end of year holiday season.

 

As the holidays draw closer, there is much preparation to be done. For business owners, there is a lot more to be considered and it is not always clear what needs to be accomplished during this time. Even some of the most basic aspects of business operations, such as announcing changes to hours, are commonly overlooked throughout this time of year. To help make winter holiday preparations for businesses less challenging, we have comprised a short list of best practices that may help your business be more successful than ever before.

Update Business Hours of Operations

Hanging a “Closed” sign on a business’ door will get the message across to anyone that tries to visit but, it will also be aggravating if it happens to contradict the business hours that are published online. This is especially true if the business is hospitality or retail. Now more than ever consumers check online to determine when a business is open. Misinformation may quickly lead them to seek out a competitor.

There are three main places where these updates should be applied online, at the very minimum. Those places being 1) the business website, 2) business profile on Google, and 3) Facebook. If you are a restaurant or caterer, you will also want to update any Yelp listings, if applicable. These are the most popular places people go to check when a business is open. Keeping them up-to-date is a fundamental part of managing a business and providing good customer service. If there are other websites or profiles where the hours changes can be applied then we highly encourage a business take the time to do so.

Create a Closing Checklist

Yes, that is right. We are essentially suggesting a checklist within a checklist but, bear with us a moment while we explain. Most if not all businesses, especially those with employees, have particular steps set out for closing time. These procedures maybe written out or just a mental checklist for the normal closers. However, during the holiday season it is common for vacations to be taken, shifts to be changed around and the business facilities to be unoccupied for longer periods than normal. Therefore, it is important to provide every employee with the steps that need to be done in order to safely and securely close up shop.

When making a checklist of closing procedures, a manager needs to make special considers for their type of business and facilities. Does the building or office need to be winterized for the 3-day Christmas weekend? Have all appliances been turned off and unplugged? Are security systems armed and doors locked? It is worth taking to time to make sure all that can be done is done right so you can enjoy your time away from work with a little less worry.

Share the Spirit of the Season

If you are able to give gifts, donations or simply thanks with festive celebrations, then why not share it with the world? Many people are pleased to see a company actively giving back. Whether a business owner is throwing a holiday party for staff at the office, passing out toys to less fortunate children or hosting a gala, it is worth a the extra effort to photograph the event and share it with the general public.

Do not feel bad if your business is not able to do much this year. Sharing what you have and your thankfulness is more than enough for people to appreciate. Allowing the true spirit of the season to shine through your business in any way possible not only helps to humanize the brand but also creates opportunities to reach and engage new audiences.

Some of the best tools to use to share these experiences are likely already at your fingertips. Many professional choose to post details to a blog or a page of their website designated for such occasions. Those posts are then shared across a business’ social media. When posting to social media, we recommend tagging any charities and partners you are working with to make an event happen. You may also want to create a Facebook event to increase participation and awareness if you are a main organizer.

Businesses that are current clients of Leads Online Marketing can make quick, easy work of this task by submitting a support ticket requesting posts to their website, blog and/or social media accounts. Just make sure to send us all necessary details and within 24-hours we will be sure it is published or scheduled to publish at a time you have designated.

Sales, Deals, Discounts and Clearance Events

A promotion is not much of a promotion if it is never properly promoted. Try saying that 3x fast. All joking aside, this is an all too common problem for small businesses. A business may have a sales event running but returning customers and potential customers have no way of knowing about it. There may be a physical sign in the store or a service person may mention it but this is not an efficient way to increase sales. Details of any sales and special offers are best published to the business website along with social media unless it is a highly exclusive offer.

For businesses that still utilize print advertisement, a high quality digital copy of all ads should be requested from the graphics designer and forward to the website developer for online publication. In most cases, a business is paying an advertising company to create the graphic (the ad image) in addition to the actual printing and distributions. So, many times the business holds the rights to reuse that graphic as seen fit including in use for online display ads.

These are just a few things that business owners, operators and managers should do to prepare for this time of year. The L.O.M. team understands that ever business is unique, which is why we offer customized marketing programs to meet your exact needs and budget. If you feel overwhelmed by trying to create or manage an online presence for your business, then we encourage you to give us a call to discuss how we can help your business stand out across the web.

We wish you all a happy, healthy holiday season and thank you for your support this year!

Now on to planning for 2021!