With the holiday season fast approaching this is probably the best time to start planning for your busiest period.
Getting ready for this period is a lot easier for a larger company but for a smaller company, there’s a great deal more work to do. There’s a reason for this is.
A small company has the exact same things to do as a larger company but with less staff.
That’s why planning these things in advance is the best policy. Also planning things in advance means you make fewer mistakes and you are better prepared to deal with the unexpected.
So, if we can bring to attention a few of the silly mistakes small businesses make as they approach a busy season, it should also help you prepare.
Not hiring enough people
Your busy season is probably the most important part of the marketing calendar where you need to employ enough staff to handle new sales, logistics, and customer service.
A lot of small businesses think they’re being smart by keeping their staffing levels at very low levels so they can save costs. However, this puts pressure on the whole team where there isn’t enough staff to manage this busy period.
So why is this silly?
When your staff have to do the work of two or even three people, this creates really bad morale.
When your staff are tired they also tend to make silly mistakes and you can bet your bottom dollar that these will be pretty costly.
So what things can you do to alleviate these problems?
If you are thinking of hiring agency staff make sure you contact enough agencies and give them enough time to find the adequate amount of staff for this period.
Working closely with an agency and keeping them updated as to the amount of staff you will need is key!
Don’t forget, these new staff members will need to be trained in your processes, work ethic and specific details of your products and services. this is no small feat and it’s definitely something you need to think about before the launch date.
Not adjusting their ad budget
Again, while you’re reading this, it’s probably the most obvious thing to do but so many fail to adjust the ad budget and run out of budget quite quickly each day or each week.
If you’ve ever done this before, you’ll know that this is disastrous for your marketing campaign and will reduce both turnover and profits all because you didn’t set the right and put it at the beginning.
Changing their landing pages
If you run an ad campaign on several different platforms, don’t forget that you need to change the landing pages of different campaigns depending on the season or specific promotions like Black Friday.
Your landing pages really need to reflect the reason for your promotions and explain clearly to the consumer why you’ve reduced prices or applied a discount.
Not reviewing last year’s campaign
You can learn a great deal by looking at last year’s campaign to see what things you did right and see the things that you did wrong.
The idea is to keep learning, training your staff and overall doing things better than you did previously.
Not being flexible with pricing
What often happens when you reach a busy period is you have a set price for your product or service but fail to be flexible taking into account competition and consumer sentiment.
Are you going to announce your pricing ahead of time or are you going to hold back the announcement right up until the last moment?
This is a decision you need to make.
Lack of client engagement
It’s a really good idea to increase engagement with your clients especially with the new promotion on the horizon. This needs to happen both in social media and your email marketing campaigns.
So first you need to decide which social media platform will give you the best ROI and how much time and effort you’re going put into each one based on those returns. This is really important point because there’s a lot of time wasted on our favourite platforms
Not having a proper launch strategy
So what do you mean by a proper launch strategy?
Depending on the sort of business that you run, there are a few things you need to do to prepare your business and your team.
This is the time to make sure everybody is well trained well versed in what needs to be done.
If you have new staff they have never experienced this busy period, then you need to make sure all of your training manuals are up to date and any questions they may have answered buy it yourself or more experienced staff.
I know people aren’t major fans of roleplay and I’ve got to be honest I put myself in that bracket. But, role-playing can play a major part in making sure your team are ready.
If you are hosting something like a giveaway or free gift you need to make sure that your product is ready and tested before you start shipping anything or delivering anything via email.
It’s also a good idea to check email deliverability and start writing your emails for your email marketing campaign.
Again, depending on what sort of campaign you’re going to run you need to work out how long you’re going to have your launch strategy and set things like countdown timers and announce winners etc.
You also need to start designing the different images for your ads.
Are you going to produce these in-house or is this something you need to outsource to third-party.
Whichever route you choose to go, you need to make sure that both you and your team put your ideas down on paper so that the transition from idea to finished article is a smooth process
Ensure they have enough bandwidth
If you’re running an e-commerce business or you’re running a business where there’s a lot of traffic coming to your website, then one of the most important things you can do when you’re approaching a busy season is to increase the bandwidth of your website.
So what sort of things are affected by lack of bandwidth?
You generally find that any images on your page will be extremely slow to load, videos won’t play and will struggle to render and worse still, your checkout page won’t allow eager buyers to make a payment.
Anyone of the above things is really bad for the overall customer experience.
One trick you can do is check with your hosting provider how much bandwidth you used this last year for the same period.
This should allow you to determine how much you would need this time around.
So how do you go about this?
Whoever deals with the maintenance of your website needs to contact your hosting provider and ensure that increase the bandwidth for this busy period.
That way, there’s no chance of your website going down, or your consumers struggling to place an order.
I can almost guarantee that if they struggle to do this they’ll more than likely place an order with one of your competitors.
Think about it, how much business do you think you would lose if your website was down for a few hours and how many calls and emails would your customer service team have to deal with if this actually happened?