After a typically slow summer season, many businesses ramp up as the school year starts back and booming holiday seasons quickly approach. Is your company ready for the transition to more business?
Don’t get caught off-guard. Use the remaining slow time to prepare for the busier season. Here’s a checklist of 10 business maintenance and marketing tips to help guide you through the process.
1) Is your web presence up to snuff?
Review your website for any potential weaknesses, including upgrading your hosting plan to accommodate more traffic, creating more email addresses to direct messages from consumers to you in an efficient way and updating your information and content. Be sure to test all the request or orders forms on your website to ensure you get them and they are able to be submitted without any issues or glitches. Also, make sure your social media is up-to-date or that you at least have a presence in some. Check out this article to Rate Your Web Presence.
2) Review how you handle customers
Take a look at how your customers interact with your business, going from before they even know about you to long after they make a purchase. Pretend you are a consumer and walk-through the entire process, checking for any flaws and inefficiencies. Start with how the consumers will find/come to know your business, how they will initiate the relationship (website/call/walk-in), how they will find out more information about you/your products, how they can purchase them, how to gain their contact information, what your post-sale procedures are (returns, exchanges, follow-up, relationship nurturing) – everything! The Anatomy of a Customer Experience Map.
3) Provide a guide
Adjust the interior of your store to create easy access/exit and efficient flow. Also, position furniture, walkways and equipment to guide consumers to where you want them to go. Whether you want to highlight certain merchandise, a waiting area or even the checkout counter, people like to be guided. A Guide to Store Layouts That Can Increase Sales.
4) Make sure all employees are well-trained
Are your employees up-to-date on how to best provide customer service? Do they have at least a basic knowledge of your business and products to minimize the chances of appearing unprofessional if a customer asks questions? Employees are the physical representation of your business. Make sure they present it well. Also, have a few top-notch resumes on file. Finding good help is difficult, so it’s incredibly important to have an idea of who is out there and who you can call upon should you need more assistance. How to Get the Most Value Out of Your Employee Training Feedback.
5) Create an “all-in-one” business document
An all-in-one document includes everything about your business. In marketing, we call these Brand Books. They help everyone in the company stay on the same page and give a uniform look to everything. A Brand Book is essentially a set of rules that explain how your brand works and provides guidelines to employees and any marketing or media professionals you may work with. Making sure that your brand has the same overall look and feel throughout not only reinforces your credibility with your customers, but it also makes you stand out from the crowd.
1) Look ahead
Like planning a budget, decide where you want to focus your energy most in the upcoming months. Is Halloween one of the best holidays for your business? Do you make the majority of your money during the Christmas season? Or perhaps there is a “national holiday” your business can latch onto to attract attention, like these.
2) Create a calendar
Develop a day-by-day spreadsheet filled with social media content, specials, goals and any other critical marketing info. Planning your weeks in advance will help maximize your outreach and efficiency.
3) Engage your customers online
When researching a company, most people tend to believe online reviews, the number of stars given and word-of-mouth over anything the business says, even if the reviews are completely false. Perception is reality. Are you interacting with customers who post questions or submit reviews online? If you aren’t there to answer or counter a statement you could unknowingly be creating a negative customer service experience or even losing business. Read our 3 Ways Your Business Can Handle Negative Online Reviews for tips.
4) Speak up
Send a press release to attract attention for your business. Be sure it has an interesting angle that breaks through the clutter and draws intrigue. Think about what kind of news from other businesses catches your eyes and ears? Perhaps like this one we did in 2011. Need more help deciding what is newsworthy? Read our 10 Tips on How Your Business Can Make The News.
5) Measure up
Use analytics (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to measure the impact of your marketing so you can understand what’s working and what’s not. This allows you to optimize your campaigns and also get better results in the future. Check out our Social Media 101: A Beginner’s Guide for more tips.
Don’t have time to give your marketing the attention it deserves? Need a little more guidance? Click the button below to signal us.