The Christmas Rush is over. No more sales. No more wrapping. No more queuing at the post office. It’s all quiet on the western front. All you are left with is a bit of left over stock, a (hopefully) healthy bank balance if you didn’t spend all your profits and a really large waist line. (Sorry I had to include the last one!) So, what can you do during the quiet periods to help grow your business in the long run?
I spoke to a friend who started a new business in November and had a fantastic start and lots of sales and even press in the run up to Christmas but she was apprehensive that her start up would fall flat in January.
So, what’s a girl to do until the next wave customers.
Plan. Prepare. Be proactive. Sort. Connect. Join. Act
If money isn’t coming in, dont give up.
Don’t use that as excuse to have extended playdates, extra pilates classes and join the PTA. No, your business needs you in these quiets moments to get the back bone right, so when the next wave hits you will be even better prepared than you were this time.
- Did you have good marketing materials?
- Was your website up to date and contemporary?
- Was your customer experience seamless?
- Were the returns and sizing clear on your website?
I could go on.
I have a very very long list of points I am attacking with gusto as soon as the kids are back at school.
Every year, you have to crit your business.
Especially if you work for yourself.
No one else will (dare) do it.
So, what can you do?
1). Thank your customers.
They are gold dust. Just because you made a sale through them, don’t desert them on your quest for more orders.
You are much more likely to have a repeat order than a new order.
I read so much, apologies that I can’t back this up with stats and footer notes – but I’m not making it up.
2) Send them a special discount code to say thank you.
I actually filtered my customers into sections before Christmas and emailed each group individually.
The Abandoned Cart Group
I explained that my checkout is not something I am proud of and I am sorry if it out you off. I also think the shipping that is added at the 11th hour can be off putting so I offered free shipping.
I am actually considering absorbing shipping costs into my products as think it does put alot of people off.
What do you think?
The Refund Group
This was a group that I wanted to gain the trust back from. Many ordered again after being issued a refund or return but I generally found, once bitten twice shy.
You have to refund with no question. I have a lower return on jewellery and fashion accessories than clothes that makes me consider moving more towards the former but the clothes do sell REALLY quickly.
Which do you prefer?
*BTW I am doing a flash sale with 30% off. Enter TLM30 at Checkout*
3) Subscribers are GOLD DUST.
As good as it is to have followers unsocial media and people who review your products, there is nothing like having email addresses for your newsletter to land straight into their in box.
If you want to receive updates from The London Mummy, please do so here! (I have just seen my sign up form is soooo boring and not at all reflective of The London Mummy so a redesign of that is another thing to add to the list)
4) Work out what events are happening next year and get a campaign, your designs geared around it.
Back To School
Jump on the commercialisation of all these days! I am putting my thinking cap on for gifts & jewellery on TLM Edit for Valentine’s Day.
5). If you are doing fairs, book them in now.
The good ones are wanting to firm up bookings sooner rather than later.
I am adding businesses who participate in fairs and a directory of fairs this quarter for both fair committees looking for businesses and businesses looking for fairs
6) Sort out your tech.
I am working with a guy in who is helping me totally rejig both websites (and I am adding another website too but that deserves it’s own post!) so depending how that goes, I hope I will be able to recommend him! I ‘found’ him on Shopify Experts Directory.
7) Sort out your advertising and marketing budgets and get onto Google Adwords.
It is double dutch to me, so either trial and error your way through it or outsource it. (The latter for me!) It won’t cost much to grab some low hanging fruit and you will see good returns on investment.
8) Connect with people in the same niche as you or learn a new skill.
They are not competitors.
The country (world) is big enough and most people want to help and support so why don’t you start by giving a little like or follow and seeing what happens.
I am joining a Bird Table group in January to share my ideas, frustrations and concerns with women who have their own business. I cannot wait!
I made a mistake in my first year of blogging by being a complete island and not i have realised I need to meet and hangout with other bloggers. error but easily rectifiable. I also love supporting other small business owners by sharing their products.
There are plenty of courses about too.
Look at my Directory for ideas.
Get a mentor. Have someone crit your website. Have a review and get there feedback.
This year I am going to start a little consulting sideline for women who want to start a small business or have started and need a few ideas of where to go next. So email me if you want more info about that! email@example.com
9) Contact mainstream media.
It’s not all about online media. There are still some fantastic print options and they need content as much as everyone. Find them on Twitter, magazines and newspapers.
Don’t be shy.
Send a really simple personalised email with who you are, what you do/sell, who it is perfect for a photo, the price point and website.
If you are in PR, please don’t kill me. The above may sound village but I personally find a really simple direct email much more affective than a long windy press release!
I am going to include a list of new businesses next month, so if you are breaking into a new world and want a little shout out, please drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh, and Happy New Year – it’s going to be a good one!
PS. I am experimenting including my TLM Edit goodies in my blog posts. Do you mind or does it really put you off? Would love your thoughts! xx