8 ways to prepare for Christmas

I know the sunshine and hot days are only just disappearing but Christmas is very definitely on its way, and if you’ve not given it any thought yet, then you reeeeally need to. Here at Whiteacres I’ve been listening to Christmas music since I came back from my holidays in August to make sure that my most organised clients have their Christmas all wrapped up. No, I haven’t started shopping yet.

Christmas might be a pivotal time of year for you. It’s certainly an incredibly busy time of year for most people, so it’s important to plan ahead. Make sure that while you’re deciding what Santa’s going to buy your children and who’s “doing” Christmas this year, you don’t forget to consider how your business will celebrate Christmas in a way which is relevant and appropriate to what you do and also makes your clients feel worthwhile and gets your prospects excited!

Here’s some ideas for things to do to make sure that you mark the festive season:

1. Christmas cards

You’re a lovely person so I’m sure you want to send all your clients Christmas cards. These can be actual in-an-envelope-pop-in-the-post-cards (nicest) or they can be in an email (most convenient). Either way, are you really going to send some cards that you bought down the shops or the same bit of clip-art you used last year or are you going to use this as an opportunity to get your brand in front of your customers, remind them that you’re about, maybe let them know what’s been going on for you this year or what’s happening in the new year – maybe even include a present in the form of a discount voucher or code, or a head start to get on that programme you’re going to be promoting in January? If you’re emailing then you might want to extend your festive cheer to the prospects on your list too?

Some people send email Christmas cards and give the postage to a charity, which is a lovely idea. Something else worth thinking about? You could even ask your audience to vote to see who will get your donation so that they feel involved in the decision.

See more here.

2. Being social

Prepare your images for social media so that when you feel it really is time to start eating mince pies and writing Christmas cards, you’ve got this covered. This means your Facebook cover image, any images for your page that you want to include during the run up to Christmas – and also any for the sale period afterwards – any images for promotions that you want to use in one of the tabs and the tab cover images themselves. On Twitter, tweaking your background, cover and profile image so that they are Christmas-ready and if you have any special Christmas offers they are visible on there. Creating pins and board covers for Pinterest, creating the cover and images for Google+, creating a cover for your LinkedIn business page. It’s important to be consistent across all platforms where you are active so that your message reaches everyone and each place looks the same.

Also spend some time planning what you are going to say during this time. You might need to be really organised and schedule some posts so that you really can take time off and still be communicating with people. Don’t forget that as well as Christmas itself you might be on holiday for a few weeks afterwards – or you might be working really hard fulfilling orders placed during the sales. It’s a busy time, think ahead.

3. Run a contest

You could run a competition on Facebook  – remember there are new rules now so it’s easier than ever and all you really need is an image. You could also “Pin it to win it” on Pinterest, spread the word on Twitter, run a contest on your website, put adverts in the paper or magazines – it depends what you want to do, who you’re targeting and how you’re going to do it. However you do it, be prepared and make sure it shows your business in the best possible light.

4.  Problem solve

Think about how you can solve problems for your customers in the run up to Christmas. It’s very stressful after all. You only have to open a magazine in November to see checklists and timings for preparing the tastiest meal of the year and ensuring that the stuffing doesn’t get burnt. What can you do to make life easier for your customers? It doesn’t have to be something that they buy, you could offer something free which will create interest in your business. Your goal may be to create some PR, to increase sales,  to build your list or simply to be nice to people. Give it some thought.

5. Don’t be complicated.

In the run up to Christmas how many messages do you see everywhere instructing you to buy, buy, buy? Also, anyone who has made time for it will be doing something related to Christmas, so think how you can stand out – maybe do something differently – but don’t make it difficult for your audience to “get” what you’re asking. Make it fun!

6. Hold a party

Wouldn’t it be lovely to hold a party for all those people who’ve made a difference to you this year? OK, so it’s time-consuming, it could even be expensive (or dirt cheap), but wouldn’t it be fun? You don’t even need to organise it yourself, you could ask an event planner. You’ll need invitations (by post or email) and some food and drinks – at this time of year you can get away with a few boxes of mince pies and some glasses of mulled wine (or juice) so you don’t need very much. Most people own a Christmas CD for background music and you can get decorations from almost anywhere – or have some bunting made specially, the possibilities there are endless. Decide what people are going to do – it might be nice to have some structure so that people know what they’re doing,maybe do a bit of networking or play some games. Then you just need a Christmas card for everyone and if you’re feeling really festive you could get someone to dress up as Father Christmas and give out some gifts. However you do it, make sure that it’s in keeping with your brand values, that everyone has a good time and that no one leaves without feeling really appreciative of your business and really important. Of course, if you have staff, then a Christmas party is a must isn’t it? Make sure it’s not dull won’t you?

7. Sort your website out

This is especially relevant for e-commerce businesses. It’s Christmas. People are shopping. Everywhere. Make sure that it’s easy for people to find the things they are looking for on your site. Maybe add extra categories such as “Christmas pressies for him”, “Stocking fillers” or “Presents under £20” to give people a helping hand. You could add some snowflakes and santa hats if you really want to, but this probably won’t help your customers find the ideal present for their grumpy Uncle. If you do want to Christmas-up your website PLEASE do it tastefully 😉

Also, make sure that people know when the last day to order to receive items in time will be. Make it really clear so they can be in no doubt.

8. Make a list

Not for presents (although if you’re doing one of those, I like red wine, book vouchers and useful things made from coloured glass) this is about preparation. Call it a list, a plan, a strategy – whatever you like – but make sure that you have got everything planned and structured and you know your milestones.

 

If you’ve made a head start already, then congratulations, you are so organised! However, if you need a bit of help then you may like to check out my Christmas offerings and see if they can help you.

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