You may already be decking the halls (and your office) with holiday cheer, but are your website and online profiles holiday-ready?
Earlier this month we discussed a few ways to take advantage of the holiday hoopla that comes with Black Friday, as well as planning ahead for marketing in the coming year. Between the holiday promotions, office parties and vacations, time can easily get away from us, leaving us vulnerable to overlooking some of the most important tasks.
With the holidays comes the opportunity to new visitors on business websites, social media pages and profiles. For this reason, it is important to make sure your website and social media profiles are holiday-ready. Although schedules and meetings may be unstable this time of year, your website and online presence should remain steady. Here are few simple steps you can take to make sure that your business’s website and online profiles remain solid through the holiday season.
- Update Schedules – If your office is closing for a holiday party or to observe the holidays during business hours, update your website and social media pages with this information. Obviously, a few hours for a holiday party need not be mentioned, but if you are closing the office for an extended period, publish the correct “holiday schedule”. Additionally, if you are open on days or hours when most other businesses are closed, let your customers know that you are offering services through the holidays.
- Out-of-Office – If you or your staff will be taking a vacation, make it a policy to have an automatic out-of-office reply set up prior to leaving. Not everyone is making holiday time vacation time, and few things agitate a customer more than not having a call or email returned. Update voicemail messages and email responses to avoid unnecessary issues. When possible, offer an emergency number or alternate contact to handle pressing matters.
- Home Page – Whether it is the home page of your website or main page on your social media profile, make sure to add your holiday promotions. One simple updated image in the slides on your homepage or header of your Facebook page can do the trick. For promotions, you may mention ideas for sprucing up the home/office for the holiday season by including your own products and services as suggestions for gifts, stocking stuffers, décor, etc.
- Schedule Posts in Advance – If you don’t already have a social media schedule, now is a great time to begin developing one. Your social media updates and blog posts should be sensitive to the holiday season. In addition to mentioning your promotions, remember to wish your prospects and customers a happy holiday. As you and your staff will be busy with the holidays too, schedule the greeting in advance, like now, so that is doesn’t slip through the cracks.
- Clarify Deadlines – Make your deadlines and turnaround time for orders prominent and clear. If you have a price list online, add the holiday deadline to it. If you expect a delay or an overabundance of requests during the holidays, consider posting an update on your social media profile informing clients of turnaround times for orders and requests.
- Spruce Up Your Website – We’re not referring to a few bows or reindeer at the top of your page. Rather, sprucing up your site refers to making it clear and easy to get to the action. In addition to having your promotions prominently displayed, your site should be easy to navigate and provide direct access to the promotion. For example, if you are offering a discount on flooring or tile installation, the order or request form should be no more than one click away. Provide easy access to shopping, ordering and online payments.
- Use Reports – If you monitor site visitors through Google Analytics or similar tools, now is the perfect time to check out the keywords that generated the most activity during the holiday season last year. Analytics are only effective if used, and by using last year’s statistics, you will know which keywords and promotions should be used this year and which ones should be avoided.
- Boost Your Mailing List – Along with gaining new contacts through your December HBW construction data reports, consider adding a sign-up form for your newsletter or discounts to every page of your website. The higher traffic of the holidays provides an opportunity to pull in more email contacts so that you can continue marketing to them through the year, even if they don’t take advantage of this month’s holiday promotion.
- Be On-the-Go – I have mentioned this in a few posts, but it is simply too important to go without mention… Make sure your website is mobile responsive. More viewing and shopping will be done from mobile devices this holiday, and your visitors will most likely not move beyond the home page if it is not optimized for mobile viewing. Double-check that your site and latest promotions are clearly displayed in the mobile version of your website, both from phone and tablet.
- Check the Links – If your website has been around a while, chances are that it has seen its fair share of links to articles, resources, videos, etc. Some of those links may no longer be active, and you don’t want to send a visitor to the dreaded “404” error page. Although there are quite a few online tools available for scanning your website for broken links, if your website is of manageable size, it shouldn’t take much time to clean out old links and update those you want to keep.
Being holiday ready is more than just bows and mistletoe. Make your online presence inviting and welcoming this holiday season. A little sprucing up of your website and social media profiles can lead to unexpected holiday gifts.
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