January Blues

Last year I was speaking to small business owners who were feeling good about pre-Christmas sales but pessimistic in advance of January. We all know people hold on to their purse strings after splashing out on Santa, food, gifts and many borrow money for this period. Add to that the many people through restrictions and lockdowns who want to remain safe and healthy have taken to shopping online rather than face the risk of catching Covid or queuing in crowed shops.

So prior to the dreaded arrival of January I asked them how the handled this time, how did they prepare. Many said they use this quiet time to brainstorm or innovate for the months ahead. This is a reaction during the downturn. Being prepared well in advance to hit the ground running while this slow down in sales is taking its affect is vital. Timing is everything.

Acting in advance rather than reacting when the inevitable time is upon them would give them an edge. Talking to their customers, asking questions about how they could encourage them, to come back to them during this time would give them good insights. This requires active listening.

Onboarding new customers during the surge in sales is a good tactic for growth in the slow months. This is easier if you have an online presence. Although most businesses have some kind of online presence, not all of them have, many still only have a Facebook page that they update every few months. Having an online newsletter for offers or campaigns and finding out what customers put on their “Wish List” looks like, special offers for returning customers or reductions on similar products can keep your business alive in your customers mind. Not getting caught up in spending on Google Ads, boosting posts or Tweets vital.

You have the capacity to build and keeping your marketing budget in mind for this time is crucial. This is usually spent during and advance of the shopping frenzy. Marketing does not have to cost a fortune when done properly. Besides relying on a solitary post to social media, using your newsletter and or YouTube to speak to your customers, both are free and effective. Do not make the mistake that this should be done daily and like everything else we try it should be monitored and if there is little to no traction then do not waste time or money on it. Be different to what’s currently out there and be impactful. This aspect of business can be an endless money pit and with little to no results.

There are many ways to market your business without using social media or other forms of marketing designed to depart you from your money. There are lots of business slots on local and national radio who are happy to interview business people free of charge. Also plenty of podcasts out there too that are well worth researching.

Best of luck.