I’m going to ask you a question, and I want you to answer honestly: are you going to work over Christmas?
If you’re like most business owners, the answer is probably yes. You’re constantly trying to balance your desire for personal time with the fact that holidays and other times when your customers take time off are some of your best marketing opportunities. Or maybe they’re not, but they’re times when things are quiet so you get a lot done. But you end up resenting the fact that you’re always working on holidays or checking your email on vacation.
I have good news for you: there’s a better way. There are plenty of tools and resources that can make it so you can truly unplug from time to time, whether for a day or for an entire month.
I’ve just returned from a 2-week holiday to Japan, and guess what? I didn’t have to do any marketing while I was away. My newsletter went out without me. Blog posts went out without me. Content was uploaded to social media WITHOUT ME. Outbound engagement happened on my social media. I didn’t have to press a button or upload anything. It all happened for me. For TWO WHOLE WEEKS.
So how did I do it? I’m letting you in on my secret! Here’s my checklist for setting up my marketing for success while I’m away:
1. Design your offers
It’s important before you create content for any marketing strategy that you know what you’re selling. If you’re going away for an extended period, it’s probably best that your calls to action are to sign up for a newsletter, purchase a digital product or sign up for something that doesn’t happen until you’re back, unless you want to pay someone to man your inbox and fulfill orders (which is totally an option you should consider).
2. Write your content
If you have a blog (and for SEO purposes you probably should), make sure you have some content written ahead of time. The same goes for any landing pages, website pages or other content that your customers might land on. Make sure it’s all written and scheduled accordingly. Make sure you create custom URLs, or at least know what the URL will be (you’ll see why in a minute). Most sites will let you do this.
3. Create your visuals
You’ll need them for your blog post, your Pinterest, and your social media (blog post coming soon about why those are two different things). If you’re using videos, those get made here too. Make sure they’re on-brand and support your content.
4. Schedule your newsletters
Now you can focus on your email marketing. Email is such a goldmine when it comes to nurturing and converting leads, so it shouldn’t suffer while you’re away. Now that you have your offers designed, your content written, and your URLs pulled, you can create great newsletters that support your goals and schedule them for a later date.
5. Schedule your social media
All of those visuals you created? Let’s put those to good use. Get your scheduling apps open (we use Facebook for Facebook, Planoly for Instagram, and HootSuite for Twitter and LinkedIn) and start creating your social content. If you have a business Instagram account, you can schedule things so that they autopost, so I recommend switching to one even if it’s just for your vacation. You can always switch back later. Be sure to include your hashtags and any other metadata, like locations and tags. Schedule so that they go out as frequently as they would were you working like normal.
6. Schedule your Pins
Remember the year after Pinterest first became big when we would all sit around for hours on end pinning pictures of Zac Efron and baked goods? No? Just me? Anyway, it’s time for a marathon pinning session. Use your scheduling app (we recommend Tailwind) to make sure the content is well spread out, being sure to strike the right balance of your own content vs other people’s.
7. Update your profiles
If any of your social media posts reference a “link in bio,” you’ll want to make sure those are already in place. We pay for Tap.bio, but we love Linktree too. Plus be sure to update any operating hours on your Facebook page, Google, etc.
8. Set up auto-responders
This one is KEY, and it’s what will make sure you’re not constantly opening your emails. Set up auto responses on your email, and make sure the response not only mentions your holiday but also adds value. A client and I recently set up her email (all the time, not just for vacation) so that it responds automatically with a message saying she’ll respond soon and then a list of FAQs and answers, plus some calls to action at the bottom. Half of what people email her about gets taken care of with that one basic email, and the rest she can look at when she returns.
If you have a general enquiries form, it could be a good idea to set up a lead nurtuing sequence so that those relationships are grown and ready for you when you get back.
Facebook has recently introduced an auto-response feature as well, allowing you to have multiple options for people to select. It’s not as robust as a chat bot (which you should definitely be looking into), but it will do the trick while you’re away to direct people appropriately.
9. Hire someone to engage on your accounts
Don’t balk at this one just because it says “hire”; this one is super valuable. There are people out there who specialise in engagement and will manage your accounts to make sure that comments and DMs get responses, communities are engaged with and issues are avoided. A spelling mistake in your latest post? They’ll change that. Engagement pods you need to keep up with? They’re all over it. A lead comes in through your DMs? (This happened to me while I was in Japan!) They’ll make sure it’s qualified and waiting for you when you get back.
This doesn’t have to be an expensive thing, and it can make sure that your following doesn’t drop while you’re away. It can be as simple as responding to inbound content or as proactive as nurturing and converting your leads, but however you want it you should definitely factor this into your next holiday.
If you’re looking for the right person to help you with this, scroll to the bottom of this post for an exciting offer!
10. Actually unplug
Seriously, stop looking at your phone. Don’t bother paying for the international data plan. You’ve done everything you need to ensure success, and anything else that comes up can be handled when you get back. Just relax, unwind, and take care of yourself; it’s as essential to your success as a business owner as anything else.
Thinking about how you’ll handle Christmas coming up so that you can take time off without missing key marketing moments? Regale Media is offering a “Home for the Holidays” package from just £200/$260 for 10 days! Click here for more information.