How do I keep my marketing going over the holidays?

Your question

I’m going to be away for two weeks over the summer holidays and I am concerned that the hard work I have put in to marketing my business will be wasted while I am away. I have built up a small but active following on Facebook and I don’t want everything to go quiet while I am enjoying my break. What can I do to keep my marketing going over the holidays?

Our answer

You are right to try to keep your marketing efforts going while you are away, and there are a few things you can do to make sure this happens.

First and foremost, you need to have a marketing plan that sets out what you want to happen when. You can use our free marketing plan template here to get organised.

Here are five more tips to keep your marketing going, with minimal effort.

1) Plan some continuous activity

Marketing activity isn’t just about campaigns. Every business should have a continuous presence so that customers can find you easily. PPC (pay per click) activity is just one of the ways in which your business can maintain an active presence all year round.

PPC activity includes Google Adwords, Facebook and Twitter advertising – essentially anything that is charged per click. You can set up the activity with a specific daily budget and leave it to run whilst you are away. You’ll get a steady flow of customers clicking on your adverts without having to lift a finger.

2) Automate your social feed

Social media activity can also be automated, either using the in-built scheduling feature in Facebook Pages or use a scheduling dashboard like Hootsuite or Buffer. Write and schedule your social media messages before you head off on holiday, and they will be posted to your channels while you are on holiday.

Download the phone apps for your social channels and scheduler so that you can still respond to any comments or direct messages whilst you are away as unanswered messages will not do your business any favours.

3) Delegate or oursource

If your business relies on having someone on hand to handle enquiries or process orders then consider outsourcing or delegating that work whilst you are away.

You won’t want to miss out on that call that could be your next big order while you are taking your hard-earned break.

Luckily there are outsourced providers for call answering such as Moneypenny or Connect Communications who will give the impression that your office is manned, even when you are not there. They can take messages and email you the details so that no calls are missed.

If you’re relying on getting orders processed and shipped while you are away then outsourced order fulfilment companies are an option or consider hiring a temporary member of staff to keep things ticking over.

In both cases you need to be aware of the limitations – you may be able to continue shipping orders, but will they also be able to handle returns or customer queries? If you are concerned about maintaining that full customer experience then some planned downtime may be a better option.

4) Plan some downtime

August is a slow month for sales and marketing in the UK precisely because so many people are on holiday. Therefore, you may find that it is the best time for you to take some time off too. If you’ve lined up some continuous activity for the period, then it is OK to scale back a bit for the summer months.

If you’re happy to effectively close your business for a few weeks whilst you are on holiday then make sure you let your customers know that you won’t be available for those days.

Set up an out of office message on your email and phone, and if you take orders online make it clear that orders won’t be processed for a period of time. People are generally happy as long as they know up-front and you have managed their expectations.

If your holiday involves some research for your business, then share that positive message with your customers – rather than saying “I’m off sunning myself in Tuscany” your message could say “I’ll be taking the opportunity to take a few days off while I research some fabulous new products for you from local suppliers in Tuscany.” This also allows you to showcase some of those products to customers when you return home.

5) Plan for your return

After the summer break it’s great to hit the ground running with marketing campaigns ready for Autumn and Christmas. September to December are busy months for many businesses, so take some time before the summer to plan what your offers are, who you are targeting and which channels you will be using.

If you have marketing activity planned, written and lined up ready to go on your return from holiday then you will be able to relax knowing that that your business will be off to a great start when you return, refreshed from your hard-earned break.

Remember to use the marketing plan template to plan your continuous and campaign activity, and don’t forget to enjoy your break.

Answered by our marketing agony aunt Roisin Kirby from Refresh Marketing. Let her know of any marketing questions you need help with by joining her on Facebook.