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Small business guide to holiday email marketing

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Whatever your niche or sector, email marketing is a promotional medium that will generate amazing results — if you do it right. Harness that power for holiday email marketing and you stand to increase brand awareness, grow your audience and boost your bottom line, big time.

Studies show that a third of consumers check their personal email accounts two to five times a day. And it’s a top way to receive updates from brands.

During the holiday season, eight in 10 shoppers are influenced by online information before making a purchase.

When we say holiday email marketing, we’re not just talking about Christmas or Thanksgiving. There are countless annual holidays and celebratory seasons out there. By tapping into the right ones, you can transform a promotional email into an invaluable profit-generating tool for your business.

Related: Holiday marketing checklist 

Guide to holiday email marketing

We’re going to show you how to create a holiday email marketing strategy for your business from start to finish — a definitive guide that you can use for maseasonal success all year round.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

A few steps to get started with holiday email marketing

Whether your holiday email efforts are centered on Hanukkah, Christmas or Groundhog Day, to enjoy maximum promotional success, you need to start planning early.

Get together with your colleagues or team to decide on the holidays you feel will work best for your business and mark them in a dedicated content planner as early as possible. This will give you ample time to prepare, plan, create and deliver.

But, before you start creating content, the first thing you need to do is get under the skin of your customers.

Know your audience

If you don’t know who you’re aiming your holiday email marketing efforts at, it’s unlikely you’ll see any return on investment (ROI). That said, you should build a holiday-specific buyer persona so that your marketing communications will resonate with your audience.

By building a solid customer profile or persona, you’ll be able to personalize your emails to offer a level of personal value to all of your recipients, based on their preferences and needs.

Understand segmentation

Armed with your buyer persona (or personas), you should categorize your audience into different segments to keep track of who’s buying what and how often they’re coming back for more. That way your messages are more intentional and better equipped at showing customers what they’re actually interested in.

To get started, make sure to prep your holiday email list in the following steps:

1. Clean up your email subscriber list

Segment your list to determine which subscribers haven’t engaged with your content within the last 90 days and beyond. Then, send a follow-up email (or re-engagement campaign) to that group to see if they’re still interested in receiving emails from your brand. Send at least three re-engagement messages to this segment of the list, removing anyone who did click to stay on the list from the segment.

Don’t be afraid to remove the folks that aren’t interested, as this opens up an opportunity for you to add new (more engaged) subscribers later on.

2. Get new subscribers

Start by organizing your current subscribers in one place, then test your integrations and forms to ensure all is functioning properly. It’s also a good idea to encourage replies from subscribers (or directly ask them to be whitelisted) so you can improve message deliverability.

Once everything checks out, it’s time to start adding to your list. A few ways you can source out new subscribers could include:

  • Re-sharing your opt-in on social media
  • Pairing up with relevant businesses on a collaboration (buyer’s guides work well for this)
  • Asking for referrals from current subscribers (try attaching a special offer or gift as an incentive)

Word of mouth goes a long way here. So make sure you look for ways to strengthen your relationship with current subscribers whenever possible.

3. Build new email segments

Now that your existing email lists are up to date, you can segment your audience into new sub-lists, such as:

  • Repeat customers
  • Frequent buyers
  • New subscribers
  • Special offer redeemers and more

Doing this can enhance the personalization of your content for maximum results.

4. Update and fine-tune your automations

Double-check all of your automated messages and ensure they are current and functional. You don’t want to miss out on additional holiday sales because of a broken link or an incorrect promotion date.

Additionally, you’ll want to build holiday emails that are relevant to your product categories. You can do this with both cross-sell and upsell messages, but note that they have different agendas. A cross-sell message will suggest similar items to customers, while an upsell shows them additional accessories to pair with their purchase.

Having a good batch of upsell and cross-sell messages will help customers fill their carts with products they know and love most — especially as they shop for stocking stuffers and holiday gift bags.

5. Superpower your transactional messages

Your transactional messages are also areas you can maximize holiday sales during the holidays. These could include promotional communications within your shipping and delivery confirmations, or even abandoned cart emails. You might even include reminders on things like:

  • Shipping deadlines
  • Special offers
  • Last chance notifications

Pro tip: Mark these types of event dates on a calendar ahead of the holidays, so you can easily swap in and update graphics when needed.

Consider your email subject lines

If you’re going to send out a holiday email, you need to get your subject lines right. It’s the headline that will make people click though, after all.

Tip: Always aim to make your email subject lines short, sweet and relevant.

Here are a couple of our favorites from Black Friday for your reference:

  • “Let’s sweeten the Black Friday Deals with …”
  • “Are you taking time for YOU this Black Friday?”

Once you’ve taken the time to plan, get to know your audience and create effective email subject lines, it’s time to start rolling out your strategy.

Know when to send your emails

Now that you have your email subject lines ready, it’s time to start planning when you should send out your holiday emails. Most businesses will already have a plan for the major US holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But don’t forget to include these prime shopping dates for maximum leverage:

Black Friday: November 25, 2022

Small Business Saturday: November 26th, 2022

Cyber Monday: November 28th, 2022

Giving Tuesday: November 29th, 2022

You’ll also want to time out your email subscriber list regularly before the holiday season. Try aiming for at least once a month, and not more often than twice a week (unless that’s what they signed up for).

To help you plan ahead for the peak holiday months, you can refer to the monthly breakdown below to see what you’ll need to prepare for.

August-September

This is when you’ll want to start planning all the content for the months ahead. Think about traditional and cyber holidays that make the most sense to your business. Then, prepare all your graphics, email copy and promotions around that.

October

Early October might be too soon to push out your Christmas marketing campaigns, but a recent report by Statista shows that 43% of consumers start planning their holiday shopping before the end of this month. Your best bet is to start sending out Christmas emails right after Halloween is over, as many consumers are looking to get their shopping done early.

November

This is a big month for shopping deals, considering both Black Friday and Cyber Monday fall into this timeframe. You’ll want to prepare promotions for this month well in advance and start building up the hype from the end of October to the end of November.

Additionally, you’ll want to use the first two weeks of this month to send out emails in anticipation of Christmas.

December

As it gets closer to Christmas, you’ll start to notice click-through traffic slowly winding down. The beginning of the month will still be pretty strong, as last minute holiday shoppers wrap up their final purchases for th. December 1 and December 2 have a +25% increase vs. the December average, so try planning your emails around then.

January

You’ll want to continue sending out targeted emails in January since previous years have shown that the open ratetends to be higher than in December.  And since New Year’s tends to focus more on products that encourage self-improvement, you’ll want to tailor your emails to highlight how your newest products and services can benefit your audience in an enriching way.

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Building your holiday email marketing strategy

When creating content for your holiday email marketing strategy, you should always try to speak to your customers on a personal level, remaining conversational while designing your emails in such a way that makes your intent clear and concise.

These tips will help you create promotional email content that works for any holiday or occasion.

Create a holiday-themed design

When it comes to holiday email marketing, a digestible design coupled with striking themed imagery will excite and inspire your customers. And that’s likely to result in action — people buying stuff from you.

By creating a holiday-themed email banner image  and creating call-to-action buttons (“Buy now,” “I want one,” “Start shopping”) that match it, you’ll build a sense of festivity.

Plus, if you place your discount codes, deals or offers near the top of your holiday email, you’re more likely to encourage click-throughs and increase sales.

Editor’s note: Need help creating attention-grabbing images for your holiday emails? GoDaddy Studio has a wide selection of easy-to-use templates, graphics and fonts you can piece together in minutes — without any experience necessary.

Related: Email design 101 — How to create a beautiful email

Share holiday gift guides, deals and teaser emails

When you’re creating a holiday marketing email strategy, it’s important to provide a unique level of value while offering exclusivity and, of course, creating urgency — for example, “Quick, buy now while you still can!”

With this in mind, when crafting a holiday email, employing these additional tactics to encourage your subscribers to buy your products or services will yield positive results:

  • Create a holiday gift guide with tips, advice and consultancy on what’s best to buy this holiday season.
  • Send out holiday teaser emails leading up to the holiday in question, getting your prospects excited by promising to deliver exciting seasonal content, news, and offers.
  • Offer exclusive holiday-based deals, offers and discount codes. Encourage your customers to take action by placing a redemption time limit on the offers you provide.
  • Send last-minute emails offering free shipping or reminding your subscribers of their deal, offer or discount redemption deadlines.
  • Offer one-click or instant purchasing options.
  • Launch a holiday-themed competition, encouraging your email recipients to enter by replying to your email or sharing a piece of content via social media. Brand awareness and engagement in one neat promotional package.
  • Go the traditional route by designing and sending out an eye-grabbing custom graphic or image to use as a greeting card.

Be aware: While encouraging action and creating urgency works, don’t over do it.

Putting too much pressure on potential prospects to subscribe to your list or buy your products could hurt your brand reputation.

Offer deals and incentives and implement redemption time limits, but whatever you do, be natural and conversational when speaking to your customers rather than forcing their hands toward the shopping carts. Essentially, you should create excitement and leave the hard sales pitch at the door.

Produce a holiday marketing video

As humans, we’re visual creatures. In fact, 54% of today’s consumers want to see more video content from the brands they subscribe to or follow.

By creating a fun, inspirational or topical holiday-themed marketing video, not only are you likely to boost your brand awareness, but you’ll have a powerful asset to share in your promotional emails.

Campaign ideas

Need help drafting up extra content for your holiday email campaigns? Here are some ideas to help inspire you:

Thank you campaign

Send out a thank you email to your subscribers on Thanksgiving day to let them know you value them as a loyal customer. Towards the end of the email, let them know about the massive sale you have coming out. Something like, “P.S. tomorrow will be our biggest sale in company history, so make sure to keep an eye on your inbox.”

Pre-sale campaign

This campaign should be exclusive and sent only to active users that open your messages and make purchases regularly. You can offer them a special coupon code or promotional deal to entice them, then add a countdown timer that signifies it’s only for a limited time. This could work for a one-day Thanksgiving event or a few days prior to Black Friday.

Free-shipping campaign

These work best alongside your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and are a no-brainer for customers looking to score big savings. However, you’ll need to ensure you’re not losing any profits on your end. Calculate your shipping costs first, then offer a free shipping coupon for orders over a certain value.

Gift-based campaign

Nudge your customers to purchase more by offering a bonus of a gift after they spend over a certain threshold. Gift ideas could include a free backpack, t-shirt or other branded merchandise. Set a limit to the quantity you’ll have in stock (think the first 200 customers) and tease about it in earlier emails. You can also send follow-up emails to notify subscribers when your gift stock is running low.

Raffle or giveaway campaign

Offering a prize or giveaway also helps encourage your customers to shop for more in hopes of winning big for themselves. Cash incentives are the most popular choice to go with, but there are other ways to motivate your subscribers to add a little more to their cart. Some examples could include:

  • Free shipping for a year
  • A gift card to another store
  • Free subscriptions to your software service

Get creative and think of a prize so compelling you’ll have customers buying from you solely to have a chance at winning.

Sequence-based campaign

If you like the idea of a countdown timer, you can set up deals that span from Black Friday to Cyber Monday as separate daily events. This means you’ll have a specific category of merchandise that goes on sale for each of those days, and for a limited amount of time. When the timer runs out, those sales will no longer be available — creating a sense of FOMO for your subscribers. Typically, you’ll notice a spike in sales just before the timer is up.

Partnering business campaigns

Trying to think outside of the box? Try partnering with a non-competitive business that closely relates to what you’re selling. You can do this to promote your business to their email subscribers and do the same for them as well.

For example, if you sell hiking backpacks, you can partner with any retailer that sells tents, camping knives or water filters as a way to complete a set.

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Holiday email marketing optimization and retargeting

With your timing, content, deals, design, offers and visuals firmly in place, now’s the time to optimize your holiday marketing email efforts while thinking about retargeting subscribers to enjoy maximum value from your campaign. Here are four ways to do that.

Set up referral rewards

Reward repeat buyers or first-time holiday purchasers by sending a follow-up email offering an exclusive referral reward.

The reward could come in the form of:

  • A discount code
  • Two-for-one offer
  • First dibs on brand-new products
  • Free shipping for a month

By prompting existing holiday customers to encourage their friends or relatives to subscribe to your email list, you’ll have a bigger, more engaged audience to target when the next holiday rolls around. A real win-win.

Deliver post-holiday or follow-up emails

Follow-up or retargeting emails work well when delivered near the end or shortly after your holiday marketing campaign.

When it comes to following up with a holiday marketing email recipient, there are several approaches you can take.

1. Send a reminder to folks with an incomplete transaction

 If a promotional email recipient has clicked through to a purchase page but for some reason, decided to stop their transaction, it’s possible to retarget them with a cart abandonment email.

Cart abandonment emails allow you to re-engage your subscribers with some sweet holiday messaging while reminding them of their previous purchasing activities.

2. Utilize a template for quick turnaround

If sent in a timely fashion, cart abandonment emails earn solid results. If you have a template up your sleeve that you can edit according to campaign or occasion, sending out these types of emails will take minimal effort.

3. Make it personal with a sweet deal

It’s also possible to send follow-up or retargeting emails with personalized holiday gift suggestions or, as mentioned, free shipping or deals with expiration dates. These approaches boost engagement while creating a sense of urgency.

Whatever approach you decide to take when following up with a promotional email, it’s important to include a clear-cut call-to-action to guide your customers to the next stage of the sales process — whether it’s a product page or an instant purchase shopping cart.

But, whatever you do, make sure you avoid costly mistakes like:

  • Not ending every page with a call to action. 
  • Not using CTAs to guide your website sales funnel.
  • Not having a call-to-action above the fold.
  • Using too many calls to action.
  • Using weak language in your CTAs.
  • Not thinking about the design of the CTA.
  • Not testing your calls to action.
  • Thinking that calls-to-action don’t matter.

Tip: When creating calls to action for your promotional emails, keep it simple! Even adding a linked phrase like “Shop Now” can do the trick.

Also, you should make your links noticeable. Most clicked links have slightly larger text or are in all caps, with a different color than the rest of the text surrounding them. Red often works well.

Try to stick to just one link per email to keep your promotion simple and clutter-free.

You also can try using a linked image. Visuals immediately catch the eye and you can use them to incite a call to action. The example below features a clickable image that yielded the lion’s share of the clicks:

Embrace email automation

Email automation is a process that makes it possible to send time or action-triggered emails to your subscribers with relevant content.

With automation, it’s possible to create and schedule emails to be sent to different segments of your subscriber base at times when they’re most likely to be engaged.

Essentially, you can set everything up and monitor your success with minimal intervention.

For a seamless, time-saving email retargeting experience, there’s no denying that email automation is your best option.

This practical guide will help you get started, saving you time and money in equal measures.

Don’t forget holiday email mobile optimization

Statistics from Hubspot suggest that a majority of email views are now opened more on mobile than desktop. And considering that 1 in 5 email campaigns are not optimized for mobile devices, your business has an opportunity to boost extra views — simply by using mobile-friendly design tactics for holiday email marketing campaigns.

Some design tactics you can consider, include:

  • A clean and simplified layout: Highlight important features at the top and use bullet points to quickly get your point across.
  • Quick and relevant buttons: Double-check that all links are functioning the way you intended. No one likes clicking on a link that takes too long to load, doesn’t work or reroutes to something irrelevant.
  • Easy link placements: Avoid placing product links (especially with images) too close to each other or making them too small for consumers to quickly click on.
  • Contrast between text and background color: A simple black text on a plain white background is one color combo that’s typically easy to read.

Again, mobile optimization can help boost your holiday promotional emails in a way that other competitors might be ignoring. You’ll want to offer a seamless level of user experience (UX) and ensure everything looks great on screen. Otherwise, your customers will put them in the virtual trash bin, posthaste.

With testing, time and development, you can ensure that all of your emails work perfectly on mobile devices. But the most effective solution is to use an email marketing tool like GoDaddy Email Marketing that will optimize your designs automatically.

Doing so will allow you to preview them across devices before sending them to your recipients, resulting in time and money well spent.

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Research, track and refine your holiday email efforts

Sector or niche aside, your marketing success as a business owner will depend on your ability to test and refine your activities for future holiday campaign success.

Testing your holiday emails boils down to good common sense.

In terms of checking and testing your emails before sending them, you might catch typos, broken links or discover a better way to lay out a module. And by measuring the success of your emails after your campaign, you’ll be able to identify what works well — in addition to areas that require improvement.

If you don’t have a marketing team to test your emails, you should send a test to yourself or a trusted friend. It really does help to see your newsletter as it appears in your readers’ inboxes.

Plus, if you’re starting an automated email drip campaign , or continuing one, it’s important to ensure your campaign is functioning optimally.

Here are two tried and tested strategies to ensure your holiday email efforts work for you time and time again.

Benchmark your results

By using email campaign data to your advantage, you’ll be able to benchmark your holiday email marketing efforts, empowering you to make vital improvements during the next seasonal period.

The best way to benchmark  your campaign efforts is by analyzing metrics, such as:

  • Open rates
  • Click-through rates
  • Conversion rates

These metrics are all based on the performance of individual emails, but you can monitor them through platforms like Google Analytics or your email marketing platform’s built-in performance data. Make sure to note any discoveries you come across and use them to understand your strengths and weaknesses.

By drilling down into your performance data, you’ll be able to decide the best and worst times to send emails. You’ll also have a better understanding of the types of content or offers that work best for your business, plus figure out which elements of your holiday marketing efforts need improvement. You can then use all this information to take action where necessary.

If you measure, track and benchmark your efforts on a continual basis, you’ll keep evolving and eventually increase your holiday marketing sales year after year in the process.

Failing to do so will only dilute your promotional email efforts.

Peek at your competitors

The best thing about holiday email marketing is the fact that the holidays (in their various forms) happen every year. This offers a fresh opportunity to dazzle, amaze and engage your audience every 12 months.

One of the best ways to get inspiration for your holiday marketing efforts is to look at what your competitors are doing.

Follow them on social media and sign up for their email lists to gather as much intel as possible.

Peeking at the competition is great because not only can you utilize the best parts of their campaigns to your advantage, but you can also spot content gaps to exploit. Try placing your own spin on their ideas and delivering them to your customers in a way that’s unique to your brand.

For example, if your competitor is doing a “12 offers of Christmas” campaign — sending out a different deal each day in the lead-up to the big day — you could evolve this idea by delivering an email that includes a “12 days of Christmasadvent calendar.” This could include a graphic that your customers can open for exclusive deals and content.

With holiday emails, the sky really is the limit. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to look at what your competitors are doing with their holiday email marketing activities.

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Conclusion and next steps

There’s no doubt about it. For businesses of all shapes and sizes, the holidays offer a prime opportunity for increasing your sales, boosting brand awareness and growing your audience.

By planning early on and delivering content that will inspire and engage your audience in equal measures, you stand to enjoy great success with your holiday email marketing campaigns.

“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches — at scale.” —David Newman, author of “Do It! Marketing”

As a quick recap, here is a rundown of the best general practices for holiday email marketing:

Be clear and direct

Always have a clear goal for every promotional email you send to make your communications concise and impactful. And, if you’re looking to attract new subscribers, make sure your opt-in information is easy to read. You’ll want to let prospective subscribers know what you intend to do with their contact details.

Stay recent and engaged

When dealing with your email marketing lists, make sure you remove any subscribers who are inactive or unresponsive. This will give you the space to focus your efforts on new customers or existing recipients who are likely to engage.

Exert no pressure

Adding a sense of urgency to your holiday emails with deal and discount code expiry messaging is effective. But, don’t over-pressure your holiday prospects — as it could damage your brand reputation. Make sure your communications are as natural as possible, leaving the hard sales pitch at the door.

Test your emails

Measuring, tracking and testing your emails is essential to your ongoing holiday marketing success. Testing your emails before you send them will ensure you capture any typos or formatting issues across devices.

And, by drilling down into your performance data, you’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t. This will empower you to make improvements for future campaigns.

Care for your customers

Make sure you reward loyal subscribers with exclusive content and incentives and always remember to offer a unique level of value with every single piece of content you send.

Whether it’s a greetings card, gift guide or an exclusive discount code, you should always strive to keep your holiday email recipients coming back for more.

This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Christina Berry, Emma Wilhelm, Macdara Bracken and Mira Lynn.



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Let the Urgency of Your Customers’ Needs Guide Your Sales Strategy

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When companies are creating profiles of possible target customers, there is a dimension they often overlook: the urgency of the need for the offering. This article provides a process for segmenting prospective customers in this fashion and creating a sales strategy.

Many business leaders believe that they fully understand their best target customers. They’ve developed clear profiles (a.k.a. personas) that are richly detailed with well-researched parameters, such as standard characteristics (e.g., age, education level, years at the company, role) or firmographic (e.g., annual revenues, number of employees, industry, geography, years in business). While such characteristics are important, they ignore another crucial characteristic: urgency of need.

A company that offers a software-as-a-service billing solution for small and mid-sized private dental practices may focus on classic demographics, such as the size of the practice (number of employees or number of dentists), the age of the practice (since older practices may more likely have outdated systems), or the amount of insurance billing the practice does each year.

These variables are useful in helping to produce a list of prospects, but they don’t determine which of these dental practices the sales team should call on first. If, however, the company added data that reflects which of these practices’ needs is most urgent — say, those that have advertised for billing and claims administration help more than twice in the past year (suggesting that they are struggling to keep up with billing) — salespeople would be able to prioritize their attention on these prospects.

The Four Segments

This needs-based approach entails segmenting potential customers into four segments:

  1. Urgent. The customer recognizes that it has an immediate need. (We just had another billing person quit!)
  2. Non-urgent. The customer recognizes the need, but it isn’t a high priority at this time. (We realize that our billing needs are changing and our current system will need to be revamped. We plan to start looking into this in the next year.)
  3. Currently met. The customer believes it already has an adequate solution to address the need at this time but recognizes it may not be a long-term solution. (We have an older billing system in place that still does the trick for now.)
  4. None. The customer simply has no need nor expects such need anytime soon. (Our small practice has a limited number of patients who pay out of pocket. Since all payments are made at the time of service, we simply don’t need a complex new billing system.)

This focus on the urgency of target customers’ needs may sound like common sense, but we have found in our work with B2B companies — from mid-sized firms to Fortune 50 giants in an array of industries such as financial services, enterprise information technology, utilities, industrial solutions, and health care technology — that they often fail to consider this dimension. Here is a process a firm can employ to apply this approach.

Identify new customers.

To identify prospects outside of your existing customer base, you can use available information. One is a source we mentioned: help-wanted ads that reflect a particular need.

But there are plenty of others. For instance, if a company sells inventory management solutions, a source of valuable data might be manufacturing industry merger-and-acquisition data, which could reveal companies with an urgent need to change or merge systems such as those for managing inventories. If a company sells quality-management solutions, a source of valuable data could be companies that are getting hammered for poor quality on social media.

Gather the necessary information.

Identifying your customers’ true urgency of needs requires looking beyond your typical demographic and firmographic profiling. This starts with an outreach initiative to talk to customers and prospects. The purpose is to ask questions to identify new target customer parameters that may be impacting the customer’s urgency of needs:

  • Frustrations. How urgent is the need to resolve these frustrations? Which frustration would best accelerate success if resolved?
  • Goals. Are your goals clear, consistent, reasonable, and measurable? Have your goals shifted recently?
  • Roadblocks. What keeps you from reaching your goals? (i.e., What keeps you up at night?) What is the magnitude of the impact of these roadblocks?
  • Environmental and situational factors. Are you experiencing any industry consolidation, organizational or executive management changes or instability, competitive changes, regulatory changes, and so on? What is the magnitude of the impact of these factors?
  • Technology factors. Are there new or changing technologies that will impact your ability to achieve your goals? Are you at risk due to technology end-of-life issues or incompatibility?

Assess your firm’s ability to serve lower-level segments.

Once a company has performed its needs-based segmentation effort, it should seek to answer the following questions about each of the four levels. The findings will dictate the sales and marketing strategy, level of investment and resource allocations.

Level 1. Urgent need

How quickly can we meet their need? How can we best serve them? Is the market opportunity large enough to focus only on these prospective customers? Given the customer’s urgency, how do we price our products to optimize margins without damaging relationships by appearing exploitive?

Level 2. Non-urgent need

Can we convince them that their need is more urgent than they currently believe? How do we effectively stay in touch with them so we remain top of mind when they perceive that their need has become urgent?

Level 3. Need currently met

Should we walk away from these prospects? If so, when and how do we touch base with them to see if their needs have changed? Or is there an opportunity to continue to work to convince them that their need is either more significant than they realize or could be much better addressed? If so, what’s the best approach to get them to reconsider their current situation and recognize their true need and its urgency?

Level 4. No need

Should we completely remove these contacts as any potential prospect? Is there some other need we may be able to address for them — perhaps with another product? Should we be in contact on a planned basis to see if their situation has changed? How do we best do that?

The ideal customers are those who clearly understand and recognize they have an urgent need for your offering. However, if that opportunity is not enough to meet the company’s sales volume target, it may be necessary to extend efforts beyond Level 1. Gaining the attention of these additional target customers, challenging their perceptions of their needs, and educating them on how your offering could benefit them will require resources. Consequently, a critical assessment is required to determine whether the opportunity outweighs the investment necessary to address customers in these other levels.

Test your new targets.

Before committing to a complete revamp of how your salespeople are prioritizing opportunities, select one or two experienced salespeople to help you test your new target customer parameters. Identify a few prospects that align to your revamped target profiles, and see how the selected salespeople are able to penetrate them.

Revamp your sales messaging and training.

Include prospective customers’ level of need in your sales messaging — the language that the sales team uses in its interactions with customers. Revamp your sales tools (materials such as brochures, technical papers, and customer testimonials used in the selling process) to include the urgency of need. And teach salespeople how to read and react to the prospective customer’s level of need and adapt their language appropriately.

By adding urgency of need to target customers’ profiles, companies can do more than differentiate their offerings more effectively. They can also identify new growth opportunities and successfully pivot away from slowing or tightening markets. They can accelerate the sales of new products. Last but not least, they can turn underachieving sales teams into strong performers.

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11 Ways Tech Adoption Impacts your Small Biz Growth

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Small businesses rely heavily on technology to drive development and innovation. Adopting the correct technological solutions can help to streamline processes, increase efficiency, improve client experiences, and create a competitive advantage in the market.

In this post, we will look at how technology contributes to the growth and success of small enterprises.

photo credit: Ali Pazani / Pexels

1. Streamlining Operations

Implementing small business technology solutions can automate and streamline various aspects of small business operations. This includes using project management software, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, inventory management tools, and accounting software. Streamlining operations not only saves time and reduces manual errors but also allows small businesses to allocate resources more efficiently.

Tip: Regularly assess your business processes and identify areas that can be automated or improved with technology. This continuous evaluation ensures that your technology solutions remain aligned with your evolving business needs.

2. Enhancing Customer Engagement

Technology enables small businesses to engage and connect with their customers more effectively. Social media platforms, email marketing software, and customer service tools allow businesses to communicate and build relationships with their target audience. Customer relationship management systems help businesses track customer interactions and preferences, providing insights to deliver personalized experiences and improve customer satisfaction.

Tip: Leverage data from customer interactions to create targeted marketing campaigns and personalized offers. Use automation tools to send timely and relevant messages to your customers, enhancing their engagement and loyalty.

3. Expanding Market Reach

The internet and digital marketing platforms provide small businesses with the opportunity to reach a broader audience beyond their local market. Creating a professional website, utilizing search engine optimization (SEO), and leveraging online advertising channels allow small businesses to attract and engage customers from different regions or even globally. E-commerce platforms enable businesses to sell products or services online, further expanding their market reach.

Tip: Continuously monitor and optimize your online presence to ensure your website is discoverable and user-friendly. Leverage analytics tools to track website traffic, visitor behavior, and conversion rates to make data-driven improvements.

Analyzing big data for decision making process

4. Improving Decision-Making with Data

Technology provides small businesses with access to valuable data and analytics, enabling informed decision-making. Through data analysis, businesses can gain insights into customer behavior, market trends, and operational performance. This data-driven approach allows small businesses to make strategic decisions, optimize processes, and identify growth opportunities more effectively.

Tip: Invest in data analytics tools and dashboards that can consolidate and visualize your business data. Regularly review and analyze the data to uncover patterns, identify bottlenecks, and make data-backed decisions to drive growth.

5. Facilitating Remote Work and Collaboration

Advancements in technology have made remote work and collaboration more feasible for small businesses. Cloud-based tools, project management software, and communication platforms enable teams to work together efficiently, regardless of geographical location. This flexibility opens up opportunities to access talent from anywhere, increase productivity, and reduce overhead costs.

Tip: Establish clear communication protocols and project management workflows to ensure effective collaboration among remote teams. Use video conferencing tools for virtual meetings and foster a culture of transparency and accountability to maintain productivity and engagement.

6. Embracing Emerging Technologies

Small businesses should stay informed about emerging technologies that have the potential to transform their industries. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and the Internet of Things can offer new opportunities for growth and innovation. Being open to adopting and integrating these technologies into your business strategy can give you a competitive advantage.

7. Data Security and Privacy

Data security and privacy are critical considerations when using technology in small businesses. Implement robust cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, encryption, and secure data storage, to protect sensitive customer information and intellectual property. Regularly update software and educate employees on best practices for data security to minimize the risk of data breaches.

Work with CRM system

8. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems

A dedicated CRM system can help small businesses manage customer relationships more efficiently. It allows businesses to track customer interactions, store contact information, and monitor sales pipelines. Utilize CRM software to streamline sales and marketing processes, personalize customer interactions, and nurture long-term customer loyalty.

9. Continuous Learning and Skill Development

Encourage continuous learning and skill development among employees to keep up with technological advancements. Provide access to online courses, training resources, and workshops to enhance digital literacy and proficiency. Embrace a culture of learning and innovation to ensure your small business remains adaptable and competitive in the digital age.

10. Scalable and Flexible Technology Solutions

Choose technology solutions that are scalable and flexible to accommodate your growing business needs. Consider cloud-based software and platforms that allow you to easily scale up or down as your business evolves. This scalability enables small businesses to adapt to changing demands and seize new opportunities without significant disruptions.

11. Regular Technology Assessments

Regularly assess your technology infrastructure to ensure it aligns with your business goals and remains up to date. Conduct technology audits to identify areas for improvement, eliminate outdated systems, and explore new technologies that can drive growth. Stay proactive in evaluating and optimizing your technology stack to maximize its impact on your small business.

Businessman using biz tech solutions

Conclusion

Technology serves as a catalyst for small business growth. By leveraging technology effectively and staying agile in an ever-evolving digital landscape, small businesses can unlock their full potential, adapt to changing customer expectations, and drive sustainable growth.

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Growing a Business

Nine Reasons Why Turning Down a Client Is the Best Option for Your Business

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While your business may not be right for every client, every client may not be right for your business. To that end, what’s one sign you should turn down a client, and why?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. The Client Has Unrealistic Expectations

Sometimes you’ll meet clients with unrealistic expectations — even when those expectations are incompatible with your products and services. They might demand services that you may not be able to deliver. Trying to keep such clients can often damage your relationship with them, encourage them to spread bad word-of-mouth, and hamper your reputation. Identifying such clients in time can prevent that.

Andrew Munro, AffiliateWP

s2. They’re Unresponsive

The number one way to tell if a client isn’t right for your business is if they are unresponsive. For client-business relationships to work, mutual understanding, communication, and respect are essential. If a client keeps pushing you aside when you need to clarify something for a project you’re working on for them, it may be time to move on at the end of the assignment.

Daman Jeet Singh, FunnelKit

3. They Complain During Every Step

An obvious sign that a client isn’t a good fit for your business is when they complain about your work every step of the way. I’ve encountered clients who complain because they think they will get a better price or free work. If they are truly unhappy, try to correct the mistake once or twice, and if that doesn’t work, give them a refund. Catering to toxic clients will not help you grow or succeed.

Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

Meeting with a client

4. You’re Unable to Meet Their Needs

One should turn down a client whose expectations are hard to meet. They may not be in the wrong in the situation, and they have the right to expect certain things since they will be paying for the solutions offered. However, you should assess whether it will be possible for you to keep up with those expectations considering your current scale of operations or resources available.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

5. They Exhibit a ‘Blame-Oriented’ Mindset

Watch for a “blame-oriented mindset” in your prospecting and sales conversations. Ask a question like, “What solutions or service providers have you tried before to solve this problem, and why didn’t they work?” Observe if the prospect takes any ownership for past failures or solely blames previous providers. Such an attitude is a clear sign of a lack of accountability and collaboration. Turn down such prospects!

Devesh Dwivedi, Higher Valuation

6. They Constantly Dismiss Your Advice

Picture this: a client who insists on guiding you through uncharted territory while you hold the compass of expertise. When faced with a client who consistently dismisses your professional advice and insists on going against best practices, it’s time to question the compatibility of your collaboration. Remember: You’re the expert for a reason, and your recommendations should be valued.

Abhijeet Kaldate, Astra WordPress Theme

Talking with a big client
photo credit: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

7. They Aren’t Engaging in the Project

When a client consistently fails to provide the necessary resources, feedback or engagement required for a successful partnership, it’s time to hit pause. A one-sided relationship will leave you feeling like a solo artist in a duet. Seek clients who actively participate, collaborate and invest in the success of the projects you undertake together.

Adam Preiser, WPCrafter

8. There Is Value or Goal Misalignment

Turn down clients if their values or goals are not aligned with your business. This can lead to conflicts and dissatisfaction and even damage your reputation. Focus on clients who share similar values and goals to maintain your brand’s integrity and benefit from the work you do for them.

Nic DeAngelo, Saint Investment – Real Estate Funds

9. They’re Always Adding ‘One More Thing’

You can tell a client is not right for your business, especially if you’re a freelancer, if they keep adding “one more thing” to the project. For instance, if you’re a writer and a client asks you to edit some of their other work “as a friend,” it may be time to end the partnership. This situation will lead to you doing tons of work and extra assignments for free, which was not the arrangement. 

John Turner, SeedProd LLC

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