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MARKETING

Don't Make This Common Year-End Mistake
 

The world may seem to slow between Christmas and New Year's, but it doesn't stop. And neither should your business.

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The inclination of many--I'll be quick to raise my hand--is to knock off work if possible between Christmas and New Year's. For an entrepreneur, it might seem to make sense. People have already shopped themselves sick. They've overdosed on more bad versions of the same 23 seasonal songs. So, maybe marketing is a waste of time.

Only, maybe it isn't. For example, if you talk to editors of Web publications, the assumption used to be that traffic would be dead. That has changed. There are a lot of people out and about on the Internet at home during the holidays. Many don't celebrate Christmas and personally see the week as a more normal one. If you don't at least have something planned to catch people's  attention, you're missing a great opportunity.

To understand the psychology of people during the holidays, you need only look at your own:

  • Having an extended period of time away from work can leave you looking for ways to fill time because, like most Americans, you're accustomed to doing something.
  • Much of the time away from work is spent at home, not at a vacation spot after all the money you've just spent.
  • If you have family or friends over for the holidays, you're probably looking for a little excusable alone time.
  • Despite wanting to either get away or keep busy, it's still a time when people want to relax and preserve whatever sense they can of good will.

Focusing on overt sales conversion and blatant promotion could seem like overkill after the preceding months of so many businesses chasing year-end consumption. So use a lighter touch. Provide some value other than discounts. Provide information, or maybe just a little entertainment. It's a time for nurturing connections with customers and attracting prospects. (No, a cheesy holiday e-card does not count.)

As others let their efforts slow, yours will also have a greater chance of being noticed on search engines. PR efforts, done well, might also have a good chance because many of those reporters and editors left to hold down the fort may be scratching their heads for story ideas at a time when news is often slow.

Think of it as a small holiday gift for your company.

Last updated: Dec 19, 2012

ERIK SHERMAN's work has appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Magazine, and Fortune. He also blogs for CBS MoneyWatch.
@ErikSherman




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