OMG PAULA, plz stop. Why are you talking about Christmas? Let me enjoy my BBQs and summer time fun. Is this a sick joke?
Yes probably. But early Christmas preparation is definitely a thing and after one of our members in the Social Renegade Facebook group mentioned it the other week I thought it only best to talk about it some more.
Especially if this is considered a slow time for you, then this is a perfect opportunity to be looking at your second half of the year. I am not saying you have to stop everything you are doing so we can talk about Christmas BUT I am saying that the next few months are going to fly before we know it, and that at some point in the next 2 months you will need to put a plan into place.
Are you ready?
It’s okay Renegades, I got you. I have put into place a breakdown so you can get this all done in 7 days. I have even included a free checklist for you to download. Let me help you put dates in the calendar and heaven forbid, be prepared.
I love you all, but I am here to push you to what you are capable of.
Organize Your Shop Now!
Download the checklist so you can really feel like you got stuff done by ticking off items in the box. Trust me, it feels so good.
MONDAY - SET A CUT OFF DATE
Look at your calendar right now and decide on a shipping cut off date. This doesn’t mean you will absolutely stop shipping after this date but this is the date you are giving your customers. You are telling them to order by this date to get it by Christmas. Any orders placed after this date are not guaranteed to arrive in time for the holidays. Depending on when you may be reading this and the type of business you have, I would plan on November 1st switching gears after Halloween and starting to post it on your various accounts and shop announcements.
Setting a cut-off date does a couple of things. First, it causes urgency so your customers think “Oh shoot, I need to get this NOW and not wait until next week“. And second, it gives you peace of mind so you’re not rushing to send out an order on December 22 because people think that you have employed magical unicorns that will fly as quick as they can so they can get it by Christmas. YOU ARE NOT SANTA. You are always going to have those last minute buyers but by doing this you draw the line on the sand, set expectations and some boundaries, and then you are able to point to that date if questions arise. They always do. So be prepared.
Maybe you don't have an actual product you are selling, so if you are a blogger for example, what plans are you putting into place for the holiday season. Posts deadlines? Gift guides...Start writing content now! You do not want to be waiting until the holidays to start working on your blog. Now is the time to start preparing. I know easier said than done but if you are reading this when I published it in July, dude, you have time.
Social Renegade Tip: Be realistic about the date. Think about how long it takes you to get an order ready to mail and then the average time it takes for an order to arrive after you’ve dropped it off. I usually set my cut-off date 5-7 business days before Christmas for domestic order and 15-21 business days for International orders. Check what your post offices are saying. Chances are they have already released these dates.
Be sure to include the cut-off date in a few places – if you are on Etsy, the Shop Announcement, the Shop Banner, and in your Shop Policies. IG, time to put it in your profile description.
TUESDAY - PLAN FOR SALES OR NEW PRODUCT LAUNCHES
Take a look at that calendar again and look to see any sales, product launches or collaborations you might try and do between now then. This includes giveaways and guest posts. Don’t have anything yet? Shout out on our Tuesday collaboration thread in the Social Renegade Facebook group.
Also plan what time you are going to be working and when you are taking off. This will help you in keeping yourself accountable. Which is so important guys for just overall self care and wellbeing.
If you are like me and Punky Moms, Halloween is a big time for us and so preparations for our editorial calendar and Shop launches definitely start in the summer. We have a few giveaways lined up and sales dates from now until NYE.
This is also a good time to stock up on supplies. Maybe that’s packing stuff or a material you need to make your best selling product. Nothing worse than not being able to work because your supplier is out of the specific felt you use or has a backorder on the style of shirt you use.
It is perfectly fine to turn down a project if the timing does not work with your schedule. The reason why you hopefully started your business is to have flexibility and freedom. If you try and take on every project, your vision will get cloudy and your business becomes a chore. You want to clear space for the perfect collaborations with the perfect timings. Doing a little work now will help your business and sanity make it through the holidays.
WEDNESDAY - UPDATE YOUR INFO
This is the perfect time to triple check your shop’s info. Go through your About Section or Contact Page, make sure the text sets a good intro to you and your business and include some “behind the scenes” photos if you have them.
If you have been putting off updating or even writing your About Me. THE TIME IS NOW.
Most importantly though, please double check your shop’s Policies section. Make sure everything is up to date there. This is especially imperative in regards to Shipping Policies and Refunds & Exchanges. Again, be sure to include your shipping cut off date here, both in the Shipping section and the Welcome section to ensure customers see it.
Need help? Send me a message and we can work on getting your shop in order for you.
THURSDAY - REVIEW YOUR LISTINGS & COPY
Ok now time for some real work. Did you think this was going to be that easy? Let’s work on getting your listings looking perfect. This is what gives you sales, after all! September or October is the perfect time to go over your listings and make sure they’re ready to go for the holiday season. You will simply not be able to do this when you are busy with orders!
Not only is this about making sure the copy reads well but also making sure your pictures are clear and concise. Now is the time to plan retaking photos. Take a look at your product listing’s description – could the copy be more convincing? Make sure that the first paragraph is telling customers to BUY ME! It is a well known fact among online sellers that most people don’t read the whole product listing, so that first paragraph? MEGA IMPORTANT. It should make it clear what the listing is all about. Don’t get too clever. Be straight-forward so you don’t confuse your buyers. Make sure you are using your keywords liberally. Seriously, spread it like confetti. You have to have them in your listings for it to register with SEO.
Are there any empty holes? Anything that needs to be filled in for the rest of the description? Make sure to answer any frequently asked questions buyers might have about the your product. Sizes, materials, etc.
Social Renegade Tip: If you’ve been getting a lot of the same questions, update your product description to answer those questions! That way there won’t be so much confusion and you’ll avoid wasting time answering the same question repeatedly.
FRIDAY - WORK ON THAT SEO
The dreaded word, SEO. Trust me though, you got to work on this. Since this is not an overnight fix, it is something that you will not see the benefits of for a few weeks if not months. This is why it has to be done now.
Last year, a huge amount of my views in my online shops came from searches - both within Etsy and from Google. On my blog, that was Pinterest.
Make sure your images are named and if you have the option to edit your Alt Text like in Shopify, be sure this is done! Easiest is something simple like Tiny Feminist Black Baby Shirt from Punky Moms - An Alternative Parenting Community.
If you are using Etsy, one of the checks you can run is to check your tags – are you speaking the Etsy language? Using words like “Gifts for Her” or “Gifts for Foodies” can make a huge difference since Etsy builds their gift guides based on this type of lingo.
Last year, I went through and made sure all of my art prints had the tag “Home Decor” on them, which they didn’t before. I’m not promising the same results, but that month I doubled my art print sales! My feminist patches are in the top 5 in like 5 different tag searches and almost all my listings are on the first page for their respective categories.
Unsure of what to use? Check with Etsy! First, log into Etsy and look through the sections provided at the top. Use those words. Even if you don’t have an etsy account, these are still good practices to use. Then, look at Etsy’s Browse section by / in your home feed. Do you see any special terms? If you aren't using Etsy, don't think you are in the clear. Some of these same exercises still apply. You HAVE TO USE KEYWORDS IN YOUR DESCRIPTIONS.
SATURDAY - DRAFT AN AUTO REPLY
Work on writing out a note to all incoming emails you will be receiving these next few months. It is hard enough to keep on top of emails at our slowest time, and you will find that a lot of emails that come through these next few months might be asking the same questions over and over. Do you have a FAQ section set up anywhere? Maybe there are a few of those that you can put in as well as letting your customers know when you will be out of the office/studio/workspace from. Be sure to include if and when you will be answering emails during the holidays. This auto-responder will keep you from being captive to your email when you would much rather be doing other things. Most importantly though, it will let your customers be acknowledged and know what is happening with you and their order and when you will be able to get back to them.
Advanced Level - What’s happening to your customers once they purchase from you? Are they added to your mailing list? What happens then? Mailchimp and Mailerlite offer free automation now so there is no excuse.
SUNDAY - TAKE THE DAY OFF
Before SH*T get’s real, take a day (or two) off! If you can get away, even better, but it’s okay if this also includes binge watching Drag Race. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and will also shake you to your core. Make sure to give yourself some “me time” to step away and relax a little. Self care is so very important and you want to come back and be ready to put the hard work in and smash it!
I hope this breakdown is helpful for you. I really want to see you guys achieve your greatness and do all the things.
Any questions, please comment below! Know anyone who could benefit from this? Please share this post with them!