29 Jun How to vacation without neglecting your SMB
It’s that time of year again; for some this means it’s time to trade-in the pavement pounders for a breezy pair of flip-flops and hit the nearest airport; for others this means being stuck in the office while grabbing occasional glimpses via social media of your friends and family on vacation.
Whether you’re working within an EU country such as our beloved Sweden, where employers are mandated to give approx. 5-6 weeks of paid vacation per year to all employees, or you’re working in the United States where employers offer little or no paid vacation, one thing remains true: we all need time off to disconnect, relax and come back to work rejuvenated.
Regardless of where you live, the idea of disconnecting in today’s hyperconnected, “I demand attention now or else I go somewhere else,” economy is a daunting thought. This is where marketing automation comes into play by allowing you to work smarter, not harder or longer than necessary. Some like to talk about marketing automation as if you’re putting life on autopilot, but we all know that’s naive and too good to be true. What marketing automation allows small-to-medium businesses to do is work smarter in the sense that you place more focus on the planning and strategy versus the manual workload and follow-up.
By creating an inbound content payload a few weeks or months in advance to when you’d like to vacation, you’ll set yourself up for success rather than bar yourself from much deserved time off. Below we’ll outline how you can prepare for a vacation while simultaneously keeping your sales and marketing staff on their toes, connected and well equipped to continue driving business in your absence.
Pre-vacation planning: load up your inbound payload
Shifting to an inbound approach means placing a stronger emphasis on education and providing value to your audience. A large driving force behind a premium inbound strategy is to maintain a blog for your business.
For many SMB’s, teams are often smaller in size with people juggling multiple responsibilities across multiple roles or disciplines. This means that there most likely isn’t a dedicated writer whose job is to crank out blog posts all year long within your organization. We totally get that; we don’t have that either! What this means is that you should pick a frequency that works for you such as a post per week.
By setting aside some time (not much) to focus solely on writing a few blog posts you’ll quickly fill your inbound content payload in the weeks leading up to vacation time. Plus, with all of the free image sources available to smb’s on the web today, it’s easy to make these posts look great! Once you have some content stocked up you can leverage your CMS to schedule your posts. If you happen to have your business website running on WordPress, you can take advantage of our Leadsius for WordPress plugin as well as schedule your blog posts to be published on specific dates and times. This is perfect for taking a vacation and maintaining an online business that gives off a pulse.
Remember to always make sure that your blog posts and images are mobile responsive, too! With Google’s new algorithm update that penalizes sites that aren’t mobile-friendly, you’ll want to take the time to get this squared away prior to your vacation. By taking care of the above-mentioned, you’ll be set to say, “bon voyage!” while having the peace of mind that you’ll still generate leads during your time away.
While on vacation: how marketing automation can help run your SMB
Now that you’ve put the time and effort into creating content and planning ahead for this time off, you have what you need to move one step closer to flip flops and piña colada’s. By making use of your marketing automation platform you’ll be ensuring that you’re filling the top of your funnel during Q3 and ushering sales qualified leads into your sales pipeline for Q4.
Lets take a look at 3 things you should do prior to takeoff to keep the business rolling in while you’re gone.
1. Schedule your newsletter launches
Regardless of whether you’re using Leadsius or a platform focused more solely on email marketing, you should be able to create your newsletter and schedule when you’d like them to be sent and to which list of contacts. There’s no reason your audience should suffer from silence while you’re away, so this is a great time to take advantage of scheduled send-outs.
It doesn’t hurt to revisit the design aspect of your emails to make sure they’re created in a way that will drive-in the best results in terms of engagement figures. You can checkout our email design guide to make sure you’ve done all you can prior to setting your send dates and times!
2. Nurture leads with relevant emails
Generating the leads is one thing, nurturing them is another. With Leadsius’ lead management capabilities you’re in full-control of setting up advanced workflow triggers to nurture the people interacting with your brand.
The lists of contacts that you create can be based upon values such as country, industry, content downloads, a specific website page visit and much, much more. By utilizing smart lists you can ensure that leads are collected in real-time and placed into their corresponding lists without any manual work required.
To add even more effectiveness to your nurture programs you can fuze personalization tags such as first name, company name and the likes into these emails; this allows you to deliver more relevant communication and content; remember, context is a key ingredient for any successful nurturing efforts.
3. Set sales notifications so there are no missed opportunities
By setting sales notifications to go off when leads take action on certain offers and content available throughout your website, your team members will be in a position to strike while the iron’s hot.
For many SMB’s using Leadsius, certain sales-focused staff members are given access to the platform so that when their leads take an action deemed worthy of a response, they can first take a dive into the contact insights on their individual leads to see which pages they’ve been visiting, what content they’ve been interacting with most and other valuable insights that will help boost the odds of generating a sale.
What’s more, your staff is also able to export a web report with defined date ranges so that they can see unknown lead sources by IP address rather than just being able to view action across your website and marketing activities by known leads.
Now that you’re ready to hop a flight or simply take some time away from the office in general, you can pat yourself on the back and breathe-easy, because you’ve also just set yourself up for an awesome Q4 of business! With all of these automated actions put into play you’ll be generating some great leads to work with and gain some great experience in marketing strategy, specifically within the marketing automation discipline.
To help you out, here’s an inbound marketing automation guide that will help you to find a firmer grasp on some of the concepts we’ve mentioned throughout this post. Feel free to download it and share it with a colleague; if you have any questions, reach out to us at anytime and we’ll gladly discuss how you can begin to implement or better prepare to use marketing automation to benefit your business.