It’s safe to say that 2020 has thrown us all for a loop. There is no way we could have predicted or fully prepared for a worldwide pandemic. But with most events being cancelled or postponed until next year, you may find yourself with a bit more time than usual. Now is the perfect time to fine-tune your processes, strategize, and set yourself up for success in 2021.
Here are 10 things to do when business is slow
1. Content, content, content
We all know fresh content is important. From an SEO perspective, for building your brand reputation and awareness, and for proving relevance to prospects and current clients. But sheesh, creating valuable content is time consuming. So carve out time now – while events are on hold – to write content and have a plan/schedule for rolling it out. This sounds like a daunting task (and let’s face it, it is!) so break it down into the two most important chunks:
The time and effort spent updating your website is NEVER wasted. Often-times, it is the first place prospects go to learn about you. And first impressions are everything.
- If you know you’re overdue for a website overhaul – the experts recommend a website revamp every 3-4 years – do it now! There are amazing, free, easy to use platforms for building a new website from scratch. We love Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and Go Daddy.
- Maybe your website design is solid but is your information correct? Are your photos, pricing, bios, etc current? Do an audit of every page, every form, every phone number. And make sure everything looks good on a mobile device! 69% of users ages 18-39 use mobile devices to research products/services before purchasing. And 40% go to a competitor if they had a poor experience with your mobile site.
- Lastly, do you have a blog? If not, now is the time to consider creating one. Blogs are a lot of work but they are the best way to generate fresh, relevant, regular content. Spend time writing at least 300 word blog posts (keep in mind that longer is better if the quality is there) that can be published over the next several months. Shoot for 1-2 a month if at all possible.
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Linkedin…wherever you have a profile, make sure your information is accurate, up to date, and relevant. Set a weekly reminder to create posts. Being consistent is key with social media so make a plan and stick to it! Consider hootsuite or loomly if you would like to pre-schedule posts to free up more time throughout the week.
Contact past clients
This doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple phone call, email, or hand-written card goes a long way. Let them know you are thinking of them, and you appreciated the opportunity to work with them. “Oh and if you know of anyone who could potentially use my services, please keep me in mind!” Referral business is not to be underrated but you have to lay the groundwork to stay top of mind with past clients.
Not only does volunteering do good for the soul, it can also lead to worthwhile relationships and business opportunities. There are wonderful, event-centered non-profits in every community. Do a little research on which ones you are most aligned with or excited about and contact them. While there may not be face to face meetings or events right now, we guarantee there are needs that you can fill.
Whether it is related to your industry or not, consider taking a class, learning a new language, getting a certification/license, trying a new exercise, or mastering a new program. Expanding knowledge builds confidence and self-esteem as well as enhances our mental health which sets us up for success in all areas of our lives.
Find a mentor
The day to day grind is stressful. And while many of us are lucky enough to have the support of amazing friends and family, this isn’t always enough. Especially when it comes to professional development. Consider reaching out to someone in your profession that you admire and respect. They don’t have to be in your area – just within a phone’s reach! Ideally someone who is older than you and further along in their career. Having regular check-ins with a mentor who provides guidance, has shared experiences, can help you navigate challenges, and hold you accountable to your goals is priceless. You may be thinking you don’t want to bother them – after all “they are so busy!…”But mentor relationships are proven beneficial for both parties and you’d be surprised how willing a colleague is to partner with you.
This is exactly the type of thing you don’t have time for when you are working events back to back every weekend. But consider setting aside a couple of hours every week to research lead sources and build on your lead list. Sure, this could be past bridal show lists or networking events but try to get creative. Make sure your competitors know about you and understand your value so they consider referring business to you if they are unavailable or not a fit for a particular client. And don’t be afraid to reach out to prospective clients on social media!
We all know the old adage, you have to spend money to make money. There are countless advertising channels in today’s market. Make sure you know the pros and cons of each and whether one or more outlets may make sense for you. Regional bridal publications offer impressive readership numbers and can build brand awareness. Google or bing search ads showcase your services to highly relevant traffic that normally wouldn’t know about you. Social media advertising is extremely targeted in addition to being accessible and inexpensive. And paying to be listed on an aggregator’s website (like the knot, WeddingWire, etc) could also put you in front of potential clients.
Ask for reviews
Research shows that prospects read between 1 and 6 reviews before making a decision to purchase a product or service. And having a couple of good reviews is not enough. Many experts recommend at least 10 reviews and the more the better. Google is often considered one of the most trusted review sources but having reviews on Facebook, Yahoo, and others, is valuable.
Don’t stop there – be sure to respond to all reviews (especially negative ones) as quickly as possible. This shows readers you are responsive and gives them your perspective for the not-so-happy reviews.
The global wedding industry accounts for 298 billion dollars and new wedding and event businesses are popping up every day. It’s big business. Not to mention it is on the short list of industries that allow for individual entrepreneurship paired with a highly flexible work schedule. It may be tempting to feel threatened by the constant onslaught of new competition but try not to let your energy go there. Rather, research and investigate what these new businesses are bringing to the table. Get an understanding of how they are differentiating themselves and ensure your value and message still resonates.
Take some “me time”
We know this one is hard considering schedule complications these days but whether it’s one afternoon or one hour – spend time every week doing something that puts you in a good head space. Soaking in your bathtub, drinking a glass of wine, video chatting with a friend, watching your fave TV show, going to Target by yourself (ahhhh!), baking, reading…whatever it is, make it happen. And the best way to ensure this doesn’t get skipped is by scheduling it in advance – if necessary coordinate with your spouse or partner so they are on duty when you’re off the clock.