Sorry to mention the C-word, but for many people the half-term holidays, Halloween, the clocks going back…any of these signal the start of the festive season countdown.
If you run a product business with a final quarter bias, then you’ll have been in Christmas mode for months. But whatever kind of business you run, there are seasonal headaches that your customers will face that you could help with. Some of these are more traditional than others; all give you options to show the personality of you and your business.
For those of you who receive my newsletter, you’ll know that November and December tend to have less awareness type days, meaning that you need to find other things to hang your content off. Of course, Christmas is such a big focus, but not everyone celebrates it or wants to be reminded of it at every single turn for the next 62 days. Doing something a little different could give you better standout, and provide them with some welcome tinsel-free relief.
So, here’s some ideas of the seasonal headaches you could have a go at solving.
Seasonal headache No 1: The gift-giving one
This is the obvious one, particularly for product companies. You’re probably already doing your thing on this one. But there are some classic headaches each year that could be solved in different ways. For example, what to buy for teenage boys, or how not to buy men socks (unless that’s what they want).
Try not to fall into cliché territory though. The world is moving on, and it may not be appropriate to take such a traditional gender-based view. As always, it depends on what works for your customers.
If you’re not in product, then you can still get involved in solving this headache though. How about:
- The gifts on your list, or members of your team
- The 10 books everyone in your team wants this Christmas
- Things to give instead of things
- Your favourite charity shopping finds
It gives you a chance to show the personality of your business, as well as provide some different inspiration. My five book roundups have been some of my most popular and most commented on posts over the years. Everyone loves to get and give a recommendation. It’s a shortcut to solving a problem and finding a way through the mass of choices.
Seasonal headache No 2: The when to do stuff one
Most of us have got the hang of when Christmas Day is (though you do wonder when you see the number of people out shopping on Christmas Eve). It’s the things in between that catch us out a bit.
For example, last posting dates. We might all be sending less real mail, but Christmas does tend to be a point when we want to think about sending proper cards, or parcels, to far-flung friends. Except we then discover the date for Peru was three weeks ago.
If your business is in travel or has connections with other countries, then you could create content, particularly things like Instagram posts, around those countries. Or maybe the team have relationships all around the world and photos that could be shared along with the date. Maybe just give people the heads up the day before the last posting date. No one wants a smart alec telling you at 9 pm on the day you missed it.
Other key events might be more local to you, highlighting what your local community is up to. Could be the Christmas Lights switch on or carol service. If your customer base is local, then you can act as a good back up reminder. We can all do with an extra pair of hands, and it’s good to get content that isn’t just London centric.
Headache No 3: The how do I do that one
Christmas cooking is not something we do every day, obviously. So, funnily enough, I don’t necessarily remember from two years back the best way to cook a turkey, or even how to make the best stuffing. If you’ve got memorable content on those subjects, it’s likely to come up year after year. I also didn’t light the fire very often when I had one, am not ashamed to say I occasionally found myself watching YouTube videos on the best way to get the thing going.
There might be other things connected with your business that you can share how to’s on. For example, if you make a product that’s an odd shape, help someone know how to wrap the darned thing. Particularly if what you produce is round, or hexagonal. Or a bottle. Could do with some ideas beyond a bottle bag!
Equally, if your product is very obvious, what’s the best way to disguise what it is? You could have some fun with that.
If you’re a service, business then what’s the questions you get asked at this time of year? After my years in beauty, the classic call we would get would be about work to party makeup and hair. Every year.
It might not feel festive, but for accountants, there’ll be the looming 31 January online tax filing deadline. Fo,r lawyers there’ll be the post-Christmas rise in divorce enquiries. What can you answer now so people know what they should be doing?
You can also do roundups from around the web on the most useful or bizarre how-to’s that you come across. Although it seems how to wrap a car does not bring back tips on how many rolls of paper and ribbon you might need.
Headache No 4: The how to be more environmentally responsible one
This is likely to be a huge theme this Christmas and is not confined to Christmas. It is an ideal point to share (or reshare) how what you do fits in with this. Again, if you’re a service business, then it might be about highlighting what clients are doing, as well as your own business initiatives.
For those of you with seasonal products, it gives you a chance to talk about changes you’ve made or the sustainable basis you set the business up on. With the big-name retailers going after initiatives such as removing glitter, or plastic toys from crackers, it’s a great opportunity to talk about how you’re on a par with, ahead of, or never gone down that route.
Seasonal headache No 5: The what to do with everyone one
You know those moments. When the present opening is over, but there’s still some time until the Christmas eating. The long stretch after the eating. Boxing Day.
Another fantastic opportunity to show off the personality of your business. You can do everything here from favourite games to the best Christmas films for the family. For those with a more active slant, then could be your favourite local walks. Or the best local pubs open on Christmas Day.
For the really brave ones, then there’ll be open water swims at some point. There’s a Christmas Day Harbour Swim in Weymouth; usually, there’s the West Bay Wallow on Boxing Day, and then we’ll have the Lyme Lunge on New Year’s Day. Great to go and cheer people on. Undoubtedly bracing for those taking part!
What are the things that just stop the hours stretching out in an uncomfortable way? That’s one thing that many family gatherings could do with help on!
Seasonal headache No 6: The not Christmas one
This can be a headache for all kinds of reasons. In fact, in some ways, it’s not a headache. Not everyone celebrates Christmas for any number of reasons, not least because it’s not in their faith. Equally, there are many people working on Christmas Day, so it’s not going to feel so special. But there are also people who don’t have anyone to celebrate with (or that they want to celebrate with you). Many types of reasons, some serious, some less so.
You could focus on other events such as the midwinter solstice, or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, whatever is most appropriate to you and your customers.
Perhaps you could look at activities that are going on to either bring those together who don’t have others to celebrate with, or how to donate your time if you’re not spending it with others. There will be plenty of charities happy to have pairs of hands for the things they do over the festive season.
As with lots of content, starting from the point of what’s the problem your customer is trying to solve is always a good one. It just doesn’t always have to be your product or service that solves the problem. But if you know that you’ve got the best ideas for using up turkey leftovers (and who doesn’t have that seasonal headache at some point?) even if you’re not in the turkey business then you might have very grateful customers digging out that email or looking up that post from you on December 26th. That’s one seasonal headache we could all do without!