By Tammy Harrison
It's THAT time of year again, when home-based working moms traditionally put our businesses on hold while the demands of the holidays overtake our normal routines! Unless you sell products that folks may purchase as gifts, your business will probably slow down for a few weeks during the holiday season. But, don't despair! There are many things you can do, to help market yourself and your business, especially during the holidays!
1. Give Your Gifts Away: In our area, there is an annual children's auction on our local radio station. They take in donations from area businesses and auction them off, and all of the money goes towards buying gifts for children from disadvantaged homes. Last year, not only did I personally give away items, but some of my clients did, too! This is a great way to get your name heard on the radio and in the newspaper, while offering something to those who do not have it.
2. Holiday Cards: Do not let an opportunity to share your business card pass you by! All year long, I keep an on-going database of clients and contacts, organized and alphabetized. This system sure comes in handy when I am ready to send holiday greetings! Including something personal, such as a photo or hand-written message makes a huge impact on your recipients. I also throw in the business cards, just in case my pals need to have an extra one hanging around!
3. Smile: Have you noticed how much more attention you bring to yourself if you smile, compared to if you don't? I am one of those who truly dislikes holiday crowds, and sometimes, even going to the grocery store (with four kids in tow) is more than I can handle. But, during the holidays, the kids and I stop just before we get out of the car, and we share a song and a joke! This puts us in a much more jolly mood for the tasks at hand, and the crowds in the stores move aside when a smiling mom with four caroling kids comes cruising through the aisles! I cannot tell you how many conversations have been started just from our jolly selves!
4. Set Up an Auto-Response Message: All throughout the year, I make it a point to answer my emails within 24 hours of receiving them, and folks really like that (and they get used to it). Unfortunately, during the holiday season, I sometimes have a difficult time answering everyone when they expect me to. So, I set up an auto-response message, that lets folks know that I have received their message and will respond within 48 hours (instead of my usual 24 hours). I also include a holiday greeting for best wishes, just to make sure folks remember that a mom's life is busy, without adding the work-at-home aspects!
5. Offer to donate a portion of your sales to a charity: I just ran across HolidayHope.com, which is a new website this year. All of the merchants who offer their products are also offering to donate a portion of the proceeds to a worthy cause. So, you not only get an audience that you've probably not reached before, but you also get to share some of your profits with those who need it!
In essence, the holidays remind us that there's more to life than what we see in our own surroundings. It is also a time for home-based working moms to take a little extra time to focus on their families, and to enjoy the reason that we work from home. But, you do not have to shut down during the holidays. Instead, think of others and think of how your generosity can help both your business AND those in need. It will make a huge difference ... even if the difference is in your heart!
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