6 tips for making your marketing work while you’re on vacation
by Martin Lieberman, Constant Contact Managing Editor
Unless you operate an ice cream shop, farm stand, retail store or restaurant in a tourist destination, or another type of summertime seasonal business, the warm weather months are a natural time to slow down, take a break, and recharge your batteries. But these days, with mobile devices and laptops, who can really take time off?
CNN has reported that 50 percent of salespeople and 37 percent of IT and financial services professionals check in with work while on vacation. Sometimes you just can’t resist touching base with the office when your iPhone or BlackBerry is in your beach bag next to your sunscreen, bottle of water, and a bestselling novel.
The good news is that you can take some well-earned time off and keep your engagement marketing activities humming. Just follow these 6 tips:
1. Respect your subscribers’ time. Just like you want a chance to read a novel or pursue other things this time of year, your subscribers’ minds are also on other fun activities. So take advantage of that. If you usually include two or three features in your newsletter, write just one. Or, even better, if you publish a monthly newsletter, combine your July and August issues into one “special” summer issue. Think of a topic related to your business or industry that will help your customers through the summer months, and devote your entire issue to that.
2. Pre-schedule your communications. Write and schedule your summer email newsletter in advance so you won’t have to work on it as your vacation nears. Then do the same with your tweets and Facebook posts using a tool like HootSuite. Just remember, if you’re going to start a conversation on social media, someone has to be available to monitor and respond to feedback. Either download an app for your smartphone (such as Hootsuite or TweetDeck, or Twitter or Facebook’s own apps) so you can respond to social media posts from wherever you are, or assign a reliable staff person to monitor the channels for you. That goes for anything you pre-schedule, whether it’s an email newsletter, a social media discussion, or other form of customer engagement: Make sure there’s someone there to respond when customers get in touch.
3. Change your email auto-reply. Don’t leave your customers and members hanging while you’re off tanning by the pool. If you’re pre-scheduling your email newsletter, an event reminder, or another marketing campaign, change your auto-reply to a message that’s more fun and creative, and direct all queries to whoever is covering for you while you’re away. This way, your customers and members won’t have to wait too long to get the help they need.
4. Separate your work time and your play time. If you really can’t afford to leave work in the rear-view, set aside some “work time” each day and stick to it. Make a promise to yourself and to your friends and family that you’ll only check your email once in the morning and/or at night. That’s it. Then leave your phone in your hotel room or turn it off and enjoy your day.
5. Make new connections. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to spend plenty of time this summer at barbecues, backyard parties, outdoor events, and other gatherings. Are the people you see on your mailing list, or connected with you on social media? Never miss an opportunity to grow your list of connections. Ask your fellow celebrants if they’d like to subscribe to your email newsletter or join your Facebook and Twitter networks. And of course, don’t forget the business cards!
6. Streamline your social media activity. Especially when you’re on vacation, you want to monitor and manage your social media activity as easily as possible. Sign up for a service like NutshellMail, which will deliver your Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Foursquare, and other updates right to your inbox, all in one convenient message.
If you plan ahead and put some smart planning into action, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your summer vacation. After all, autumn will be here before we know it. Better enjoy the time off now while you can.