Ep. 111

How to Gear Up Your Online Business for the Holidays with Team Interact

Welcome to another episode of the Interact Podcast, where we bring you actionable insights to boost your online business. As the holiday season is fast approaching, we know it can be both an exciting and challenging time for entrepreneurs and small business owners. The festive season brings a surge in demand, increased website traffic, and the need for effective marketing campaigns. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this episode, we’ll be discussing how to gear up your online business for the holidays. We’ll cover everything from updating your quizzes and automations, ensuring you have coverage during your time off, to mental preparation for dealing with the holiday rush. So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, sit back, and let’s dive into making this holiday season your most successful one yet!

Hi guys. And welcome back to Interact’s Grow podcast. I’m your host, Jessmyn Solana. So great to be with you as always. And with me today, I have Damaris and Jesy ladies. Thank you for joining. Hello. Nice to be here. And last we spoke, we covered a little bit, well, we did release Josh’s episode with Rebecca from Flodesk.

So if you guys haven’t listened to that, that’s like the first time we’ve ever had two founders, I think, on our podcast for software companies, at least. So that was really cool. So make sure you go check that out. And we talked about conferences, which was also a really good episode. But today we want to shift gears just a little bit because the holidays are coming up.

It’s that time of year. We know this is probably one of the craziest times of the year besides maybe like the high you know, sales focus in the summertime, but this is the time where. You know, you have crazy holiday sales going on, you’re trying to spend some time with your friends and family, really get that like, you know, holiday cheer on, but also you’re gearing up for the new year.

So this is like the time where you’re not only kind of ending out this year, but figuring out, okay, well, what’s our plan for January? What are we going to get started on in the new year? And what does that look like? How are we going to boost our sales and improve our numbers in the new year? So. A lot is going on.

We thought we’d talk to you guys a little bit about how to gear up your online business for the holidays. Love it. Perfect timing. Woo! So, I guess I’ll jump off here. We had a list that we came up with before we hit record because we wanted to make sure we were giving you guys good advice. Especially since I guess like for us, it’s different because we’re a software company.

So it’s easier, right. To have, you know, coverage here and there it’s easier to have like a second opinion on should we run this campaign or should we run that campaign, et cetera, et cetera. But if you are an online entrepreneur, you know, and it might be just you, maybe you outsource, maybe you do have a virtual assistant, but you’re making a lot of those decisions by yourself.

So yeah. Do you guys have any quick, sort of, before we run through the list we talked about, do you have any quick kind of words of wisdom for our friends out there? I think a big thing is also, as you said, like, we’re a software company, but even if we weren’t, we’ve been doing this for a few years. This isn’t our first holiday season, and I think if you are super stressed about it, maybe take a deep breath, sit back, and just…

See it all as a test, you know, maybe you don’t need to have 15 different campaigns running this time and, you know, it wasn’t the right move. Maybe you do need to do that and you want to be more prepared next year, but whatever happens, see it as a test and it’s never going to be the end of the world. I think my words of wisdom would be Before we get started with the nitty gritty stuff would be, you know, just focus on, like, what you can can control now and then worry about what’s coming after the new year comes because you don’t want to obviously overwhelm yourself during the holiday season.

So, super important to keep that balance. I love that. I think I also want to add to this advice of just remember to actually take some time off and spend time with your friends and family because it’s such a special time of the year. No matter what you’re celebrating all around the world. But, you know, take that time to actually, like, take a break and we’re going to tell you through our list, perfect segue of how to make sure you could actually take that break.

Who wants to start us off? I guess I could help in the first and most important thing that we added on our list was to check your quiz. If you already have a quiz up and running and you have it on your site and you have it on your socials and everything, go through it. You know, a couple of times, wherever it’s at and check your check to make sure that you like your questions that, you know, you’re segmenting everything properly.

Maybe even, like, refine your offer through the quiz or what you’re really pushing to see if it aligns with your holiday offers or if you have anything special going on. But number 1 is to go through and check your quiz. Yeah, I want to add to that, too. A lot of times, well, I’ve been here for so long now, and I feel like every year I’ve had people ask, well, do I need to create a new quiz for the holidays?

And the answer is you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Your existing quiz can still function as, you know, a really useful lead generation tool for your holiday offers. Just make sure that That you’re updating all that information in there. Yeah, I think that’s a great advice. And you don’t have to do this, but if you really did want to do a holiday version of your quiz, just duplicate your existing quiz.

Don’t get rid of it. And just, you know, tweak it a little bit to fit your holiday offers. Just, just like Jesy was saying. That way it aligns for the season, the pictures, the Christmas tree, or whatever, whatever you’re selling out there. So it aligns to that. That that, you know, that’s also an alternative option as well.

Yeah, I love that. That would be a great blog post. Yeah, I feel like our. A big thing like during the holidays is don’t start from scratch if you don’t have to. You’ve had time, you know, yeah, you’ve put out a lot of content. You’ve written a lot of emails. Your offers are probably already good to go tweak them.

Do not start from scratch. Yeah, exactly. I love the idea of just duplicating because I feel like in your email platform, you probably could do that too with the different workflows and the emails. You could just duplicate everything and. Sort of do like ad lib style, switch out words and kind of make it more for the season.

And more for like the campaigns that you’re running specifically for the end of the year, whether it’s for a holiday or even just that end of year campaign coming into the new year, et cetera, et cetera. That’s a really good idea. I love that. Yay! Points for Daenerys! Woop woop! We gotta have a little woop woop sound that plays every time we’re excited about something we say.

But, yeah, I think that’s super cool. The only thing you’d have to double check if you do duplicate your quiz would be if you have it linked anywhere. On your website embedded, or you’re running an existing ad somewhere on Google or Facebook, make sure you are switching out that link because it will give you a brand new link.

That way you’re, you’re running the correct quiz. It might actually be a good test to like AB test of like, Oh, if I ran this, a specific seasonal quiz, but it’s the same exact quiz versus, you know, more generalized version that you just run all the time. Yeah, exactly. And this absolutely ties in with the CTAs.

You also have to update your workflows and your emails. Please do not forget to do that. Yeah, your workflows, your emails, auto responses. So that was our number two on the list, which was to check your automations and even just like, not just the content, but making sure it’s all running properly. So if somebody triggers your quiz.

Ops into your email list, they’re getting, you know, the email or they’re getting added to your email platform, the way they’re supposed to be added. So that way, when you do take time off, you could just pick right back up. It’s running in the background on autopilot and you don’t have to worry about anything.

Yeah, I also feel like this is around the time where everyone tries to do a little bit of cleanup, you know, and their automations and workflows like let’s make sure that the people that we’ve been talking to or sending emails to in July aren’t like going to be getting more like summer emails or anything like that.

So take this kind of as a time to clean up while you’re in there and see what you’re sending people. Yeah, because most of the platforms charge you per contact, right? So if you could clean up, you know, your inactive subscribers that actually would be more beneficial to you then You know trying to build on that and keeping them into the new year great and if you’re running like If you’re running different campaigns for like the holidays, like Black Friday or like, you know, or like Christmas specials or whatever it is, and you’re offering promo codes and stuff like that, like, make sure that’s actual promo codes that are active.

Just, you know, speaking from experience, just saying, make sure they’re active and people could actually use them at checkout. So you don’t have a massive error at the end and. You know, come back and have to try to fix that and make sure they match your emails and all of that great stuff. So just a lot of going back and double checking and triple checking would be definitely that I something that you have to do for sure.

That is it’s funny. You said that because I was about to ask you like, I don’t know if you have experience in this, but you know, we use stripes. So I guess yeah, double checking everything’s You know being purchased properly or there’s no bugs happening Oh, my God. Yeah. Like I’ve had people come in and be like, this promo code doesn’t work.

And I’m like I can’t seem to find this promo code. I don’t know. Let me ask around, you know, and it’s just innocent mistake. Obviously we have a lot of things going on. So it’s like totally understandable, but you know, some certain systems connect to, you know, to, to gather. And so we just. It’s just making sure everything’s working flawlessly, right?

I will say that if you have any people that you interact with a lot on your email list, I love it when people email us in and they’re like, Hey, you guys you know, forgot to put in that personalization token in your email. And it says like, Hey, first name, like right in the email. And I’m like, Oh, shoot.

We did forget you to do that. Yeah I feel like that’s also another big part is like to just remember that things do happen And it’s okay. It’s totally okay Sometimes you enter the wrong code or the wrong dates for a promo code Sometimes you don’t add that personalization token, but we are all human and it is a okay I agree I agree.

In terms of technology, I think I would also add to that. If you have like an evergreen course that’s running, just making sure like, that’s all good to go. And if people enter your course through the holidays they have. You know, whatever support they need to be able to run through that if something does go wrong.

And I feel like this segues perfectly into our item number three, which Damaris, I thought you could touch a little bit more on that if you are planning to take time off, make sure you have like coverage for support, whether that’s through other people or technology. Do you want to go a little bit more into maybe how we do that or plan on doing that?

But if you’re a solopreneur, what you could do, yeah, this is like a great, great segue into that. And of course, like during the holiday season, everybody’s buying stuff and you’re actively looking and trying to actually purchase things for either gifts, gift cards, whatever it is. Right. So it is important to.

Keep in mind that customer support aspect, you can’t just drop the ball and let your customers out in the ethos, you know, whatever the case is. So it just really depends going back to the businesses out there, whether you’re a solopreneur or even if you have a small team, you know how you want to format that we here at interact are.

Believers to take some time off, spend some time with family, you know, really try to unplug during the holidays. And so we, when we plan these, these coverage or schedules, we keep that in mind. So for us, specifically, like, we, we have a chat support system that our customers can chat us in life.

They have any request, you know, in real time or sometimes after hours. It just depends on the situation. We do like to keep that. Going because people have issues with billing, you know, real life integration. Some people don’t celebrate the holidays and stuff like that. So we totally take that into consideration.

So, what we do is we set up like a holiday coverage system where. There’s about 2 or 3 of us now involved, which is great and we go around and we just ask, like, which days can you cover, you know, our chat system, but we make sure going back to what Jesy and Jessmyn were saying, we are sending our customers.

Notice and telling them it will be a slower response time. We’re not stuck to the computer waiting to respond to you. We’ll get to you. It’ll just be a slower time to get back to your request and just sort of validating. Like, we understand that, you know, things happened and we’ll, you know, we’ll respond as fast as we can.

And also in our chat system, we have a. Like, a special notice that will pop up when people try to chat in and we’ll tell them, like, we’re are away for the holidays, but we’ll, we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. And it’s just a coverage system like this year. Every it’s every 2 days, somebody’s covering last year.

You know, it was, we were a smaller team, so it was myself covering and I would check also every 2, 3 days just to make sure that I was getting enough for us. So going back to what you guys were saying, like, it’s. Important to be on top of it, but it’s also important to unplug and take a few days off, you know so that’s sort of like.

1 aspect of it, and then also setting up this holiday coverage to make sure that, you know, like, this year, I’m, I’m traveling for Thanksgiving. I’m not going to really be able to help as much. So can somebody else help me out with that? And so they just sort of really communicate and trying to set that that coverage.

According to everybody’s holiday schedule, and then just. Making a notion board, we use notion here and sending it out just to make sure everybody knows exactly what dates they’re covering. I think setting expectations during the holidays is huge. And I think you emphasize this a lot. It really starts like with communicating, whether it’s internally, if you are working with the team, and if you don’t have a team, and it’s just you communicating with your customers, you know, let them know, like, you’re not going to be available during this week, but, you know.

They can rest easy knowing that you’re going to be back the following week if anything comes up and I think most people or I, as a customer, I would totally understand that and I would respect that. So, I think just being open and communicating, it’s the holidays. Everyone’s busy. Everyone’s all over the place.

There’s a lot going on. So as long as you’re open with communication lines towards customers, your team and everything else, there’s a way to get it covered. Right and then just keep in mind, just to add on to it, like, it just depends on the stage of your business, right? Like, if you are starting off in your business, it may be okay to just like, be off for an entire week.

People will totally respect that the world’s not going to end guys, you know. On our stage in every business, we have a lot more clients. We have a lot more billing issues. We have a lot more things going on. So we’re at a different stage, which is why the need to have some coverage is there. Right? But every every business out there is totally different.

You just have to align. And just pivot to what your specific business needs are like at this time. I do want to add though that for our live chat, we also implemented a system in which your, if it’s a billing issue, we backdate it to like when you first reached out so that if we get to it two days later, but it’s quote unquote too late.

We will honor the date that you initially reached out. And I had something else in my mind of what we do, but I’m kind of losing my train of thought. Where if Well, we have a chat box. A chat box, yeah, we have that. And then I was gonna say, oh, we only, like, we only respond to the super urgent. Because of that, where it’s like, okay, if we kind of open up our business a little bit in a way that’s like, Hey, we’re going to, you know, backdate billing issues, we’re not going to hold you accountable for us taking some time off that allows you to check less, but also, you know, come back and actually like.

Only respond to what’s urgent like, you know, maybe something broke or maybe someone’s like, you know, hey, I, I tried to pay for this and. It won’t let me it won’t let me in or something like that. You know, like anything can happen. Yeah, but those really urgent matters will get to but if it’s not urgent and we can deal with it after we will do that.

Yeah, yeah, and that goes back to like, you know, the culture that interact has right? Like. You know, we value like having to spend time with family and friends and, you know, burnout is a very real thing. And sometimes just having to like unplug and like really be present and enjoy your family, your, whatever your holiday tradition is, is super, super important.

Even if you’re a business owner, you still deserve that time. Like, you know, you still have to take that time for yourself. So that does actually, I know I keep saying segue into the next thing. It does. I don’t know that word that you said last episode? That you were like, I never say this, but I keep saying this.

I don’t remember anymore. No, I don’t even remember. Yeah, I don’t even remember. It’s, it’s the craziest thing. I keep doing this now when I record and I say the same thing over and over in the same episode and I can’t un hear it. And then I can’t stop calling it out because… I don’t know. I think I’m overly critical of myself.

But anyway, besides the point our fourth item we wanted to talk to you guys about was the mental preparation of the holidays. How it is the happiest time of the year, but people can also be the meanest because, you know, for whatever reason that’s going on, everyone’s stressed. It’s the end of the year.

Everyone’s trying to hit certain numbers. Trying to hit certain sales or trying to prepare for the next year. It’s high stress time. On top of that, you have, you know, your in laws coming into town. Your sister’s yelling at you because she’s trying to plan a party. I am not speaking from experience. Just kidding.

Shout out to my sister. No, I’m just kidding. But it can be a really high stress time, right? And so I think having that mental preparation of, okay, it’s going to be a crazy time of year. I have everything in place, but I do also have to have my emotions in check during this time so that I don’t overwhelm myself and I can start the new year fresh.

I think is really important as well. Lots of deep breaths. I think that’s like. The way to go lots of deep breaths and just like remembering what matters and remembering that. In order for you to show up as your best self for your customers, you need to be in a good place. At the end of the day. Yeah, I want to just because of those of those out there that have.

Control issues like myself and our little OCD, you know, cause that is a real thing in life. I’m working on it guys work in progress, but, you know, I think that like, and this may not be the case of your solopreneur. So I’ll totally be mindful of that, but, you know. Understanding that you, you know, you have a team, you have to trust and rely and what the messaging is and trust and rely that, you know, people, before you have done this plenty of times, the world’s not going to end, you know, it’s going to continue.

You have to really mentally almost force yourself to unplug because it’s not a healthy thing to not be able to unplug. Right? So just for all of you out there that are just. Already starting to feel stressed for the holidays. Just like, take a deep breath. Just like Jesy said, and just ask yourself, like, is this really that big of a deal?

Like. Am I really going to just, my business is going to go completely tank if I don’t, if I’m not working for the holidays, you know, just like really ask yourself those important questions. What do you guys think people can do? So like, I kind of see what you’re saying where I, I am that type of person where if I, if the ball is rolling, I have this momentum, I’m working a lot, but then, you know, you’re like, wait, I’m going to take like four days off.

Right. I have a hard time actually like sitting down and not doing anything. So what do you guys think would be good for people where, you know, they’re in this, they’re in this groove. It is a little tiring. They’re ready to take that time off. But you know, It’s hard to just cold turkey cut off that work.

Like how could they really prepare ahead of time? Getting all of our sort of four items together so that when they do take that time off, they are making the most of it. Well I would say like, it goes back to what we’ve been talking about since the beginning. Like when you prepare for something, you have to prepare way in advance before the holiday season is even here.

If that means for you, like, if you really want to take some days off, like consider contracting out, consider like, Hey, I just need to hire somebody for four or five days to just help me with like really urgent stuff that cannot wait and train them for like a month before the holiday season starts. And then that will at least give you some peace of mind, you know.

That’s one option. Another option could be automating everything, making sure that your messaging is still there, that you’re not dropping the ball for three, four days, however long you want to take. That way you have your own peace of mind, you know, taking the time off. I think also like, it’s really a lot of mindset.

Like if you want it to take a week off, but then you’re feeling really guilty about it, or like, you know, you’re already stressed about what’s going to happen when you come back and everything like that. Like. It’s okay to maybe, you know, change your mindset and be like, you know what? Maybe every day of that week off, I am going to spend one hour checking my emails, listening to some holiday music, you know, make a thing out of it and give yourself like, grace, like, if that’s going to make you feel better and enjoy your time off more.

I, if other people might judge you for doing it, it’s okay if it’s what you need to feel better. Like, I’m personally one of those people that I don’t like completely, you know, like logging off. Like, I like to be like in tune. I feel way more at peace knowing that, you know, I spent 30 minutes looking at something and I made a thing out of it and it was fine.

I still feel refreshed when I come back and ready to go. So even if it’s just like, yeah, like clearing out stuff that’s urgent and it’s just like, okay, so when I get back, instead of having a hundred emails, 50 of them are spam. Like when I get back, I’ll see 50 emails that matter. Yeah, and instead of telling yourself, like, I have to at least do this every day, even though I’m taking time off instead, put in the mindset, like, oh, yeah, I can, like, easily do this as I enjoy my breakfast or whatever.

And I’m going to feel so much better because you most likely are going to feel better. Yeah, and you know what? It’s important when you say that, Jesy, it’s so true because I just realized I do that too. And I think that, like, the satisfaction part for me is. It’s not expected you just do it because it just brings you like peace of mind to just like, I don’t know, productive maybe in our mind or something.

I don’t know what it is, but it’s like, it’s like almost a chemical release in your brain. Like, okay, I did my thing for the day. I can move on now, but it wasn’t expected for that. You know, like, it wasn’t the expectation. So deadline to it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sorry. And I think we psych ourselves so much more to like, oh, it’s gonna be so annoying and so bad when realistically it’s not.

It’s like any like a chore. Like I really don’t wanna do the dishes, but it’s like, oh, I just did it in 10 minutes and it was okay. And like my day’s not ruined, even though I’ve been ruining it for myself in my head for the past three days. Like it’s silly, but we do it so. Yeah, I love that. Or even like doing like a little bit if it’s project based, like a little bit a day.

So, you know, if you’re writing, like, you’re trying to keep up with your content, it could be like, well, maybe on Monday, I will write outlines or use chat GPT to give me like 10 ideas. And then Tuesday, I’ll spend an hour writing out the outline and then. Wednesday, I’ll spend an hour, you know, writing the first section and, you know, like you could do it like in pieces slowly.

And it’s like, okay, I did accomplish that. And maybe that’s what it is, Damaris. It’s like, it’s one small thing and you’re like, Ooh, I accomplished it. I did it. And, you know, I still have the whole day ahead of me to do all the family stuff or, you know, my trip or whatever I wanted to do. And maybe that’s where like the sort of satisfaction comes from doing it.

Yeah, I feel like we sound like we’re prepped for the holidays. This is like a good episode for us to talk it through. I feel like I got to do after this call to prep myself. I’m like, shoot. Now I, now I realized I have all these things to prepare for. But I do want to close out kind of reiterating what those four things were, which is, you know, of course, if you have a quiz live, check your quiz, update your CTAs and emails to make sure it aligns with your holiday offers, check those automations, make sure they’re all running properly.

So it’s running on autopilot while you’re out taking some time off. And three, if you plan on taking that time off, make sure you have some sort of coverage, whether it’s other people or, you know, you set up the technology to send those auto responses out of when you’ll be back have that communication with your customers and for have that mental preparation of, you know, okay, I’m going to take some time off.

Let me make sure that I’m setting myself up so I can enjoy myself. And then when I get back, I’m not a nervous wreck. And enjoy your time. Yes, , enjoy it. I love that. Do you guys have any last closing thoughts? No. You nailed it. No, that’s it. Woo. Let’s do it. As always, if you guys are new to quizzes or you’ve been thinking about your quiz, you wanna redo your quiz and check out our Interact AI.

You could request a quiz by going to https://ai.tryinteract.com/. Give us your website URL or the URL to like a blog post, some piece of content that you want your quiz to lead to, and we’ll create a quiz for you.

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Jessmyn Solana

Jessmyn Solana is the Partner Program Manager of Interact, a place for creating beautiful and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. Outside of Interact Jessmyn loves binge watching thriller and sci-fi shows, cuddling with her fluffy dog, and traveling to places she's never been before.