Holidays are approaching fast, meaning the annual end of year sales rush is about to begin. In years past, businesses would target December 1st as the beginning of their holiday marketing push. Recently, that date has slowly crept toward the beginning of November thanks to the growing popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Regardless of your industry or product, there’s no time like the present to start planning your holiday marketing. How is your business going to stand out from the crowd and finish the year on a strong note? Here are 8 holiday marketing tips to help your small business get ahead.
Old Fashioned Marketing
We’re living in a golden age of marketing. As a business owner, you’ve never had more ways to get the word out about your business. That doesn’t mean you should neglect old school marketing. If you have a retail location, make sure you’re creating an enticing window display. Purchase a sandwich board and use it to promote deals and special offers. Look around your neighbourhood and see what other businesses are doing; how can you do it better?
Email Marketing Works
Customers who have signed up for your mailing list are your most dedicated and dependable customers. Your email marketing efforts should be tailored specifically to them. Offer coupons to reward their loyalty and repeat business. Monitor the conversion rate of the emails you send, carefully noting what worked and what didn’t. Use this data to inform your email marketing campaigns going forward. Not using email marketing? Start by using one of the many available and handy apps like MailChimp or Constant Contact.
Create a Community
Many neighbourhoods enjoy the presence of a BIA (Business Improvement Area) to help promote the district and its members. If you live in a neighbourhood that doesn’t have a BIA, you can still enjoy some of the benefits if you’re willing to take the lead. Think of collaborating with local businesses to create a neighbourhood holiday event with food and music. This will generate plenty of local press coverage and bring customers out.
Leverage Social Media
Is your business on social media? If not, it should be. However, don’t fall into the trap of just using social media to give the hard sell. Instead, shape conversations around your business, engage with customers and try to create a community. For the Holidays in particular, consider creative promotions such as the “12 Days of Deals” or asking polling followers on products they’d like to see discounted. If your business has a blog, use social to promote your blog entries.
While there’s never been more ways to promote your business, there’s never been more competition for eyeballs. Thinking of ways to stand out from the crowd can be tough but one easy way to achieve this is to offer little extras other businesses don’t. An example of this is a Holiday gift wrapping service. It’s December and your customers are likely busy, saving them time by gift wrapping their purchases can be the difference that clinches the sale, without costing you a fortune.
Services like Amazon Prime have shown the value of fast, free shipping. Customers appreciate it and it will incentivize them to buy more product from you. Roll it into your marketing by using it as a limited time tactic. After all, it might be unaffordable to offer it for the entire Holiday season. Even offering free shipping for one day can give your sales a valuable shot in the arm.
The Holidays are a stressful time for many businesses but they’re also stressful for customers battling through the crowds. Offer customers the opportunity to avoid the bustle by extending your opening hours. Calm shoppers are happy shoppers and they’ll love popping in after work to pick up those important gifts.
Boxing Day Sales
The Holiday season doesn’t end on December 25th. Encourage customers to visit your store with Boxing Day sales and VIP special offers for repeat customers. Give these returning customers first dibs on sale items without having to wait and you’ll create a dedicated customer base.