Each year during the holiday buying season, we present actionable sales and marketing tips that small business owners use to increase sales, brand awareness and customer loyalty. These proven strategies build excitement around your business’s offerings and are ideal for any business that wants to boost their profile this holiday season.
This year, our focus is on how to attract more customers and build sales with low-cost (often, free) marketing strategies.
Our “Top 5” marketing tips for the 2019 holiday buying season
1. Create Holiday Themed Offers
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers plan to spend more than $1,000 on holiday decorations and gifts this year. Any opportunity for a deal that will save money will certainly spark their interest.
Use seasonal promotions to attract customers to your brick-and-mortar and online locations and increase sales through suggested tie-ins. These tie-ins should boost average sales and help cover the cost of promotional discounts and giveaways.
Make your products and services uplifting and buyer-friendly by offering holiday buy-one-get-one (BOGO) deals, promotions, discounts or coupons. Think of something to offer that makes life easier for your customers, such as free gift wrapping or holiday gift bags.
You can also use this season to bolster business later with special “buy now, use later” offers, such as adding an additional promotional item when a gift card or certificate is redeemed in January or February.
2. Create a Compelling Story for Your Brand
As you prepare for the buying holidays, integrate your business’s story into your marketing campaigns. If you’re not sure what to tell, think about why you started your business, who you hope it benefits and how. You should also consider why you’re in your location or anything else that can help your customers feel more connected to your business and brand.
In addition to telling customers your story, let local media outlets know: They’re always looking for “feel good” news, and like to support local businesses, providing you with free publicity online and/or in print.
If your business partners with charities or sponsors fundraising events, promote your support: Customers love to know that their money is going to a good cause, especially if it’s in their community or tied to their interests.
3. Identify the Appropriate Channels to Distribute Your Message
Identify which marketing channels are the best fit for your business. Tailor your plans and resources to those that offer the best access to your target audience for the information you want to convey.
Common types of marketing channels include:
- Websites: Websites are still the most effective way to communicate key information about your business – store hours, location, phone, email contact info, return policies and more – and to promote products and services. Be sure that all information is updated, that customers can purchase gifts on your website and that it’s mobile-friendly.
- Email: Your email list is a goldmine of past and potential customers, so use it to promote weekly updates on inventory, services and special email-only offers.
- Social Media:Social media is great for quick daily posts on time-sensitive offerings, like one-day-only sales or limited-inventory specials or special events. In addition, targeted ads can help you reach your key customers.
- Advertisements: Although radio, TV and print ads tend to be more expensive, they can be extremely effective for target demographics. Additionally, rather than thinking only of large-scale media (your local city newspaper, for example), consider other options that are lower cost but as effective, like community-based weeklies or advertising in an event program that will run all season (like a seasonal presentation of a play or concert).
- Mail: With businesses turning to digital channels, there are new opportunities to reach target markets through the mail. Consider sending your current customers a seasonalgreeting with a special offer.
4. Get Festive: Decorate Your Store or Your Website
The holidays are a very visual time of year, so optimize your website, office or store to celebrate the season. Festive visuals, like snowflakes, ice skates and mittens, add cheer without being holiday-specific.
5. Thank Your Customers
Thank your customers. A simple card or email shows that you appreciate their loyalty. Taking the time to send a hand-written card or note is a great way to ensure your customers remember you beyond the holiday season.
Holiday-Season Goodwill Lasts All Year
While many small businesses count on the holiday season for their annual sales boost, it’s also a great time to rekindle loyalty to your business and brand. Find ways to bring joy to your customers and make their lives easier during the busy season. That way they’ll be sure to remember it all year long.
If you need funding to help you prepare for the holidays to grow your business throughout the year, give us a call. Every day, we help small businesses get the financing they need, along with a range of additional services to support small business success.