30 Jul 10 Tips For Marketing Your Business During The Holidays
For new small business owners, the holiday season can be a bit overwhelming. Elements like the rush of shoppers and having the proper amount of inventory and staffing on hand can lead to some major headaches.
It’s crucial that new businesses find ways to increase their visibility to potential customers who might not yet know about end-of-year sales in order to capitalize off of the opportunity. Here’s a look at 10 ways a small business can best market itself to ensure they increase their exposure during the busy holiday season.
1. Host an Open House
A brand new business can pique interest with two simple words — “open house.” Plan a special day that gives customers an early look at your products or services, including samples and goodies.
“Use it to showcase holiday season gifts, menus and merchandise,” she says. “Offer up a glass of warm cider or mulled wine, and really get people into the spirit of the holidays. This will give customers an opportunity to check out your merchandise or holiday menus in advance. You could throw in a special offer or coupon that customers can redeem anytime up until December 24.”
2. Cater to the Kids
It helps to be a family-friendly business around the holidays and assuming the products on offer aren’t of the high-end and breakable variety, giving kids an area to play can provide a much needed break in a long day of shopping for parents.
“Hold a kids’ contest like a make-your-own-ornament contest or holiday coloring contest,” Lesonsky writes. “Give a big prize or just give everyone small prizes, like candy canes. Make any business kid-friendly by providing a kids’ space with toys or books to keep tired, fussy children occupied while parents shop.”
3. Get Creative
Once you get customers through the door, make it so that they’ll want to return on a consistent basis. This will hopefully lead them to tell their friends and family about the positive experience they had in your business, leading to an increase of holiday traffic. Beesley writes about working “holiday magic” in her story for sba.gov:
“Think of ways to generate repeat holiday business from your existing customers,” she says. “Special offers, sneak previews, free shipping, or secret sales are all great ways to make your faithful customers feel special without breaking the bank.”
4. Jazz Up your Online Presence
Beyond brick-and-mortar options, you can spice up your web page and social media efforts to reflect the fun and festive nature of the holidays. A story on Kabbage.com recommends using a graphic designer to put a holiday spin on your logo — think the often talked about Google logo drawings — as a low-cost way to energize your homepage.
“… You’ll only have to pay for it once since you’ll probably want to reuse the same holiday logo every year for brand consistency,” the story says. “In addition to putting it up on your website, you can use it as the default photo on your social media sites during the holidays, and even create a Facebook cover photo and Twitter background that also reflect the season. Personal touches like these will go a long way to put customers in spending mode, especially if your business is based online.”
5. Visual Thinking
The colorful nature of the holidays should translate onto a small business’ web page. Take steps to ensure that the images your business uses online are pleasant and sharp. Nicole Fallon Taylor, goes on to explain:
“Product images can be extremely valuable on social media, but if those pictures are small, uninteresting or low-quality, you’re doing more harm than good to your brand,” she writes. “Noelle Federico, chief financial officer of stock photo provider Dreamstime, advised using bright, vibrant images that jump out and catch consumers’ eyes. ‘All of your social content has to have visual appeal and draw attention,’ Federico told Business News Daily. ‘Pictures that aren’t done well or don’t look good [will only] deter people from shopping [your brand].’”
6. Go For Video
Just as high-quality images are crucial for increasing holiday web sales, video can be equally as useful. In Taylor’s story for Business News Daily, she refers to a survey by Tremor Video, which reported that half of consumers in the 18-34 age demographic, along with 80 percent of those older than that, consider product videos “very” or “extremely” motivating in deciding on a purchase.
“Video content is taking center stage in year-round marketing campaigns, and the holidays are no exception,” she writes. “… According to the survey, consumers seek out videos of consumers opening, examining and using a product, as well as product comparisons. ‘Leverage unboxing videos as part of your holiday marketing strategy,’ said Ariane Gut, vice president and head of insights and analytics at Tremor Video. ‘To make them look authentic, enroll the help of actual customers or social media influencers instead of trying to recreate one yourself.’ Because consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to consume video content, Gut also advised optimizing your video for smaller screens. You can do this by leveraging short-form content, creating shorter ads that mimic content, and including close-up, clutter-free shots, Gut said.”
7. Offer Comfort and Relief
Make the shopping experience as pleasant as possible for holiday shoppers. A few examples, courtesy of Lesonsky in her sba.gov piece.
Free food: Everyone loves free food, and offering a nice assortment of treats and drinks will likely be a welcome sight for tired and hungry shoppers. If the store is in a mall, Lesonsky recommends giving free samples out in front to attract additional attention.
Have a seat: We’ve seen the sitcom cliché before — the wife shops while the husband waits and grumbles. Regardless of the validity of such scenes, be sure to have seating available so anyone in the shopping party can have a few moments to relax.
Go above and beyond: Here’s one a customer might not expect, but can be a big hit for businesses willing to make the effort: Lesonsky recommends hiring masseuses to offer free foot or shoulder rubs to customers right there in the store for anyone who makes a purchase.
8. Get Involved
It’s always worthwhile to get involved with local charities. The positive effects of helping others in need will undoubtedly add to a small business owner’s self-worth, and as a major bonus it can also add to the business’ exposure. Beesley, writing for sba.gov, goes on to say:
“Getting out there and supporting charities or sponsoring or getting involved in community events is a great way to generate awareness for your business during the holidays.” She continues, “Even if you don’t have the budget to donate large sums of money, think of other ways to get involved, such as offering volunteer services, equipment or even space.”
9. Give Gifts to Your Customers
As we see every year, the “Black Friday” deals following Thanksgiving are all about providing maximum value for holiday shoppers. Depending on the nature of the small business, a more subtle approach may be the way to go, as the Kabbage.com story states:
“During the holidays, people are often looking for deals and ways to save more than any other time of year. In exchange for choosing your business as the place to do their holiday shopping, think about giving them a gift in return. This might be as significant as a generous discount or free shipping, or as simple as putting a tray of cookies out for shoppers if you have a storefront. You can also boost sales by promising customers something special in the new year if they purchase now.”
10. Use Customer Content
The ease of taking photos has skyrocketed with smartphones, and the same goes for video. Businesses can create a stronger bond and increase their visibility amongst customers by incorporating the use of their photos or videos online. Taylor’s piece, featuring advice from the CEO of marketing platform Curalate Apu Gupta, explains how to do this in depth.
“‘User-generated content from real consumers is perhaps even more powerful than brand-produced images,’ Gupta said. ‘Customers love getting recognized by their favorite companies on social media, and in most cases, they’re happy to create and share content to be used by a brand. During the holiday season, it’s advantageous to run promotions that are all about your fans creating content. Having people take photos [of your products] around the holiday season that show how much they’re enjoying them is a great way to spread awareness.’”
Courtesy of: Business 2 Community