Give Your Business The Gift Of Customers With These Ho-Ho-Holiday Marketing Tips
Winter is upon us! The nipping winds and upcoming holidays bring unmatched energy and excited, bustling crowds. Businesses are hurriedly wrapping up packages and ledgers, hoping each will add up to a successful year end. This period of time often brings unique challenges, from peak production demands to reluctant skeleton crews.
Fortunately, the season isn’t solely made of ice and long nights. Today’s community-focused consumers are walking around the corner instead of the mall. Customers’ desire for small-business holiday spirit grants business owners the opportunity to perfect their marketing techniques and create a timeless presence within their marketplace.
As with year-round marketing, holiday marketing is all about creating and maintaining long-term connections. The goal is to use unique, targeted efforts, infused strategically with a genuine kindness shoppers rarely see this time of year. It’s time to become a friend, not a salesperson.
1. Attend Community Events
Is there a Christmas parade in your area? Perhaps your city center has a Santa photo booth? Local schools and theaters often sell out seats to The Nutcracker and if you’re near a train station you should check to see if they do a Polar Express ride for the little ones.
Attend these events and make it a point to introduce yourself to the organizer. Community volunteers often have a finger on the pulse of your target market and meet hundreds of people every day. Networking with these incredible resources is a smart, unique way for small business owners to get their name out there.
2. Host an Open House
Consumers are looking for more than that perfect item—they want the perfect experience. Help them enjoy their shopping by hosting a festive open house, complete with discounted prices, smiling staff, and free hot cocoa. Advertise your open house at least a week in advance and aim for an all-day event to accommodate the early birds, the afternoon crowd, and the post-supper crew.
When budgets allow, try a two-day raffle event to entice customers back with friends or family. Play music, show your best wares, open up the guestbook, and, above all, exude a genuine kindness to everyone who comes in, regardless of whether they buy or not. Your event is about forming long-term relationships; potential customers will remember if you are sweet and welcoming or rude and frazzled.
3. Storefront-to-Storefront Collaboration
Shoppers love sales, especially when they’re synchronized. Check with the other businesses in your area and see if they’re planning any holiday events for their customers. Stop in to the store next door and introduce yourself. Suggest coordinating themed window displays or same-day open houses. The collaboration not only fosters important relationships with other small business owners, but gets local shoppers buzzing about the opportunity to skip from store to store, soaking up the seasonal savings.
4. Pinterest Power
Pinterest is absolutely bursting with holiday flavor, flair, and festivity. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to market your holiday sale items for free to millions of people. The key is to have a pin-worthy picture and a solid site to link back to.
Consider putting together your own merchandise photo shoot, complete with lighting, solid backgrounds, and subtle holiday decorations. Use a free photo editing site, such as PicMonkey or PicResize, to insert holiday overlays, phrases, or your business name.
Having trouble identifying a pin-worthy picture? Check out the “Popular” section on Pinterest for ideas and inspiration. Be sure your pin links back to your business site and make it easy for pinners to see the more important specifics of your business, such as shipping details and online purchasing.
5. Referral Savings and Specials
Now is the perfect time to implement a new loyalty program or referral rewards system. Thank your customers for referring others to your business by inviting them to special sales events just for them. Offer a sneak-peak at seasonal merchandise or open your store an hour earlier for your top referring customers. Host a “Thankful Thursday” sale and invite them to bring a friend for an additional 10% off. Work with other businesses for business-to-business referrals and “chain” deals. A printing company who links up with a coffee shop, for example, could offer package deals to stressed, last-minute party planners. Imagine how nice it would be to get a free cup of coffee while rushing to get your invites printed! The possibilities are endless.
The never-ending chaos of the holiday season creates both pleasure and panic for small business owners. It’s wonderful to be busy, but also exhausting.
Bring the seasonal spirit back into your business by trying one of these easy, affordable marketing techniques. They’re sure to bring a smile to the face of your customers and who knows….perhaps they’ll even afford you the opportunity to take one of those magical, mythical days off.