Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Marketing Tips for Small Businesses – It’s Not Too Late!

Small business owners can maximize their holiday sales with a few timely tips:

Fine Tune your Holiday Online Campaign
Consumers are bombarded with countless email offers. So how does your business stand out from the crowd?
  • Keep it simple -- Organize your website by categories such as “Gifts under $50,” “Gifts for Him/Her,” “Popular Items,” etc. And if you’re unable to do this on your website, use emails, e-postcards and e-newsletters to group and highlight your inventory along these lines. It’s easier for people to wrap their heads around instead of wading through long lists.
  • Offer gift suggestionsOffer up gift ideas and suggestions, even though we’re just a couple of weeks out from Christmas. “Last Minute Gifts” or “Corporate Gifts” are two categories that should still be out there.
  • Use shipping deadlines as a motivatorClearly state shipping deadlines on all emails and on your website. Use this as an incentive for customers to take action ASAP.
  • Get creative Use the 12 Days of Christmas to engage with your customers. This is all about raising your brand profile during a busy time while promoting action. For example, send out daily riddles on social media and reward winners with a special offer. Another option is to promote a “catch of the day” deal on each day of your campaign.
  • As December 25 and other holiday deadlines approach, offer upgrades on shipping services – For example, 5-day shipping orders placed on December 17 could be upgraded to 2-3 day shipping at no extra cost.
  • Build urgency into your subject lines, Tweets and Facebook postsThe week before Christmas or other gift-giving days build some urgency into your messaging. “There’s still time…,” “It’s not too late…,” etc.
  • Offer ideas for those last minute impulse purchasesWhether it’s a gift for a party hostess or an office “Secret Santa” party, start giving your customers gift-giving ideas in the last week before Christmas.
  • Drive customers offline and into your storeAs shipping deadlines, use your email and social media presence to remind people of in-store deals and keep feeding them gift-giving ideas.
  • For those absolute last minute shoppersOn December 23 and 24, reach out to those who are still looking for gift ideas but have missed shipping deadlines by spreading the word about gift cards or downloadable e-gift cards.
Don’t Forget Super Saturday
The last and busiest Saturday for buying gifts is December 22 this year. Mark your calendar and plan accordingly – this is the time to offer targeted promotions and incentives. For bricks and mortar retailers, why not do a little more to entice your customers to come in during the last few shopping days before the holidays, perhaps a warm glass of apple cider or a free shoulder massage for your frazzled holiday shoppers (or their spouses)!

Restaurants and Food Service Businesses – Target the Holiday Crowd
Restaurants can do a roaring trade during the holidays, but there’s always room for more! Here are some ideas for boosting your share of holiday profits this year:
  • Work on attracting last-minute office parties or lunches Many smaller companies wait until the last minute to treat their staff or customers – think of ways to entice this crowd. Talk to your regulars, train hostesses and servers to mention your party services when they speak to customers on the phone or in person. Promote special incentives for parties that make bookings on quiet days/nights.
  • Target the New Year’s Eve crowd Offer incentives for customers to come and dine outside and either side of peak hours so you can maximize bookings throughout the night. You could also offer an incentive to New Year’s Eve revelers to move to the bar after they’ve dined with you.
Good luck and happy holidays!