13 Tips for Promoting Your Small Business during the Holidays
I know what you’re thinking, “It’s only August. Why in the world are you talking about holiday marketing already?” Well, I’ll tell you why – preparation is the key to success. The earlier you start preparing for the holiday shopping season, the more successful the season will be for your store.
Sure, people tend to be a little annoyed if they see holiday marketing long before Thanksgiving, but they’re becoming less and less bothered by it. Why? Because they’re shopping earlier and earlier. According to RichRelevance, more than 25% of American consumers start their holiday shopping by Labor Day.
If your customers are thinking about the holidays so early, shouldn’t you be, too? Yea, probably. The sooner you know how your store is going to celebrate the holidays, the sooner you can start telling your customers about your plans.
Mark Your Calendar
There are several holidays you and your customers can celebrate in the coming months, so go ahead and mark your calendar with these 2018 dates:
Okay, now that you have your calendar marked, it’s time to start planning some marketing activities that will get customers through the door (or onto your website).
Include a Coupon with Purchase
What’s better than a new customer? A loyal customer. It’s much cheaper to retain customers than to attract new ones. So, if you have a lot of first-time customers shopping with you during the holidays, consider including a coupon with every purchase.
Sure, they bought someone else a gift now, but they have a coupon for next time – which they can use to buy themselves a little something. You’ll have lots of loyal customers in no time.
Everybody loves Santa! (Okay, maybe not everybody. There are some hilarious pictures floating around the internet of screaming kids who aren’t too sure about the man in the red suit.)
But, if your store sells kids toys or clothes, your customers would love for you to bring Santa in. They won’t have to stand in line at the mall, and you’ll get more families to come in. While the kids are waiting to share their Christmas list with Santa, they might spot something in your store that just has to be under the tree!
Share Your Return Policy Every Chance You Get
Before you think it’s completely crazy to share your return policy as part of your marketing, just hear me out. Okay?
Not everyone is as crazy as I am and gives their friends and family a very detailed list of exactly what they want for Christmas – including the size, color, quantity, and upcoming sales (I don’t like surprises, okay?). So, someone somewhere is going to open a gift that doesn’t fit, is the wrong color, or that they just don’t like.
What are they going to do with that gift? They’re going to look at the gift giver, smile, and say, “I love it! Thank you!” Then, they’re going to search through the wrapping paper until they find it – the gift receipt. Now, they can exchange the item for exactly what they want.
By including your return policy in your holiday marketing, your customers will be able to shop with some peace of mind. They know their gift won’t just be tossed in the trash if the receiver hates it.
Send Out Christmas Cards
Show your most loyal customers how much you care about them and appreciate their business by sending them Christmas cards (the real, delivered to your mailbox kind). Write a short, personalized note and consider including an exclusive discount. They already love you, but knowing you’re thinking about them will encourage them to come in and get their Christmas shopping done early.
Reach Out to Bloggers
Tons of bloggers out there put together Holiday Gift Guides for their readers. Reach out to bloggers in your industry and ask them to consider including some of your products in one of their guides.
Create a Holiday Guide
You can also create your own Holiday Gift Guide. You don’t have to just include pictures of your products (those are already all over your website and social media pages), but you can include helpful tips and tricks, too.
For example, if you own a women’s clothing boutique, share some of your favorite holiday party outfits.
Want to make sure your store is crowded every day? Or that people are checking out your website more often? Host a “12 Days of Christmas” sale. For each of the 12 days leading up to Christmas, have a special discount or put a different product on sale for the day.
Give Away Stocking Stuffers
Everyone needs stocking stuffers, but a lot of people forget about them until they’re checking out. Since stocking stuffers don’t cost a lot, take some of the pressure off, and include a free stocking stuffer with every purchase.
For example, that women’s clothing boutique from earlier could include a cute pair of socks, a compact makeup mirror, or some lip gloss with every purchase.
Offer Free Gift Wrapping
There’s so much to do around the holidays – shopping, cleaning the house for guests, and, of course, gift wrapping.
Help your customers out by offering a gift-wrapping station in store. After they’ve checked out, they can go wrap their gifts. They won’t have to worry about sneaking presents into the house, and it can be one more thing checked off their list.
Better yet? Offer to gift wrap their purchases for them!
Encourage Customers to “Treat Yo’Self”
Everyone is a little bit selfish. But, during the holidays, your customers might feel guilty buying something for themselves. Don’t let them feel guilty! Instead, have some BOGO sales. That way, your customers can buy something for a friend and get something for themselves without feeling too guilty.
Host a Special Event
Get more people into your store by hosting a special event, like a Tree Lighting or a Holiday Party. During your event, host a special sale or give out exclusive coupons. People will have a great time and go shopping!
Take Full Advantage of Your Email List
Consumers tend to open more emails during the holiday season because they want to find the best deals possible. So, don’t be afraid to send out a few more emails than normal (don’t send too many, though). Keep your emails simple and straightforward – tell your customers when the sale is and how big of a discount they’ll get.
How are you planning on promoting your business this holiday shopping