The holiday season is fast approaching and with it comes a strong demand for shopping, both online and offline. Don’t leave your customers out in the cold! Use these marketing tips and ideas to make the most of the spike in holiday traffic and spending, and create a positive impression of your small business that will last long into next year.
1. Plan to start promoting holiday sales early. According to a 2015 survey conducted by Compete, 54% of shoppers had completed at least a quarter of their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving weekend. You can promote your brand through these major occasions: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and don’t forget some trendy shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Once you can decide which holiday is the best for your store to run campaign, start making a plan for it
2.Be sure your website is customer-friendly. Consumers do a lot of their holiday shopping online. Even if they make their purchases in person at small local shops, they’re still likely to do their “window shopping” onlne. To be sure your online store is consumer-friendly, ask a friend who has never used your site to make a purchase. Give them something specific to buy, then watch as they try to find the item and buy it on your website. Do they quickly locate the item? Can they figure out how to put it in the cart, and then how to view the cart and pay for the item? Or are they clicking around in frustration? Fix any problems you see now so you don’t frustrate and lose shoppers during the holidays.
4. If at all possible, have a way for customers and prospects to reach a real person on the telephone. There’s nothing more frustrating to potential customers than to call a company to request information, only to be pointed back to the website to create a support ticket with no indication of when to expect an answer. If you can’t have someone manning the phone at all hours, at least have a recording that reminds customers what your store hours are and give them an option of leaving voice mail. Then, take care to return voice mails within one business day or less.5. Encourage current site visitors to sign up for a mailing list. If you don’t capture visitors’ email addresses the first time they visit your site, chances are slim that they will return to your site. If they don’t return, you’ve wasted the money – perhaps as much as $5 or more a click – that you spent to get them to your site in the first place.6. Include a newsletter signup option on your social media business pages, too.7. Give customers who shop at your physical storefront a flier encouraging them to sign up for your newsletter and to like your Facebook page. For ease of use for smart phone owners, include a QR code on the flier that they can scan to get to an online signup form.
8. If you ship products put the flier in every package your ship.
9. Send out email promotions regularly starting now. Doing so keeps your brand top of mind, and may win sales for you before the holiday shopping season starts.
10. Check to be sure your web pages include social networking share buttons. If they don’t have your web developer add them now and set them to show the number of shares. Prospects are more likely to buy a product if they see signs that a lot of other people like it.
11. Add testimonials to your website. Testimonials work just as well on the web as they do in direct mail. Add them to your social media pages too.
12. Start using social campaigns now so your customers get in the habit of visiting your social media pages to look for specials.
13. Get your ads ready now for local print media. If you can write the ads now, you’ll have ample time to have several people proofread them before they run. Check with the media you plan to use to find out if they have special holiday editions you’ll want to advertise in, and to find out what the closing dates are for ads.
Find more tips on getting your store ready for the upcoming holiday season in these articles: