The holidays are a time of cheer, joy, and seemingly endless shopping. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, stores are bustling, schedules are packed, and consumers are whipping out their credit cards. If you’re a small business, you should seize upon the opportunity that December represents to bring a festive edge to your marketing efforts. Get your holiday sales sizzling with these marketing and promotional ideas.
Giving is a huge part of the holiday season. Why not give back to your customers (and encourage them to keep coming back!) with a free gift, free guide, or fun holiday event? Here are some other ways to give as a part of your holiday marketing efforts:
If you don’t have much to give, you can always give thanks! Send an email to thank current customers, and tell them about your holiday events, specials, or loyalty programs.
While a fun time of year, the holiday season can also be very stressful, and a strain on people’s pocketbooks. Customers really appreciate it when a business goes out of its way to show a little love to the people who keep them running. Create deals, handouts, or swag designed to help the tired shopper on their journey.
You can create holiday-specific rewards programs that run the length of the holiday season. There is a general influx of shoppers during the holiday season, and the added appeal of a loyalty or rewards program can be enough to get passersby to stop in, or to choose you over a competitor.
As if the hassle of shopping and dealing with crowds isn’t enough, to top it all off, customers must also gift wrap their gifts. Provide free gift wrap or a gift wrapping station for customers—or, make an event out of it! Obviously this marketing campaign works best if you have a retail location, but it can also be used for businesses like bakeries, flower shops, restaurant, and even gyms.
Encourage customers to bring their gifts in to wrap for free. This not only encourages customers to come and shop at your store, but it also gives you the chance to interact with them on a personal, non-sales oriented level. Getting to know your customers will keep them coming back!
Another great idea is to introduce a holiday-specific referral contest. Even if you already have a referral program, a holiday-themed referral contest can bring yuletide glitz to your referral outreach. Offer an attractive prize to the person who refers the most customers to your business, and supply a few smaller prizes for second and third place as well. The holidays are a time when people are swapping insider tips on where to get the best deals and the coolest gifts. Take advantage by giving your customers added incentive to spread the word about your business.
Related: 50 Holiday Marketing Ideas
Everybody loves a good party. Host an open house or similar event for regular customers to thank them for their loyalty and help put the celebration back into the holiday season. Make it an exclusive “insiders” event so your customers feel like VIPs. Offer free samples of your latest products or other goodies to sweeten the deal, and leverage your attendees by getting their input on your products and services! This valuable feedback can help you improve your sales.
Not sure where to start? Thankfully, when it comes to the holidays, it’s easy. Throw together some tinsel, winter-themed decorations, or red and green ribbons, and you’re good to go! Offer a free glass of wine or champagne and your holiday open house is guaranteed to be packed.
Lastly, be sure to encourage your customers to take pictures and post to social media! One clever way of doing so is introducing a special hashtag for the event, such as #[businessname]VIP or something holiday-themed. Consider hiring a professional photographer who can take photos of guests and the event itself. This will provide you with ample material to spread across your social media platforms.
Certain industries have ebbs and flows throughout the year. Just because winter is your business’s off-season doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from offering holiday specials. Offer special discounts to customers who book now for spring. A contractor, painter, or outdoor bootcamp fitness program, for example, may expect a slow winter. However, come warm weather, and all those New Year resolutions, people will come flocking to your bootcamp. Even if winter is your slow season, you can see great holiday sales by leveraging pre-book specials.
Related: 2018 Marketing Calendar
December is prime Christmas shopping season, and when it comes to gift-buying, people love nothing more than a good deal. Often, if a good price is spotted, people will buy multiple versions of the same item to give to different people. Consider offering discounts for bulk goods and services.
For example, if you teach evening dance classes, put on a special package deal for gift-shoppers. Offer a set of 10 classes for the price of 8, for example. If you sell products, consider something like a “buy three, get the fourth free” special or assemble fun gift baskets offering an array of your products for a discounted price.
Another great way to encourage spending this season is to pair up with other small businesses. The holidays make people hone in on deals, so conveniently packing your services together for a great deal is a great way to encouraging spending. This works best with similar businesses or businesses that naturally go well together. For example, if you own a spa, you could pair up with a local wine shop to offer a “spa day and bottle of wine” package. Such packages make great treats for individuals and gift recipients alike!
Few things are as simultaneously enriching and relaxing as a cooking or other skills class. When it’s wintery out, few activities are as cozy as ducking inside a store for an exclusive class. Your customers will love it, and it’ll be a great way to get them to engage with you.
Offer classes related to the products you sell. If you are a flower shop, host a flower arrangement class, for example. If you are a bakery, you can host a series of classes, all with different themes—for example a pastry-making class, or a cake-decorating class.
While you can host classes for free, don’t forget that they can be a great source of extra revenue as well. Outside the holidays, offer a free trial class, and provide additional frequent specials to encourage sign-ups.
As businesses in four-season climates know, winter can often be a difficult season. When it’s cold, windy, and snowy out, few people (understandable) want to endure the biting outdoors. However, after a while, the individual starts feeling bored, and even stir crazy. Help spark motivation to venture outside the house by offering weather related discounts.
Offer customers different specials based on temperature drops and weather forecast. For example, if you run a small bar, offer an exclusive discounted drink or a few dollars off select popular drinks if the temperature drops below 30 degrees. If you’re a restaurant, have customers come in from the hold and show a weather app on their phone indicating the drop in temperature. If the temperature is indeed below 30 degrees, reward the customer with a free appetizer or something similar.
Bring Extra Cheer to Your Holiday Season
Don’t miss out on the excitement of the holidays this year. By utilizing even just a few marketing strategies above, you can increase your holiday sales by exponential amounts. With the magic of the season, you’ll find upward trends in your revenue. A very merry season indeed!