During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in a flurry of activity and not spend the time necessary ramping up your holiday marketing efforts. With all the noise from big retailers and eCommerce shops, it’s increasingly difficult for small businesses to stay visible. Luckily, the same marketing channels that big retailers use to promote their services and products can be just as or even more effective for small business owners. SMB owners can also take advantage of a growing national movement to support local businesses like “Small Business Saturdays” to attract holiday shoppers.
In this article, you’ll find holiday marketing tips as well as creative ideas for various marketing channels on how to promote your business during the holiday season. We’ll give you guidance on how to boost both your online and offline holiday marketing efforts and bring customers through your door.
If you have the ability or means to update your website, refresh your website’s appearance with festive visuals to reflect the holiday season. Even small cosmetic changes like changing the colors of text and background, creative copywriting, or uploading holiday themed pictures can make a big impact on your visitors. Make sure your website content is up-to-date as well, to reflect extended holiday shopping hours or advertise your latest promotions.
Writing seasonally themed blogs can also provide a boost to your website traffic as well as foot traffic to your store. The holiday season can inspire a lot of great content and gives business owners an opportunity to show your personality a bit. You can write blogs about your favorite holiday memories, or write about a favorite product/service in your store that would make a great gift.
Another approach to blogging this season is to post content that will solve your customer’s problems. How can your blogging help customers? During this season, your customers are online, searching for gift ideas for their friends, family, and acquaintances. Write articles for gifts ideas, create gift lists, or inform your customers what’s the trendy gift that’s on everyone’s wish list this year. Which one of your products will make a great gift for a significant other? Which one would grandma like? Not only will your blogging content provide information and value to your website visitors, it’ll also help you promote your products or services. Need more blog ideas? Check out our 130 Blog Ideas to Rock Your Business Blog!
Big retailers and eCommerce stores start their holiday email marketing as early as late September and many consumers are already suffering from email marketing fatigue. How can you write emails that stand out from the barrage of promotional emails? The key to crafting a well-received marketing email is to make it timely, personable, relevant, and clear.
For your short term marketing goal of increasing holiday profits, offer your customers “exclusive” deals or coupons. Think about exactly what would attract your customer’s attention to create an offer that your customers will respond to. One way to write an email that provides value to your customers AND promotes your business is to send out a newsletter rounding up the most popular gift items and offer a “Limited Time” special on them.
If you’re not using email marketing to promote special offers, sending out personalized eCards can help with your long term marketing goals. Emails thanking your customers for their patronage and holiday eCards can also help nurture a relationship with current and potential customers. Gain an edge over your competitors by sending your email list a card during a non-traditional card holiday like Thanksgiving to make your email stand out.
Social media is a critical component to your holiday marketing campaign. Reach your customers while they’re out shopping and push a mobile strategy during the season. Most of your customers are constantly connected to their social media accounts via their smartphones. Boost the frequency of your social media posts to reach your customers as they’re doing their holiday shopping on the weekend. A time-saving tip for a Facebook marketing strategy is to spend time pre-scheduling your Facebook posts. Take an hour out of your day, and schedule all your holiday Facebook posts.
Use your social media channels to feature a product/service of the day or week. For example, post a picture of a best selling product on your business’s Facebook page with a short description of whom it would make a great present for or why it would be a great gift. Look back at last year’s holiday season and at the trends for this year and promote the products that have been your biggest sellers.
Be sure to have fun with social media and get your customers excited about the holiday season. Post a question like “What’s a good hiding place for gifts?”. Post a picture of a gift wrapped box, ask your fans to guess what’s inside, and award the fan who guesses correctly. Social media posts like these are sure to go viral.
If your business is on Pinterest, create holiday themed Pinterest boards to inspire your customers while showcasing your products’ usability and versatility. Other newer social media video-sharing platforms like Instagram and Vine are also great marketing channels to experiment with, if you have the time. Shoot a video of you and your coworkers putting up holiday decorations. People love getting behind-the-scenes view of their favorite local businesses. Check out these other free marketing ideas too!
It’s important not to overlook the impact of offline holiday marketing, especially for small business owners. SMB owners can connect with other local businesses and organizations that are not direct competitors to cross promote complementary products. The holiday season is also all about giving back to the community- collaborate with a local non-profit. Consider donating a small percentage of your profits to a charity and promote the cause on social media.
In your store, you can host an open house event for customers and their friends to check out upcoming products and offer a special deal for attendees. Another option is to offer gift certificates for your customers who don’t know what gifts to buy.
Whether you’re boosting your offline or online marketing efforts during this season, keep these dates in mind:
-Black Friday (November 29th)
-Small Business Saturday (November 30th)
-Cyber Monday (December 2nd)
-Free Shipping Day (December 18th)
If you’re looking for more holiday marketing ideas, download our “50 Creative Marketing Ideas” eBook.
Image credit: cliff1066