The end of the year holiday season is one of the biggest selling times of the entire year. All businesses, big or small, amp up their efforts to make a break into the black numbers from the red. This years holiday season is a lot shorter than the usual, however, and this has several companies worried. Will the shorter holiday season still help boost sales? Here are some tips to tip the scales in a favorable direction for small businesses this season.
1. Practice Smarter Marketing
Before you throw a bunch of money into a singular marketing effort you should take a look at those techniques which are actually working. If your target audience isn’t paying attention to commercials it isn’t going to help you to create one. If they aren’t responding to billboards, don’t do it. On the other hand, if your target audience is responding to emails, invest in them. If they are responding to bench advertising, go for it. The point is to do research in order to best assess where your marketing funds should be placed. Avoid those areas which have been shown not to work for your target audience so that you may put more money into those which do work.
2. Go Bigger
If your company has the funds, you need to go bigger. Look into commercials, billboards, newspaper ads, and other forms of big marketing. These are typically able to reach more people in a smaller amount of time. If you think your company does not have the funds for these types of marketing, here are some tips for making them more affordable:
- Check with local television stations. They tend to be cheaper than national stations.
- Partner with other local businesses for both commercials and billboards. Sharing the costs can reduce the price drastically. For example, if a billboard in your community costs $6,000 a month. If you split the space between two companies that is only $3,000 a piece. Between four companies it is only $1,500 each. That is a huge difference in price.
- Go big but stay smaller. I know this sounds contradictory, but it does make sense. You want to invest in a billboard? Shoot for a slightly more rural location for a smaller price, or opt for bench marketing instead.
- Try stashing back a small amount of marketing money throughout the year to invest in the holiday season. Cut out any marketing efforts which aren’t working and place that money into a holiday marketing account.
3. Expand Services & Products
Most companies have found that expanding their services and products during the holiday season helps to boost sales in a big way. Release your newest products or offer a new type of service so that it is at the forefront of everyone’s mind when they are doing their holiday shopping. Offering special services specifically for the holiday season is also useful. These special services include items like gift wrapping, 24/7 customer service, and extended hours. Anything that can make your customers life a little bit easier is going to be a huge success.
4. Reward Loyalty
If you don’t have one already, now is the time to incorporate a customer loyalty program. People are more likely to make additional purchase if you reward their loyalty. Here are a few ideas for reward loyalty programs you begin to incorporate this holiday season:
- Punch cards. Either get your tenth item free or get a punch for every $10-$20 you spend with a discount or free money towards purchase at the tenth card.
- Earn points based on the money you spend. One point per dollar spent is a popular option.
- Use a tier program in which the more a person spends the more points or rewards they receive.
5. Make Good Use of Social Media
Don’t forget the value of social media marketing during your holiday efforts. In fact,you should amp up your efforts on social media accounts more than ever. Social media is so effective because it engages your target audience on a more personal basis. People like to feel connected to their favorite companies. Use social media to not only connect but get your audience involved in your milestones. Over the holiday season you could tell customers your goal is to bring in your millionth purchase on your online store. Keep your fans up to date on Facebook and Twitter. This will help prompt them to make a purchase to help you achieve your goal. Celebrate with a giveaway or Facebook event when you reach the goal to help thank your audience for their part in you reaching this goal.
6. Invest In E-Commerce
Online is the place to be, and online stores are the place to sell your merchandise. In fact, more people are buying what they need online more than ever. If you haven’t already invested in e-commerce you need to get on that right now. You are missing out on a lot of sales. By listing your products in an online store you could see your sales initially skyrocket.
7. Get Creative
Nothing makes a better impression than something new or unique. If your marketing efforts and advertising styles are different than your target audience has seen before they are more likely to remember them. The better remembered your company is, the more likely you are to make sales. Creativity should be used throughout the entire year, but it is never more important than during the holiday season.
8. Create A Holiday Atmosphere
Whether online or offline, a store with a cheerful holiday atmosphere is more likely to prompt sales. Why? Well, don’t you get that happy child-like feeling every time the wreaths, lights, and other holiday decorations come out? Exactly. So do your clientele. Online you can choose a new holiday website design. Offline you can decorate your storefront much like you would your own home.
9. Make Sure You’re Mobile
Just like more people are going online to purchase what they need, more people are using their mobile devices to make purchases. Ensuring that all of your accounts and sites are mobile friendly can help to greatly boost your sales during this holiday season. If your sites are not mobile friendly you may actually be missing out on thousands of sales, no exaggeration.