Is Your Business Ready For the Holidays?
It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year! For consumers, that means holiday parties and family gatherings and lots of shopping. For retailers and small businesses, it means months of hard work and marketing strategies that hopefully lead to highly successful holiday sales.
By this point, you’ve probably put in some preparation for your holiday marketing strategy. And you might even be seeing the holiday rush already, since the National Retail Federation’s Consumer Holiday Spending Survey found that almost 57% of people who celebrate the holidays already began buying presents by early November.
So how can you move forward from here to make sure that your small business is ready to compete in the big leagues during the holidays?
Here are my top five tips for small businesses for this season:
1.Know what you want to offer. Are you a service-based business, or do you sell products? This distinction can mean a drastic difference in how you run your holiday marketing campaign. If you provide services, you should still be engaging in holiday-themed promotions and leveraging your personal contacts to draw in new work. Show your clients that you care by sending them well wishes, along with reminders of the ways you can help them succeed in the coming year.
Retail-based companies should emphasize holiday specials and strategic sales and discounts. Remember, people will be flocking to the stores, and you want to pull them in your direction. As a small business, it’s also smart to put emphasis on the close customer relationships you’ve cultivated all year long, and to reward customer loyalty.
- Keep up with the latest marketing technology. Are you using geo-locating services like geofencing? Have you developed a mobile marketing strategy to reach people on their cell phones and other devices? Have you tried Instagram’s ad feature, or set up a Snapchat account? If not, you might find yourself caught behind this holiday season. Make sure you’re up to date on how to best reach your target audience.
- Get the most mileage out of your campaign. Sending out a direct mail coupon to customers in your immediate area might yield results, but you still don’t want to limit your campaign to one method or medium. Repackage your content and send it out across multiple platforms to maximize the campaign’s effectiveness. If you have a limited budget, research last year’s sales to find the top two or three strategies for reaching your customer base, and then put those to use. You should also repurpose your content for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
- Study the competition. As a small business, you’re competing with a lot of recognized brands every holiday season. Develop a list of businesses or corporations that are in your industry, and study their holiday campaigns. Chances are, you’ll find strategies that you can duplicate and scale down to the size you need. Or, you can go the opposite route and create a completely different strategy—one that will help you stand out in the crowd. You should also keep an eye on more direct competition, like businesses in your area or ones closer to your size. This will give you a well-rounded understanding of how your competition approaches the holidays.
- Keep detailed records of your results. Once the holidays are over, you’ll probably want to take a deep breath and catch up on some sleep. But don’t forget to quantify your results and record them, so you can see what worked well and what didn’t. With this information, you can start preparing for next year—and believe me, it’s never too early to plan.
What do you think? Do you have any holiday strategies to add to this list? Let me know in the comments!
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