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By Melissa Darcey
Running a small business is no easy feat, and it can get especially hectic during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. As overwhelmed as you might feel, however, now is not the time to neglect your marketing efforts. Holiday spending is anticipated to be generous this year, which means there’s a lot of potential for generating extra revenue.
Though it’s not always easy to capture holiday traffic at a brick-and-mortar location, these easy holiday marketing ideas can help you get more traffic and customers in your store this season.
More than 60% of businesses say customers spend more time in their store if free Wi-Fi is available, and 50% of customers spend more money when they have in-store online access, too. To take advantage of those statistics—especially while holiday shoppers are out in droves—set up a business Wi-Fi hotspot that is separate from your business’s wireless network. To really get into the holiday spirit, give your hotspot a fun and festive name. Make sure to advertise that you offer free Wi-Fi as well—post a sign on a front window and note it on your Yelp and social media pages.
Even if your business doesn’t cater to kids, you can get more moms and dads shopping if you make your business kid-friendly. Set up a kids’ space in your store with toys, paper and crayons, and books to keep kids busy so parents can shop more. To make the space a little more holiday-specific, host an ornament design contest, let kids decorate a Christmas tree, or hire Santa to make a visit.
A lot of bloggers and digital publications post gift guides with their recommendations for holiday products or services. This is a better way to get your business spotlighted than paying for advertising, considering buyers are 92% more likely to believe peers over marketing materials. Reach out to local bloggers and publications to pitch a special product or service for them to consider, and offer a free sample of a product you’d like to have featured. You might even consider hosting a local blogger in your industry to give a brief presentation or crafting class in your store to draw shoppers to your location.
Anything free will drum up traffic, and there’s nothing better than themed treats during the holiday season. Set up a table with beverages and snacks near the front of your store to draw in more shoppers. On chilly days, offer free cups of hot cider or cocoa paired with gingerbread cookies. Cold and tired shoppers will appreciate the warm treats, and your store will look and smell inviting.
Giving back feels good, helps others, and encourages community engagement. Get involved with a local charity, food drive, or toy drive, and host a donation station at your store. Work with the charity to make sure it advertises your business as a donation drop-off location. You can also offer a store discount to anyone who donates. This may help you get more people who may not have previously known about your store to visit and shop.
As it gets close to the holidays, many shoppers run out of time to wrap gifts. Give those customers a hand by setting up a gift-wrapping station. Erect the station near the front of the store and offer free wrapping to all customers. You can also sell holiday cards, chocolates, or other small gifts last-minute customers can grab if they’re running short on shopping time.
Nothing draws a crowd quite like a themed event or sale. For this holiday season, host a “12 Days of . . .” sale or event at your store featuring your most popular products, top gift picks, or newest services. Highlight and discount a different item each day and give away smaller items to customers. Creating a sense of urgency—by limiting the duration of each sale—encourages people to take advantage of the temporary deals.
Never underestimate the power of decorations and lively music. During the holidays, shoppers are naturally drawn to stores with cheerful displays and festivities, so play holiday music, arrange a festive front window display, and outfit the rest of your shop with snowflakes and holly. Feature any holiday-related products toward the front so shoppers don’t miss them when walking by. You don’t have to break the bank, either—a string of lights, a Spotify playlist, and a few strands of tinsel can completely change a store’s look.
The old saying that “two heads are better than one” is as true in business as it is in life. By partnering with another local business, you can cross-promote to each other’s customers and reach a wider audience. Partner with a store or restaurant complimentary to yours that isn’t a direct competitor. For example, if you sell kitchenware, collaborate with a gourmet market or wine shop to offer limited-time discounts on each other’s respective goods. Advertise the collaboration by handing out flyers or highlighting each other on social media.
One of the best ways to bridge the gap between the digital world and the real world is to offer special incentives for customers who engage with your company online. Offer a 10% discount when customers show that they’ve shared one of your holiday ads on Facebook, or give a free stocking-stuffer gift to customers who Instagram a photo in front of one of your festive displays. This tactic is doubly beneficial, as it gets customers into your store and gets them doing some grassroots advertising for your brand.
Holiday advertising doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. With a little effort, creativity, and holiday spirit, you can encourage more shoppers to spend time in your store. Try implementing one or two of these holiday marketing tips right now to make the most of the holiday shopping season. Make sure to tweet to @frontierbiz and share your success with us.