Holiday shopping, party prep, and good times are just around the corner. This time of year presents a multitude of marketing opportunities for small businesses. It may take a little bit of extra effort to put these suggestions into action, but the rewards will be well worth the effort.
1. Hold a Social Media Contest.
Offer a promotion that draws people to your website via social media. Require a ”Like,” ”Follow,” or ”Share” in order to enter the contest. Offer additional contest entries to followers that tag friends who also enter. This is a great (but relatively inexpensive) method of building your social media following. You can optimize this new fan base in a variety of ways in the future.
2. Throw a Party.
If there are several small businesses located close together, get together in more than a geographic manner. Pick a date and hold a sidewalk sale or a holiday discount sale. Serve hot cider or cocoa. Have raffles and drawings — make an exciting event out of it.
3. Treat Your Best Customers.
Most small businesses have a list of preferred customers. Invite those customers to a special sale, which is open to only those on the list. Hold the sale during a time when your store would not normally be open for business. People love being rewarded for the loyalty they show a business. And as a small business, you will be rewarded by their continued loyalty.
4. Do Some Good.
Select a local charity that conducts a holiday food, clothing, or toy drive. Offer a discount to clients who donate a certain amount of time or money to that charity. Your business will be associated with positive thoughts and deeds, and a worthwhile organization receives needed volunteer hours and dollars. Everyone wins.
5. Give Away Goodies.
Everyone loves swag, and the holidays are a great time to share the love. Hand out 2016 calendars, new pens with your company logo, or branded magnets. You may consider giving small gift baskets and cards to your best customers.
6. Make Your Space a Gallery.
If you have the room, clear a wall or portion of a wall in your business. For a few weeks during the holidays, have a children’s art show. Invite clients to submit their children’s artwork for display. Promote the exhibit and invite friends and family of the artists to a grand opening. Take photos and send them to the families — along with business cards — when the artwork is returned.
7. Celebrate Your Staff.
Your staff makes your small business successful. Throw a holiday party for your staff, take them on an outing, or give them small holiday gifts. You may even want to take photos at your celebrations and write a message on social media to show public appreciation for your staff. Your staff will feel valued, and the community will know you invest in the people who are in the trenches with you.
8. Plan Early and Plan Well.
Think through what you want to accomplish with your holiday marketing strategy. Are you hoping for increased business exposure? Do you want increased sales during the holiday season? Identify your goals and focus your plan around meeting those goals. For each new endeavor, make sure you take stock afterwards to ensure you are meeting your goals.
9. Send Seasonal Greetings.
Use your email database and send electronic greetings to your clients. Include a discount or a coupon. There are many programs available to make management of both your database and youre e-newsletters easier. Consider Constant Contact or MailChimp to assist with your mailings.
10. Promote and Celebrate Small Business Saturday.
Encourage your clients to shop local in an effort to support what small businesses do for local communities. Held this year on Nov. 28, this annual event is important for all small businesses. Utilize the free promotional materials — fliers, customizable press releases, and social media updates — to spread word of the event.
There are plenty of opportunities to market your business during the holidays, if you just use a little creativity. Consider your client base and your community. Follow the trends or make your own. Either way, you can make this holiday season profitable and enjoyable for your business.