Think like a customer. What would you like if you shopped at your business during the holidays? That will help you recognize the best ways to improve your traffic and get customers to shop with you instead of your competitors.
Marketing to Boost Business Sales during the Holidays
Flyers – create flyers to your promotional holiday sales early since customers start their holiday shopping early. Hang flyers in your windows, ask a neighboring business if they will post your flyer and you could post theirs. Do this with other businesses that won’t be competing with you.
Business Cards – Business cards are very inexpensive marketing tool, so pass them out to everyone! Make sure you use the back of the card for a short announcement of one or more of your upcoming holiday events. Create business cards for everyone on your staff and encourage them to assist your marketing efforts. Offer your employees a bonus or gift for bringing in the most customers for a particular holiday event. You’ll be able to track which staff member brings in the most customers if they are asked to tell customers to bring the card in for a prize.
Postcards – A custom postcard mailing is a great way to say thank you to clients and promote your business over the holidays.
Website – Posting on your website is an inexpensive and easy way to announce your upcoming holiday events. Start telling customers early on that you have special offerings or discounts and events listed on your website. Make sure your website address is listed on your business card.
Blogging – if you blog on the internet make sure to keep your customers and followers aware of the sales, discounts, promotions or parties you’ll be hosting for the holidays. Keep your blog updated or customers may think you’re no longer in business.
Coupons – Print special coupons to pass out over the holidays with special discounts or offers. Offer customers the best discount you can reasonably afford without taking a loss. The point of your discount is to improve volume and by offering a percentage off, you’ll bring in more business and boost sales. Consider buy one get one free deals for customers or offer free shipping as a bonus.
Gift Certificates – Sell holiday gift certificates and offer a complimentary small ‘bonus’ gift if your customer spends a certain amount.
Custom T-shirts and Promotional Items – Have some unique t-shirts designed or have special promotional items to give away to your clients. Your clients will love the gifts and you will increase your brand awareness.
Free Advertising – look online for places that offer ‘free business listing’. Google has one, merchantcircle.com is another or superpages.com and there are many more. Do a little homework to find free ways to advertise your business.
Host a Fundraiser – Set up a meeting with your favorite charity or one that corresponds well with what you do in business and host a fundraiser. It is a great way for you to help the community as well as to bring new people to see your business and what you do. Send a press release to the newspaper, local radio and tv stations of the upcoming event. They may do a story or announcement on the upcoming fundraiser and you may even get the cameras to come to your business.
Host a Holiday Open House or Customer Appreciation Day – Make it a party to thank your customers for doing business with you during the past year. Offer wine and cheese, or cocktails and snacks or even a dessert party is a simple way for you to show your appreciation. Offer special promotions for the day of the event as well as a discount certificate for a return visit. Make it a fun, exciting event with inexpensive decorations, balloons and add complimentary herbal tea or apple cider and small snacks. Get to know your customers and build relationships! They will be more likely to continue all future business transactions with you and you’ll receive a loyal following. They’ll also tell their friends and referrals will help you grow your business by simple, free word of mouth advertising.
Sample products – Put your products in the hands of your clients. If they try it, they will buy it. Have products available for testing everywhere and use signage, or have your employees interact to get customers to try different products.
Warm drinks and fresh cookies – offering a warm beverage like coffee , hot chocolate , apple cider or herbal tea and offering warm cookies will get customers to linger longer. It gives them time to scope out more of your store or trade show booth as they walk around enjoying their beverage. And that means they may find more gifts than they had planned on, resulting in increased sales.
Stocking Stuffers – Offer impulse items under $20 usually work best. Create a whole stocking stuffer display and make it interactive, like a stocking stuffer smorgasbord to get customers to buy one or more additional items.
Give special offers– Provide free shipping or a discount on certain items. Offer free gift wrapping. Highlight products that you expect to be popular during the holidays. Offer an economy gift basket or offer a discount on a bundle of products or services that go together.
Give a seminar so customers can learn more about your product or service. Customers will appreciate the tips and new knowledge gained from the seminar.
Host a booth at a trade show or holiday market–Increase awareness of your business by getting out there, meeting new people and showing off what you can offer them. Keep in mind that you only have one chance to make a first impression! The material you hand out speaks for your business. Make sure to hand out professional looking brochures, business cards and other marketing materials.