Tuesday, October 29, 2013

5 Ways to Market Your Business for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is rapidly approaching and now is the time to take advantage of marketing techniques that will offer sales success in the upcoming months. In this article by SBA community moderator, K. Murray, there a few “budget-friendly” ideas to help you get started with holiday marketing for your small business.

If your small business has a presence on social media, then a contest is usually a popular way to engage your customers and remind them of the products and services you offer that would be great gift ideas. The key is to have a clever #hashtag and an incentive such as a prize or discount on your offerings. Another marketing tip is recognizing your loyal customers and taking the time to make them feel extra special. You can give them special offers, sneak previews, free shipping or secret sales. This type of marketing can result in additional business and referrals for your company.

One way to stand out from competitors is to host an open house or special event in your restaurant or store. Use this type of event to showcase holiday season gifts and allow customers to sample your holiday menus and merchandise in advance.  You should pair this event with light refreshments such as hot chocolate or apple cider to get your customers into the holiday spirit. On their way out, you can give a special offer or coupon that invites customers back to make their purchases at a discount. A great holiday idea, which was created by Illana Bercovitz who offers small business trends, is to offer helpful tips during a stressful holiday season. You should consider your industry, product, or service and how you could provide advice that makes your customer’s lives easier.  According to Ms. Bercovitz, “everyone appreciates useful advice and your customers will thank you for pushing content that makes their holidays slightly less stressful.” Remember to use an original #hashtag to maintain brand awareness across platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

The last tip is to use a historical marketing device, email. Although some may say that it is overused, email remains an easy and inexpensive way to maintain contact with existing customers. The effective way to use email is through permission marketing which means reaching those customers who have requested emails from your business. These include existing customers and those who have expressed interest in your business.  You should also keep these tips in mind if you plan to use email to support your holiday marketing efforts:
·         Keep the e-mail short and sweet. Link directly to the content of interest so you make the process as easy as possible for your customers.
·         Clearly state the email’s intent in the subject line. For example, "A Special Offer Just for You. Thanks for Your Business in 2013.”
·         Be festive in your design. Appeal to the sights of the season with a special design for the holidays.

·         Follow online marketing rules. Don't forget that online marketing is regulated, so whatever tactics you employ be sure to follow government guidelines that apply to list management, SPAM and other guidelines.

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