Don’t you hate the mad rush towards celebrating the holidays early? It seems like we have just observed the end of summer, and suddenly we are faced with an onslaught of activities and decorations for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the December holidays. As a consumer, it is something that can simply be annoying but, as a small business owner, planning ahead is something you have to take quite seriously.
That doesn’t mean you have to get the snow balls and sleds out quite yet, but you do seriously need to consider what you will do to share the holidays with your customer base. There are really just two short months to fit in everything for your planning schedule. You don’t want to wait until December to start thinking about what you want to do; you want to be doing it. So here are some great marketing ideas that you can start working on during October and November to get a jump on your holiday plans:
• Offer a Special Promotion: You might want to offer some type of special promotion as a gift to current and prospective customers during the holidays, but really think about what you are offering and why it is special. Don’t just offer a reduced price; tie in an offer with how your business helps customers save time, save money, or enjoy life more all year. Then start planning how you are going to promote it – you may want to pay for some traditional advertising, but the promotion also needs to be part of your website, Facebook page, and social media. You may even want to have a video or white paper that you offer at no charge as your gift. Just remember that these things take time to create and implement, and that is hard to do when you are faced with the holiday rush at your business and in your personal life. Have everything created ahead of time, and then just do the implementation part later.
• Don’t Forget the Email: I have often said that email is still a strong component of any good marketing strategy, so start writing your year-end email now. Try to think of ways your customers or clients have helped you during the past year, thank them for their business, and promise to continue to grow together during the coming year. Get the email written now, and get your list in shape so all you will have to do later is hit send.
• Create a Cross-Promotion: Surely there is some other small business in your town which offers a product or service that perfectly complements what you do, without being competitive. Get together with that business owner and dream up a cross-promotion for your two entities to work together. You will both benefit from exposure to a new audience, and can stretch your advertising dollar twice as far.
• Get Reviewed: Find out who the social media influencers are in your space, and contact them to see if they are doing some type of a holiday blog, video, or post. Ask about how you can get your product or service included as part of that review. If you don’t know the influencers, ask your customers for comments about your business and post the best ones on your social media sites. Make a contribution to their favorite charitable cause for the comment that gets the most likes or responses.
• Check Your Online Capabilities: If you can sell online, make plans now to do it later, but be very sure you can deliver. If you only have fifty units of your product that can be packaged and delivered in time, limit the quantities you offer upfront. You can organize and post your product offerings on your website or Instagram by category, but make sure customers are aware of any limitations you have.
The most important factor is that you need to start now so you don’t jam up yourself and fall short of your goals. It doesn’t have to be expensive or expansive, but a well-designed holiday marketing plan can yield big benefits.