Holiday survival tips for small businesses.
The holiday season is a critical time for many small businesses. Stretching from Black Friday through late December, there is a tremendous increase of both online and in-person shoppers during this timeframe.
As important as it is for sales, this increase in traffic is often stressful for small businesses. To help you out, we have put together a list of holiday season marketing tips to make sure you cover all the bases and capitalize on the season’s sales potential.
- Prep your sales team
With plenty of people taking time off from work during the holidays, staffing can be a problem. It’s important to develop an employee holiday schedule with firm scheduled times for regular employees as well as “on-call” team members who are willing to fill in if necessary. This will help you avoid a situation where you have to scramble to find someone to cover another’s shift.
- Connect with your customers
Your customers are busy, and during the holidays they are even busier. When they have so much going on, your business may not be at the top of their minds, so now is the time to connect with them via email, social media, and paid advertising campaigns to get your message in front of them. A friendly reminder (e.g., by email, newsletter, or direct mail) or engaging with them on social media will serve as a reminder and build relationships that transform them into paying customers.
- Promote your company values
While this time of year is notoriously famous for buying things, it is also the season for giving. Does your business participate in any charities or fundraisers to benefit the community? Your customers might share the same values. Similarities such as these establish admiration and trust with your customers. A perfect place to showcase what your business is passionate about is a blog or newsletter so your audience can learn more about your core values.
- Boost your marketing strategy
During the holidays, it is especially important that your customers are able to find you. The competition is fierce and your business needs to be visible online or else customers will turn to someone else. If a customer searches for your business, will it appear in the search results? Are your business listings correct? Do you have a presence on social media? These are all things customers look for when evaluating whether to make a purchase. You should develop and implement a comprehensive marketing strategy that encompasses these elements to enhance your credibility.
- Maintain a consistent brand image and message
If your business has ever gone through a rebrand or has been around for a long time, your branding guidelines and logo have probably changed. It’s important to maintain consistency in all media so your business is easily recognized. For example, maybe you had a new website recently built, but your Facebook page still has an old logo as the profile picture. This can cause your customers to think there are two different businesses with the same name. Your logo, colors, and fonts should be the same wherever your business has a presence to avoid customer confusion.
- Provide a positive experience and good customer service
The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be a lot to handle. The line at your store may seem never-ending to employees and intimidating to customers who may have to wait a bit longer to be served. For your business to really stand out, provide good customer service and create an experience they will remember. A good experience will mean more and be remembered longer than any specific purchase.
- Participate in local events like Small Business Saturday
Another great way to establish relationships with your customers is by having a presence at local events. By participating in events you care about and ones that can benefit both you and the community, you set yourself apart from competitors and create a personal touch with customers. For example, Small Business Saturday occurs the Saturday after Thanksgiving (the day after Black Friday) and is a wonderful opportunity for small businesses to do even more business because it encourages individuals to shop locally.
- Go mobile
If your website is not mobile-ready, now is the time to make the switch to a responsive site so it is optimized on all viewing platforms (desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones). According to Nielsen’s Digital Consumer Report, 87% of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices for shopping. You could miss out on holiday sales if your website is not optimized for these devices.
- Check your reputation
“Word-of-mouth” has evolved and is no longer what your customers tell their friends in person when they’re chatting. Customers now leave reviews of your business online for all to see, and 55% of customers read reviews prior to deciding where to shop. Make sure your reviews accurately represent your business, and respond to both positive and negative comments to show that you are responsive to customer concerns.
- Enjoy the season!
This time comes only once a year and should be filled with cheer! If holiday marketing becomes too much of a burden, contact us for a free Marketing Consultation to see how we can help support your efforts and leave you with more time to enjoy the holidays with your friends and family.
We wish you and your business the best this holiday season!