4 Ways For Your Small Business To Earn More This Holiday Season
October 19, 2015
The holiday season is the most magical time of the year, but it’s also when consumer spending levels hit their peak. That means it’s a crucial time for businesses of all sizes to have strong marketing plans in place and take advantage of the additional revenue opportunities. For small businesses, this time of year is especially important for maximizing profits. Don’t worry if you don’t have the same resources as larger companies – there are still plenty of strategies you can use to prepare for the busiest and most profitable season of the year!
Optimize your branding and marketing strategy for the holidays
Get into the holiday spirit by adding some festive decorations to your website, emails, and print promotional materials. This simple but effective strategy adds a personal touch to your business and makes the online shopping experience more inviting for customers. Depending on your budget, you could even redesign your business logo with holiday themes such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa. This is a great way to show off your holiday spirit and can be reused every year without breaking the bank.
Check to see that all of your web links are working — nothing kills sales faster than a broken link! There are a number of free online tools and apps you can use for this, including Check My Links (a Google Chrome Web Extension), Broken Link Check, Dr. Link Check, and various different paid software options depending on your needs. Also, update your social media pages to have a look and feel coordinated with your main website.
It’s important to stay current with social media trends and make sure your business is being promoted on the latest platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest in addition to Facebook and Twitter. But don’t forget about traditional marketing methods like basic email, snail mail, coupons, and discounts! Your marketing strategy should still be focused on your target audience, so make sure to leverage the channels where your audience can be found. By utilizing a mix of both new and traditional methods, you can maximize your reach and ensure your business is visible to as many potential customers as possible.
To reach the widest possible audience for your business, it’s vital to optimize your website and online shopping cart for mobile devices. As more and more customers use smartphones and tablets to shop, a smooth mobile shopping experience becomes essential. Focusing on mobile optimization while creating your marketing mix allows you to effectively engage your target audience, especially during peak seasons. Therefore, incorporating mobile optimization as a crucial component of your overall strategy is crucial.
Use CRM tools
Although small businesses may not be able to compete with larger enterprises in terms of pricing, they can certainly surpass them in service, quality, and customer relationships. One effective way to manage customer data and automate sales/delivery processes is by using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools. Depending on the size and nature of your business, you may require sophisticated software like Salesforce or simply organize your customer data in a spreadsheet or a traditional Rolodex. Free software options like ZohoCRM and Insightly are also available for smaller businesses, which can be upgraded as your business expands. The more customer data you have, the easier it becomes to generate and follow-up on sales leads.
By using CRM tools, your sales team can be better organized, collaborate more efficiently, and share data across the company, resulting in more integrated sales and marketing efforts. For small businesses, the crucial lesson is that the more you know about your customers and the stronger your customer relationships, the more targeted your marketing efforts can be in the future. By setting up an organized and data-driven marketing plan, you can focus on day-to-day business activities during the holiday season without worrying about the bigger picture.
Promotions, incentives, and giveaways
During the holiday season, everyone loves a good deal, and competition is fierce. That’s why enticements, specials, and sales are especially attractive to customers. When deciding what promotions to offer, consider what problem your customers may need to solve or what can help them cope with the stresses of the season. These can range from free shipping and significant discounts to a complimentary holiday cookie or cup of hot cider at your business location. You may also want to include some kind of post-holiday offer to encourage customers to return after the season has ended. Depending on your budget, this may include printed or emailed coupons or customer codes shared on social media.
To get the word out, repeatedly promote your incentives and promotions on social media and email, but only to those who have opted into your accounts. Spamming can harm your business rather than help it. Be creative with your promotions, and tailor them to your target audience and business to generate a significant ROI (return on investment) through word-of-mouth. For example, a plant nursery that decided to offer a free visit and picture with Santa at Christmas now does a booming business in holiday-themed gifts as well.
Make sure also that you are aware of important dates in planning your promotions. Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) is the largest shopping day of the year, but perhaps even more important to you is the newer Small Business Saturday (the next day). This is a day focused on driving consumers to local merchants and away from the big box stores, and even has its own slogan — Shop Small! Small Business Saturday has a centralized website run by American Express where you can register your business so potential customers can see if you are participating. The SBA (US Small Business Administration) has a page devoted to Small Business Saturday as well with plenty of helpful marketing tips and links to the SBS Facebook page (definitely include #SmallBizSat in your social media posts). To round out the weekend after Sunday off is Cyber Monday: the day created by marketing companies to persuade people to shop online. You could have a promotion for all three of these dates, or for just the ones most pertinent to your business.
The season is full of holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, which can be a significant factor in your marketing strategy. Targeting your promotions and incentives around these holidays, and doing so in a timely fashion, can bring a healthy ROI.
While it may seem counterintuitive for this to be the last tip, we wanted to make sure that you had read through all of the other tips above before we emphasized the urgency. It’s never too early to get prepared! Whether you need to hire special holiday staff, create new graphics, or just run through your existing business infrastructure to make sure the ship is secure, there is no time like the present to get started. Once the holiday rush is on, you will be too busy to lay the groundwork and will have to function more like a juggler. You may have to do that anyway, but at least you will be prepared for it! The holidays come quicker than you think, always.
The Alliance Direct Benefits is committed to helping small businesses save on expenses and maximize their profits year-round. Small business members receive discounts on tax and accounting software, legal services, business insurance, and even payment processing and collections. An Alliance membership also provides unlimited free access to a team of business consultants who can answer any business-related question. For more information, and to become an Alliance member, visit the Alliance Direct Benefits website today or call us at 1-800-733-2242 (M-F, 7am-5:30pm Central Time).