A recent survey found that about half of Americans plan to start holiday shopping after Halloween, which means small businesses should ramp up their seasonal marketing before November.
Here’s a list of the best holiday marketing tips to help your small business succeed during this festive season.
1. Create Holiday-Themed Bundles and Gift Sets
Tap into the spirit of the holidays by offering holiday-themed packages and gift sets.
This could be as simple as “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” promotions or as intricate as custom designed gift sets.
For example, service-based businesses like spas can promote discounted packages and gift certificates to increase customer spending during the holidays.
Not only does this strategy boost sales, but it improves operating cash flow as well by collecting payments now and rendering services later.
This effectively shifts demand from peak season to shoulder or low seasons, reducing the pressure on the operational side of your business, too.
You can also create gift sets by bundling bestsellers together at a discount, which helps turn inventory more quickly and acquire new customers at the same time.
2. Get Featured by Local Bloggers and Influencers
Let the power of FOMO work to your advantage this holiday season by partnering with local bloggers and influencers in your industry.
You can do a sponsored post about your business or a holiday event, to name a couple of possibilities.
However, keep in mind it’s not just the size of an influencer’s following that matters, but the actual relevancy and engagement of their audience.
A local fishing shop, for instance, would be better off with a handful of seasoned anglers with small followings than an up-and-coming musician with millions of fans.
3. Stock Up on Inventory Ahead of Your Competitors
Keep your inventory (and sales) in high spirits by stocking up before those last minute rush orders arrive.
Wholesale prices often spike during peak season as warehouses run low or shipments are delayed by a shortened holiday schedule.
That’s why you should consider ordering a few months of inventory ahead of time to beat the rush and secure better prices with suppliers.
But before you do, it’s a good idea to create a sales forecast for the holidays based on bestsellers in previous years along with the current year’s trends.
This will ensure you’re ordering the right type of inventory that will sell out quickly rather than sit idle until next year.
4. Hire and Train Seasonal or Part-Time Staff
Your small business may need extra staff to handle the increased volume of customers, orders, or inquiries during the holidays.
This is especially true of peak shopping days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas Eve (last minute shoppers, anyone?).
However, many small business owners can’t afford another full-time employee and end up stressed and swamped, which may result in post-holiday burn out.
Instead, consider hiring a few part-time members to your team, especially if you expect demand to extend beyond the holiday season.
Another option is to hire temporary staff under short-term contracts that expire at the end of peak season, a common practice in seasonal industries like tourism.
5. Call Your Top Clients for a Personal Touch
No matter how sincere your intent might be, holiday cards – or worse yet, automated “Seasons Greetings” emails – can come off as cheap and gimmicky.
This year, consider personally calling your top clients to thank them for their business and wish them a happy holiday.
This lets clients know that you value them – something they’ll likely remember when choosing between you and your competitors next time.
Just make sure not to turn this call into yet another sales pitch!
6. Attract Holiday Shoppers Through Targeted Online Marketing
Does your small business run paid online ads?
Whether you advertise on Google, Facebook, or another platform, the holidays are a great time to narrow down your ad campaigns to improve performance and reduce the cost of acquiring new customers.
This usually means defining your target audience better by understanding their demographics (gender, age, income, location) and psychographics (preferences, attitudes, beliefs) in order to build a customer profile.
In most cases, you probably have a good idea of your typical customer already, so it’s just a matter of passing that information to your marketing agency (or yourself) to fine-tune existing ad campaigns.
However, if you’re not sure or want to verify your assumptions, you can find valuable insights about your existing audience using Google Analytics (if you have a website) and similar tools in Facebook and YouTube.
But the cost of paid advertisements, known as cost per click (CPC), can skyrocket during the holidays as competitors ramp up spending and bid up prices. That’s why you should consider less competitive platforms like Pinterest which has one of the lowest CPCs in social media but still boasts a highly engaged audience that’s actively shopping for holiday gifts.
7. Reduce Your Credit Card Processing Fees
Wouldn’t it be nice if your credit card processing service worked as hard as you do during the holidays?
With average processing fees ranging from 1.5% to 3.5%, you could be paying thousands of dollars or more in transaction costs (use our handy tool to find out if you’re overpaying for credit card processing).
Gravity Payments can help your small business succeed all year round with our honest and transparent pricing system with support for all major credit cards.
We offer comprehensive merchant services including point-of-sale, invoicing and recurring payments, gift and loyalty programs, and flexible merchant loans.