This season can be one filled with worry for the small business owner. Big box chains that offer discounts and selection many small businesses can’t compete with make it difficult to win customers during this busy season.
But Chris Hanks, the director of the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business Entrepreneurship Program, says “Shoppers will select small businesses over big-box retailers or major online sites if the shops offer something compelling and provocative, particularly in terms of customer service. You’ve got to be uniquely distinguished in the mind of your consumer. Ask yourself, What can I do to make my customers say, ‘Wow’?”
We covered how to offer the absolute best holiday customer service in this blog post, but another piece of the puzzle is creating a few different types of holiday marketing campaigns that get your business in front of customers to begin with.
You can boost your holiday sales this month and next with these 3 specific types of holiday marketing campaigns that work best for small businesses: Promoting events, sharing discounts and deals, and promoting the sales of gift cards or gift certificates.
3 Types of Holiday Marketing Campaigns That Maximize Sales
1. Plan and promote seasonal store events. If you’re in retail or have a storefront, you might not have considered the benefit of planning special seasonal events. You can go as far as you’d like with the event – whether you make it small and cozy or an all-day event that attracts thousands, it’s really up to you.
Here are a few ideas to consider for seasonal in-store events – remember, promoting these events are one of the best types of holiday marketing campaigns for a small business to run.
- Hire (or dress up as) Santa for photos with kids. Your customers may not be children, but your customers probably have children. You’ll have a hand in creating lifelong memories with your customers’ families, and that’s one of the best ways to promote your business. Figure out how much you’ll charge for photos with Santa and put flyers in your windows, create ads on social media, promote the event in local social media groups, and tell your callers about the upcoming event to drive interest and boost your holiday sales in the process!
- Host a hot cocoa and cider meet and greet. Invite your customers to come hang out with you and get to know your employees with a hot cocoa and cider meet and greet. Provide a few more refreshments (cookies, meat and cheese tray, holiday themed treats, etc.) to round out the gathering and consider placing some of your items on sale and displaying them prominently during the event. Make it a free event to draw in as many as possible, and consider running a contest or raffle to generate additional interest.
- Hold a Small Business Saturday event. Small Business Saturday is a nationwide intiative for small businesses that encourages shoppers to support local small businesses rather than big box chains. It takes place every year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving and Black Friday. If you want to attract the most customers, you’ll need to cut some pretty steep deals at this time of year. Shoppers usually look for deep discounts on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, so that’s one way to promote the event – “We’re offering our absolute lowest prices of the year this Saturday, so don’t miss it!”
2. Promote your store’s gift cards or gift certificates. Holiday gift card and gift certificate sales increase year over year. Maybe we’re getting worse at gift-giving as a whole, but whatever the reason, you need to capitalize on this overarching trend. If you don’t have gift cards or gift certificates printed for your store, now is the time to get them ready.
It’s one of the easiest types of holiday marketing campaigns to run because all your promotion needs to mention are the increments of gift card or certificate availability. Make sure to promote them as the perfect last minute gift, and make them available to purchase online to maximize your holiday marketing campaigns.
Another fun idea is to offer a small amount on a gift card (like $10) for purchases over a certain amount. You might promote that you’re offering a free $10 gift card to all customers who spend at least $50 before a certain date.
3. Spread the word about discounts and deals. You’re no doubt running some special deals and discounts for the holiday season, so why not spread the word about them in one of the best-known and most-used types of holiday marketing campaigns?
Deals, discounts, and promotions are perfect topics for holiday marketing campaigns because they offer a clear benefit to the customer – paying less for something they want – and a clear benefit to you – getting more customers in the store, spending money.
American Express recommends luring more customers to your store with a strategic “loss leader,” or offering a product you know will be popular during the holiday season at a discount so steep, it’s considered a loss for your business. The idea is that customers, once lured to your store by the loss leader, will end up spending more by purchasing other items as well.