By Erin Shea

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have all come and gone. While these major shopping days prove to be extremely important, the next couple of weeks are crucial for U.S. small businesses. According to our survey of small store owners, nearly one third (29%) say they may face closure if they don’t generate enough revenue over the holiday season. Moreover, 40% claim a bad holiday season will have negative lasting impact throughout the year ahead. If you’re suddenly feeling the panic of seasonal sales, don’t worry. You still have a couple more weeks to meet your holiday goals. Now is the time to separate yourself from the pack of competitors and grab the attention of procrastinating customers looking to cross of the last few items on their list. Here are five ways to make the next couple of weeks count:

Let the Holiday Do the Heavy Lifting

Everyone is in holiday mode, which means attention is already directed toward shopping. Leverage the season and this active consumer mindset online and in person. Social media is an especially great place to showcase your spirit and drive engagement. Post pictures of your holiday decorations, any special holiday promotions, or just general holiday-spirited posts to engage your audience and let them know you are thinking of them. Capture those last-minute shoppers by lending a helping hand and making it easy for prospective customers. Share gift guides on Instagram and Pinterest to take the pain out of holiday shopping.

Grab the Eyes of Passersby

Have a storefront? Decorations go a long way in bringing shoppers into your store. According to our research, more than three-quarters of small business owners (78%) believe decorating their storefront increases the amount of business during the holiday season. While many of the large retailers go all out when decorating their holiday windows, with some creativity and inspiration your storefront can still make a big impact.

Use a Small Budget to Make a Big Impact

Small businesses often feel the pain of contending with big budget box stores. This becomes even more evident around the holidays. Large retailers have the funds to spend big bucks on seasonal marketing. Our survey revealed that small business owners spend an average of just $560 marketing their business during the holidays, but it doesn’t necessarily take a lot of money to make an impact.  Whatever your budget, decide what works best for you and make sure to stick to it. But don’t let that keep you from getting creative. With the budget of a small business in mind, we created a guide for store owners to create a holiday display that stands out and brings customers in that may have otherwise walked on by.

Give a little, Get a lot

Shoppers want to feel like they’re getting something special when they shop in your store. But that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to bring customers through the door. Whether it’s a percentage of their purchase or a free gift with every order, a special promotion can be the difference between shopping with you or someone else. Get creative with it!  If you want to encourage people to come back after the holidays, provide a discount starting after the 1st of the year with every purchase. Or, offer free holiday gift wrapping. Everyone appreciates a little money (and time) saved over the holidays.

Make it Personal

Our study uncovered that it’s the personal service that drives customers to shop with a small business. Don’t take this lightly. Even small things can make an impact: 70% of consumers will support or shop at a small business more frequently if the owner knows them by name. No, really. It’s true! Even better, use this season to show your customers how much they mean to you by sending holiday cards or gifts to repeat customers. Forming these relationships will keep them coming back year after year.

We know the holidays tend to be a stressful time for many, consumers and business owners alike. It’s important to know you are not alone, and whenever possible, try to enjoy yourself. Don’t let the stress of the season get you down and have a wonderful holiday.

As the North American Country Director for Vistaprint, Erin Shea focuses on driving continued growth and customer satisfaction within the U.S. and Canadian markets. In addition to her current role, she has worked a number of marketing roles across the industry specializing in customer retention, email and direct mail marketing, integrated merchandising, and seasonal event planning. Erin received her B.A. from Marist College located in Poughkeepsie, NY.

End of year stock photo by PedroNevesDesign/Shutterstock