Christmas is near and the bells are chiming from afar so what should small businesses do to end the year on a high note? Christmas is a special time for most of the world because it marks the end of the year and anticipates a new one. It is a time of cherishing old memories and anticipating new ones. Therefore, small businesses should consider how the Christmas spirit could affect sales and capitalize on the meaning of the holidays during their marketing campaigns. The following holiday marketing tips for small businesses will ensure that you can tap into the huge Christmas market and end their business on a high note in anticipation of the New Year.
1. Create a Sense of Urgency in Marketing Campaigns
Christmas marks the end of a year, which means that anyone left out of the celebrations will have to wait for another year. Therefore, you should ensure that ads for your small business communicate the urgency with which shoppers should approach their shopping habits. For example, ads for your Black Friday sale should include text showing shoppers the short time they have left before the sale finishes. This should inspire the urgency that the year is ending and the shoppers should make their final preparations before it is too late. Some of the techniques might include using timers or stickers with text such as “24 Hours Left: Hurry.” Shoppers will feel the sense of urgency and make haste in their Christmas preparations. It is not creating panic; it is good business.
2. Combine Sales with Donations or Charitable Acts
While donating and doing charity work during Christmas is the oldest marketing trick in the book when it comes to boosting sales, small businesses can use it in novel ways to ensure that they maximize their earnings. Usually, businesses donate a portion of their earnings to show their commitment to the community. You could go further and involve the community by organizing small and inexpensive charity events. Small competitions such as a baking competition with proceeds going to charity could attract significantly higher consumer commitment than just donating a few dollars. Also, it could be a good opportunity to popularize your business with new customers. Using social media to augment the process such as Twitter hashtags could provide additional marketing. Some of catchy Christmas hashtags for a baking competition could be #BakeForChristmas’Sake. Get your Christmas spirit in gear, and let your business spread the Christmas cheer in the community to end the year on a high note during the holidays.
3. Save the Usual Competitive Language for the Next Year
Adversarial language in marketing campaigns during Christmas can be off-putting to the consumer. Also, you should consider selecting keywords associated with the holiday season early when using Google AdWords. Keywords such as “holiday season, Black Friday sales” are popular with small businesses during the Christmas season. Bid for them early.
4. Prepare Early by Gathering Reviews before the Holidays
Christmas shoppers are time-constrained. Therefore, they are likely to rely on reviews to make their purchasing decisions. The reviews on your website are the most crucial. The National Retail Federation states that about 96 percent of shoppers will rely on the primary business website reviews rather than reviews from Yelp, Google and others. Recent reviews are usually more persuasive for consumers so they should be a priority to ensure maximum possible sales during the holidays.
5. Provide Inventory Information for the Late Local Consumer
Some of us become bogged down by work and family life such that we have to shop last minute. Therefore, cut us some slack and give information about what is left in the inventory to make shopping easier. Late shoppers will appreciate your consideration in providing inventory information. A parent who has promised his or her son a Play Station 4 might be saddened when she arrives last minute and finds they are all sold out. Inventory information in marketing campaigns could save the shopper some heartache. I am sure shoppers will appreciate the gesture and reward your small business with repeat purchases in the future. This recommendation is mostly for brick-and-mortar store owners but e-commerce small businesses could apply it as well in their electronic marketing campaigns.
6. Electronic Gift Cards
For e-commerce small businesses, providing electronic gift cards can help the late shopper save face for not buying a particular gift for their loved ones. While gift cards are not the actual thing, they are redeemable later when the product is available in the inventory. You should ramp up your electronic gift card offers when shipping cut-off has reached to ensure that the gift cards reach the most number of procrastination-prone shoppers. This does not mean neglecting other promotions. Promotions for electronic gift cards should occur simultaneously with other promotions such as Black Friday sales.
7. Crowdsourcing Content from Consumers
The Christmas spirit inspires cooperative behavior in people. They are usually more willing to engage in cooperative group activities. Consequently, you should take this opportunity to generate content by crowdsourcing for your marketing campaign. For example, you could start a social media challenge themed around your marketing campaign. Facebook is a great platform for such online activities. Ensure that such activities are creative, lighthearted and fun to engage in. You could be surprised how willing people are to contribute to content generation.
8. Tell Stories About Your Business
The Christmas spirit has storytelling features with themes around community and cooperation. Your small business could engage in storytelling activities on social media by posting pictures of employees in informal settings with captions that familiarize shoppers with the inner workings of your small business. Videos are even better. Employees could sing Christmas carols modified to suit your marketing campaign. Engaging in creative and inspiring activities such as singing and composing short rhymes for the videos could relieve workplace tension and create a favorable working atmosphere for peak performance. As a small business owner, you could also join in alongside your employees to show that you are fun and easy to work with, which I hope you are (just kidding). Your small business should exude the Christmas spirit to resonate with the consumer during the holidays.
The Christmas spirit is all about cheer and smiling from ear to ear. For small businesses, using the tips provided will help you join in the spirit of Christmas while increasing end-of-year sales. Who said business and pleasure could not mix during the holidays? Not me.
Kane Georgiou BSc, Personal finance expert, entrepreneur and founder of https://themoneypig.com.
Holiday marketing stock photo by Syda Productions/Shutterstock