The holidays are fast approaching. Halloween usually denotes the beginning of the holiday season with New Years Day signaling the end of the holidays as the calendar year comes to an end. The holiday season brings many things for different people. For most people, the holidays are a time centered around family, sharing, and celebration. However, for businesses, the holidays are a highly-profitable time of year. The holiday season accounts for over 20% of the retail industry’s total yearly sales. Big shopping days like Cyber Monday and Black Friday bring in a substantial amount of revenue. Too many small brands think the major shopping days are just for large companies or online giants, but any business can take advantage of the holiday business boost. It is true that businesses have a harder time standing out during the holidays as every business competes for customer attention, but with some simple changes, you can increase your company’s visibility during the holidays.

Season of Giving and Sharing

The holidays are a time of year associated with giving gifts, sharing meals, and celebrating as a community. Generosity is considered a hallmark of the season. Charities work to give the less fortunate the best holiday season possible, but those charities need help to be effective. You can give your business visibility and reputation a boost by partnering with a local charity.

Find a charity you or your business want to partner with and ask how you can help. The most common and easiest assistance business can offer a charity is promotion. Maybe a local animal shelter is having a food drive. Link to and promote the food drive, but also make a donation in your business’s name. You and the animal shelter boost your visibility, but also score a reputation boost by doing charity work.

Holiday Decorations

Many people decorate their homes and businesses for the holidays. Holiday decorations help get people in the holiday spirit and generally improve the mood of people nearby. The spirit of the holidays can also influence customers to shop. Holiday decor makes people more inclined to buy something. However, holiday decorations are not restricted to physical decor, you can add some holiday cheer to your business website.

Just like physical decorations, any website decor should not affect the functionality of the website. Do not change the site navigation or functionality as sudden changes will confuse customers and potentially negatively affect sales. You can add holiday flair to your company logo, page banners, or adopt a holiday-themed color palette.

If you add holiday decorations to your website, double-check that everything translates well to mobile. More and more people browse the Internet on their mobile phones so your website needs to be optimized for mobile. Ensure that any added holiday decorations do not affect how your site performs on mobile devices. The competition for customers is heightened during the holidays and a bad mobile website will drive customers to do business elsewhere.

Customer Communication

If your brick and mortar business is closing for the holidays or will be open for specific holiday hours that are different from your normal hours, you need to communicate those changes to your customers. Customers will generally understand if your business’s normal hours of operation are different for the holidays, but they need to be told about the change. You do not want a customer showing up to your store when you are closed. Post your holiday hours only your business website and any social media channels to give customers every opportunity to see the new hours. Google even has a list of holidays where you can add special hours. Simply add the special hours on your Google My Business listing.

You can also announce and promote any features your business is offering for the holidays. Are you running a discount on large order shipping? Can you guarantee delivery before Christmas if ordered before a certain date? Announce anything special your business is offering for the holidays to make your company stand out from the rest.

The holidays are a great time of year for businesses, but your business needs to stand apart from the rest. By following the suggestions in this guide your business will have increased online visibility this holiday season.

Nick Rojas combines 20 years of experience working with and consulting for small to medium business and a passion for journalism to help readers grow. He writes about technology, marketing, and social media for the aspiring entrepreneur. When Nick is not sharing his expertise, he can be found spending time at the beach with his dog Presto. Twitter:@NickARojas.