Whether you sell products or services, the holidays are a good time to show existing customers you care—while you spread the word about your business to new leads.
Throughout the year, I work with entrepreneurs to improve business processes and increase income. Those who know me, know my goal is to make a millionaire out of each of my clients.
I help small business owners understand their business and offer a value proposition that makes them money. Knowing the desires, and behaviors, of customers and clients is important—especially during the holiday season.
The economic picture this season is dicey. Both Price Waterhouse and Deloitte predict consumers are planning to spend about what they did last year, with a lot of room for variation. There is increasing growth at the premium—and bargain—ends of the spectrum, with both groups looking for creative ideas and decent deals.
Top Eight Tips for Holiday Marketing in 2015
During the holiday crush, try these tips to boost your client base—before and after the holidays:
1. Watch your channels: Omni-channel marketing means using multiple channels to attract, engage, and serve your customer. Across screens, from corded computer to mobile app, entrepreneurs offer convenience, rewards, discounts, coupons, and information to ease the shopping experience, whether online, brick and mortar, or both. According to the National Retail Foundation (NRF), just about half (or 46 percent) of all browsing and buying this holiday will take place online. Buy buttons and links between e-commerce and physical stores give customers a super way to find what you have to offer.
2. Delivery options: Free shipping is offered by many retailers, and free is tough to beat. If not waiving, or deeply discounting shipping costs, consider online purchase and in-store pick-up. This offers your customers the convenience and pricing they want, and improves in-store sales when additional items are purchased when a product is picked up, or returned. Shoppers in the 18 to 35 year old range are more likely seeking same-day or two-day shipping—giving you an opening to provide premium service.
3. Discounts and self-gifting: With consumer confidence slightly higher, the average amount of money shoppers intend to spend on themselves has gone up. Consider discounts like buy two, get one free, and other variations to appeal to shoppers looking to take home a little something for themselves. Many retailers, like Walmart and Macy’s, already started price-matching or discounting earlier this year.
4. The gift everybody wants: Gift cards continue to be sought after and appreciated. In plastic or digital form, make it easy for your clients and customers to buy gift cards for products or services. Gift cards are a great way to reach beyond your current client base
5. Subscriptions: Subscriptions are not just for magazines anymore. From flowers, chocolate, wine, coffee, socks, and snacks—subscriptions for full, or sample-size products are a great way to showcase and introduce products, build loyalty, upsell—and convert new leads. Subscriptions are a gift that continues to give—and thrill—recipients throughout the year.
6. Location, location, location: Online, big box, and malls are expected to be profitable locations this holiday season. A holiday survey from Deloitte reports 30 percent of respondents are planning to shop at pop-up stores, festivals, flea markets, swaps, and other non-traditional retail opportunities. Think about “invitation only” events, or target client segments for special events.
7. Service, service, service: From web to store, offer value to your customer or client by making their buying journey easier. Use marketing automation on your website to encourage sales, offer bundled products, and close the deal. Whatever your product or service, be sure your website is easily browsed, gifts are categorized, and your shopping cart tech is fast.
Websites with an “Under $50 or $100” page could attract buyers who may stay longer and buy up. Use your client list and visitor information to send countdown Tweet and email gift ideas, discount offers, and surprise perks. Be clear about shipping dates and deadlines—and do your best to help last minute shoppers, even if they are outside your posted shipping deadlines. Have a store “open house,” plan an event with nearby merchants, and feature a product, or service, on a weekly or daily basis. Use social media to get the word out. Make the value irresistible.
8. Don’t forget the fruit basket: As the holiday nears, use automated tools to ensure your established client base hears from you. Fruit baskets, cheeses, cookies, cards, and discount coupons are all great ways to let customers and clients know you remember them—and that you hope they remember you in the coming year. If you have a physical location, show your spirit on the shopping days prior to the holiday—offer cookies, candies, or other treats—to all those who take the time to check out your store or service. The kindness is appreciated—and may be returned.
As time to the New Year ticks down, make a resolution to boost your income, and spend more time doing what you love—not worrying relentlessly about business survival. When you are ready to earn more money and a better life from your business, I hope you will call me at 585-633-7563.
Yours in profit,