The holiday sales season, which runs approximately from October through December, accounts for up to 30% of annual sales on average. Whether you own a restaurant, retail store, or are a service provider, it’s imperative for your business to capitalize on the busy season. While the holidays will likely increase traffic to your business, there’s another easy way to boost your sales that you might not be utilizing—marketing.
As a small to mid-size business, it’s easy to think that the return on marketing isn’t enough to offset the costs, but marketing doesn’t have to cost you anything. In preparation for the biggest shopping season, we’ve compiled seven easy ways to creatively market your business—without breaking the bank.
Utilize Social Media to Share Your Small Business’s Story
57.5 percent of people said they are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media, so if your business isn’t using social media yet, join today. Social media is arguably the easiest way to get your message out there—and better yet, it’s free. From Facebook to Instagram, you can leverage multiple platforms to share your business’s story, promotions, and engage with new and old customers. Consider offering holiday discounts to those who like or follow your business’s page, and you’ll not only grow your network, but customers will feel like they are part of something exclusive.
Capitalize on Community Events
If your town has any special events during the holiday season, use those as a springboard to market your business. From a tree lighting ceremony to visits from Santa Claus, most places have some kind of holiday event that many community members will attend. Check your community’s website for a calendar of upcoming events if you’re not sure how to get involved. Whether it’s adding your business’s name to a program or partnering to bring some of your products to the event, there’s no easier way to grow your customer base than by engaging with your community.
Leverage Charitable Giving as a Marketing Tool
Charitable donations help deserving organizations and connect your business with the community—but there’s another notable benefit you may not be considering: marketing. Charitable giving is an easy way to encourage consumers to do business with you, a win for both your business and those organizations you support. 56 percent of Americans will travel an extra 10 minutes out of their way to purchase a product that supports a cause they care about and 71 percent are even willing to pay more for that product. Consider leveraging a marketing program that connects cause-driven customers with local businesses, driving awareness for both local businesses and nonprofits.
Offer Gift Cards
If you’ve ever shopped for someone who seems to have everything, you can relate to the usefulness of gift cards. Even if your business doesn’t seem like the type to traditionally offer gift cards, you’d be surprised how many types of businesses sell them—from auto shops to salons, and even exterminators. They can be incredibly helpful for shoppers who can’t make up their minds and are a cheap way to keep your business top of mind and grow your customer base. Even better, 72 percent of customers will spend more than the value of their gift card—an easy win for your business. Contact us to learn how you can seamlessly integrate gift cards into your payment acceptance.
Create a Customer Database
It’s likely that traffic to your business will increase during the holiday season, so capitalize on that by gathering customer data to utilize after the season ends. Many local businesses don’t want to pester customers to share their email addresses, but most patrons will happily oblige so they can stay in the loop on sales and announcements—61 percent of consumers enjoy receiving promotional emails weekly. Take the time to curate the information and send a welcome email to your new list when the holiday madness dies down. Consider utilizing a simple, low cost platform like MailChimp or Constant Contact.
Send a Personalized New Year’s Card
Continue the momentum of the holiday season by sending a New Year’s card to customers. It’s a simple way to thank customers for their business and will help remind them of the importance of shopping locally. The holidays remind us of the importance of community, so remind your customers you’re grateful for their business, too.
Partner with Other Small Businesses
Partner, don’t compete, with nearby businesses. Neighboring businesses are an excellent and free marketing resource. Consider working together by offering a multi-business wide discount or allowing them to pass out coupons in your store and vice versa. Customers love when businesses support each other and will feel good shopping with you knowing you’ve got your neighbor’s back.
As we head into the holidays, remember the importance of marketing your business in your community. Local, independently owned businesses are at the heart of our communities and at Beyond, we’re committed to seeing them thrive.