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Holiday Marketing and Strategic Planning Tips for Small Businesses

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The holidays are a busy time for everyone, especially those who own a business. Increases in consumer spending as a result of the holidays motivates businesses big and small to ramp up their marketing efforts and promotional offerings. This year, the National Retail Federation expects U.S. consumers to spend nearly $700 billion during November and December.

With your individual store promotions and events, and increased inventory and store hours, it all can be a bit much. How can you make sure you’re on top of all the season has to offer?

Here are 4 holiday marketing and strategic planning tips to ensure you’re positioning your business for big-time success:

Create a Strategy

Social media, SEO, events, sales … all the extra holiday planning can get confusing if you don’t have the proper marketing plan in place and everything mapped out. Doing this right can take some time, but in the end it will be well worth it.

Start by researching what other brands and businesses do. This extra step great for brainstorming your own unique holiday marketing ideas. Then, once you have all your ideas jotted down, take them to a calendar and start laying out the dates you want to run your campaigns, sales, special events, and other festive activities. Once you have this done, map out the promotions you’d like to have in place for each individual event, including email marketing, social media posts and print advertising. Mapping out these dates soon will help you keep track of important deadlines so you can be sure you leave yourself enough time to tout your events and generate interest with your customers.

Once you have everything in place, consider what imagery you’d like to use. A consistent look and feel for your website, social media accounts, email promotions and even your brick-and-mortar store will help everything feel cohesive and won’t leave your customers guessing.

Consider Your Audience

Nine religions celebrate holidays during the last two months of the year. This means there are lots of opportunities to cater to specific audiences in your community, and as a small-business owner living where you do business, nobody knows better your market better than you.

As you create your content calendar, don’t limit yourself just to December. More importantly, don’t feel like you need to keep the secret of your sales or events for too long. Sharing upcoming offers and events to your customers early can help them plan effectively and even consider your business for gifts. Many people shop around, so knowing what you offer and when you’ll offer it is an important strategy.

If You Got it, Flaunt It

Small businesses may not be able to discount their products in the same way as the big retailers, but there are other advantages you can offer your customers. One tip is to publicize popular items that are selling well in your store on social media and other advertising mediums. Creating “hot” items and showing what is popular with other customers is a great way to generate interest.

Another tip is to show inventory numbers on those same popular items. Let your customers know when stock is running low. Scarcity can drive interest, and nothing is worse as a consumer than finding out your perfect gift is gone!

If you have an online site, listing shipping cutoff dates is also helpful. Make a big deal of these dates and even layer promotions to support them. Chances are a little nudge from you will help your customers take the plunge and purchase that gift they’ve been eyeing.

Make It Fun!

There are so many different traditions around the holidays, it may make sense to incorporate some of them into your holiday schedule. One of the best ways to do this is to plan and host an event. If you sell kitchen supplies, maybe you want to host a cookie-baking event. Or perhaps if you’re a clothing store you’ll hold a fashion show to show off your best holiday looks.

No matter what you decide to do, ensure you set clear goals for the event and then drum up interest through social media, email and print promotions. Not only can these events bring foot traffic to your store and help you promote specific products, they build on the community ties that are so important to small businesses.

Use these as building blocks for your full strategy, and remember it’s never too early to begin planning. What other tips do you have for holiday marketing? Share them below.

Psst: If you’re looking for even more holiday marketing tips, download the 2016 Small Business Saturday Guide from SalesFuel; filled with great data and tips for small businesses, it’s sure to give you a leg up on the competition.

Download the 2016 Small Business Saturday Shoppers Guide

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Ashley Lauwereins

Written by Ashley Lauwereins

Ashley is a creative soul who loves making jewelry almost as much as marketing. With an extensive B2C background and a love of history, she enjoys researching new trends and applying them to get the results her clients desire.

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