In the News

Creative Ways to Market Your Business During the Holidays

It is December, which means the holiday hustle is in full swing. Our inboxes are filled with sales and promotions and greetings, and it seems every business is vying for a share of our attention.

As a small business owner, you probably know you should be part of this holiday chorus. According to a recent “Back to Business Study” by Visa, this year most people will be shopping local this holiday season, and almost 70% of small businesses say the winter holiday season is one of their top sales opportunities. Even businesses that do not offer the “wrap-up-with-a-bow” type of product can take advantage of seasonal marketing to boost sales and customer loyalty.

Check out these tips to help you stand out in a local and online marketplace as crowded as Target on Black Friday.

Get in the spirit

The most effective holiday campaigns connect the feel-good messages of the holidays with the feel-good messages of their brands. Now is the perfect time to engage in brand affinity building by invoking a little holiday spirit.

But before you get the tinsel out, think about how various holiday-themed marketing would best fit your brand. It may be helpful to think of how your brand would celebrate if it were a person. Find a message, graphics and theme that fits what your customers already expect from you. For example, skip the sparkle if your customers are the plaid ribbon type, but feel free to be a little quirky if you cater to less-traditional customers.

The tried-and-true holiday card is an easy way to keep your brand to the front of your customers’ minds, especially if you take the time to make it unique and get your messaging right.  A creative take on your product or a message that speaks to your mission are sure to be noticed and remembered by your clients.

You can also decorate your brand for the holidays. Show off a snowy logo on Facebook or send a newsletter with your letter to Santa. And do not neglect any bricks and mortar locations you have (especially if you can find decorations in your brand colors). The goal is to let your customers know you are in the spirit, right along with them.

Finally, dream up some ways to package your products in a festive way. If you are struggling to wrap your services up with a bow, remember what people are actually buying when they come to you. Gift certificates are more popular than ever and a wonderful way to give the gifts that cannot be wrapped, such as financial security, a piece of a lifelong dream or a new outlook.

Holiday social

Social media is a low cost (or free) and easy way to connect with customers any time of year, but especially with the holidays. Beyond wishing folks best wishes, focus on holiday-themed content to drive engagement. For example, have your staff share their favorite recipes and encourage followers to vote. Or run a contest or giveaway exclusively for your customers who like or share a post. If you are feeling brave, go live to give people a glimpse behind the scenes of your workshop.

In addition, a good social media presence is a good way to get your company in front of online shoppers. Most people are planning to do at least half their shopping online this year. A well-placed, well-thought-out ad on Facebook or using Google’s Ad Words can be a great way to introduce someone to your product.

The season of giving

The holiday season is the perfect time to pair up with a local charity or event and engage in some cause marketing. Consumers are receptive to charitable giving this time of year, as many are engaged in it themselves. By positioning your business as part of that effort, you can increase brand affinity and possibly drive seasonal sales. 

When deciding on who to support, consider your customers’ expectations. Choose a cause close to their hearts that is a good match for your brand. You can even invite them to nominate organizations on social media. Easy ways to support charities is to donate a portion of sales of one or all products, offer point-of-sale donations or encourage folks to “round up” to support the chosen charity.

For companies who do not have a retail option, find ways to get involved with local charities. You can host an employee drive or your employees to volunteer at a community event. If you have the budget, sponsoring a town festival gets your name and brand in front of an engaged and enthusiastic audience in your own back yard. Make sure to capture moments to share with your clients via email or newsletter. Better yet, invite them to join you!

Make your (email) list and check it twice

With all the great attention you will be getting from your holiday marketing, do not forget to capture customers’ contact info. Invite them to receive your newsletters, sign up for special deals or just share their (positive) experiences on social media. If you can, get information about what products they are interested in so you can segment your email lists and send practically personalized messages to customers.

However you market your business this season, the most important thing to remember is marketing is as much—if not more—about building and sustaining relationships as it is about driving sales. Especially this year, people are looking to connect with the businesses they support. With the right mix of spirit, community and heart, your holiday marketing can be part of the memories people are making this season.