Focus on promotions that add value
Don’t cannibalize your margins by developing promotions that focus on price. Instead, look for ways to deliver value. Free gift wrapping with a minimum purchase is one example. An invite to exclusive events or previews with every $50 purchase is another.
Team up with other businesses
Show your holiday spirit by teaming with other businesses for a sidewalk event or parade of stores. These events don’t actually require that much planning. Think of ways to entice shoppers to visit each participating store or restaurant. Hand out punch cards and encourage customers to get them stamped at each business for the chance to win a prize.
Hire a Santa and give kids the chance for a photo opp. You don’t even need to hire a photographer – let folks take their own!
Promote trending products
Who doesn’t want the latest and greatest? But what’s popular in your industry? Google Trends and Twitter Trends are a useful way of identifying the most talked about trends and focusing your inventory and marketing where it will get noticed. Even if you don’t sell trending products, look for ways to align social media messaging in particular around hot topics/news/events that are making waves this holiday season.
Let your brand’s personality show
Weave your small business uniqueness and appeal into your holiday promotions, product/service lines, holiday décor and customer service. For example, show your business’ fun side and host a “Bad Holiday Sweater” party. Dress staff in their worst sweaters. Encourage customers to pay a visit and place a vote for the winning sweater! Share images on social media and wait for the event to go viral.
Or focus on your philanthropic gestures to get foot traffic through the door or online – donate a percentage of sales to a local charity for one-day only.
Use visual merchandising to make gift selection easy
Make everyone’s shopping easier and draw attention to popular items by using merchandising and signage to promote certain product lines and promotions. You can also do this online – send out newsletters that promote gift ideas and organize inventory on your website according to buckets. “Gifts for Him” or “Gifts under $X” are especially appreciated by stressed shoppers!
Use countdowns as a motivator
In-store, via email, online, or social media – build a sense of urgency with a holiday countdown. Think “12 Days of Christmas” or the eight days of Hanukkah! Give away prizes or showcase a different promotion every day. If you’re running special promotions, limit their availability and promote the end date across every customer touch point.
If you sell online, use shipping deadlines as a motivator and, if you can, offer upgrades on shipping times to sway undecided shoppers.
Gift cards rule!
Don’t underestimate the power of gift cards! Appeal to last-minute shoppers and benefit from an invaluable source of new revenue. The average gift card user ends up spending an extra 20 percent beyond the value of the card, reports GiftCardGranny.com.
Shine on social media
Use Twitter, Facebook and other social sites to showcase your holiday promotions, pop-up sales, events, new dishes, menus, or inventory. You can also use social media to promote secret promotions that are only available to followers who unlock the offer using a time-limited code on your website or in-store.
Be careful not to make it all about the hard sell. Appeal to the senses using timely rich media like photos, memes and video. Create engagement and make it fun.
The above is an excerpt adapted from the article, “Quick Tips for Greening Your Small Business.” For more information, please visit www.sba.gov.