Nov 11, 2017
Get ready for your best
holiday season ever.

Thanksgiving/Black Friday/
Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday/
#GivingTuesday/China Singles’ Day
Holiday Cheer for the Rest of the Year!
How to Make the Most Out of this Holiday Season
It’s getting to be that time of year again, and we want to help you have a successful season. It’s why we put together this list to help you develop a holiday marketing strategy to stand out from the crowd.
Whether you’re a(n) *etailer,  retailer, restaurateur or own a service business such as accounting, there are plenty of opportunities to market your biz for holidays. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25 Get involved with customizable materials; Unite small businesses in your community as a Neighborhood Champion.
Improve cash flow now with early sales of gift certificates at a very special price: $100 gift card for $80. Gift cards are one of the most popular gift ideas for holiday shoppers. If you're not already offering them, you’re missing out on a huge potential source of income. Put gift cards close to the checkout register and promote them with signage throughout your store.
Use direct mail. Most people are overwhelmed with promotional emails at the holidays. Place your promotion in your target audience's hand by using direct mail. Keep costs down by mailing postcards. You can even send out gift cards, such as a card good for $15 off a $75 purchase—these often motivate customers more than percentage off coupons do.
Hold a contest or raffle. This is a great way to get customers involved with your business and increase foot traffic. Build your contact database this way. Be transparent that you will use the information to email or direct mail about special offers and events for your business.
Reach out to last year’s customers. Who bought from your business during the 2016 holiday shopping season? Send them email marketing messages, special offers or direct mail pieces. This is a great tactic for service businesses who sell services needed annually, such as carpet cleaning or HVAC servicing.
Hold VIP events for your best customers. Look at your customer data to determine which customers spend the most. Then hold events just for them, such as an after-hours sale where your store is open only for VIPs or a holiday open house.
For a socially responsible marketing plan. Choose a local charitable organization to help in the holiday season. Donate a percentage of sales from one day, or all proceeds from one specific product, to that charity.
Have special holiday hours. If you are brick and mortar you're competing with e-commerce businesses that are open 24/7. Your customers have busy lives. Expand your hours if possible to accommodate as many customers as you can. Be sure to promote the extended holiday hours on your website and on you door and throughout the store.
Partner with other businesses near you to host a holiday shopping event, like a progressive shopping experience. Each customer that presents a receipt from a participating business receives a discount, or a token gift. Be sure to include an offer or full menu, or coupons in the package.
Create holiday-themed offers. For example, an auto service station could offer an “Over the River and Through the Woods” tune-up to get the car in shape before a long trip. A hair salon can promote a “New Year’s Party Package” to do people’s makeup and hair on New Year’s Eve day. A carpet cleaning service can offer "Holiday Sparkle" promo.
Promote local talent, bring entertainment to your store or website or social media. In addition to holiday decorations and music; actually host musicians, storytellers, face painters or magicians—whatever makes sense for your business. Promote the performance online and with outside signage to attract passersby.
Offer wall space (physical or virtual) to local artists inviting them to display and sell their artwork. Change the display every few weeks. Invite customers to an art opening whenever a new artist is displayed.
Create a photo opportunity. Photos with Santa are an annual event for some families. Don't have room inside your store ask Santa to greet shoppers on the sidewalk, or have a life-sized cardboard Santa. Don't have a brick and mortar, ask about sponsoring Santa at a Chamber of Commerce holiday event. Or have a more varietal photo booth.
Be Social. Post the kinds of tips and advice that you would share with your good friend. Share ideas with readers that will make your business seem relatable For example, create and share gift guides (such as gifts for teachers, grandparents, boyfriends) including items that you sell. A restaurant or catering company could share ideas for party planning and decor. A dry cleaner could suggest ways for making a house guest-ready (including dry cleaning bed spreads and comforters).
Distribute door hangers to targeted households in local neighborhoods. If your business is very neighborhood-oriented, such as a restaurant that delivers, door hangers can create awareness among your target customers.
Get Ready for the Post-Holiday Rush. That’s right: The days between Christmas and New Year’s can be almost as profitable as the holiday shopping season. Create a strategy for handling returns in a streamlined fashion, which should include a strategy for encouraging customers making returns to buy something else from you. This is when selling gift cards as holiday gifts can really boost your post-holiday sales.
...and make sure your website is ready!
If you run an e-commerce site:
• Update your security software if needed and display security credentials on all pages of your website.
• Test your checkout process to make sure it is simple to follow and works properly.
• Clearly state shipping costs and deadlines (for guaranteed holiday delivery) at the top of your home page.
• Make sure your search function works well.
• Place customer service contact information where it’s easy to find.
• Finally, do some load testing, which is making sure your site will stay up even if it experiences heavy traffic.
• Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
• Update your local search information. 
• Polish Your Social Reputation. 
Get a jump on the holiday season.
Questions? Call a coach at 301-934-7583
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