There’s nothing small about the holiday season when it comes to small businesses. Between 20 to 40 percent of yearly sales for small and mid-sized retailers take place within the last two months of the yea according to the National Retail Federation.
With the holiday season (and busy shopping days like Black Friday, November 29th, 30th, and December 2nd respectively) fast approaching, now is the time to make sure you have a sound marketing plan in place. Following are few things you can do that are guaranteed to improve your results:
Pay attention to what people are saying
As the holiday season approaches, make sure to pay special attention to what people are saying about your business on social media. Look for opportunities to engage with your most loyal fans on Facebook, respond to a customer’s question on Twitter, or thank someone for a positive online review whenever you get the chance.
Refresh your online listings
Along with reading reviews and recommendations, consumers will also rely on search engines like Google or Bing, city guides like Citysearch, and mobile apps like Foursquare to discover new businesses throughout the holiday season.
If you haven’t taken the time to review the information that’s available on these sites, now is the perfect time to do it. Take the time to identify the places that your target audience is turning to when searching for businesses similar to yours. The best way to do this is to search for your business on a site like Google and see what type of results show up. Be on the lookout for any publishers that specialize in your particular industry, as they will offer the biggest opportunity to reach your next great customer.
Leverage the tried and true– email
According to new data from Monetate, email continues to be one of the biggest drivers of conversions for businesses with an eCommerce presence. The study, which analyzed more than 500 million shopping experiences in the first quarter of 2013, found that the conversion rate for email was 3.19 percent, compared to 1.95 percent for search, and just .71 percent for social media.
While social media and other online marketing tools will also play an important part in this year’s holiday promotion, your email contact list will continue to be one of your most valuable assets. Keep that in mind as you start your planning.
Come up with a great holiday offer
It’s no secret that deals and special offers have become a major part of the holiday shopping season. With so much competition from the “big guys” and other local businesses, coming up with a compelling offer could be the secret to this year’s holiday success.
Think carefully about your promotional tactics and the terms of your deal. Just because customers expect to receive a great value, doesn’t mean you need to offer an outrageous discount to get them to act. The key is finding a balance. You can also look for opportunities to offer additional incentives like free shipping, complimentary gift wrapping, or bundle products together and sell them as a holiday set.
Gina Watkins is a leading expert on e-marketing for small business – and has a real passion for helping businesses to succeed. Her ongoing series of dynamic lectures are filled with real-world examples, humor and results-driven wisdom garnered from more than two decades of sales, business development and marketing experience. In addition to owning her own business, she is an award-winning direct marketer, has been featured on WUSA Channel 9’s Mind Over Money show, Dr. Gayle Carson’s Women In Business radio show, Morgan State’s Briefcase Radio program, and in numerous other media. In her role as Constant Contact Regional Development Director, she’s presented to more than ten thousand seminar attendees about the keys to success with easy, affordable, highly effective technology tools that grow trusted business relationships.