2020 has been a doozy of a year. With businesses around the world struggling throughout this ongoing pandemic, making sure your business not only survives, but thrives during this holiday season is more crucial than ever. Between lockdowns, new regulations, and ever-changing guidelines, it has been tough to make and stick to a marketing plan. Businesses of all kinds are having difficulty figuring out what to expect for the holidays this year. What worked for a business last year might not necessarily work best this year. But regardless of what else this year might throw at you, there are a few practices you can still count on to help boost your bottom line.
Here are five fantastic ways to market your business this holiday season!
1. Make customer and employee safety a priority
Safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind this year. Put your customers’ minds at ease by following guidelines set out by local officials and health organizations. These might include limiting the number of customers allowed inside your store or restaurant at one time, regularly cleaning commonly-touched areas, placing tape markers on the floor to encourage safe distancing, and encouraging or enforcing mask wearing when necessary.
While these safety measures are important, it’s even more critical that you market your safety measures. Keep your customers informed about the safety protocols your business has put into place to ensure both their safety and that of your employees. You can do this through your social media accounts, website, or posted signs around your business or restaurant. Customers who feel safe and cared for are much more likely to return to your business again and again.
2. Prioritize online and contactless shopping
Businesses worldwide have had to shift and pivot this year, offering more options for online ordering, delivery, and curbside pickup. If you don’t already have an online store, make sure to create one before the holidays. If you already have one, keep it updated with your most recent products and offers.
With people wanting to limit their exposure to crowded stores and shopping centers, more and more people have turned to delivery and curbside fulfillment for their shopping. Make sure you are maximizing these options while keeping your customers and employees as safe as possible.
To limit exposure and wait times for curbside pickup, offer pay-in-advance options for checkout. Also make sure to provide clear procedures upfront about where customers should park to pick up their orders and how they are to contact the store once they arrive. Avoid long wait times for customers by making sure you have enough staff on-hand to quickly assemble orders and bring them out to customers.
3. Holiday discounts and free gifts
The best way to make the most of the holiday season is with sales and discounts. There are a variety of discounts and promotions you can offer to both encourage repeat customers and entice new ones.
- Free Gifts – People love free gifts, so offering a small gift or free sample with every purchase is a great way to create a positive first impression with new customers, while also rewarding existing customers for their continued patronage.
- Coupons and Discounts –Money is tight for many families this time of year. People will be searching for the best discounts to stretch their limited budget. Take advantage of this by offering discounts on special items, holiday packages for services, or Groupon deals to attract new customers. Other ideas for holiday discounts could be coupons for 15% off a future purchase, a free $20 gift card with the purchase of $100 worth of gift cards, or special digital coupons sent out to existing customers as a reward for their continued loyalty.
- A Little Something Extra – You can offer additional extras such as free shipping for orders over a certain amount, free gift wrapping on all purchases, or you can even donate a portion of your sales to a local organization or charity to give back to your community. ‘Tis the season for giving, after all!
4. Stay active on Social Media
It’s important to stay at the forefront of your customers’ minds, especially during the holiday season! The best way to do this is to regularly post relevant, fun, and fresh content to your social media platforms. Show your audience how you’re celebrating the holidays and encourage them to celebrate with you. Offer giveaways and discounts as incentives for liking and sharing your content with their own followers. And make sure to post plenty of pictures and videos to show how you’re celebrating the holidays right along with them!
This is also a great time to send out an end-of-year newsletter to your existing customers, keeping them up-to-date with changes made to your business this year and thanking them for their support. Stay engaged with your customers by keeping them informed of your latest seasonal promotions, deals, and incentives. Reconnect with previous customers and encourage their continued loyalty by offering special discounts just for them this holiday season!
5. Cultivate an upbeat, festive atmosphere
With the difficulties touching everyone this year, don’t underestimate the benefit of a positive atmosphere and holiday cheer! Really get into the spirit of the season by decorating your business or store front. A cheerful and festive atmosphere will help entice customers inside. Make sure to post pictures of your decorated storefront to social media to grab added attention.
Consider setting up a festive photobooth wall in your store or restaurant where people can take pictures and selfies to post to their social media accounts. And don’t forget to take advantage of this free advertisement by adding a hashtag with your business name!
Even if you don’t have a brick and mortar shop (or if you end up closed for a period of time due to the pandemic) it’s still a great idea to post holiday themed pictures of your products or business on your social media accounts and add festive banners to your website.
Twenty-twenty has been a tough year all around. Customers will appreciate a dollop of holiday cheer to brighten the season! This year has been hard on everyone, but especially small businesses. But 2020 isn’t over yet! There’s still time to make the most of this holiday season by enticing new customers and cultivating continued loyalty from existing ones! However you choose to celebrate the holidays, invite your customers to celebrate with you by offering a safe, festive shopping experience this holiday season.