When it comes to competing for custom in the holiday season, things can become a little tricky.
Rival businesses will be chomping at the bit to get more exposure, money and accreditation than you, so it’s vitally important you have a good strategy in place to earn at least your fair share.
No matter what kind of business you have, there’s profit to be made!
Whether you own a store, restaurant, service provider or B2B company, smart marketing can boost holiday sales significantly.
Here’s our list of ‘must use’ marketing ideas to get the ball rolling:
1) Invite customers to a thank you event or special dinner
If you’ve had customers who have spent a lot or engaged with you a lot over the last 12 months, remember them. These core customers could become your most important asset going forward, so you should treat them like they are family.
The best way to do this is by hiring out a function room and having a Christmas party with buffet and drinks – all on the company.
Don’t worry about the cost, because by treating these customers, they will come back again and again.
2) Hold a breakfast or luncheon event instead of full scale evening dinner
Breakfast and lunch events can be a fantastic way to chat with loyal customers and network with people who could help you out.
Why not invite careers advisers and enterprise managers from local universities? Chances are they could offer you some fantastic student graduates to improve your business.
Invite loyal customers too so they see the effort you’re going through thank everyone.
3) Cross promote your business with someone similar
We’re not talking about pairing with someone who offers the same service as you, because that’s just silly. We’re talking about building a mutually-beneficial partnership with someone who offers a follow-on service.
I.e.; If you’re a bar, pair up with a local club, or if you’re a web based business with a niche service, find another company who can help with the ‘next stage’ process.
4) Put discounts or coupons in customers shopping bags so they return
There’s no better way to entice a customer back to your business than offer discounts in shopping bags.
Don’t go crazy though. We’re talking 10 or 20% off their next purchase. That way it won’t mean you’re making a loss.
5) Choose a charity to get involved with
One way to ensure you build your customer base is by pairing up with a local charity.
Maybe you could offer a free New Year’s shopping spree for the customer who records the most volunteer hours across the festive period?
This will also help the charity gain additional followers and support – especially if you are seen promoting your ‘Christmas cause’ together in shopping centres and supermarkets.
6) Christmas advent calendar
An interactive Christmas advent calendar is the perfect way to increase sales and revenue during the festive period. It will also provide you with an excellent opportunity to increase social media engagement, grow mailing lists and drive traffic to your website.
Quite simply, when customers log on to your website, they are greeted with a Christmas advent calendar. But instead of seeing a piece of chocolate, they see an exclusive offer for each day!
Click here for more information. This one is sure to drive sales!
Tip: website discount codes are also a good idea
7) Exhibit at holiday shows – or create one
Much like the breakfast or luncheon events we mentioned earlier, exhibits allow customers to see you in a public place, meaning you can liaise and interact with those who mean a lot to you and your business.
It will also allow you to meet and greet new customers, giving you the opportunity to shout from rooftops about what you do.
Creating your own event though, would be even better, as this will allow you to host an event and have your logo everywhere!
You could also invite guest speakers and include entertainment, end of year awards for your best customers and food for all who attend. (everybody loves a freebie)
8) Hold a Black Friday / Boxing Day sale
Businesses MUST be seen to be doing something on these days because they are quite simply the most important shopping days on the yearly calendar.
Whether you’re a store or B2B company, a physical presence AND web activity is a must to increase sales. The money will only be going in your competitor’s pocket if not yours.
Tip: two for one sales and discounts work just as well
9) Send real Christmas cards, not emails
There’s nothing like a personal touch to make a customer feel wanted, and Christmas cards are the ideal way to reach out. We’re not talking computer email cards; we mean the real McCoy.
Start printing cards in early November and distribute them in mid-December.
10) Capture customers via their children
As Christmas is for kids (primarily), what better way to lure people in to your store than with a grotto for the kids? It’s amazing how many more people will enter your shop if they know their kids can see Santa.
You’re bound to get people looking around the store too.
Tip: while the kids are speaking to Santa, offer mum and dad a nice hot cup of tea or coffee. (they’ve probably been out shopping in the cold for hours)
11) Get listed in local press, magazines
Utilising local press and radio stations may seem a little old hat, but sometimes some of the most traditional methods work best. It’s also a good way to sift out those who really want your product, because preaching to those who don’t want it is just a waste of time.
12) Superb ‘point of sale’ / window displays
Some of the biggest brands in the UK, didn’t used to be the biggest brands. Stores like Harrods have made a reputation for themselves via excellent customer service, great marketing, professionalism and… unique window displays.
Yes, you’d be surprised how far a ‘winter wonderland’ display featuring all of your best products will go.
You want people to stop and stare, be in awe and thus – walk in to the store.
How about a nativity scene with characters in your latest fashion brands? Maybe you could take inspiration from movies or TV?
Tip: show window displays on your website too.
13) Create personalised gifts with company branding
Every successful businessperson will tell you that strong branding is integral to success, i.e. your logo needs to be everywhere.
It’s all well and good if someone walks past a signpost or billboard with your logo on it, but offering a personal gift has a far better effect. (Seriously, we’re talking everything from stationary to sweets!)
Company mascots or characters are also a good way to market your brand. You only have to look at the success of Compare the Market and their Meerkat toy incentive to know you’re on to a winner.
Note: not all ideas are relevant to every business/sector