It's the time of year most businesses prepare for all year round -- holiday shopping season. It's when potential customers whip out their wallets and shop, shop, shop. So what can you do to entice shoppers to come to your store, especially when competing with big-name brands? We outline some tips and tricks below.
1. Offer a sitewide (or store-wide) sale specifically for the holiday season.
Let's face it, your competition this time of year is going to be substantial. You can pretty much bet that your competitors, especially the ones of the big name variety, are gearing up for a big sale to lure customers so you should too. Not comfortable with a sitewide or storewide sale? Choose some of your most popular items and give them a good 'ole discount to get them on site. It's easier to compete with your competitors if you make sure your brand has the lowest price on at least one of your products. If a steep discount has you worried, don't consider it a loss -- add the discount into your marketing budget instead.
2. Consider working with affiliate networks.
Affiliate marketing can be very beneficial, especially if you're a small business. Trusted friend referrals are considered the "holy grail" of marketing, which isn't always an easy market to tap into. By releasing deals through an affiliate program, you are maximizing your reach, ROI and empowering your best customers to share your great deals with friends who trust their recommendations.
3. Step up your social media.
You probably already have a social media strategy, but make sure you have a specific strategy just for the holiday shopping season. Shopping can be stressful, so try to make it as painless for your customers as possible. Include images and links in your posts, and encourage engagement with fun promotions such as caption contests, giveaways, etc. Also consider branding your social media pages with a little holiday flair. Got a company mascot? Try dressing him/her/it up in some holiday gear, just to give your brand that extra likeability this time of year.
4. Send out email reminders.
If you have an email subscriber list, now is one of the best times to put it to good use. Create a colorful email newsletter and send it out to your subscribers. Include your latest store promotions, holiday shopping tips and any other free content they might find useful. If you don't have a big enough staff, consider outsourcing some of your content.
5. Work with bloggers in your industry.
This may sound pretty unconventional but a lot of major companies have had success promoting with bloggers. Blogging is a popular field nowadays -- so popular in fact, that some bloggers can make quite a good living through their blogs. And what's more, there are any number of popular blogs out there, with thousands (and even millions) of readers just waiting to hear from you. You can do a simple Google search to find relevant blogs in your field, and then contact them through their contact forms.
6. Think of a way to make your company stand out among the rest.
The holiday shopping season isn't just a great time to get shoppers in your door, it's also a great time to give them reasons to love your brand and stay loyal to you for years to come. So what can you do to make your brand stand out over the others? Try partnering up with a local charity, since consumers really relate to giving back during this time of year. See if there are any events you can sponsor, or maybe you can even donate a portion of proceeds from specific high margin sales.