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December 21 and December 23 might be the two biggest shopping days of the year after Black Friday, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until a few days before Christmas to start marketing your wares to the public. On the contrary, savvy business owners start planning for the holiday rush as early as the summer, and with good reason. According to one study, 74 percent of retailers noted that at least 20 percent of their annual sales occurred during the holidays.
Here are six holiday marketing steps you can take now to improve your sales figures down the line:
1. Improve Your Email Marketing
If you want to improve your sales figures for the holidays, it’s a good idea to boost your email marketing efforts now. Summer and fall are good times to market your services to loyal customers, while reminding those you haven’t seen in awhile to buy from you again. In the months leading up to Christmas, you should study your newsletter conversion rates to determine what types of messages generate the best response. Additionally, you should monitor your social media pages to see what your customers are discussing and determine what the hottest products are going to be for the holiday season.
2. Talk to Your Neighbors
Christmas is a time for people to come together, and that includes local shop owners. In fact, many small businesses collaborate with neighboring shops to create fun holiday shopping events for the local community. Work with your fellow merchants to plan an event that celebrates the season, while encouraging residents to shop local instead of hitting the department stores. For example, you could arrange for a tree-lighting ceremony, a visit from Santa, or a street-wide raffle event. And of course every store should feature holiday decorations and offer plenty of treats and sweets for the kids to enjoy while their parents shop.
3. Create a Giveaway
Giving away branded gifts prior to the holidays is a great way to prepare for the coming season while reminding customers of upcoming sales. When choosing your giveaway items, try to brainstorm products that your customers will want to keep in their homes for the long haul. While everyone loves candy, most people will opt to eat this gift or throw it away within a few days. On the other hand, branded magnets, ornaments, coffee mugs, and notepads tend to linger a little longer in the home. Print up a batch of gifts featuring your business name and the dates of important events, like parties or holiday sales, and boost the number of shoppers in your store. You can also give away branded holiday items to shoppers who sign up for your newsletter or purchase goods on your e-commerce site.
4. Get Mobile Friendly
It’s no secret that shoppers are increasingly using mobile devices to compare and purchase products online. In fact, mobile sales now comprise 30 percent of all national commerce. For this reason, small businesses need to ensure their websites are mobile friendly before the start of the holiday season. Along with making sure product and shopping cart pages can be viewed easily on phone screens, owners should consider factors like load speed, button size and placement, and image resolution. New customers are likely to check out your website before visiting your shop, and you want to ensure you make the best possible first impression.
5. Work on Your Website
Just as it’s important to ensure your website is mobile friendly, you should make certain it has the right kind of content to attract holiday shoppers. As the holidays approach, it’s a good idea to add seasonal content such as blogs, photos, and gift guides. For best results, optimize your Christmas content for the search engines by including holidayand gift-giving keywords in the text, title tags, and meta descriptions. Having a strong website is especially important in light of the news that more people are shopping online than in brick-and-mortar stores during the holidays.
6. Look to Your Team
Even the most thorough holiday sales planning will likely be for naught if you can’t get your team onboard. Understanding that November and December are busy sales months, small businesses need to work hard to prep their staffs. In addition to making sure their inventories are sufficient, businesses should spend time training their staffs and assessing work schedules. If you don’t think your workers will be able to cover the impending rush, you might want to consider hiring seasonal employees. It’s a good idea to secure your holiday workforce early before the best employees find positions with your competition. Additionally, hiring early gives you more time to train your staff in areas like customer service, inventory management, and order placement.
With a lot of preparation, and a little seasonal good will, you can ensure this holiday season will be your business’ most profitable to date.
© 2016 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission from Attard Communications, Inc.