The Ultimate Holiday Marketing Checklist for Small Business Retailers
By Ben Gold, President of QuickBridge.
Retailers have many options when it comes to marketing for Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Each year, the event presents small business retailers with an opportunity to create brand awareness and increase sales.
Taking advantage of the biggest shopping season of the year requires a careful blend of planning, executing, and financing strategies. From hiring seasonal staff to launching a new product or paying for a marketing campaign, here’s what small business retailers should know and how to take advantage of this potentially lucrative time of year.
Ramp up Digital Marketing for the Holiday Season
With digital channels gaining momentum across many industries, brands must work to engage potential customers through both digital and physical means. This kind of omnichannel experience begins with digital marketing basics. You should consider:
Building Relationships on Social Media
Connecting with potential customers on social media can help you capture additional sales. When marketing for the holiday season, you may want to gradually tease out your promotions and plans for the time of year. You can use social media to broadcast an exclusive offer or invite customers to an in-store event. Social media is ideal for highlighting how you plan to celebrate the holiday season.
Using Email Marketing
Email campaigns are an effective way to garner consumer attention and bring awareness to special Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales or holiday promotions. It’s important to go beyond broad, generic messages. Personalization is increasingly vital in standing out in email campaigns. You should:
- Take the time to get to know your audience.
- Create copy aimed directly at them.
- Highlight promotions that fit their needs.
- Give them a clear action to take in response to the message.
Fostering Online Reviews
Consumers aggressively research products and services before committing to a purchase. Consider teaming up with an influencer who has a large following and a fair amount of influence within your area or niche. You can send them product samples in return for an honest review. This will help drive visibility heading into the holiday season and increase consumer confidence.
Implement Traditional Advertising Programs
Small businesses benefit from the ability to offer localized, personal services. When your community gets to know you, you can leverage your relationship to build trust and brand awareness. Traditional advertising campaigns can be ideal for furthering your presence in your community. Key strategies to employ include:
- Getting Involved with Your Local Community: Attending town gatherings and participating in community service events helps you get to know those around you. And helps them get to know your business. Interacting with potential customers in a community setting shows that you’re interested in relationship building rather than just maximizing sales. You could consider sponsoring a charity or local event. Successful community involvement plans require commitment and genuine interest in what you’re doing.
- Run Ad Campaigns with Local Media: If you want to drive engagement at a local level, you must use channels that are specifically aimed at your town, city, or neighborhood. Your message can slip into the background on far-reaching media channels, but an ad campaign in a local paper or at a key location downtown can go a long way in helping people connect with your brand.
- Offer Deals and Promotions: While already touched upon, it’s critical to recognize the importance of deals and promotions when marketing for the holiday season. Limited time offers, and discounts can persuade customers who are on the fence about your products and services to give them a try.
Prepare Your Systems and Operations
If you’re successful at marketing for the upcoming holiday shopping season, then you’ll need to be prepared for an increase in volume and customer interactions. Consider:
- Optimizing for Mobile:Consumers do everything from product research to actual purchases via smartphones and tablets. Make sure your website is mobile optimized or risk running into problems as you work to increase traffic surrounding the holiday shopping season.
- Updating Your Website:Make sure your address and contact info is correct on your website. Additionally, review your site to make sure that promotions are prominently displayed, and your payment process is working properly. Put new product pictures out if your current listings seem dated and ensure copy properly reflects your services. Take time to upgrade and adjust your site before the big event.
- Hiring Seasonal Staff:The holiday season is a convenient time to bring in staff to help handle extra work. Seasonal employees can be used to help launch a new marketing campaign, handle sales, or interact with customers.
- Managing Your Inventory: One of the most important considerations for the holiday season is that you have plenty of goods to sell.A boost in sales won’t matter if you don’t have the inventory available to meet customer needs. Take some time to analyze your inventory and ensure you’re ready for the increase in demand.
Utilize the above marketing strategies to better prepare for the holiday season and take advantage of the shopping frenzy.
Contributed by Ben Gold, president of QuickBridge, a privately-held financial services firm providing “small business loans” and short-term working capital funding solutions for small-to medium-sized businesses nationwide. Based on its growth, QuickBridge has ranked two consecutive years on the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing American Companies list. Ben is a thought leader in the financial tech. industry and a contributing member of the Forbes Finance Council.