Holiday marketing for a small or home-based business is a bit different than marketing a larger company. Wal-Mart or Target can slap some decorations up, offer thirty percent a good chunk of their inventory, and then just push their sales as hard as they can. But a smaller business has neither the stock nor the presence to market like that. And so a lot of small business owners aren’t too sure what to do, and then lose out when they just wind up blasting eCards out to everyone.
Holiday-based marketing is one of the best opportunities for your business to end the year on a high note. You just have to know how to use the holidays to your advantage.
Get out into the community.
Most cities and communities host a load of events around the holidays. And, more often than not, local businesses are invited to participate. The trouble I hear from small business owners is that they don’t feel as though their company is enough of a community staple for them to go to these events. This is especially true for home-based business owners. But a small business, regardless of where it is run from — is always vital to the community. And these holiday events are a great chance for you to get out and network. So check with your chamber of commerce, rent a booth, and start pushing. You are your business’s best evangelist – why waste an opportunity to really sell people on your company?
Make your events social.
The holidays are rife with social marketing gold. Is your small office having a little holiday potluck? Take some pictures and post them up on Instagram. Going to be at a community holiday event? Tweet about it! Authenticity is one of the most important facets of a successful social marketing campaign. The holidays are a great opportunity to give your presence a human touch, and really connect to your audience. People like supporting small, local businesses when they know about them – a survey by Score found 93% of people feel it is important to support local business. You just need to make an effort to be at the forefront of their mind.
Take advantage of the season.
That doesn’t mean throwing up a couple of holiday graphics on your site. People change how they shop during the holidays. Rather than shopping for themselves, they’re most likely looking for gifts. So it is up to you to figure out how to sell your products or services as gifts. That means framing all of your marketing and ads around what they can do for other people, instead of solely what they can do for the purchaser. Customers also typically expect discounts during the holiday season, which can be tough for a small business. You probably don’t buy or sell at the volume that the corporate behemoths do, but you can still probably afford a slight holiday discount. And if you run an online company, offer free shipping – that is a great way to offer a deal to your customers without taking much of a hit. The increase in order volume should more than make up for any loss.
You cannot just rest on your laurels and expect to do well at the end of the year unless you effectively market during the holidays. And while mountains of coupons and blowout sales are great for the bigger businesses, small businesses can’t usually compete with that sort of advertising flurry. Instead, leverage what makes small businesses so great – the personal touch. Be a part of your community, show people who your business is made up of, and then shift the way you present your company to meet the changing needs of your market during the holidays. That way, you can start off the next year with a nice nest egg and, hopefully, a few new customers.
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Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.