The countdown is on - red and green paraphernalia is once again decking the halls at many stores. Even if your small business is not leading the pack by replacing flip flops with wreaths, it is still important to have a plan in place for later this fall. How can you get started?
Familiarize yourself with shopping patterns.
In order to know how to use your marketing dollars and efforts, you first need to be familiar with the who, when and where of holiday shopping patterns.
is your target audience - parents, millennials, spouses, maybe professionals from a specific industry? Remember - since holiday shoppers are often buying something for someone else, the business you receive during the holiday season will likely look different than your regular customers.
does your target audience usually shop – last-minute, during the weekends, Black Friday, Cyber Monday? If you sell electronics, then you’ll want to kick off your holiday marketing early as shoppers searching for computers, speakers, or tablets typically start hunting before and during the post-Thanksgiving rush.
Not sure when your audience is spending? Check out the National Retail Federation’s 2017 Holiday Planning Playbook
- they’ll break down shopper habits and profiles and help you get ready.
do your holiday customers usually shop – online, in-person? If your target audience is younger - and thus likely to be a more digitally savvy crowd - then they’ll probably opt for a shopping experience via an app or online. While you may not have time to establish online shopping cart and payment functions, you can still feature products and sales on your website and social media, just let your visitors/followers know to call or stop by the store to purchase.
You don’t need to be tech-savvy or have a large advertising budget in order to use social media to help market your small business. On Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you can feature specials via free posts/tweets or create targeted ads that will only appear to your most likely shoppers. With social media ads, you can specify gender, education level, zip code, age, etc.
More importantly, get your followers to do your advertising for you
. Enter individuals that “share” or “retweet” your content in a drawing to win a gift card, try giving $5 off to customers that “check-in” at your location, or create a trivia contest by asking customers to take a picture of their answer and tag you. All these will ensure that your business is shared with their followers, in a positive and interesting light.
Meet your neighbors.
Regardless of the industry, cross referrals can be a valuable source of new business. Reach out to other local businesses in your area to see if they’re interested in going in together on a special or “mention us” offer. Your local chamber of commerce may already have something in the works, like a holiday coupon publication or a local shopping day where member businesses offer a certain amount off of purchases.
At Washington Federal, we’re in the business of bringing simplicity to yours. If you’re looking for straightforward solutions to help you grow your business, contact your local small business officer today or visit us online to find out more.