What do you do if you're not big on Christmas, but running a business and have to buy into the holidays? We're here to help.
It’s that time of year again — the time when marketing seems to take on a life of its own.
Morphing into a larger and grander incarnation of itself, this seasonal form of marketing can be, to put it mildly, quite intense.
For those business owners for whom Christmas is not a personal celebration, striking the right balance between adding holiday cheer to your marketing strategies and actively participating in the holiday can be difficult.
This year, as the Christmas season approaches and shopping and spending reach a frenzied peak, finding ways to capture that holiday market without entering into the fray can be easier than you think.
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By focusing on the little niceties, the small luxuries that make clients and customers feel special and valued, you have an opportunity to increase your market share while spreading a bit of seasonal cheer.
For inspiration, here are 11 tips for marketing during this holiday you don’t even celebrate.
1. Begin with Thanksgiving
While Christmas garners the lion’s share of attention, you can make Thanksgiving your central focus. A holiday celebrated by virtually everyone, it offers a prime opportunity to thank clients, vendors and other businesses with whom you do business or those who have been particularly loyal or helpful to your business.
Make a Thanksgiving card your holiday card this year, for instance, extending personalized gratitude that extols the precise ways in which the recipient has benefitted you this year. Alternatively, you may opt to host a Thanksgiving luncheon or dinner several days before or after the actual holiday to express your appreciation for those who have been most beneficial to your business throughout the year.
2. Decorate for Winter
What is a holiday without decoration? Yet, if the prospect of filling your business with Santa and reindeer leaves you feeling decidedly cheerless, consider a wintry scene instead. Just as festive, a serene tableau composed of artificial Christmas trees dusted with equally artificial snow can create a stunning backdrop for your merchandise or for receiving clients. No lights or additional adornments are needed.
By going the extra mile to assemble this charming setting, you are enticing customers in and encouraging them to linger much longer than they might otherwise remain in a less inviting business. They may shop more as well.
3. Create a Festive Atmosphere
In addition to the decorative elements, a little atmosphere goes a long way toward increasing business at this time of year. Consider the fun and festive feeling created by taking candid photos or having a photobooth that clients and customers can use for free as they browse. Posting a sign that apprises customers of the photos being taken and displayed publicly in the store ensures that they are in on the fun. Then offer to email a copy of each photo to the customer, building your mailing list in the process.
4. Instrumental Music
There’s something wonderfully soothing and relaxing about soft, instrumental music. An often welcome departure from the ubiquitous Christmas music, classical music can be a boost to your bottom line. In fact, studies show that classical music increases the amount of money customers spend, making now a good time to try out this concept. Perhaps even consider live musicians, if budgetary constraints permit, adding to the overall celebratory ambiance and drawing in even more customers to savor the music.
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5. Offer Holiday Comfort
Cozy chairs, hot cider or chocolate, freshly baked cookies — could anything be more delightful amid the hectic shopping season of Christmas? Become the respite that invites customers in from the chaos. The small investment in comfortable seating and nostalgia-provoking refreshments will pay dividends in promoting your business as the one to frequent during the holiday shopping madness.
6. Holiday Giveaways
Prizes have a way of drawing customers in large numbers. Selecting a different item from your inventory as a giveaway each day of December may well draw them in unprecedented numbers, especially if you advertise the items being offered. As an alternative, you might consider offering discounts of differing amounts each day of the month, luring holiday shoppers who may purchase a few more items when they get them at a lower price.
7. Gifts with Purchase
Adding a small gift to each purchase — one that can serve as a stocking stuffer — is a great way to attract more customers during the holidays. In effect, customers gain two gifts for the price of one, which often encourages additional purchases and certainly develops goodwill. Attaching your logo to these items is an extra bit of marketing that informs the recipient of the gift of where to find more.
8. Exhibit at Holiday Shows
Christmas shows are a destination point for many families, offering an extravaganza of shopping. As an exhibitor at one of these shows, you are afforded a prime marketing venue not only for goods and products but also for showcasing your creativity by devising a display that captivates shoppers and augments sales.
9. Free Gift-wrapping
Remember when gift-wrapping was a standard business amenity? Consider bringing that traditional courtesy back with complimentary holiday gift-wrapping. An excellent marketing tool when you offer it for all purchases between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is sure to endear you to harried customers as it provides convenience with a sizable dash of yesteryear grace. Attaching a label with your logo or company name adds to the marketing value.
10. After-Christmas Gift Cards
Much like gifts with purchase, offering gift cards at the point of sale, toward an after-Christmas purchase, encourages repeat shopping during the holiday season and ensures that customers will return after Christmas. The amount of the gift card can increase with the amount of money spent, with a minimum amount required to receive one.
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11. New Year’s Open House
Hosting an Open House on or near New Year’s Day at once closes the holiday season and ushers in a new year. The winning combination of newly arrived items, older goods on sale and beautifully displayed refreshments is quite appealing to customers, fueling browsing, purchasing and a good many positive sentiments toward your business.
Taken in their entirety or individually, these holiday marketing strategies have the potential to transform this holiday that you don’t celebrate. Personalize each of them, inject an air of exuberance and watch your sales expand now and into the new year.