— November 19, 2018
With a strong economy and low unemployment boosting consumer confidence, the 2018 holiday season promises to be a good one.
This year the holiday trifecta of Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday starts on November 23rd, so time is of the essence for small businesses looking to rev up their marketing engine.
Here are suggestions for five things to focus on as the holiday season approaches.
1. Expand your reach with Facebook
Facebook is a dominant force with 2.19 billion active users and your business stands to benefit from both its reach and its ability to target those people most likely to be interested in what you’re offering. Start now by taking advantage of Facebook lead ads.
They do just what you think: bring you qualified leads for your business.
You can target your ad to an audience you define. When someone clicks on your ad to learn more, a form is pre-populated with the email address they use on Facebook. Once they click to submit, their details can be added directly to your email marketing provider where you can automate the follow-up process and send more information and promotions.
One major benefit of Facebook for this purpose is that it supports mobile optimization, and offers the ease of submitting necessary information directly through Facebook. No new tabs, no leaving the Facebook page and no extra hassles.
2. Segment customer lists
While you’re growing your lists, it’s important to segment them so you’re sending people the information they really want to receive. Small businesses have the advantage of knowing their customers well and many also use email marketing and e-commerce platforms that add a valuable layer of analytics, making segmentation easier than ever.
Start now by engaging with your subscribers and finding out what their interests are. From forms you send them to fill out, to looking at types of content they click on your website or in your emails, you can gain valuable insight into your customers’ preferences, so you can send them tailored content.
Be sure to ask your customers how often they want to see your emails and what kind of updates they are they interested in: discounts and promotions, new product info, customer events, etc.
3. Offer tailored promotions
We’ve all been on the receiving end of a poorly targeted promotional message. I once received an email from a local retailer for reductions on dog supplies: I have no dog.
When you’ve created segmented customer lists, you can send promotional messages that will strike a chord with your customers and, ideally, inspire them to take action.
What does that look like? Well, if you own a sporting goods store that does business both in-store and online, you can send an email inviting local customers who shop in your store to a holiday open house with refreshments. Use a different offer for customers that shop online. You can even create offers for people who have shown interest in particular products based on things they’ve clicked in your emails in the past.
4. Create a holiday content calendar
There are a lot of marketing messages going out around the holiday season, so creating a schedule is critical. The schedule should map out the weeks and months leading up to and through the holiday season, with specific goals for each of the big days.
Don’t add to holiday stress by overwhelming them with salesly content. Combine your offers with something they can actually use this holiday season, like advice for preparing a shopping list, dinner party tips, or free gift wrapping.
When creating your schedule, pay attention to how much holiday content you’re planning to post. Make sure you’re giving your customers the chance to ease into it, rather than trying to force them to get in the spirit. It can be helpful to think of things in terms of percentages—for example: in September, post 20% holiday content, in October, 30% holiday content, and in November, 50% holiday content.
5. Secure customer reviews
The “season of giving” is a good time to ask your customers to gift your business with a review. You can make the suggestion through email or social media and let them know that they can find you on sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, or TripAdvisor. Customers often think about writing a review, but they get busy and forget. The extra prompt of asking may motivate them to take action and help expand your online presence.
Additionally, customers often like being featured, so they might be very open to and appreciative of having their name associated with a prominent feature on your website. Be sure to thank all those customers who posted reviews for helping you grow your business.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
Like the classic song says, the holidays can be a pretty wonderful time of the year, especially for small businesses. Be sure to take the time now to get to know your customers, including their shopping habits and areas of interest so you can send them offers and information they’ll actually want to receive. By taking a genuine interest in your customers and making them feel special, you can get your business off to a prosperous holiday season!