November 16, 2014
It’s November, which predictably means two things. First, I’m being forced to sit through episodes of the X Factor whenever I’m at home, which inevitably means I spend more time in the office, and second: the Christmas email newsletters have begun.
If you’re reading this in the U.S. then it may be the case that marketing teams Stateside have still got a couple more big retail days to go – for instance Black Friday (so named, apparently, because it’s the day when stores go from having a year ‘in the red’ to a year ‘in the black’) which follows Thanksgiving, and potentially Thanksgiving itself.
Still, we in the U.K. have pretty much a two month run in to Christmas, and that means it’s time for small businesses to start planning, and start acting.
Thinking About Christmas Marketing
Many of the big brands have already started their festive marketing across a range of channels. John Lewis’ latest Christmas TV advert, featuring Monty the Penguin, has already racked up nearly twelve million YouTube views at the time of writing, and my other half has (between X Factor episodes obviously) already received a few emails from major fashion brands, such as H&M and House of Fraser (pictured below).
Christmas Marketing For Small Business
Now, the majority of small businesses reading this blog are unlikely to have a TV advertising budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the Christmas act.
Email marketing is cheap and is still one of the most effective means of getting your product or service noticed – if you’re going to use a Christmas promotion, get it in up front, and make it clear (the emails above are good examples – short, sweet and to the point).
If you’re a business which benefits from a lot of local trade, why not try and consolidate that by sponsoring a local Christmas event? If you do, don’t be afraid of asking for as much as you can get for your sponsorship money – can the event promote your sponsorship on social media? What about giving you a link back to your online shop or website if they themselves have a web presence? Is there a possibility of getting your logo printed on any tickets, or leaflets? What about the event program if it’s a Carol Service or concert?
Finally, if you already have a number of regular or high-value clients, it’s always worth wishing them a Merry Christmas personally. The same is true for any prospects you feel you might like to work with in the coming year.
You could drop them a personal email, give them a call, or even send a hand-written card. Gifts are fine as well, but be careful what you choose – remember some people will not celebrate Christmas for religious reasons, and others may have dietary requirements to consider. In addition, avoid sending overly expensive gifts – you want people to know you appreciate their business, without them feeling uncomfortable about the value of what you’ve sent them.
If you’re a Café or bar, why not consider giving your regulars a free drink or a 10% off voucher which can be used in the New Year – not only is the latter a gift, but it might also help you kick off 2015 in the best possible way. You could even give them two – one for them, and one to give to someone else, thus helping to grow your clientele for the coming year.