'Tis the season to... market yourself silly!
I'm kind of kidding... I dislike pushy sales stuff as much as the next person, and I'm all for business owners and entrepreneurs being able to chill out in the holiday season.
However, it would be an opportunity missed if you didn't take advantage of the human race's festive frenzy of spending and buying this December. And no one likes a missed opportunity.
Idea #1: host a giveaway or competition
What do people love more than getting a great discount? Getting something for free, of course!
Sure, giveaways and competitions mean you have to 'give something away', but there are several benefits. The main one being that you can gather email addresses and data in return for an entry, meaning you can grow your email list with high quality potential customers (depending on the relevance of your prize).
Here are some giveaway/competition ideas:
- A craft/handmade product business could give away a beautifully wrapped & presented Gift Box for people to win by signing up and sharing the giveaway
- A software company could give away a year's subscription to their software to the winner of a design competition (Canva are doing this now!)
- A photographer could give away a free couple's shoot package to the couple with the best 'How we met' story
- A hairdresser could give away a free cut and blow dry to the best selfies posted online with a specific hashtag
idea #2: cut your prices & have a sale
I'm sure you're already sick of seeing the holiday promotions everywhere, but no matter how cheesy, you have to admit they're effective.
People expect to get a good deal in the holidays, and if there's no deal to be had, they're much more likely to put purchasing off until the New year.
But don't feel pressured by all the 'up to 80% off!' and 'Buy one, get three FREE' craziness, because as a small business it is very unlikely that you can afford to do something like that profitably. Concentrate on your profit margins and work out what you can afford first. If your product/service is quality, people will be ecstatic with even a small discount!
Idea #3: get charitable
It is the season for giving after all.
Why not donate a portion of your profits to a charity or cause during the month of December? Not only is this an awesome way to give back and be a great human being, it also sends a positive message to your customers.
You're a company with morals, and a Corporate Social Responsibility, and not only will that make your potential customers trust and respect you more, it will also encourage them to purchase from you during this period, as they will feel like they are doing their bit too (trust me, it's psychology).
idea #4: Send gifts to clients
This may not seem like a 'marketing' activity, but it is a great way to build your brand and customer loyalty.
Sending a small gift, or even just a handwritten note, to your clients or long-term customers is a sure way to give them the warm n' fuzzies. If you're lucky, they'll spread the cheer by shouting about how great you are to their audience, and you may even get some referrals or repeat business out of it too...
Idea #5: get to know your fans
Market research is marketing too!
Getting to know your audience and potential customers is one of the best things you can do at this time of year when people are in a good, generous mood. They're more likely to fill in a quick survey for you.
Of course, they'll be even more likely if you give them an incentive (perhaps a discount code or entry into a competition?). Here are some ideas for your survey:
- You could ask their age, location, income level and job role if you don't know it already
- Ask what impression they have of your brand (perhaps a 'Describe our brand in 3 words' type question)
- Ask what content they like to see from your business (give them a few options to choose from, rather than just a text box)
- Ask them which websites they hang out on, or how is best to get their attention online
- Ask what they think you could improve upon as a brand
idea #6: share the love with a gift guide
They've been gathering momentum since October, and you're probably sick of them by now, BUT you can always add your own two pence to the table (yes, that was a mash up of several different colloquialisms...).
Perhaps you could create a list of local companies and add their products/services to the list (not forgetting to include your own of course), or products/services that you think would complement your own. Either way, what comes around goes around, and you may be surprised at how other businesses repay the mention!
idea #7: host an event
There is no better way to get people in the Christmas spirit than throwing an event or party to celebrate.
Okay, so we don't all have the budget to spend on a lavish shindig, but even if it's just a coffee morning where you invite your clients over for mince pies, it's still keeping you fresh in their minds.
Or, if you want to impress potential clients instead, you could host a Twitter chat or webinar online instead to talk about what your business will be offering in the New Year and get people excited!