Small businesses everywhere are thinking hard about how they’re going to approach the holiday season.
After all, the economy is recovering, but it’s still unpredictable. Everything small businesses do to reach potential customers is going to make a difference.
Getting the word out about your holiday specials is a big part of it, but it’s the way you start marketing these deals that will be the deciding factor.
Here’s what you need to think about this coming holiday season:
1. Customers are going mobile
One recent report by Chetan Sharma Consulting found that more Americans own smartphones than regular phones.
Even more impressive, 70% of mobile search results get customers to act within one hour and mobile coupons get 10x the number of redemptions.
Bottom Line: With more people than ever using smartphones to help inform their purchases, it’s important to think about mobile customers when looking at your website, emails, and other online communications. A slow-loading message could cost you business.
2. Customers are looking for consumer feedback
Over 90% of consumers now read reviews before making a purchase. They trust them, too! In one survey, 78% of participants said they trusted peer recommendations over ads.
Bottom Line: Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to customer feedback. Make sure you have a presence on Yelp! and other review sites. Encourage your happy customers to engage on these sites now before the holidays are in full swing. Pay attention to what customers are saying and interact with them to show you’re actively listening.
3. Email still sells more than social media
Don’t let tried-and-true channels like email marketing fall to the wayside. Recent research found that 4.25% of website visitors from emails turn into customers, while only 0.59% of visitors from social media make the conversion.
Bottom Line: With social media generating leads but not necessarily more business, it’s important to combine both email and social media marketing efforts to get the maximum return for all your hard work.
4. Customers are looking for deals, but that doesn’t mean your business has to make sacrifices
The phrase “special offer” is kind of like a spell. Say them during the holiday season and you’re bound to summon customers to your store.
The real challenge is finding a deal that’s right for your business and figuring out how you’re going to tell people about it.
Bottom Line: Think carefully about your promotion tactics and the terms of your deal.
If you really want to stand out, try using SaveLocal from Constant Contact. It allows you to create and sell shareable local deals that are good for customers and good for your business. You control the deal, timing, pricing, number of coupons for a minimal flat fee.
5. People want relevant and compelling content
Content that has value to customers is another thing that’s going to help pique people’s interest. That could be a photo of a new product on your Facebook Page or an email talking about all the exciting events coming up during the holiday season.
If you’re a restaurant, you could include a holiday recipe in an email or promote it on Facebook. Retail stores can give away shopping guides for different family members, and service businesses like spas can offer relaxation tips for this hectic time of year while showcasing their services.
Bottom Line: Content marketing is all about creating useful content that allows customers to get to know, like, and trust you. This way when they’re looking to buy—during a time like the holidays—your business is the first they think of. Now’s the time to start writing that content and thinking about how to best distribute it.
6. Don’t forget the big three shopping holidays
Aside from the usual rush around traditional holidays this season, don’t forget the key dates that focus specifically on massive retail purchasing activity.
• Black Friday – November 23
• Cyber Monday – November 26
• Small Business Saturday – November 24
Bottom Line: There’s no rule that says your business can’t participate in all three holidays, so start planning now to make the most of all of them!
The best way to plan…
Plan early, plan often! Draft a few ideas about what you can do to incorporate these trends into your traditional holiday season marketing.
A lot of things change every year during the fall, but one thing is certain: people are still going to be shopping online, by phone, or in-person. Make sure you’re the business they choose to spread a little joy to their friends, family, and colleagues this holiday season.
Reach your customers where they are everyday—their inbox. Easy-to-use, afforable, and meaningful business results—that’s Email Marketing from Constant Contact. Start your free email campaign today.