As a small business owner, your main goal with any form of marketing should be to keep your small business top of mind with your customers. Because at the end of the day, marketing isn’t about selling, it’s about matching.
You need, I have.
When a customer has a need, or someone they know has a need, you want your business to automatically pop into their head. You want that need to essentially be synonymous with you business, so that any time the need arises, people automatically come to you.
So the strategy of keeping your small business top of mind at all times is a really solid one.
And I don’t mean that you should be sending emails every single day straight up selling – because that’s a one way ticket to everyone losing interest in you. The way to keep your small business top of mind is to stay in front of people in fun, useful, educational, purposeful, MEANINGFUL ways. And the holidays are a perfect opportunity.
The holidays are a time that is inherently traditional. We eat certain food, decorate our homes and businesses, gather with the people we like/love the most, and we are conditioned to expect things like sales on our favorite products, holiday movies and shows to come on TV and certain events to take place like parties, parades and other things of that nature.
So how can we, as business owners, use this time to weave ourselves into the traditions of our customers? I feel it’s important to mention upfront that like anything marketing, the ultimate key is consistency. Once you do something, it’s important to be consistent with it in order for people to expect it in years to come. Because that is, after all, how traditions are formed. Here are a few examples of fun things you can do during the holidays to keep your small business top of mind!
Give a Seasonal Gift
Gift giving is such a big part of the holidays, so what better way to show your customers some love than to give them something special? Here are some ideas!
- A pie or other yummy something delivered to their home, or even better, their place of business so their coworkers see it! I know this may not be realistic if you have a lot of customers, but you can always do a combination of this and the one below if you are into the holiday treat idea! Set some parameters for yourself on who receives what. If a client has done business with you for X number of years, if they’re a new client this year, if they’ve sent X number of referrals, they get a pie, and everyone else gets something different.
- A voucher for a free item at a local bakery. This is an awesome way to cross-promote with another small business! The idea is that you’ll hand out (or mail) vouchers to your customers, and that when they come in to redeem, the bakery owner will keep track and at the end of each week until the expiration, you’ll pay for the ones redeemed. This is great because you don’t have to pay for the ones that aren’t redeemed, but you’ll still get in front of those customers and they’ll see that you took time to think of them, even if they don’t take you up on your offer.
- A gift card. Again, this may not be realistic to send to hundreds of customers, but you can mix it up however you choose! A simple $5 gift card to a local coffee shop and a nice handwritten card can go a long way.
- An industry-specific gift. Sample sizes of your favorite product if you’re a hair stylist, free whitening kit if you’re a dentist, a bar of seasonally scented soap if you’re in the body care business, a tire pressure gauge or ice scraper if you’re in the car business, dog treats if you’re a vet, groomer, trainer, etc. It doesn’t have to be something big, just specific to what you do, and of course, bonus points if it’s fun/useful!
Sell Something Seasonal
Your traditional holiday “top of mind” idea doesn’t have to be something you give away…it can be a sales opportunity that people look forward to! We’ve all seen cosmetic companies with their special holiday bundles, people stampeding into Starbucks to get the Insta-worthy holiday cup and numerous other seasonal indulgences.
In my favorite holiday movie, Christmas with the Kranks, the local boy scout troop goes door to door in the neighborhood selling trees. “Hello Mr. Krank. We’re selling Christmas trees again this year! You got a Canadian Blue Spruce last year…” This little exchange leads you to believe that this is something the troop does every year and that the Kranks typically purchase a tree from them. A perfect example of how a business (or organization, in this case) can weave themselves into a family’s holiday traditions.
So what are some things that you can sell at the holidays? These don’t necessarily have to be industry specific…note my first example below 🙂
- Holiday scented soaps and candles – these are a great impulse buy and an easy gift for people to give! I used to take my dogs to a groomer that sold holiday candles in November and December, and I bought one two years in a row and loved them! This could easily be something that customers learn to look forward to.
- Products or product bundles only available at the holidays – make up, clothing, cookware, jewelry…create special bundles of your customers’ favorite products and only offer them at this time of the year, maybe, but not necessarily, at a discounted price.
- Calendars – you’ve probably seen local places like animal shelters and fire stations sell calendars around the holidays. Not only is it the perfect time for a calendar because we’re about to go into a new year, but calendars can also be fun and useful…making them great for your own home or to give as a gift. Full size calendars or even small desk calendars are something a lot of people enjoy.
Send out a Card
This one is so fun! I have worked with a number of small businesses who send out holiday cards every year to their customers, and people love anticipating what the theme of the card will be (usually the employees will choose a theme and everyone will dress up). This is something that you can have a lot of fun with, but is also a great way to keep your small business top of mind. And if your customers are like me and love to display their cards all season long, you also have the opportunity for others to see your card and ask “who is that?!” 🙂
If you don’t want to send a printed card, you can have a similar effect on social media and through email. But if you really want to get the most mileage out of it, I’d recommend doing all three – mailing, emailing and posting on socials. We’re all about recycling good content here!
And speaking of sending emails, if you have helpful, holiday related information to share, that is another great excuse to get in front of customers. A holiday recipe, safety tips, gift giving guides, decorating tips or anything specific to your industry and the holidays are all great ideas.
Host an Event
Events are one of the main things that people look forward to throughout the year, but especially at the holidays. One of the more infamous examples of a business putting on an event that people look forward to is the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade has become a staple for millions, but it started in 1924 as simply a way to encourage people to shop at Macy’s for the holiday season. Here are some examples of events you can host that people will look forward to:
- It would be criminal to not list holiday parade first after that wonderful intro, lol! It doesn’t have to be as big of a production as Macy’s, but hosting an annual parade will be something people will look forward to. It can be in your parking lot, through a major neighborhood or somewhere in town…all just depending on where you can get permission. Make it fun by getting other businesses and families involved.
- Have a holiday festival. Games, food, prizes…what could be better?! Again, you don’t have to do this all on your own if you don’t want to…bring it other local businesses and use it as an opportunity to cross-promote!
- Host a holiday charity drive. There is nothing better than giving back at the holidays. By hosting an annual charity drive or fundraiser, you are able to give back to people in your community, and people will learn to associate your business with giving…which is the best thing to be recognized for (in my opinion, at least)! Collect clothing, food, gifts and/or money during a certain time each year and partner with a local shelter to make sure everything is given where it’s needed the most.
***REMEMBER! Anything that you do or send (at any time of the year) needs to be reflective of your brand. This means it needs to look put together and include your branding (logo, brand colors, business cards, etc.). The goal is to get people to recognize your business, get excited about what is taking place and come to expect it year after year.
Okay, friends! Hopefully this gives you some inspiration on ways to keep your small business top of mind during the holiday season. If you skipped to the bottom, here’s the gist:
- The holidays are a great time to get in front of customers and weave your business into their traditions.
- You can do so by giving gifts, selling seasonal items, sending cards, hosting events and more!
- Anything you send needs to include your branding and be reflective of your business…no throwing things together like a slob kabob.