The holiday season is well underway, but there are still plenty of opportunities to boost your retail and online sales. It’s also a great time of year to reinvigorate your relationships with current customers and forge connections with new customers, based on their positive holiday experience with your business.
Here are some holiday-based sales and marketing suggestions:
1. Be an asset to customers. Provide helpful information as part of your holiday marketing efforts. On your website, in your printed materials, even in your email signature, include upcoming sales dates, deadlines for shipping, etc. – anything that eases the strain of shopping for customers. Offer “last-minute gift ideas” as a new way to highlight products or to package a specific service. At the same time, be sure to communicate urgency in all of your content, particularly as Christmas draws nearer.
2. Leverage your social media accounts. Social channels like Twitter and Facebook are convenient, low-cost avenues for marketing your business. Get conversations going around holiday themes (and how your offerings make the holidays easier) and post regular updates about discounts for new customers, one-day-only sales events, etc. Come up with holiday trivia contests (winners get a free product or service) and remember to always link back to an appropriate landing page on your website.
3. Give special consideration to your loyal customers. This is the perfect time of year to recognize and reward customers who have been loyal to you throughout 2013. In social media, email newsletters and other platforms, feature a special discount or offer extra points for holiday purchases on your customer-rewards program.
4. Reach out to former customers. Do you have a way to contact people who once purchased your product or service? If so, drop them an email with a special “Welcome back” discount, along with news of product upgrades or improved services. It might be just what they’re looking for (even if they didn’t know it).
5. Set your business apart with outstanding customer service. The one element that can truly differentiate your business from your competitors is the quality of customer service you provide. In a retail setting, make sure all of your employees (including temporary help) have the knowledge to assist customers with whatever they want and empower them to make snap decisions about returned products or to handle minor complaints on the spot. For harried holiday shoppers, this can make all the difference in the world and leave them with a hugely favorable impression of your business.
While you’re at it, make sure every page on your website is running properly and that all contact information is up to date. Making it easy for customers to reach you (with special requests, ordering or shipping questions, etc.) means less strain on their end and a greater willingness to explore further purchasing opportunities online.
6. Send a note of appreciation after the holidays. It’s probably impractical to send out a mass “thank you” message, but certainly your biggest and most loyal customers deserve a note of appreciation after the seasonal frenzy has passed. Let them know how much you value their support. Offer advice on how they can overcome challenges and improve their lives in 2014 – advice that’s related to but not all about your product or service. The important thing is ensuring that customers understand you’re committed to making their lives better all twelve months of the year.
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