The big question of the day – how do you stand out from the crowd when every business is fighting for consumers’ attention?
The obvious answer is to Start promoting early. Some stores literally start putting up Christmas items for sale in July. That can be frustrating for people who feel pressure during the holidays. No one wants to feel that kind of pressure for half a year.
Think of ways your holiday promotion can be helpful to the customer so that the holidays are less stressful. For example, you could make it easy for people to create “wish lists” or put things on layaway this is an old practice that has made a bit of a comeback recently.
You could offer a service where you help them with products or services for their holiday parties, rewarding them for starting early but not forcing them to finalize specifics until closer to the date.
Subtle in-store marketing is key because unless you are my son-in-law, LOL, no one wants to see Santa next to Halloween decorations. Right?!
***One of my favorite tactics is Spreading the love and promoting other local businesses
Join up with other willing local businesses that compliment your industry to promote each other’s sales and services. It might be as easy as tossing a few coupons or sales information in the customer’s shopping bag. Or you might offer reduced prices or rewards when customers shop at participating businesses.
Even better, partner with a business whose product or service ties into what you offer. That provides a real service to your customer. For example, if you are a catering service, perhaps you could partner with a cleaning service and advertise it as helping customers with their Christmas parties before, during, and after.
***We must also diversify our marketing efforts. Remembering in a digital world, paper stands out
The holiday season is a time when many people find themselves overwhelmed by promotional emails. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, and now with Christmas on top of us – they all come with a wave of emails from every mailing list a person is on.
When everything is digital, the personal and physical object stands out. So, consider sending real holiday cards or postcards. Send actual coupons and gift cards. The nostalgia for printed photos and media is growing; and we can all easily tap into it.
***Another great tactic is to create a shopping event whether you decided to make the event last through most of the holiday shopping season, or on special sale days, you can turn your store into a go-to location. Local musicians, snacks, wine, sparkling cider–whatever you choose to do, make the act of coming to your store a reward. Have drawings and giveaways to reward those who come.
Think about creating kid-friendly events as parents are always looking for events that they can take their kids to and hosting a free event at your shop is a great way to get parents in the door. Have coloring contests, photo booths, cookie decorating–whatever is appropriate for your location. Bonus tip – Make it easy for parents to do some shopping while their kids are having holiday fun.
Plus, don’t discount or forget pet-friendly events! If your business is in an industry that would allow for it, create an event for pet owners. In 2018, pet owners spent almost $72 billion on their pets which jumped to 95.7 billion in 2019. For some, their pets are their kids. Consider an “ugly dog” contest, or a “tackiest holiday dog costume” contest. Give away dog treats with every purchase to anyone who comes in with a dog.
If you’re giving away prizes or running online give-a-ways throughout the holiday season, make one geared for dog owners.
***With Christmas less than a month away capitalize on holiday traditions – Like instead of the “12 Days of Christmas”, you might have twelve days of sales, or twelve days of bonuses meaning with each purchase of the item for that day they get something extra. It can be as simple as a discount towards their next purchase or have a basket of inexpensive ornaments they can choose from. The idea is to have fun with it, and they will too!
***A tried and true tactic is to Help your customers make a memory
The obvious is to bring Santa to your store and set up an area for kids to have their photos taken with him. If you are concerned with the covid situation for the love of Pete do not put Santa behind plexiglass – see about borrowing a life-sized cut-out of Santa and create a selfie area for shoppers.
You can also knock out a 2-fer by supporting local artists and having an area where your shoppers can get a sketch done so instead of sitting on Santa’s lap the artist can draw a Christmas-themed picture for you. Advertise this unique opportunity and get them in the door.
***Quickly go to the local printer or reach out to my buddy Michael at Scheopfnet Designs and Give away tools that help customers – offer your customers free promotional items that would be useful during the holidays. For example, you might have a planning guide for Christmas parties already prefill out things your store offers, you can have gift list tracking sheets again with a few brilliant gifts you offer and maybe some tear-off coupons at the bottom, or notepad printed to help people complete all of the holiday tasks of the season.
Another idea might be to give customers “letter to Santa” stationery and an envelope, already addressed and stamped, offering to put it in the outgoing mail, so their children can write Santa a letter while they are shopping and parents don’t have to fuss.
***Start marketing a post-holiday event with flyers given out to shoppers. Get them to sign up with their email address and let them know there will be munchies, prizes, and discounted merchandise all to thank them for supporting you. It can be an after-hours social or a combined lunch break party where they can shop and grab something to eat if you partner with a food truck for another 2-fer!!
***Last but least Make shopping a fun game
Create an in-store scavenger hunt that leads customers through your store in search of listed items. Not only is it fun for customers (particularly if there are prizes or savings for anyone who finds everything on the list), but it helps show off your products better.
You might choose to do this every day during regular shopping hours or host a fun evening event and turn it into something larger.
You can even have separate games for children and for adults, or partner with other businesses and expand the hunt to several stores. Make sure to share photos or videos on social media and make it a local movement.
Whatever the case, most people enjoy games, especially ones with perks, and will come to a shop they might not have been to before just to participate.
The trick to promotion during the holiday season is to be personal and fun. Promotions that help you build a relationship with your customers are the best way to stand out from the crowd.