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Ho-Ho-How Do I Incorporate the Holidays into My Marketing Plan?
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By Stefanie Neyland, Small Business Content Developer at BizLaunch.com
The countdown to the big day is finally on. Wherever you go, it's impossible to avoid Christmas songs, the heady scent of gingerbread, and enormous holiday promotional banners proposing what you ought to be buying for your loved ones. Normally we're not fond of such blatant marketing tactics, but at this time of year, our usual preferences go out the window and we welcome the chance for companies to push their products and services upon us.
It's the one time of year when we, as consumers, whip out the credit cards with merry abandon the second we hear Jingle Bells ringing through the speakers; and it's exactly this sense of delight for the holiday season that we, asbusiness owners, must capitalize on at this incredibly lucrative time of year. Shoppers are primed to spend, and there's no better opportunity for SMBs to maximize their sales than by leveraging this joyous holiday and putting it at the core of their marketing plan for the next 34 days. 'But how?' I hear you ask. Well, here are five tips to help make your yuletide marketing efforts that little bit more festive.
1. Think the holidays aren't relevant to your business? Think again
First things first: It doesn't matter what business you're in-there's always some sort of holiday spin you can put on your product/s or service. Many business owners think that Christmas is a time for retailers, but they're wrong. Any company, goods or service provider can make use of the yuletide season-it's just a case of employing some clever marketing tactics and adding some festive flair to whatever you're offering. From gift vouchers to festive social media updates, there's plenty your business can be doing to jump on the holiday bandwagon.
2. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus
If you tend to leave your gift shopping until Christmas Eve, as much as we hate to typecast, you're more than likely of the male gender. If you've already started buying gifts for loved ones-or at the very least, started compiling an in-depth 'to buy' list-you're probably female. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but by and large, the message of the 1992 book 'Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus' holds true for the way in which the two sexes shop for the holidays.
When marketing your products and services, think about who you're marketing to. If you plan on starting your holiday marketing campaign within the next week or so, you're likely to appeal more to women. And if that promotional push is successful, then that's great-but it doesn't mean you should stop there. A further marketing drive in the final days leading up to Christmas will reach a different audience, and ultimately drive more sales. Why? Because men tend not to give so much as a single thought to their Christmas shopping until the very last minute, so it could pay for you to tap into this buying behaviour by targeting your male audience in mid to late December, and directing your earlier promotional efforts at the fairer sex.
3. Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Nowadays, when we hear the term 'marketing', 90 per cent of the time our thoughts turn to online marketing activities such as social media, email and so on. But the truth is that marketing involves absolutely everything you do in your business-from the way you answer the phone to the name and branding of your company. Marketing is as much about the experience you create for your customers as it is anything else. With that in mind, be sure to deck out your premises for the holiday season to create a merry experience for your customers. If you don't have a brick-and-mortar location and you're based solely online, it doesn't mean you can't join in the festive decor fun. Consider adding a holiday twist to your logo, website, email signature, and all promotional materials to spread some holiday cheer.
4. Host a festive function
The holiday season is one of the best times of the year to throw an event, but before planning one, it's important to have an idea in your mind's eye of what you hope to achieve from the get-together. Think strategically about how you can bring in customers (both existing and new), how you can make attending your shindig worth their while, and how it will benefit your business and ultimately lead to more sales.
5. Make gifting easy for your customers
You know that feeling when you're watching television, flicking through the channel guide and there's too much to choose from, leaving you unable to make a decision at all? That's often how holiday shoppers feel when deciding upon a gift, so why not make their decision that little bit easier by giving them the option to purchase a gift certificate? Buying from you might just be one of the easiest decisions they've had to make all season.