October is prime time to get ready for the holiday season. The last quarter of the year, for most businesses, is when they do the bulk of their sales. And no matter what type of business you run, the holiday season is a time when you should be selling.
What Is Your Marketing Plan?
Reaching those potential customers is the task you must focus on most right now. While there are many ways to do so, some of the best low-cost, high-return strategies are our favorites.
- Email marketing – just be sure you follow the CAN-SPAM Act.
- Create a customer loyalty program. Encouraging repeat business is simple and smart.
- Create a customer referral program. Essentially, you reward customers who send new business your way. It is a great way to encourage word-of-mouth advertising.
- Increase your visibility as a subject matter expert, by offering free advice, seminars or blog posts on relevant topics of interest to your target audience. If your audience is local, connecting with local small business groups and the local media will help greatly.
- Increase your social media presence. That doesn’t mean that you have to be constantly online. Just be sure to update your account every couple of days with information that is useful and interesting to your target market.
- Update your website. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile use and that frequently searched information, like address and phone number, is easily found. Your online shopping options should be up to date and easy to use.
- Invest in targeted online advertising. By using pay-per-click or Facebook advertising, you can create a very targeted advertising campaign that reaches only those who are searching for what you offer. The great thing with this type of advertising is that it is budget-friendly. You set how much you are willing to spend and the campaign automatically stops when the money runs out.
Do You Have Enough Staff?
Driving customers to your business is not enough. Be sure you have enough staff to properly serve those customers. It is important that a new customer always has a great experience. If you are short-staffed, it is hard to deliver on that experience. Place ads now for seasonal employees so you are ready to reap the rewards of your efforts.
It is also important to remember that many of your regular employees may be looking forward to time off during the holiday season. Extra staff can ensure that you are not left scrambling during your busiest times.
What About My Seasonal Business That’s Closed for the Year?
Seasonal businesses that run during other times of the year should definitely take advantage of the holiday season. Many shoppers look to purchase unique or experience-based gifts for loved ones, especially for those who have “everything”. Create gift certificates, season passes or monthly subscription boxes that can be redeemed during your on-season. It is an easy way to inject cash flow when your business is on hiatus.
As with any increased effort to promote your business, be ready to handle the increase in business. That may simply mean increasing staff, or it may mean that you need to increase inventory accordingly. Know turn-around times and schedules, so you can maintain an adequate supply. With careful preparation, you can ensure that your business does its best 4th quarter ever this year.