blogs.constantcontact.com 9/5/12 – Written by Ryan PinkhamLet’s be honest: small businesses have a lot of competition during the holiday season.
For the “big guys”, waiting for the end of November is fine. They can unleash an onslaught of commercials, billboards, radio jingles, newspaper flyers, magazine spreads, and big money sponsorships for those holiday TV movies we’ve all seen 10,000 times—and it works—every year.
But for small businesses, success around the holidays means getting customers ready early, even when they may be reluctant to do so.
Small Business Saturday is November 24. Use this day to get your customers primed for the holiday season.
Here are 8 tips for using email and social media to help you stand out from the “big guys.”
1. Develop a schedule to help build holiday momentum
Momentum will be crucial in determining whether or not this year’s holiday season will be one worth celebrating for your business. But you can’t build momentum around your business unless you have a plan for how you’re going to do it.
One way to start is by creating a schedule. The schedule should map out the weeks and months leading up and through the holiday season with specific goals for each of the big days. The specific holidays you plan to target may vary based on your business and your customer base, but all business should be aware of the three biggest shopping days of the holiday season:
Black Friday – November 23
Cyber Monday – November 26
Small Business Saturday – November 24
2. Pay attention to what your fans, followers, and readers really want this year
If you want your business to be part of your customers’ holiday plans this season, you’re going to need to deliver content they actually care about.
Shouldn’t I always deliver content my fans and readers care about?”
The answer is “yes.” But this is especially important during the holidays when your customers are not only busy, but are also being bombarded by content from a number of other businesses fighting for their attention.
using a survey to collect customer feedback in the fall, before the holiday craze has started. You can send it to all of your email subscribers or post it on your Facebook Page and ask your fans what they are most interested in receiving from your business this holiday season.
You can use that customer feedback to not only improve the content your sending out, but to also better target your messages by segmenting your email contact list. When segmenting your list, you should also look at other information that’s available to you like: open and clickthrough rates, purchasing behaviors, and the preferences people chose when signing up for your newsletter.
3. Be a resource, not just a sales pitch
One of the main reasons people are typically reluctant to shift their focus to the holidays is they are not always eager to start thinking about the less than celebratory work that goes into them. While the holidays are—without a doubt—a time for celebration and giving thanks, they are also a time of great stress for a lot of your customers.
Don’t add to that stress by overwhelming them with salesly content and aggressive promotion; instead provide them with something they can actually use this holiday season. It can be something as simple as advice for preparing their shopping list, tips for throwing a dinner party, or even a special coupon for subscribers only.
You can also post tips on Facebook or share articles on Twitter. If your business uses Pinterest, consider creating boards to give your followers inspiration leading up to the holiday season.
This year, start your holiday promotion by helping your customers; they’ll remember it when it comes time to buy.