[By: Staples] [Mashable] [Read More]
It's that time of year again: The first hint of frost is in the air, the conversations are turning to turkey and gift-giving, and holiday puns are dancing like sugarplums in the minds of social media managers everywhere.
Small business owners already have a lot on their plates during this time of year, so when it comes to holiday marketing, it can all feel a bit overwhelming. Staples is here to help. Beyond being the one-stop shop for everything small businesses need to make more happen, below are some tips to help small businesses capitalize on this season's top trends.
1. Don't ignore retail's most infamous Monday...
There is a reason that Cyber Monday is so popular: Everyone loves a good deal. And online shopping can be done from home, the office or on the go.
How SMBs can take advantage: Ensure that your business's website (both desktop and mobile) is optimized for user experience in the weeks leading up to the big day, and be sure your site can handle the extra traffic if you're offering significant discounts. Having a mobile website or app is key for snagging shoppers who will be browsing exclusively from smartphones or tablets. Consider updating your technology for the season to ensure your small business is running smoothly. Staples can help with EasyTech™ services, the latest technology and upgrades to improve productivity.
2. ...But don't forget about "the shelf"
The focus shouldn't be entirely online or mobile, however
— SMB owners with a brick-and-mortar element can't afford to forget about what's happening in-store. Bargain hunters are still willing to put down their devices and head out to shops for the right deal or special offer.
How SMBs can take advantage: Using whatever data-driven analytics you've got access to, figure out the products that are most in-demand for your target market, and then give your customers what they want: A deal they can't find elsewhere.
Keep two of the largest retail holidays hand-in-hand with tactics like handing out Cyber Monday coupon codes on the receipts of Black Friday purchases. This way, customers are enticed to pick up the items they missed in-store (or order more of what they've already purchased).
3. Offer perks to stay competitive
It's also wise to draw in customers using perks such as free shipping, gift-wrapping options and guaranteed-before-Christmas delivery dates.
Your business should have a handle on exactly how long it takes to get online-ordered goods to their respective homes — and being realistic about these timelines is crucial.
How SMBs can take advantage
Add a countdown feature to your website or app letting customers know the drop-dead dates for delivery by 12/25. Keep your packaging and shipping supplies in stock to help get orders out on time. Staples has all of your packaging and shipping supplies plus a UPS service counter in every store for convenient seven-day-a-week package drop off. Visit Staples.com for any gift wrapping needs so you’re ready with bags, tissue, ribbon, tape and boxes.
4. Embrace and reward customer loyalty
There are plenty of shopping days left after the craze of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and before the holiday season comes to an end. To attract customers all season long, reward them with incentives to keep them clicking or coming back for more. Staples Rewards always gives rewards members free shipping and up to 5% back in rewards.
How SMBs can take advantage: Segment marketing campaigns so you're sending customized (and perhaps more frequent) messages, discounts and offers to brand loyalists or frequent customers.
5. Engage on social media
Social media is an excellent opportunity for small businesses to connect with consumers on a personal level, manage customer relationships and snag the attention of the casual Newsfeed surfer.
How SMBs can take advantage: Offer in-store or online discounts for customers who follow or "Like," and then keep them captivated by posting visually heavy, compelling content. Avoid being overly self-promotional and focus on a conversational, short-and-sweet tone.
6. Give to a good cause
People are in the holiday spirit and like to give back during the holiday season. Small businesses should consider adding a charitable element to their holiday game plan.
How SMBs can take advantage: Offer to donate a small portion of holiday proceeds to a local charity that has meaning to your community, or set up a donation box or toy drive in your brick-and-mortar establishment. You'll get customers in the door while doing some good yourself.
7. Share the holiday spirit with customers
While your customers expect to receive a Christmas card from Gramps and Nana, they may not be expecting one from your small business. Handing out cards or holiday swag with your SMB's logo can be a cute way to capitalize on the holiday season and spread the word about a burgeoning business.
How SMBs can take advantage: Pay a visit to your local Staples Copy & Print Center for low prices on loads of creative customized products, gifts and holiday cards, many of which have same-day options. Be sure to stay genuine and true to your brand with email blasts, social copy and any gifts you'll give out in stores.
8. Reward your own employees, and share the joy
‘Tis the season to be jolly, so go ahead and do it!
In the midst of the crazy business season, don’t forget about the people who make your business tick, your own employees.
In the midst of the crazy business season, don’t forget about the people who make your business tick, your own employees. Throw a holiday party, have a company cookie swap, give gifts to your coworkers and boss, and then share the joy with your customers.
How SMBs can take advantage: Every brand and company has a face (or faces) behind the 1-800 number or the company website. Share photos of the company holiday spirit on social platforms like Facebook or Instagram. If you’ve never done it before, now may be a valuable time to start a blog, make a video, or get your brand on a visually captivating platform like Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat. Share the joy of your brand’s own holiday experience with your customers.
Staples has all your holiday party needs from the decorations to the extra paper towels, as well as exclusive gifts for your coworkers.
9. Dress the part
Many retailers know it, and your small business should, too: There's something magical about a store window filled with a beautiful holiday display. Find some time to add a festive flair to your storefront with beautiful holiday-themed decor. Even online businesses can get in the game by adjusting a site's aesthetics to match the season.
How SMBs can take advantage
It can be as simple as a few strategically placed wreaths or as elaborate as a meticulously constructed window display, but adding pops of holiday cheer, whether online or IRL, can help put customers in the giving spirit. Print your signage needs at your local Staples Copy & Print Center.
10. New year, fresh start
As with New Year's resolutions, January can be a re-set button for your business, particularly if 2015 didn't quite go to plan. Whether your business is due for a rebrand, a tech upgrade or needs to ramp up its online presence, it's a good time to set some goals, redesign an outdated logo or finally get to work on your company Twitter account.
How SMBs can take advantage: Spend some time in the lull of the post-holiday rush to reflect on business goals, marketing campaign performance and overall brand strategy, and come up with three out-of-the-box goals for 2016 that extend beyond the bottom line.
Keep your small business running smoothly into the New Year with EasyTech™ services, the latest technology, and upgrades from Staples. Staples makes it easy for small business to do more EVERYDAY, including the holidays, with essential products and services at guaranteed low prices.