December is here, and small businesses have a few short weeks left in the countdown to the end of 2021. This month can get super busy for many entrepreneurs, but traffic and sales over the next month are absolutely critical to business success. Consumers have choices, and to make sure they are choosing your business you must focus on positive visibility over the next few weeks. What does that mean? Below are a few tips to engage potential shoppers over the final month of the year:
- Highlight your partnerships- Whether you are working with another small business or supporting a philanthropic endeavor, now is the time to talk about those partnerships inside your place of business, online, and through traditional media. The charities you support should be talking about your business, and partnering small businesses should promote their partners. People like to feel good about where they buy, and highlighting the positive network that small businesses create is an awesome feel good experience.
- Get social- Use your social media to do live video walk throughs and give away drawings to highlight causes, or to focus on the top products/services of the season. Give some “behind the scenes” looks and let your customers know why your products or services are special.
- Reference your traditional advertising- Your traditional marketing efforts through local radio, newspaper advertising, and other local paid sources are important all year long, but especially during the holiday season. There is A LOT going on right now, and people use traditional media as their source for community information. When you have events, specials, or other activities that you reference to your customers during conversations (did you hear about our event on XYZ station?) people will listen/watch for you in local media sources, PLUS you can get some instant feedback on your marketing efforts.
- Push add on item communication with your staff- This is super simple for most businesses, but if you don’t add this to training you will have opportunities lost. During the holidays, wait staff at local restaurants can add something simple to the conversation with customers like: “can we add any gift cards for stocking stuffers today?” as they are helping people at a table. Retailers can choose an impulse item add on to talk about at the register. Businesses can communicate spending level discounts/prizes (if you spend over $X, it qualifies you for Y incentive). Highlighting communication with your staff allows you to maximize sales, and running contests with staff for effectiveness with communication allows you to recognize staff independently (or the entire team) for highlighting your strategy.
- Tell your team story- Letting people know how much you appreciate your staff, their knowledge base, and their customer service is a great way to lift spirits and encourage customer loyalty. Small businesses aren’t massive corporate structures with an endless sea of employees. They are teams, and consumers love the human element of your business. You can only emphasize service and your small business “family” if you make the effort to recognize your staff.
- Always incorporate a “bring back statement” at the end of the sale- Inviting people in for an upcoming community event, letting people know when new stock will arrive, or giving customers the inside scoop on time sensitive information can keep your customers coming back AND generate advocates who share information with friends, family, and coworkers.
- There are no supply chain issues when you buy off the shelf!- The closer Christmas gets, the less likely online shopping will ship gifts in time for the holidays. Big retailers that must rapidly turn their inventory are subject to the same supply chain problems. You can reinforce that your business can find perfect gifts “off the shelf” at local businesses. EVENT VENUES can capitalize on the immediately gratification strategy by selling tickets to future events as “experiences” that have a limited supply (especially for those that have enough “stuff”). It’s okay to remind people of external issues that put your business in a better position to satisfy shopping needs.
- Collect information- Your staff is working hard right now to sell holiday products and services to established customers and new shoppers. Are you collecting contact information from these folks? Collecting contact information in a way that allows you to quickly reach out is a great way to boost holiday (and post-holiday) sales. Letting people know “we are going to send out some special information after Christmas to the people on our contact list” is sometimes all you need to generate direct contact. At the very least, actively encourage people to join your social media channels. The more visible your business is, the more likely consumers will think of you for holiday (and post-holiday) shopping.
You have a few short weeks left in the holiday season. Make the most of it by talking to your staff and implementing some simple strategies to end 2021 on a high note.