5 Tips for Getting Customers Ready for the Holidays

Let’s be honest: small businesses have a lot of competition during the holiday season, and “success” is often dependent upon a well thought-out marketing plan. Social media and email marketing are fantastic tools to help you stand out from the “big guys.”

Here are 5 Tips to Help get you Started: 

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. Create a schedule that maps out the weeks leading up and through the holiday season with specific goals for each of the big days (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are among the biggest).

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. You should do this year-round, 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.

Tell your readers and fans about upcoming holiday promotions or provide a sneak peak at new seasonal products to build y excitement and give them the exclusive content they want. But remember to be a resource, not just a sales pitch. Provide them with something they 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. Start your holiday promotion by helping your customers; they’ll remember it when it comes time to buy.

3. Make the Holidays an Event

You don’t have to wait for the big shopping days, or even the official day of the holiday, to give your customers a reason to celebrate this season. In fact, planning an event earlier in the season—before your customers schedules get filled with work parties and family gatherings—is a great way to get your customers in the holiday state-of-mind.

It’s also a great opportunity to help make a difference this holiday season, by partnering with a local nonprofit and doing some fundraising for a cause that’s important to you as a business owner.

4. Remember what Works during the other Seasons

The best practices and strategies you use in your email marketing and social media throughout the year will not only still be effective in November and December, but they will help you engage your customers in October to get them ready for the holiday push.

Using rich media, like photos and videos for example, is a great way to start building that excitement. Think about the types of things we’ve already talked about: providing exclusive content, being a resource, not being too promotional—photos are a great way to accomplish all of these things. Post pictures from past holidays or give a sneak peak at new products, and then ask your fans to comment, like, or share.

5. Be Authentic

One of the biggest reasons people choose to shop with small businesses is the personal connection they’re able to provide.

While your bigger competitors will have to rely on fictional stories—and inauthentic holiday moments to connect with customers in the months leading up to the holidays—you have the ability to offer the real thing.  Use your own experiences to make that special connection.

Do you have personal experiences your customers will enjoy, or stories from past holiday promotions that will get them excited for what you have planned this year? Use them to create a personal connection your customers will love and to generate buzz around this year’s big season.

Do you have holiday traditions your customers would enjoy hearing about? Tell them in your email newsletter.

Put your best practices into action this holiday season

You’re probably already doing most of the things you’ll need to do when it comes time to get your customers ready for the holiday season. Creating a schedule, being a resource, using rich media, or providing a personal connection are all things that have helped you build your social communities and drive real results from your email marketing.

Now all you need to do is … put them into action!

For additional tips and insights to help you get started or improve your email and social media, visit Constant Contact’s Learning Center or attend one of Guy’s local seminars.