4 Ways Your Small Business Can Increase Sales This Holiday Season

It’s that time again! Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, and of course, Christmas, means millions of shoppers will be hitting the web or stores this season. Let’s take a look at these major shopping days by the numbers:

  • Black Friday (2015) brought in more than $2.72 billion in e-commerce sales, a hike of 14% from the prior year. One-third of those purchases were made from a mobile device.
  • In 2015, 95 million consumers shopped at small businesses on Small Business Saturday. A staggering 33% (2014) of shoppers said they shop specifically on Small Business Saturday.
  • Online shoppers spent nearly three billion on Cyber Monday last year, making it the largest shopping day ever recorded.
  • Giving Tuesday is celebrated by more than 40,000 organizations in 71 countries. 1.08 million gifts were purchased for Giving Tuesday in 2015, raising $116.7 million in online sales alone.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the holiday shopping season covers the entire months of November and December. On average, businesses see an increase of 2.5% in total sales over the duration of the holiday shopping season; however, the NRF expects sales to jump 3.6 percent this holiday season. It’s the perfect match for you, as a business owner, to connect with potential new customers and reward loyal customers for their continued support of your business.

Here are 4 ways your small business can attract new customers this holiday season, and how to keep em coming back!

Provide Sneak Peeks

Use your social media channels and email list to get your customers interested in upcoming sales. By posting teasers and sneak peeks of upcoming sales, deals, and new products or services, your customers will remain engaged and anticipate future updates from your company. One of the best ways to achieve this (and one of my personal favorites) is through a drip campaign. A few creative ways you can offer sneak peeks include:

  • Posting partial images of a new product/service or post blurred images. This strategy is great because you’re teasing the product/service without giving it away completely.
  • Post exciting headlines about an upcoming sale or coupon. For example, “We’re having our biggest Black Friday Sale ever! Check back next Tuesday at 3pm EST to get exclusive details about our sales!”

In order to reach all your customers, be sure to also utilize cross-channel marketing (more on that below) with your drip campaign.

Keep em coming back: Be sure to use exciting and engaging headlines and images to get the attention of potential customers.

Offer Free Services & Coupons

Spending increases around the holidays so freebies are expected. Everyone loves a good coupon, and some shoppers won’t make a purchase without it during the holidays because they know they can get a similar product (or the same product) somewhere else that will provide a coupon. Here are a few ways you can offer freebies that your customers will love:

  • Free shipping
  • Free gift wrapping
  • Offer layaway or layaway with no deposit
  • Coupons for in-store-only purchases (a great way to get customer in your store)
  • Limited-time coupons exclusively for loyal customers. A good way to achieve this is by sending coupons to your email list. Let them know this is for loyal customers only and that will make them feel appreciated and valued.

Keep em coming back: Offer coupons in return for an email sign-up! This will not only grow your email list, but also allow you to remain in contact with them, promote new products or services, and keep them engaged with your brand.

Make Purchasing Convenient

The more steps the customer has to take in order to make a purchase, the quicker you’re going to lose them. One big annoyance customers have is the requirement to create an account just to make a purchase. It’s a good idea to allow customers the option of creating an account on your website (saved preferences and input fields allow for faster check-out for frequent site visitors), but definitely don’t make it a requirement or you risk losing a sale. On the flip side of that coin, allow one-click purchases for those with accounts so they don’t have to go through the additional steps of filling out their billing and shipping address and credit card information for each transaction.

Make sure you are utilizing certain features and tools in your social media channels that make purchasing easy. For example, your Facebook page should have a button that says something like “Shop Now” that will lead the consumer directly to your e-commerce site. If your company has an app, if possible, you definitely want to make sure mobile users can make in-app purchases. Finally, if you aren’t already, offer live customer support so customers can get their questions answered quickly, which can lead to a higher conversion rate.

Keep em coming back: Thank your customers for their purchases by sending a friendly email follow-up or toss a nicely-worded thank-you card in their package before shipping. Hand-written messages will go a long way, too!

Utilize Cross-Channel Marketing

Cross-channel marketing is achieved by engaging your customers across all digital channels and devices (desktop, mobile, tablet). This includes all social media profiles you maintain for your business (including your email list) because most consumers aren’t active on all social channels. As an added tip, you can start building your followers on other social media channels by posting sneak peeks or upcoming deals exclusively on one channel, and advertising that on your other channels. For example, if you want to build your following on Facebook, release the details of the product on Facebook only, and post teasers on all other channels (Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, SnapChat, email) letting them know they can get more details on your Facebook page. You should know relatively quickly if your audience is listening and engaged by watching your stats and likes in your Facebook account.

You should also be marketing to your customers in slightly different ways depending on the medium or channel. For example, Twitter users are going to differ from Instagram users, and thus, they will need different messaging. There are loads of best-practice articles out there to help you with your strategy.

Keep em coming back: Don’t overdo it. Too many updates, posts, or emails will annoy your customers. Follow best practices, watch your analytics and adjust your strategy as needed.

Although the holidays can be very stressful for business owners and consumers alike, it’s a great time for businesses to bring in more revenue and attract new customers.

 

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