Ah, the holidays. Everywhere you look, shoppers are bustling to and fro in an effort to find the best possible deals on everything from toys to that flat screen TV they’ve always wanted. Retailers are lowering prices left and right, which is causing a shopping frenzy. You’re happy for those businesses. They’re growing, and they’re prospering during their busiest time of the year.
The problem is that yours isn’t a retail business, and all this attention to holiday shopping is kind of sapping the life from regular business.
What should you do?
Fortunately, you don’t have to be content to sit back and watch retailers dominate all of business life. There are plenty of things you can do to grow your business during the holidays, even if you’re not in retail.
Tip #1: Think creatively about offering discounts
This is going to take a little out-of-the-box thinking on your part, but could actually be a lot of fun. Put yourself in the shoes of your clients and imagine the issues they’re dealing with in comparison with the services you offer. Perhaps you’re a home contractor. Many of your clients will be throwing New Year’s Eve parties, but their homes might have a few things that need tweaking first. Offer discounts to fix their garage doors, add lighting or even put in a new countertop so they can impress their guests. If you’re a chiropractor, you might think about marketing a discount for an adjustment to decrease back pain from all of those packages your clients will be carrying around the mall. People tend to overspend during the holidays, and if you’re an accountant, you could offer a newsletter with some holiday shopping budgeting pointers. If you own a salon that offers spa services, pinpoint the stress that people can experience this time of year, and offer discounts on beauty treatments and massages.
What you have to remember is that your clients have needs, no matter what time of year it is. They may be focusing on what to buy next, but you can step in and save the day by easing their pain and frustration. You may just need to be creative about it.
Tip #2: Send out holiday greeting cards – with a bonus included
You appreciate the business your clients give you all year long, and the holidays are the perfect time to let them know. If you’ve never sent out holiday greeting cards before, why not start this year? People love getting cards in the mail, but if your business is an online one, you can also send out e-cards. If you do decide to go the e-card route, humor is always appreciated, and it’s fun to get your employees involved too. Next New Networks sent out a clever Christmas video a few years ago that made a big impression.
If you do take the snail-mail approach, consider adding in a little gift as a token of appreciation. A keychain or a microfiber cleaning cloth are relatively inexpensive, and these are gifts that can be personalized with your logo. You can also offer coupons for any of your services as a way to say “Thank you for your business.”
Your clients are more than just your clients; they’re also a source of referrals. They tend to remember small gestures that don’t require them to purchase anything to enjoy. Also, not every business does this, so it’s a sure way to make yours stand out.
Tip #3: Up your social media action and interaction
Social media tends to be very active around this time of year. People are always on the lookout for special sales or great deals from their favorite stores, and there’s never a shortage of holiday videos and pictures to enjoy. You can take advantage of your clients’ extra social media time by making sure you have a strong presence there too. Most people can’t resist an “exclusive” deal that’s only available if they use a coupon they saw on Facebook or Twitter. It makes them feel as though they’ve won something, and that’s a great benefit for you.
Speaking of winning, you can also use social media to run contests during the holidays. Ask your clients to share certain posts to their timeline, or to retweet special tweets to their followers. You’ll be getting the word out about your business, and the excitement surrounding your brand is sure to build. A fantastic example of this is financial guru Dave Ramsey, who has spent the entire holiday season offering cash awards to people who win weekly contests. He’s driven an insane amount of traffic to his site, and he’s building his business in the process.
Tip #4: Make your blog a priority
You’ve probably heard how important it is to blog for the purpose of keeping your clients informed about what’s going on in your particular field. You also probably know that blogging is essential if you want to attract the attention of search engines.
It turns out that Google’s robots don’t take December off to do a bunch of holiday shopping!
A lot of small businesses are going to be so busy in December, they won’t take the time to blog the way they should. However, if you’re keeping up with your blog, you’ll do better at having new clients find you via search. When January rolls around, the businesses that took December off will be scrambling to get caught up, while you’re enjoying all of the benefits of new clients who found you on Google.
Of course, when you run your own business, it’s hard to find the time to blog. You’re busy, and there are so many other areas of your company that require your attention. You’re not alone, and other business owners share your frustration. The good news is, content writing businesses such as — ahem — BlogMutt offer you a no-hassle way to keep your blog updated. That means you can check that item off your to-do list.
Bonus Tip: Don’t be a Scrooge
Everyone loves a bonus, right?
No matter what you decide to do this holiday season, don’t be a Scrooge. Get into the spirit of giving back to your clients and your community. This might be something as simple as hanging holiday decorations in your windows, or putting up a Christmas tree. Or, you could take some time out of your schedule to give back to your community in a small but meaningful way. Many businesses take part in some type of toy giveaway each year, and they ask their clients to bring in small gifts for children. You may want to donate some money to a church or religious organization for their own community giving efforts. You can even adopt a family or two who could use some extra help buying gifts for their children.
The Roanoke, Virginia magazine called “Growing Up in the Valley” is paving the way for other businesses to follow their lead. Roanoke residents will be enjoying many “random acts of kindness” during the holidays by staff members. That might mean a small gift being given to an elderly woman, or it might mean paying for someone’s order in the drive-thru. Each gesture is meaningful and appreciated.
The point is the holidays are a season of giving, and while you probably can’t help everyone, you can do your part to help someone. Your clients will notice, and you’ll be rewarded for being so thoughtful.
Even though the holidays are sure to be profitable for retail businesses, there’s no reason you can’t increase your profits too. No matter what your business is, with a little bit of cheer and a dash of creativity thrown in, you too can have the best holiday season your business has ever experienced.