It’s about to be “the most wonderful time of the year” but let’s be honest, if you’re a small biz owner it’s often also the busiest, most stressful, and chaotic – and you have a lot riding on the holiday season. You probably want to get as much buzz, sales, holiday publicity, and visibility for your business as you can!
After all, did you know that nearly $3.19 TRILLION is spent on holiday shopping over the next few short weeks, and the average U.S. person spends $906 on Christmas gifts every year online and off – you need to act strategically if you want a piece of that retail pie! (Mmmm pie!)
GOOD NEWS: I’ve got 25 steal-worthy ideas you can use to shine a MASSIVE spotlight on your business and offerings and increase your chances of sales from new and existing customers. We created these ideas so you can use them all holiday season long – starting this week!
Now the only thing left to do is dive on in! I encourage you to go through these 25 ideas and pick out a few that feel do-able and authentic to your brand, and then commit to taking action If you’re in our Press for Success Facebook Community stay tuned for even more extra ideas and support, and if you’re not in there yet, don’t waste another minute missing out on all the golden nuggets we share with you in it! Now onward to your buzz and sales making ideas!
Invite Customers to Share a Selfie of Themselves Your Product/Service/Website and Reward It:
Fun Fact: According to the Daily Mail, over 24 billion selfies were uploaded alone in 2016 and I’m sure the number has grown exponentially since then. In fact, almost 50% of adults take at least one selfie a day. Now that you know this, why not use this information to your (buzz & sales building) advantage this holiday season and beyond!
Invite customers to post a selfie of themselves using/wearing/eating/taking part in your product, service – even your website – and incentivize this “ask” by rewarding them with a promotional code of some kind when they do! Don’t forget to tell them to tag your business in it, so they can let their followers know what they are using, and if you have a special hashtag you’d like to incorporate include that as well.
Create Your Own Easily Shoppable (and Creatively Titled) Gift Guides:
Let’s be real, we’re all overworked and overwhelmed as the year comes to a close, and we want someone else to do the gift list thinking and planning for us. Your customers are no different and if you can help guide them to the perfect gift for everyone on their list, they’ll reward you by shopping your offerings.
Here are some ways to really make this work: Create gift guides that you can house on your blog, on Pinterest, as well as via Facebook and Instagram graphics, and don’t forget to send these guides out over your newsletter as well. Bonus points if you can give these gift guides specific names and themes to help your customers out even more, for example, Must-Haves for Mother-in-Law, Gifts Under $50.00, Stocking Stuffers, Gifts for Pet Parents, and so forth.
Level Up: Create a Collaborative Gift Guide:
Want to guarantee double, triple, or more eyeballs get to see what you have to offer this holiday season and beyond?
Create the same shoppable gift guides we discussed in idea one, but fill them collaboratively by partnering with other business owners. These people don’t have to sell the same thing you do (and in fact, they probably shouldn’t) but they should serve a similar customer demographic. Oh yes, a jewelry brand, pet treat company, chocolate shop, and stationery store could all work together for gift guide success! Share them the same way (social media, newsletter, and blog) and get double or triple the visibility for what you have to offer!
Pull Back the Curtain on Your Business:
Sure, the inner workings of your business as the busy holiday season kicks off may not be exciting to you, but trust me, much of the outside world is curious and fascinated by small business owners and entrepreneurs like you. This idea asks you to capitalize on that! Invite your local TV or newspaper to come behind the scenes of your “small biz Santa’s workshop” to experience what it’s really like to create, build, box, send, fulfill, ALL THE THINGS. The key here is to make this newsworthy and interesting and not a commercial for your business. Perhaps you tell them you’ll actually show them how you make jewelry, dog treats, knit caps – you name it! Make it even more exciting by inviting a local anchor or reporter to participate in the process, and document it all for the entertainment and value of their audience!
Give Back and Get Buzz with Christmas Card Making Time with Your Local Youth:
Sometimes giving back doesn’t just deliver a reward in your heart, it delivers publicity and increased visibility in your community as well. I invite you to consider hosting some sort of holiday card creating session in a local classroom, via a local kids organization, or even in your own shop. The goal? Create Christmas cards for military abroad, or a local nursing home or hospital. Not only will you get the warm fuzzies and a reminder of what really matters, but you’ll connect your business with your local community, make new relationships, and perhaps even get a super heartwarming press story out of it when you share your plans with the local media.
Worst Gift Ever Contest:
YES, your offerings at your business could just be the best holiday gifts ever, but we all know we’ve also had some doozies left under the tree from time to time. This buzz building idea invites you to host a Worst Gift Ever contest, which can be hosted on social media, via your blog, or if you’re feeling extra inspired, via a partnership with a local TV station or newspaper. Prizes can include gifts from your brand, which emphasizes how amazing your gift options are. Not only does this have potential to be shared widely – especially if you ask people to vote on the winner – but you can boost that visibility even more if you partner with your local media to help judge the contest or announce the winners on air!
Help People Make Holiday Memories!
Are you a brick & mortar location? Offer more than just shopping at your store or restaurant, and instead make your business part of your customer’s family traditions by offering additional holiday activities. These can range from the simple (holiday card or ornament making stations for kids, hot cocoa or cider and snacks, carolers hired from a local college) to the more elaborate (photos with Santa, ice sculpture demonstrations, sleigh rides). Move beyond this being a shopping excursion to a holiday experience, offer on-sight discounts and photo mementos, and you’re sure to become a customer favorite for years to come!
They Shop & You Donate, Support a Local (or National) Charity:
These days more and more people want to know where their dollars are going, and they’ll appreciate it (and show it with their dollars) when they get “rewards points in their heart” for spending money on businesses that pay it forward. A big key in making this work is to be SURE people know that their purchase is supporting something bigger than their buy. Make sure it’s clear everywhere from your homepage and sales pages to your social media marketing and beyond. Remember, what we often think is obvious is missed by busy shoppers! Share that give-back you’re doing in multiple locations, repeatedly!
Join Buzz Building Forces on Email & Social Media:
Just as you can collaborate with parallel brands who share a similar customer demographic to create cross-promotional gift guides remember that you can join forces with brands like these to promote each other on social media and in newsletters. Try to make this more conversational and less sales-focused, as you introduce your current readers and followers to a business you think they will enjoy getting to know. Tell the story of the brands you’re sharing with them, focus on the value they deliver, and of course, include a promotional shopping code (a gift from you to your community) should they choose to dos some shopping with them!. Do you need to find some other businesses to partner with? You’re in luck! There are literally hundreds of other companies of all sizes and niches in the Press for Success Facebook Community, just waiting to connect with you!
Endear Yourself to On-Air Shopping Experts:
Sure, you can tell people your product or service is amazing all day long, but the power of a third party validation cannot be understated! One surefire way to build buzz and sales during the holiday season and truly, all year long, is to have your business and offerings showcased by an on-air expert. These are the ladies and gents who go on your favorite local and national television programs to host “tabletop shopping segments” and guide viewers in their shopping decisions. Grow a relationship with them and it’s a promotional gift that keeps on giving!
P.S. If you’re a member of our Press for Success All Access membership you can download our exclusive on-air shopping expert guide at any time and stop worrying about who they are and how to reach them, we did that thinking for you!
Give Shoppers a Post-Purchase Gift for Themselves AND Their Friends & Family:
The moments after someone has purchased from you their support of your brand and trust in what you have to offer is flying high! They are feeling so good about what your business has to offer that they are spending their money on it! Don’t let those good shopping vibes go to waste! Be sure your response email – especially during the holiday season – comes with a follow-up promotional code that encourages them to keep shopping. I also suggest you make this code share-able so they can pass it on to friends and family (who trust them and will thus be more likely to purchase). Feel free to put a time limit on these offer codes so they don’t last forever, and to create more of a sense of urgency! Finally – don’t bury these offerings at the bottom of a long email. Make sure it’s in a fresh, spotlighted email, or given prominence in your follow-up email to their sale!
12 Days of Discounts or Promotions:
Need an excuse to keep people coming back and shopping from you after the Black Friday sales season? Plan out a series of “12 Days of Discounts/Sales/Promotions” you can offer your customers that are creative, fun, and still give them plenty of time to purchase and send your gift before the holiday. Because each day’s offer will be fresh and new, this is also a strategic way to keep people tapped into your newsletter, blog, or social media – whatever platform you intend to deliver this juicy sales scoop! Be sure you incorporate a hashtag into this promotion to keep people organized and so that those who join later can track offers they may have missed!
Gift them Something Special BEYOND Your Products + An Excuse to Keep Returning To Your Site:
These days your customer experience and the work you put into building a relationship with the community you’re cultivating has to go beyond simply delivering them the purchase they paid for if you want a long-term relationship with them. I suggest giving them even more reasons to like you AND to get to know you.
Consider sharing a Curated Holiday Playlist, Holiday Conversation Starter Prompts (for potentially awkward family gatherings), heck even Printable Graphics like these from The Renegade Cupcake. Need another idea? Dec 18th is Bake Cookies Day! Provide your newsletter list, blog readers, and social media followers with your favorite holiday cookie recipe (and a photo of you with them). The “icing on the cookie” with all of these customized bonuses? A limited time shopping promotion code should they be feeling so connected to your business they’re moved to do some shopping!
Share Value-Packed Tips with Your Local Press Rooted in Your Industry or What You Do For a Living:
Shine a spotlight on your business while providing a service to readers or viewers by asking yourself, “What tips and advice could I offer people during the holiday season?” Could your business talk about how to lower heating bills, “healthify” your holiday recipes, how to wrap gifts like a pro? How to pick out jewelry for a loved one, or travel with your jewelry without ruining it and getting it all tangled? Could you share wisdom on keeping holiday spending low? Perfect breakfast in bed recipes to surprise busy moms? These are all press-worthy ideas that though not directly about your business, will shine a huge spotlight on it when you share them on-air, online, or in print!
Help Me, Help You, Buy My Products! Offer Free Personal Shopping Help & Advice:
Whether you sell your goods and services in person or via an online shop, the people visiting it probably need your advice and input more than you realize when it comes to purchasing a gift for the special people on their list. Help them shop your store! This can be done in person, via an electronic chatbox, or via a quick quiz or survey they fill out that guides them to the perfect gift. Remember, the more you do the thinking for them, the more they can make a successful and well-received purchase from your brand which will surely lead to more. BE SURE the “how to get help” from you isn’t hidden. This could mean you provide a Holiday Hotline phone number or email or post signs in your store offering free customized shopping advice!
Give Customers a Little Extra, Personalized Touch:
Sometimes a little gesture can go a long way! One simple plan to add holiday warmth and feel-good vibes to your offerings is by including the opportunity for customers to include a customized, handwritten message (like Hudson Henry Granola Does) or free gift wrapping to their delivery. This not only a sweet added touch, but it’s one less thing they have to worry about when gifting their loved ones. And let’s be real: If Plantogram who deliver fully grown plants and trees can deliver with a nice red gift bow, you can make it happen as well!
Make Your Store Instagram Worthy:
Create a fun window or lights display at your location, which will get passersby in the holiday spirit, show off your brand’s personality, and – BONUS POINTS – a solid window or light display will make your storefront Instagram worthy – which will, in turn, boost your business’s social media presence and real-life awareness! After all, who can resist a ‘grammable photo during the holiday season or anytime? Not only does this promote interaction with your store in person and online, but it may even make the news, adding to even more visibility for your business. Don’t think that can happen? Just look at this feature on the Cookie Cups store in Minnesota, and their holiday window displays!
Suggest Stocking Fillers, Secret Santa Gifts & Extra Add-Ons:
Remember that big ticket items aren’t the only things people are looking for when shopping. Don’t leave out reminders (on your website, in emails, plus on social media) of the lower priced items shoppers can add to their purchase for stocking fillers, Secret Santa buys, small hostess gifts and more! Not every customer will be thinking of these needs until it’s too late – or until you remind them you have them all ready for them!
Let the Local News Know How Your Business is Offering an Extra Special Kind of Gift:
Do you have special offerings at your business that is perfect to gift to military abroad, college students away from home, people with new babies at home – you name it! Could you create these offerings? If you have gifts to showcase that are out-of-the-box and of value, don’t let your story go unnoticed! Share it with the media (locally or nationally, depending on what you’re offering) and also include the story of this special offering on your blog or social media platforms.
Bite the Bullet and Offer Free Shipping:
I know you don’t like losing money on shipping, but is it really worth losing money from actual purchases? I can’t tell you how many items I’ve left in shopping carts never to buy again, because the shipping price simply did not make it worth it! Sometimes a small gesture can help someone make that final “yes, I’ll buy it” decision, and once you have acquired them as a customer, the possibilities for future purchases are endless!
Bundle Sales Items Together:
Let’s pretend I’m shopping for a gift for the dog lovers in my life from Leela Ryan Dog Biscuits (which I’ll be doing in real life as is). This is not only a perceived increase in value for me as a customer and an easy upgrade to swallow, but it lets me feel good inside about getting my mom, sister, friends – you name it – something a little extra for their dog OR a gift I can split between to sets of fur parents. The point is, once again if you help point customers towards a purchase (or bundle) by making it both helpful and valuable to them, they will be grateful, and so will your bottom line!
Ugly Christmas Sweaters All Around – Your Team + Your Customers all joining in the Fun:
What is Christmas without an Ugly Christmas Sweater, and what better way to personally connect with your brand community, show them your personality, and have fun with your team AND your customers by encouraging all of them to rock their Ugliest Christmas Sweaters for a photo? Share your own via your social media feeds, newsletters, your blog, and your website, and consider offering promotions or prizes for customers who do – and share – the same. Don’t forget to remind your customers and social media followers to tag your business in the post so you don’t miss out of them sharing the pic (and can reward them). You may even want to create a special hashtag for the series to tie them together – and back to your business!
“Digital Door Prizes”, Secret Sales, & Flash Sales for Your Followers on Social Media, Your Newsletter:
Give potential customers something special (for a limited time) that will encourage them to keep shopping with you and make them feel special. Even a door prize can be digital! Have a special bonus “door prize” gift for the first 10 purchases of the day. Offer your Twitter feed or newsletter readers a $20.00 gift code they can use at your online or brick and mortar store when shopping! It costs you nothing unless they go shopping, and incentives them to spend their money with YOU while honoring their commitment and engagement to and with your brand “family”
Take Your Customers (and Potential Customers) Behind the Scenes via InstaStory or Facebook Live and SHOW them the Holiday Magic at Your Business
Beyond a close up on some of your favorite gift options, show them your wrapping skills, the team making their gifts, the holiday cookies you’re giving out in-store, the new packaging gifts will be sent in, you name it! They don’t have to be fancy videos but they SHOULD be done visually and be easy to share across platforms. These videos have so many purposes! They will help you to connect, to educate, to inspire, to get people excited, and build more trust in your business than any savvy copy every will.
Prepare for the AFTER Holiday Shoppers & Sales:
I can still remember the days post-Christmas when my parents would drag us to the Lakeview Square Mall to return and exchange gifts, and we along with hundreds of others would undoubtedly be leaving with new purchases as well. For some who may be visiting family or friends after the “official” holidays have passed, they may even be doing some post-holiday shopping. Take advantage of this customer base and plan sales and marketing campaigns through the New Year.
Remember that there will be PLENTY of people shopping for themselves and others after December 26th, so do what you can to cater to them!
Do you have any go-to sales and marketing moves you’ll be making this holiday season? Share them in the comments below!