Guest Article by Karina Martinez, Founder & CEO, avana creative

The holidays can be some of the best and most stressful times for small businesses. For many, it’s the one consistent month that never lets us down. For others, it’s the saving grace for the slower months. This means your marketing needs to get your business in front of consumers who are looking for a brand like yours to spread the holiday cheer!

In the current pandemic context, online shopping has reached an ultimate high with up to 50% of US adults saying they are now buying more online than before. To make the most of this opportunity, you’ll need to ensure you have a solid plan in place for the holiday.

How to prepare: 

Before going live with any sale, deal, or campaign, make sure to thoroughly audit of all of your digital assets. It seems silly, but this is a critical error that a lot of small businesses overlook. Is your inventory of items for sale up to date? Does your checkout method for order payments work? Are your holiday hours updated on all platforms (Yelp, Google, Social Media)?

Key Marketing Strategies to Boost Visibility:

  1. Build urgency: Nothing entices customers more to buy something than thinking it’s going to run out of stock. Pick your highest margin items or best sellers and create a limited sale to play to that dynamic.
  2. Utilize Reels and Videos: Don’t overthink your content – just go for it! Things like Instagram Reels and videos are currently getting the most engagement, so be sure to incorporate them into your content. Unfamiliar with Instagram Reels? Click here for a brief tutorial.
  3. Join a Facebook group: These days, there are Facebook groups for everything. Find one or two that align with your target demographic. It’s a great way to promote your business to a hyper-aligned group. However, make sure it’s done tastefully, as many have rules around promotions!
  4. Exclusive member sales: Create exclusive deals that only your subscribed customers have access to. This could mean secret discount codes that are sent only to your email list. Add this to your checkout window: ‘Want to save 15%? Get the exclusive code now!’

Thinking Ahead: 

It’s easy to forget that seasonal sales are not the only benefits holiday marketing can bring. Holidays also offer other important opportunities for your business, such as:

  1. Building brand loyalty: Ensure that you capture valuable information from them, like their email or phone number. After a customer makes a purchase, follow up with them and ask for genuine feedback or a review on the product. It’s important to build that relationship with them so they shop with your business outside of the holiday
  2. Ensuring a future sale: Capitalize on the encounter with the customer and create incentives to come back. This could include a future discount code or gift card that only works during a set time frame (ideally after the holidays) or create a small loyalty program that includes future deals.

Remember, more opportunity also means more competition, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. There are lots of free and inexpensive ways to win this holiday season. Most importantly, have fun with it and stay authentic to your brand!