With the holidays around the corner and inflation prices in 2021 being through the roof, folks are looking for more and more ways to save. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that we always need to be making our products or services cheaper. Because I do believe in, you get what you paid for as well as, cheaper isn’t better. I have shunned from offering “discount” services because over the years, industry experts and business coaches say – we need to value ourselves to be perceived as valuable. If we think we are cheap, others will too.
So I say this to say, we shouldn’t always offer things at a discount in order to get services however, sometimes if you need a push, are trying to get in front of a new, bigger or better market, then maybe you could offer something for a discount. However, there are other ways you can market your business during the holidays, that you might have laxed on, or not thought of.
Marketing your business during holidays
Again, marketing anything does NOT mean it has to be cheap or free. Let’s recap what marketing is though.
What is marketing
Per the AMA – American Marketing Association – “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
So from the above, it is clear we need to offer value, so a great start would be to find out what your target market wants and needs and go after that. And obviously those even within your target market, they aren’t created equally, so you may need to cater to various audiences. And while they may want different messages, they also may want different offerings. I love margarita, some prefer wine – both are great options to the right market.
Making your plan
What if you just don’t know? Well, you just haven’t been listening to your audience. Or maybe you haven’t been talking to them. If that is the case, you might want to just throw the spaghetti at the wall and hope something sticks and then work on communicating with them and make a better plan for next year.
Once you have an idea of what they want, see what your competition is doing, do a little planning and finagling and then get to making that plan happen. Or if you are one of those fly by the seat of your pants type, pull it out of your rear and get it out there, and hope that continues to work for you.
So, I am not The Holiday Promo Guru, but wanted to offer some suggestions of things you could do.
What to offer your audience?
So, you have an idea, or maybe not, but let’s discuss some options that may work for you and maybe a few that might be standard, but a reminder on how to get it out there and market that idea.
Gift certificates or gift cards
Seems simple enough and doesn’t require a lot of rocket science. I think most folks love gift cards because it still tells someone you care, but you care enough for them to allow THEM to get something they want. This might be ideal for someone new in your life, that you aren’t quite sure WHAT they would want at the Wine Depot – but would love something there. By the way, if you can, create a nice gift certificate and mail or deliver to the recipient, that extra little touch goes a long way. Word has various templates you can use and play with too, and FREE.
Gift bundles or packages
Sometimes by putting a few items or services together, or offering multiple of one item, or several months of a service at a discounted price, the end result is the same. You are still getting that client but for more items or longer term and it might be an option to get a bit of a discount for the bigger paycheck.
Free or discounted shipping
Shipping prices are going up but if you can complete the purchase before a certain time, you might be able to get into that better pricing yourself. So it might be worth the loss, for the sure thing. I found Pirate Shipping when I was doing a side hustle and found their pricing to ALWAYS be better than the USPS but also way more convenient. It isn’t an affiliate link, so I am shamelessly plugging them for YOUR benefit (how’s THAT for a gift – from me to you 🙂 )
Complimentary business partners
Speaking of referrals, do you have a complimentary business online or maybe a nearby business that you can bundle your products or services together or share product to make one complete gift? That might be an option as well. Like a chiropractor and massage therapist, you get the idea.
Pair up with a charity.
And to spin off the above, partner with a local or online charity that you would love to support. Folks love doing things where others can benefit as well. Find a charity and either have a % of the proceeds go to them directly from the purchase or from you at the end of the sale.
Holiday themed offering
Think outside of the box. Is there something that you may never have offered, used to offer and don’t any longer, or something that is kind of fun for the holidays that you may just want to offer only the holidays? I’m not a chef but maybe cooking a meal or baking for someone would be fun. (I won’t be putting that out on social media but hey, it would be fun, for a SHORT time, and extra $) What about creating social media graphics in a bundle for others to use for the holidays. I used to do social media and wouldn’t want to go back to it, but creating graphics was fun, I just wouldn’t want to do it forever. So, if you are interested, let me know… but again, likely won’t be promoting that either. lol
Early bird specials, raffles and contests
There are various offers, specials, raffles and contests that can be had that are fun and profitable. Again, you may have the think outside of the box to come up with something, but again, remember this may only be for the holidays so it may not be 100% aligned with your business.
So now that you have some ideas, now what? You need to put it out there. Just putting it on your website is NOT going to be enough. You have to shout it from a mountain!
Reminders to marketing your specials
Well, just creating doesn’t mean they will come. That only worked for Kevin Costner – Build it and They Will Come. (My blog on that). But you still have to do the work. Same “old fashioned” ways still work!
Typical marketing means
- Social media – you can share your specials on social media. In fact, you should be creating excitement for it, before you push it live.
- Loyalty – or you can push it out to your loyal customer base first and give them first dibs or better dibs
- Email marketing – remember this piece of gold. Folks will not go seek your website out, they will not head to your social media profiles to see if you are doing some special but if you are running ads and you have your targeting set up correctly, they may see it. Otherwise, you need to LAND in their inbox.
- Paid ads – search engines are busy, one way to jump to the top in a day, is to pay to be there. We all know the only way to have a business seen on Facebook is to run ads. When was the last time your saw an organic business Facebook post…… crickets….. EXACTLY!
Few additional parting notes
Emotion & Stories
Don’t forget to appeal to their emotion with stories. Just saying hey, buy this, may win the sale… but if you can pull their heart strings or answer a pain they have with a story you had and why you bought into it… total win.
Create a sense of urgency. You must buy by X date to get this super special. If they think it will be there forever, they may wait that long.. and well, we know how this plays out, it doesn’t!
Sometimes folks don’t know what they need or what they want to give. Help tell a story (above) and create a bundle (above) or gift that will be the perfect solution for someone or a business. Sometimes when you offer too many options, they don’t what to pick or get. Remember KISS – keep it simple stupid.
Hey, it can’t hurt to try a few things for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas countdowns and gift giving. But if you never try, you will never know. And this way, you will know better for next year.
Hope this has been helpful and be on the look out for my specials for this business and for my other business, Women Training Firearms with Kristen.
Contact me with any questions, how I can help your business growth!
Meghan Monaghan says
Wow, you provided a ton of helpful information about marketing and promoting with a holiday sale! Your examples/suggestions really get the creative sparks flying. The holidays are a huge opportunity for selling, and small businesses need to use them to their advantage. Planning ahead is critical but often seems to be the hardest part!
Kristen Day says
Thank you… and yes, planning or starting early is always the hardest part as small biz owners, always have plenty to do and we rarely start with us first. Thank you for jumping in Meghan, always appreciate your insight.