Sponsored by VISA Business:
There is no better time of year to invest in marketing and promotions than during the holiday season when people are already amenable to buying. You can boost your small business sales this holiday season with some creative thinking, but you should start planning now. Don’t wait until November to start putting together your holiday promotions or you’ll miss out on sales!
To help you get started, here are 10 holiday marketing promotions that you can use to boost your sales before the new year arrives.
1. Shipping Discounts
Free shipping isn’t the only kind of shipping discount that can boost sales. For example, offer discounts off of a minimum order price, so customers have to spend a specific amount of money in order to qualify for the shipping discount. You could also offer shipping discounts on multiple item orders or orders of specific items.
2. Flash Sale
Hold a big sale that lasts for a very short amount of time to drive a fast (flash) bump in sales. For example, hold an online flash sale for purchases made through your website. You could publish a Twitter update or Facebook post that announces the flash sale to your followers and tells them when to visit your site to take advantage of the discounts that will be available.
3. Private or Exclusive Sale (Preferred Customer Shopping Hours)
Hold a private or exclusive sale that is only offered to a specific group of people. For example, if you have a local customer email list, send them a message to let them know your store will stay open two hours later on a specific day for your best customers only with big discounts available. You can also offer preferred customer shopping hours as a special convenience without offering additional discounts.
4. New Year Price Increase Announcement
If you’re planning to increase your prices in the near future, schedule the increases to go into effect in January. This gives you the opportunity to create a sense of urgency in your holiday marketing messages and motivate customers to shop now before prices go up in the new year.
5. Bundled Offers
Do you sell products that could be bundled together into a single unit? For example, bath and body shops frequently bundle soap, shampoo, body spray, and more into a single gift basket. They sell the complete basket at a price that is discounted from what a customer would pay if each item were purchased individually. Bundling products can significantly increase the per-customer spending for your business during the holiday season.
6. Email Marketing
If you do any kind of email marketing, the holiday season is a perfect time to increase the number of email messages you send and to make sure the offers included in each email message are better than ever. Email inboxes are extremely cluttered with promotional messages during the holiday season, so you need to work harder than ever to motivate recipients to click through, read your offer, and make a purchase. However, a great offer can drive big results because people are actively looking for them during the holiday season.
7. Tie-in Promotions
Do you sell products that require another product to work? Do you sell products that are intrinsically related to one another? If so, offer discounts to people who purchase both items. To use the toy store example again, offer a discount on batteries to customers who purchase toys that require them. Using the bath and body store example again, offer a discount on conditioner when a customer purchases the matching shampoo.
8. BOGO Offers
There is no better time of year to hold a buy-one-get-one promotion than the holiday season, when people are not only buying for themselves but also for friends and family. For example, if a customer at a clothing store is purchasing a shirt for a friend that she really likes, and she learns there is a promotion going on where she can buy a second shirt for 50% off, she will be very motivated to make the additional purchase. When a person is buying for someone else, it can be hard to resist a great deal on products they want for themselves, too.
9. Impulse Item Displays
Have you ever shopped at a toy store during the holidays and noticed the well-stocked shelf of batteries? Not only should you keep your checkout area well stocked with impulse items, but also make sure you increase the number of tie-in products displayed near your cash register. Think of items your customers are likely to need but forget, and put them in their direct line of sight.
10. Pricing Promotions
Get creative with your pricing promotions and go beyond the typical 20% off sale. Instead, offer tiered discounts that encourage customers to spend more to get more off of their purchases. For example, offer 10% off a $100 purchase, 20% off a $150 purchase, and $25% off a $200 purchase. You can also encourage people to return to your store and buy even more by offering a discount off of their next purchase. For example, if a customer spends $100, they’ll receive $10 off of their next purchase. Set the expiration date for the gift card to December 31st to increase your sales in the current year, particularly when they might be back in your store for any necessary returns and exchanges for gifts they received.
The key to boosting sales during the holiday season is planning, creativity, and testing. You need to learn what motivates your target audience to take action, and then capitalize on promotions that drive those actions. Most importantly, you need to get started right now.
I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.