Here are some holiday marketing tips you can implement for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and the entire holiday season.
These ideas come from some of the best organizations that serve small business. We were invited to participate in a Twitter Chat hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration, along with AMEX Shop Small, SCORE, Google Small Business, Square, Ebay, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), and more.
In this post, we’ve compiled some holiday marketing tips that you can implement in your business right away. You’ll also find direct links to valuable free resources for your business. See all of the tips and resources offered during the chat by searching the #SBAchat hashtag on Twitter.
Q1: What should small businesses know about shoppers this year?
There were some great answers to this opening question. Our answer: Consumers will research their purchases even more this year. Make it easy for them to do that on your website.
@SCOREMentors tweeted that 40% of consumers will start their shopping in November – and Cyber Monday 2017 will be the largest online shopping day in history. They also posted a link to 2017 holiday shopping trends: How consumers plan to research & purchase gifts this season, from Marketing Land.
We also really liked this advice from John Westra: This years shoppers want to find & vet you first online! Make sure your Google & other Social Media is up to date. Ideally, include #360 Photos/Video to get people visually engaged!
Q2: What are some inexpensive holiday marketing tips?
We suggest that you email your list frequently. Most small businesses don’t email often enough!
Several participants pointed to opportunity to customize and download free #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat marketing materials in the AMEX Shop Small Studio.
Nicole Reyhle of @RetailMinded shared this 10 point checklist of ways for small businesses to get prepared for the holidays.
@BPlans suggested throwing an in-store event or donating to a charity or cause. They also provided a list of 5 great small business marketing ideas for every holiday.
Q3: How can small businesses use social media to get customers in the door?
We recommend that you have offers ( like coupons to use in store) just for your social media followers to reward them.
Constant Contact said to think about using things like Facebook events, or Twitter’s advanced search functionalities. Here’s a link to their post 3 Ways to Reach More Customers with Social Media this Holiday Season.
FlipSwitch Consulting Group posted that offering incentives for check-ins, shares, and other simple tactics are easy ways, and inexpensive ways, for small business to increase traffic through their door.
Intuit shared a link to their resource center with some tips and tricks for your small business to grow its presence.
Q4: How can non-retail businesses take advantage of the holidays?
The holidays were an off-season for one of the businesses George owned. He would use this time to get his marketing ready for the company’s busy season.
New York SBCD asked, can you make your customers’ lives easier? Remind them of how you can help during this fun/festive/crazy season.
Seven Social Media said to turn your service into the perfect gift. Gift giving comes in multiple forms. Let someone buy consultation or a custom service package or a trial of whatever you offer as a gift to someone. This works great for B2C or B2B businesses.
Several participants reminded business owners that the holiday season is a great time to thank your customers.
Q5: Small Business Saturday is November 25th What should small businesses know?
We reminded small business owners that your customers want discounts and promotions from you. Make sure to let them know early and often and give them incentives to share.
Small Business Majority and Paychex offered some interesting statistics: More than 480 organizations joined the Small Business Saturday Coalition, a 13% increase over last year; A record 112M customers shopped small on Small Business Saturday in 2016.
Jonathan Termeer made this great observation that everyone has a phone and they’ll likely use it at least ONCE while in your store. Take advantage of that and inspire engagement.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is a co-sponsor of Small Business Saturday. Find holiday marketing tips on the SBA website.
Q6: How can small businesses get first time customers back after the holidays?
Our answer is to get them signed up on a “First Time Customer” list and hit them up with great offers after the holidays.
My Corporation says to follow up! Encourage customers to share their experience with you and leave behind reviews. Share your social media handles so they can follow you too!
America’s SBCD recommends that you request product/service reviews and reward those that submit or refer you.
Go Canvas stressed that you should use mobile tech to collect and move data faster into your outreach and CRM tools. Create time-boxed discounts and offers for folks to drive repeat purchases.
Q7: Where can small businesses go to find more resources?
This one brought out the grand finale of holiday marketing help.
We recommended checking out out these 44 resources for entrepreneurs.
Business Administration Information has articles that offer marketing, finance and technology tips.
The National Retail Federation has the 2017 Retail Holiday Planning Handbook for more insight into shopping trends this season.
Square has a Town Square Business Resource Center, which has great educational information and resources for small business owners to use all year long.
Be sure to follow @SBAgov, @ASBDC, #SBAchat on Twitter
Your local SBA, SBDC, and Chamber serve as great resources and support for your business too.
We hope these holiday marketing tips and resources help your business thrive this season!