MARKETING & ADVERTISING • October 5, 2017
2 minutes Read
Staying connected with customers during the holidays is critical. U.S. consumers spent a record amount – over one trillion dollars – during the 2016 holiday season, and spending for 2017 is projected to be even higher. This fall, business owners should ensure they have a plan in place to communicate with customers in order to help drive new and repeat business. Here are some tips to consider implementing before the holiday season begins.
Plan Before Communicating. As a small business owner, your time is limited, and your resources must be allocated in the most efficient way possible. To make the most of your time, it’s vital to plan ahead and answer a few questions before embarking on any type of outreach to customers.
Define your audiences and rank them by importance. Which current customers do I need to keep happy and engaged? Which new audiences do I need to reach to expand my business?
Budget for the cost and the time necessary to implement any communications. What can I afford to spend on communications efforts? Should I consider a short-term loan to build my customer base during this crucial time? What will vendors (email distributors, social media advertisers, etc.) charge? Is my staff capable of managing communications (social posts, newsletter distribution, etc.)?
Take stock of your social media channels. Have my customers engaged with our business’ existing social media channels? How effective are current engagement levels? Do I have a social media content calendar specifically for the holiday season? Are there new channels I should be leveraging?
Identify potential third-party advocates/brand ambassadors. Are there any loyal/repeat customers I can feature in communications to promote the business?
Once you’ve taken the time to develop a communications plan for your business, you can start reaching customers by using the tactics below.
Launch an E-Newsletter Newsletters allow you to speak directly to customers. There are several services (SendinBlue, MailChimp, MailGet) that allow businesses to create and distribute newsletters easily and affordable. Newsletters should be tailored to include seasonal content. Holiday-specific content can be incorporated into the design of the newsletter and or the actual written content (e.g., holiday-related announcements including giveaways, sales, in-store events, etc.). Newsletters are an excellent way to stay connected to loyal customers, promote your business, and establish an ongoing regular communication that can last beyond the holidays.
Target with Facebook Today, many businesses utilize Facebook’s free pages feature to stay connected with customers. In addition to setting up a company page, you can up your game by working directly with Facebook to target potential customers. Facebook allows businesses to build custom ads that target by audience type, location, demographics, etc. When combined with a business page that consistently shares relevant content and interacts with customers, Facebook ads can be an extremely effective way to expand your customer base. You can learn more about Facebook’s ad offerings here.
Because the holiday season is such a critical time for small businesses – especially retailers – it is often necessary for owners to invest in their business by increasing staff, adding new in-store experiences or developing additional marketing materials. A short-term infusion of working capital from CAN Capital will help ensure that you have the resources in place to maximize profits during the holidays. If you are an existing CAN Capital customer, reach out to your renewal rep to see if you qualify for additional capital.