It’s the first of December and the end of the year is in sight. If you’re in retail, restaurants or a local service provider, you know that it’s crunch time for holiday sales and promotions. If you haven’t thought about yet, it is time!

We’ve put together some short-term things you can do to boost your marketing efforts through the holiday season. Stay tuned for other long-term marketing ideas too.

1. Update Your Google My Business Page

Hopefully, you’ve claimed this page already. If not, then that is step one. You can learn that here.

From your Google My Business admin you can update pictures, update holiday hours, and (NEW) you can add posts from your local business page. Yes, post right from your Google Business Page. It stays visible for 7 days, so post there regularly! Also, check out your stats on visits, calls, and clicks for directions on your page – always good info to know.

Adding holiday specials as images and posts will help your visibility today.

2. Email Marketing

Using your email list (again, hopefully, you have this already), plan out emails to your database. Depending on your business, this could be weekly or a few times a month. Plan it out and include things like:

  • Specials
  • Exclusive offer for email subscribers
  • Featured products – that make great gift giving ideas
  • Remind them of holiday hours

3. Run a Google Adwords Campaign

This will help you generate immediate visibility and traffic for your business through paid search advertising. If you’re not showing up organically, you can pay to show up in Google searches. It’s important to focus on keywords and ads that generate revenue for you – not just informational inquiries, this is the time to be generating sales, right? Note, Adwords or Pay-Per-Click advertising can be an expensive lesson.  If you’re not sure how to do it, don’t go it alone.

4. Holiday Themed Event or Open House

Host a holiday open house or event to build excitement with your customers and prospects. Everyone is busy this time of year, so make it something they wouldn’t want to miss. This can include:

  • Food & drinks
  • Exclusive in-house specials on products or gift cards
  • Complimentary gift wrapping (get your friends and some volunteers to help with this)
  • Extended hours – early or late, or heck even a lunchtime special so people can get out during their lunch hour, have a bite to eat at your business and get some shopping done

5. Hold a Contest or Offer Exclusive Specials

Have a drawing for a holiday gift basket drawing or gift card. You could also have gift card bonus, which is pretty popular these days. For anyone who shops or makes a purchase before Christmas, enter them into the drawing. If you go the gift basket route, add in some candy, coffee or other local goodies to make it extra special. Heck, you might even get complimentary businesses to give you an item or two to include because it helps them too.

6. Run a 12 Days of Christmas Promo

Feature certain products or services for 12 days leading up to Christmas. This can be done through social media, email, on your website or via handouts in the store. Get creative with this and have some fun. You’ll want to stand out this season.

7. Create Special Offers for Post-Holiday Shopping

Plan ahead for after the holidays where you’ll want to move merchandise and fill you registers for the likely slower months ahead. Be careful not to hand out too soon or people might just wait, but having a bag stuffer or handout with the post-holiday clearance sale can get them back in to shop again.

*Use holiday shoppers to build your email list too. So you can email them about the post-holiday specials and sales right after the holiday. Have a sign up at your register, on your website, and option in any contest entry form.

8. Keep Your Website Current

If you’re a retailer or restaurant you know your windows, front of house and customer areas are critical to their experience. This is exactly how you should treat your website – it is the front of your building, your store windows, your dining room tables. If you don’t keep it fresh, clean, current and up to date you can be turning people away and not even know it!

Take some time to look at your website and update the homepage. Make sure any news articles, blogs or specials are in the last month (if not more recent). People don’t want to see anything from spring or summer when they’re in the holiday spirit.

Most Importantly, Do Something!

These are just a few quick-hitting ideas that you can implement almost immediately. And, they don’t take a ton of time or money, because we know you’re busy too! Check out some of our favorite no or low-cost marketing tools that can make this easier for you.

There is no shortage of great ideas and holiday marketing tips from sources all across the web. Our suggestion is to select 1 or 2 that you can do today or tomorrow and get those going. Note others that you’d like to consider once those are complete.

  • The most important thing is to do something you’re confident will work to boost sales.
  • And try something a little outside your comfort zone to test new ideas and learn.
  • Keep good notes and records so you can review it after the busy season, and have an even stronger plan for 2018.

If you have questions on how to do any of these items or want a little help, let us know. We’d be happy to help you have the best holiday season ever!

Happy Holiday Marketing to you!