With a few big holidays around the corner and a pandemic that is changing the way consumers spend, small business owners need to start thinking about updating their holiday marketing strategies. A recent report from Google provided some interesting insights on consumer behaviors that can serve as a helpful guide to understand how the market is evolving during COVID-19. Here are three important highlights from that report:
- More consumers are shopping online for the first time, and for products they would normally buy in-store.
- Shoppers expect new contactless ways to make every type of purchase.
- With consumer sentiment low, shoppers are more value-conscious than ever before.
With that information in hand, here are five marketing strategies to help you energize your clients to buy from your small business. If you have a product or service that can be sold online, it will be worth the investment to try these out.
Pro Tip #1 – Ask for referrals! Never underestimate the power of a satisfied client. A referral is one of the most effective ways to grow a small business. If you do not normally ask for referrals, now may be the time. It is much easier to build a client base from clients who already buy from you than to try to attract new customers. Make sure to thank each and every referral properly — thank-you notes go a long way!
Pro Tip #2 – Offer a seasonal freebie or waive certain fees for first-time buyers. This strategy is an excellent way to draw attention to your business because everyone loves a good freebie. Think about something you can offer that will not cost you an arm and a leg to offer. You will want to be sure you calculate correctly what you can offer, especially if it is a product or service that requires time. Digital products like e-books and e-courses are great because you create them once and they can be reused over and over again. The best kind of freebies complement a purchase.
Pro Tip #3 – Giveaway contests get people excited! A giveaway campaign done right can boost your social media following and sales. To do this effectively, think about your goals: What are you giving away? When will the giveaway end? You will want to make these decisions early. Make sure your giveaway contest is easy to enter as they are meant to be fun. Promote within your current email list and design a simple landing page for people to learn more. You may want to partner with some influencers to help you get the word out on all your social media channels. There are different ways to set up a social media giveaway campaign — you can ask your followers to leave a comment or caption on one of your posts, tag friends and encourage others to repost.
Pro Tip #4 – Reward customer loyalty with discounts. If you happen to sell a product or service with repeat customers, then you are in the best position to make this strategy work for you. Setting up an online loyalty program is easy and there are many digital platforms to help you keep track of purchases with customizable reward programs such as TapMango, Kangaroo Rewards, and FiveStars. Think of your loyalty program as an extra layer of appreciation for the purchase.
Pro Tip #5 – Invest in your digital presence and create engaging content. With the explosion of social media influencers on many platforms, it seems like there is more noise to compete with online. However, what separates the good from the great is the value you provide offline and online. Your digital presence should include online business listings, a solid website, an informative newsletter and engaging social media profiles. These tools are your secret weapon to an effective marketing strategy.
Bonus Pro Tip – Give back to your community. Supporting a good cause, especially during COVID-19, is always a good investment. Helping a cause you care personally about will expose you to new groups and open you to new branding opportunities. Think about sponsoring an event, project or cause. Yes, you are getting marketing out of it. But now is a better time to give than any other time. Your customers will remember how you go above and beyond your business to help your community as well.
Try to focus your marketing strategy by understanding what your customers want and need. The months leading up to the holiday season are filled with uncertainty, but as a small business, you can do something about that. The pandemic has shifted the mindsets of many consumers to support local small businesses. Updating your marketing strategy will ensure the right people know about your great product or service and how you are ready to take care of them.
EDGAR RAFAEL OLIVO is a bilingual business educator, economic advisor and contributor for several media outlets. He’s a nonprofit executive who is passionate about education. He is certified in finance and data analytics and holds a business degree from Arizona State University.
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