Despite predictions of a trimmed down holiday spending season, in true entrepreneurial fashion small businesses owners are fighting back with holiday online marketing plans that may help them become the business sector that leads us on our way to economic recovery.
In its 4th Annual Small Business Holiday Outlook survey, Constant Contact found that 76 percent of its customers are planning a holiday promotion. That’s an increase of 62 percent over last year. Most interesting, those surveyed are looking at predominantly online marketing techniques to help with their holiday promotion.
Given this increase in Web-based tactics, here are some inexpensive, tactical online marketing techniques that small businesses can use to get noticed, attract repeat customers, and boost new sales.
Beef up your customer support – Before you start any new holiday marketing venture, it’s absolutely vital that your customer support processes operate efficiently. Proactive measures such as e-mail marketing campaigns and displaying customer reviews on your Web site can help increase your consumer trust. But, if the staff and infrastructure are not in place, you’re wasting your time. Consider hiring a few temporary holiday staff to help you keep things running smoothly. Be sure to comply with Fair Labor Standards if you do.
Get your Web site ready for the holidays – If you operate an online business here are some simple ideas for prepping your site for the season:
- Decorate your Web site. It’s a simple, often overlooked, tactic that adds a human touch to your operations and makes online shopping that much warmer and inviting for the consumer. A quick approach is to take a leaf out of Google’s book, and pay a graphic designer to decorate your logo; it won’t cost much and can be reused each year.
- Add seasonal specials to the first fold of your homepage.
- Check that all of your online merchant tools are working properly. There is no surer way to lose a customer than broken links.
E-mail, e-mail, e-mail – This is the most important time to remember your existing customers. E-mail marketing is inexpensive and easily handled in-house. Don’t forget that online marketing is regulated, so whatever tactics you employ be sure to follow government guidelines that apply to list management, SPAM, and other rules of the road.
Here are some holiday e-mail tips:
- Keep the e-mail short, sweet and with direct links to your promotional offers rather than the home page. You want to make the process as easy as possible for your prospects.
- Clearly state the benefits in the email subject line, like “Buy One, Get Another Half Off”, although be careful that you’re not including SPAM-filter words like “Free”.
- Segment your customers according to their buying habits. Most e-mail list management programs such as Constant Contact and Mailchimp have a variety of tools that can help you make sure your readers only get messages that are relevant to them.
- Be festive in your design. After all, it’s the holidays.