The holiday season is quickly approaching and customers are excited to shop for gifts and celebrate the season in style. To capture those dollars, it’s important to market your business. If you’re not sure where to start with DIYing your holiday marketing for your small business, we’ve got some great information for you. We asked the experts, and they delivered some simple, affordable ways you can DIY your holiday marketing and grow your small business.
Offer Holiday Promotions
A great way for your small business to DIY your holiday marketing is to offer customers a holiday promotion. Roberto Torres, founder of The Local Marketer, suggests holding a raffle or offering a promotion. To advertise your giveaway, he suggests using a free tool like Google My Business. When you use this tool, your “posts will reach local consumers looking for holiday gifts,” says Torres.
With holiday sales around Black Friday and Cyber Monday both expected to top $10 billion this year, you’ll want to be prepared to capture a slice of the pie by offering your customers holiday sales and promotions.
Strategically Design Your Website
If you’re planning to market your business yourself this holiday season, one of the best things you can do for your business is to update and optimize your website. Natalia from Green Studio Marketing suggests that to strategically design your website, you want opt-ins and funnels everywhere. “This way, you'll make sure that every single first-time visitor that lands on your website is directed straight to your email list where you'll have an optimized flow to convert them from cold traffic into warm leads and possible buyers,” says Natalia. “Investing in optimizing your website and funnels is the foundation of a solid marketing strategy that will allow you to grow in the long run.”
A well-designed website will help your potential customers to find what they’re looking for and easily make a purchase from your business.
Not only that, don't forget your page speed — it will be especially important when holiday shoppers come to your site to shop. "A slow-loading website negatively affects your chance of making a conversion. Studies have shown that 25 percent of visitors will leave a website if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load," shares Rhett Doolittle, CEO and founder of Business Warrior.
Network with Other Small Business Owners
One thing that many small business owners forget is that other small business owners are your best ally. Whether you’re running a promotion that you’d like for them to share or just have a business question you need help answering, other small business owners are a great resource.
If you’re looking to connect with small business owners in your area, Torres suggests, “reach out and connect with other business owners on Alignable. Alignable is community-focused, so be careful not to sell, but just make them aware of your plans and invite others to join.”
He also suggests that your holiday marketing efforts can be coordinated with other business owners. For example, you could hold a scavenger hunt to incentivize customers to visit local businesses.
Up Your Automated Marketing Email Game
When you’re operating on a tight budget, it’s important to use all of the tools you already have. One of those tools: email marketing. “Small businesses looking to increase their holiday sales without increasing their budgets should focus on maximizing the value of their automated marketing emails,” says Gregory Zakowicz, senior marketing expert at Omnisend. “Last November, 27 percent of all email marketing orders came from automated emails. This year, the number jumped to 32 percent.
Still not convinced automated marketing email work? Zakowicz goes on to say, “more specifically, four messages — welcome, cart, product and browse abandonment — accounted for 95 percent of all automated orders on Black Friday and 91 percent on Cyber Monday. By focusing on implementing and optimizing these messages, businesses can take full advantage of the consumer-preferred opt-in marketing channel this holiday season.”
Email marketing can be done on a budget, even for the smallest businesses. If you do invest in email marketing tools, be sure to use them to their fullest potential by setting up strong automated marketing emails.
Tell Your Story
For many small business owners, marketing and sales can feel uncomfortable. You want people to like your products and want to buy them, but not to be pushy or salesy.
“Selling in a saturated market is hard,” says Natalia. “My recommendation would be to start selling without being salesy and thread the needle with ethical storytelling. Talk about consumerism and how your brand can add value to a client's life while encouraging them to shop but to make smarter choices. Less is more in life and in marketing. Finding that balance in your storytelling can help you sound less pushy and more intentional. After all, we all make emotional decisions.”
Your authentic brand story is what entices customers to your business. Your high-quality products are what keep them coming back for more.
Highlight the Value You Offer Your Customers
When it comes to marketing, your goal is to show customers how you can solve their problems, address their pain points, and add value to their lives. “Focus on your value-adds and what matters to your customers this time of year,” says Zakowicz.
Zakowicz has a few ideas for how you can offer additional value to your customers this holiday season. He suggests:
"Extended your return policies. There is a lot of gift-giving, and with people buying earlier than ever, shoppers look for friendly return policies. Extending these to 60 days or longer can have a big impact.
Free returns. Like with extended returns, shoppers want to feel comfortable knowing that if there is an issue with their order, it will not cost them extra.
Satisfaction guarantees. If you offer price-matching or 100 percent satisfaction, promote it.
Free shipping and threshold. Free shipping is one of the closest things to table-stakes ecommerce businesses have. If you offer it, even with a threshold, promote it in your messaging — especially in your abandoned cart emails."
One of the most powerful ways to market your business is by showing customers how you can benefit them and make their lives easier. This is especially true at the holidays when everyone’s life is a little busier and more stressful.
Research Your Competitors
If you’re looking for even more ideas for marketing your small business this holiday season, your competitors can be a wonderful source of inspiration. “Do your best to learn from your competitors,” says Doolittle. “If you can assess what worked and what didn't for your competitors, you can use this knowledge to create more value for your own business.”
Looking to your competitors for ideas is also a great way to get to know who your competitors are and get an even deeper understanding of your local market. This knowledge will be helpful year-round for your marketing needs.
As a small business owner, it’s important to plan ahead and take your holiday marketing efforts seriously. If you’re planning to DIY your holiday marketing this year, be sure to take these expert tips under consideration to help you attract customers to your business and have a profitable end to your year.
Page is a freelance content marketing writer with experience writing about small business, the future of the workplace and health. She also operates a weekly email newsletter where she shares advice on living an authentic, intentional life. When not writing, you can find Page traveling, fostering older cats and working as a sexual assault advocate.