When November hits, business is way past the ghosts and goblins of October. And while Halloween may truly be the best holiday of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas aren’t half bad either. Small businesses can use the holiday lineup to generate excitement and to drive sales, but, like the Cleveland Browns dreaming of a Super Bowl win, without a game plan, it’s likely a long, hard, and unrealistic goal.

Hurtful, but truthful, yet we are in the fourth quarter, so let’s talk tactics.

For small businesses, the issue is foot traffic, and whether you are an online business, a service provider or a retail store, getting eyes and hands-on products and services is the best way to generate sales. We know that the holiday season is a time to buy, and we know a percentage of your visitors will become customers, so let’s get in front of them.

There are four places to ready for customers: Email, Social Media, In-Store and Online

Email is often overlooked in today’s digital marketing, but emails serve a number of purposes. First, they re-engage your existing customer base. When shoppers are planning their family outings they think about where they want to look. If Santa’s Parental Helper is headed to Costco, Target, Toys ‘R’ Us and GameStop, but not main street, what does that mean for you? It means they don’t have recall when it comes to your business and you are likely to get random visitors rather than intentional shoppers. So, continue to add visitors to your email list, and plan a campaign with three or more emails reminding them of your seasonal events and discounts.

Social Media is a great place to spread your message. On Twitter and Instagram, the use of hashtags helps you get in front of people who’ve never heard of you before. Build your followers through engaging content. As you take down Halloween and put up hearth and home styled decorations, get some candid snaps and put them out into the world. Nothing is better than the personal touch. That’s why you started your business in the first place, right? So you could serve your customers without the opacity and hierarchy of a corporation, so make it personal!

In Store display and visual merchandising make or break the experience. Trend reports over the past decade have reiterated this message: customers are looking for great experiences. When they are having fun and engaging with one another in a dynamic space they enjoy themselves and are ready to buy. Even service providers can set up an open house, invite people in, source referrals and email contacts and present their offer in compelling ways. Even get creative about what “in store” means by creating a pop-up location in an area with high foot traffic. The goal is to delight and surprise. Follow the trend of Whole Foods who based the way they cluster products off of the public bazaar. Cluster products on displays to show how to mix and match, order the store to encourage browsing, and be sure to display products for easy access.

Your Online experience can also match the holidays. Use your websites banner area to customize your look for the season. Very often, all you need to do is size an image and upload it through your content management system. Add to that graphics that highlight your product or service, demonstrating its use, application, and benefit during the season. Insurance? Start the year off right. Doctor? Treat that sore throat after your dance under the mistletoe. Everyone can cultivate creative messages to engage their audience and promote recall. Find sections and spaces on your website where you can update the message and the offer throughout the season.

Now We Get to a Pressing Question: What to offer?

Promotions have a potential for high impact:
Free gifts – Generate early foot traffic by offering an attractive item, “while supplies last” or offer something of lesser value throughout the day. Discounts go a long way to increase the total spend. Either offer a blanket discount like 20% off all new in-store items to increase velocity and decrease holding costs, or to drive future visits, offer a percentage off your next purchase. Another approach is to provide added services or experiences complementary cookies while you shop, a fashion show or product demonstration in the store and a free gift-wrapping station. Anything that enhances the experience and makes it easier for customers can have a powerful impact on engagement.

No matter what you do, make it a great holiday season.

Green Vine Marketing provides integrated digital marketing services to rock your holiday season. Connect with us today, and we’ll send you a free marketing assessment of your online media, directly from the elves in our secret workshop.