Typically, we’d be writing a blog in October to help people prepare for the holiday marketing season, but 2020 has been anything but typical! For many small businesses, they’ve pondered delaying or skipping holiday marketing altogether, but there are a few small business holiday marketing fundamentals you can and should follow to keep your holiday message in front of prospects this year.

Know your target audience

consistent marketing messageAccording to an article by Adobe, consumers are looking for a sense of normalcy this holiday season, and most of them have stashed away the budget to help. Three-quarters of shoppers are keeping with their holiday traditions and will be buying gifts this year, according to the study. Look at your service or product and see if your messaging has been consistent throughout the year. If your target audience has been aware of your small business and what you have to offer all during the pandemic, you stand a better chance of earning their business during the holiday season if your product or services are geared towards that. Just entering the market as a new brand? You may have a tougher time. Only one out of five shoppers say they’ll purchase from a new brand. This is half of what we saw in 2019.

Keep your marketing efforts diversified

keep your marketing message diversifiedAs small business marketing consultants, we’ve always encouraged our clients to pursue multiple channels for their marketing, and this challenging year definitely supports continuing to do this. Why? The consumption of information has changed drastically this year, and many consumers are experiencing fatigue of messaging, especially following election season, on several of the more traditional digital marketing channels such as social media and email marketing. That definitely doesn’t mean you should abandon these workhorses of marketing; they still bring top results for marketers. However, it’s a good idea to diversify where your message is being seen. Try a comprehensive strategy of email, social media, paid ads, and video marketing. That helps keep your marketing message in front of a large audience without risking that one channel or another is losing momentum.

Be willing to make a deal

special offer2020 has been exceedingly rough on consumers and businesses alike, so whether you’re a B2B company or a B2C company, you need to be open to enticing prospects through a good deal. Depending on the service or product you offer, that could be rewarding repeat business from your customers with a special discount or luring in new clients with freebies or other incentives. While people may have socked away money to spend this holiday, it doesn’t mean they aren’t going to shop for the absolute best deal, so be flexible in what you’re willing to offer to retain or grow your business over the holidays.

Give your customers a digital option for doing business with you

buy onlineSocial distancing isn’t going anywhere soon, so the easier you can make it for customers to do business with you virtually, the more likely you’ll garner more holiday sales. While that may not be 100% possible for all businesses, even moving some components of the purchase process to a digital format can help. While you may not be ready, for example, to set up an online store, find a way for people to see what you have, and be able to place orders by email or other digital options. Be sure you are using the path of least resistance for a customer to find something they like and complete that purchase with you online. Businesses that are brick and mortar only will find holiday sales a bit more challenging this year as shoppers avoid in-person contact.

Keep marketing!

Don’t let the holidays tempt you to take a break from marketing. We know it is tempting to just hunker down and wait for all of “this” to blow over, but don’t!  There’s a good chance your competitors aren’t slowing down, which means they could easily overtake you in online presence, social media engagement, etc. Even if your business is in a position to not depend on holiday sales, consistent messaging is key to long-term marketing success, so keep your message out there and stay in front of both your customers and prospects.

Planning your small business holiday marketing may have its challenges this year, especially if you’re off to a late start, but following a few of these suggestions can help your small business get through the holidays and open you up to a promising 2021!

Patty Hughes
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