If you are like most small businesses, you are heading into your busiest time of the year. As customers look for holiday gifts, it's important to remind them about your business, so that when you have what they are looking for, they shop with you. After all, it's easy for customers to run to a faceless big box store and get a lot of generic gifts. It's up to you to make it just as easy to shop with you. The bonus is that your personal attention will help customers find exactly the right gift, increasing both customer satisfaction and repeat business.
But this all happens when customers are aware of you. So this period is critical. What you do now will determine whether or not customers think of you when shopping for holiday gifts. Here are some tips to get yourself in front of customers and remind them that you're there:
- ADVERTISE - Even if you don't advertise at any other time of the year, it makes a lot of sense to advertise when the holiday season comes around. And thanks to online tools, there are many inexpensive options at your disposal. Check out local publications, and form alliances with local businesses to cross-promote. Just remember that you must use the Vessel Independent Stylist logo on all materials.
- SPONSOR - At this time of year, many communities hold many special events, and they often look for businesses to help offset the costs of these events. In return, your business is featured in literature about the event. Take some time to identify special events in your area, and sponsor a few. It's a great way to promote awareness of your business.
- HOLIDAY FAIRS - Vendor events are another great way to promote awareness of your business. Although you may not make a lot of sales, these can be an excellent way to get contact information that allows you to market more directly to potential customers and prospects. So get a table at a few holiday events to build awareness and your mailing list. And then follow up! That's the key to success for this type of event.
- BOOK MORE PARTIES - You will sell more and recruit more if you do more parties. So especially at the holidays, book double (at least) the amount of parties that you normally do. People are more inclined to book when they know their friends want to do holiday shopping, and you will sell more. Best of all, all those parties will lead to additional bookings and a thriving business.
- SPECIAL EVENTS - Consider hosting your own special events and inviting past customers, along wit their friends and others in your community. Call it a "Customer Appreciation Party" or a "Holiday MIxer." By offering your own event with lots of fun attractions, more people will become aware of your business. In your advertising, you can mention the event, which can set you apart from other advertisers who only talk about buying. You are offering something to people in return, which can be a competitive advantage.
- DONATIONS - Remember that many non-profit organizations use this time of year to host events and raise funds for their causes. So find ways to donate that will promote your business. For example, if a non-profit is hosting an event where there will be a silent auction, consider donating a Vessel piece or set. If a fundraising event is being held, find out how your business can be listed in the program in return for a monetary donation. You'll be helping the organization and promoting your business at the same time.
Commit to making this your most profitable holiday season yet! With a little planning, you can get in front of more customers, which will lead to a bigger business.