Holidays can be a boon to small business. It’s the time of year when consumer budgets notoriously go out the window and lineups abound at big box stores. For creative businesses, it can mean going all out to land that lucrative holiday party client, or if your services are less coveted this time of year, doing what you can to invite customers to take advantage of your freed up schedule.
The flipside of this phenomenon is increased competition in the space. While you’re doing that seasonal push, so is everyone else. So in order to cash in — or keep the doors open — you may have to do some creative maneuvering to make the most of these weeks when people are ready to spend.
Don’t worry — there’s plenty of opportunities to make an impact. According to a McKinsey report in anticipation of Black Friday 2018, 70 percent of consumers planned to shop during the post-Thanksgiving retail extravaganza. Few, however, had planned their purchases — or the specific businesses they would patronize — in advance.
Sell What People Need
This may sound like an obvious conclusion at any time of year, but individuals have unique needs during the holidays. Create a package that’s made just for them and what they didn’t know they needed. Event planners can tack on a “spa day” offering, where hosts can get some R&R while the party is being set up.
In addition to giving them the chance to rejuvenate before the event, it allows the event planner a bit of extra space. Plus, it’s a great way to partner with another local business — the spa — in a cross-promotional effort. Finding ways to work with other companies can help you both stand out amidst the chaos of the holiday period.
As a small business, you’re part of a broader retail environment — one that’s increasingly focused on giving value to consumers and rewarding loyalty. This is a key driver of repeat revenue. A Forrester study from 2016 found that loyalty results from making customers feel appreciated. In fact, Forrester reported that in the hospitality industry, 88 percent of those appreciated customers became brand advocates.
So seasonal packages are not only a way to partner with other brands, but an ideal time to make your clients feel important.
Style it Up – Online and In-Store
The holidays are largely about the atmosphere. Who doesn’t feel amazing walking into a store that’s dolled up to look like a winter wonderland? This time of year is when you can maximize your creative effort, by making your workspace the ultimate display of your talents. You can create a place where customers want to be, so they will linger to chat about their next event or to browse product.
It’s easy to think about in-store holiday glam, but your online space is important as well. Consider some holiday-specific landing pages on your website, to promote seasonal offerings that will drive online sales. If you have time, experiment with a few different online pages to see what drives the most traction.
Your local coffee shop looks a bit different this time of year. What is it? It’s not the furniture or the decor, it’s… the cups. To celebrate the season, many brands tweak their branding. It provides a festive
Have a look at your online and offline branding and consider adding a winter theme or evidence of the holiday spirit. It can mean tweaking your logo to bring in seasonal colors or adding other design features that showcase your business’ desire to welcome the holidays.
Focus On the Community
Home, family, and community are important themes for many businesses over the holidays. Most customers are looking for special ways to spend the season, whether it be lunch with an old friend, visiting relatives, buying unique gifts, or supporting the good works of the local neighborhood.
This trend extends to the economy as well. In 2014, a UPS survey found that a whopping 94 percent of people think it’s important to patronize small businesses in their home communities.
Find ways to partner with holiday happenings near you. If you have a studio or retail location, consider hosting a small event to support a local good cause. Perhaps you are a bit more ambitious and could host a mini-craft fair in your space, lifting up other creative individuals who are also looking for a way to rise above the holiday retail noise.
Thank Your Current Customers
Over the holidays, take the spirit of gratitude to heart. Send out an exclusive offer to past loyal clients to demonstrate appreciation. Personalization is often one of the best ways for customers to feel attached to your business and become loyal to your brand.
As anyone in business knows, the cost of keeping a happy customer is far less than acquiring new ones. It’s tough to gather precise stats on this, but Hubspot did an in-depth analysis this year that showed marketing costs are increasing and customers are more and more suspicious of companies they don’t know — so it’s key to keep the clients you have!
While email communication is all the rage, there’s also something to be said for giving the gift of paper. Perhaps a few of your most prestigious clients might appreciate a card of thanks in the mail, with a reminder of all you can do for them over the season — and in the year to come.
Offer Up the Extras
The holidays are busy for almost everyone, but it’s also a great time to make your mark by offering to go the extra mile for clients. If they need last-minute planning help, access to your creative services, or want to chat about an upcoming project at an unusual hour, be willing to make it happen.
Let people know you are there for your clients even when they are at their most stressed — and can meet their needs at a moment’s notice. Don’t worry — it’s not a commitment you have to keep up year-round, but when everyone is competing for time in December, you can be the one that’s there, ready to meet the commitment.
Demonstrate Joy — It’s the Holidays!
In the rush to drive sales, keep up with customer demands, and organize your personal life to boot, it can be easy to forget what the holidays are all about. Clients are seeking a respite from stress during this time, and the crisis is real! According to a Safety + Health survey from 2017, 51 percent of workers feel under stress during this season, with the biggest factor having to balance work and holiday obligations.
You can use this knowledge to make it a bit easier on everyone. The more you live in joy while running your business, the more that feeling will come through. The result will be customers who are happy to work with you, not just as this year is coming to a close, but as the new one is beginning.
Get Help With the Bits and Pieces
As you’re planning your holiday push, it’s good to know you can partner with a studio equally committed to creativity. That way, you can handle the vision, while the team at Oda Creative helps put it into practice. The holidays may come only once a year, but the connections you forge during this time can help build your business for years to come.
Here at Oda Creative, we love to work with companies on the creative journey to grow and expand their brand and business. To see how we can help you, contact us today.