The holiday season is a busy time for brick-and-mortar businesses as they try to lure customers into their stores with ads, sales and offers. The flood of new campaigns can make it difficult for service-based businesses to stand out.
Never fear: There are a variety of ways service-based businesses can earn attention during this busy season.
1. Offer your own holiday season sale.
Discounting your offering—for example, offering legal trademark services for 20 percent off in December—is one way to attract new customers or re-engage existing ones.
Just make sure that, like any campaign, the sale is designed to attract the right client—someone willing, and capable of, paying full price for your services after the sale ends.
2. Create, launch and market a digital product.
Do you have any timely tips or tricks that will add value to your target audience? A digital product—like an e-book, online workshop, or a downloadable workbook, etc.—can be an inexpensive way to grab the attention of your target audience. It can also be an excellent content asset.
Consider offering the content for free to attract new customers. You could even send it to existing customers as a holiday bonus, and then after the holiday season, sell it.
3. Host a fun and unique holiday party.
People remember experiences and tend to be loyal to brands they connect with. One way to create this connection is through events.
Experiential marketing, also referred to as event marketing, has become a leading tool to attract customers. Throwing a holiday party can be a great opportunity to test the waters.
To stand out, consider creative approaches. For example, you could host your party at a unique venue, develop a creative theme or make it an event for the entire family.
4. Launch a new product or service.
Working on a new, exciting feature? Have a set of new services to offer? You could promote them during the holiday season! This can grab your customers' attention by offering them something new. You can combine the launch with a discount or sale to make it a time-sensitive offer or make it exclusive by offering it for a limited time.
5. Partner with a retailer.
Partnering up can be as simple as setting up a pop-up shop, leading a workshop onsite or hosting office hours at a co-working space or local coffee shop.
6. Participate in a national campaign.
Consider joining a national campaign like #GivingTuesday, which is designed to help promote nonprofits, or Small Business Saturday, which encourages consumers to shop at small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Some national campaigns also offer free publicity and, in some cases, free marketing materials.
7. Give your customers gifts.
In his book Giftology, John Ruhlin writes, “When you act generously, people take notice. They'll begin to feel appreciated, and in turn, they'll want to pay it forward. It's a natural inclination for us to want givers to succeed because we can appreciate the generosity that was shown to us."
Connect with your customers this holiday season by sending them a meaningful gift. Incorporating gifting into your sales strategy can help improve relationships, increase ROI and lead to more referrals.
8. Volunteer and donate to charity.
This holiday season, consider picking a charity that aligns with your values and volunteering your time and/or making a donation. You can then tell your customers about the experience.
If you're able to, think about inviting them to join you onsite or to donate. Consider planning the effort around #GivingTuesday so you can leverage some of the campaign's materials.
9. Provide value to your customers.
One of the most effective ways to stand out during the holiday season is to continue providing value. Depending on your client's industry, the holidays might be their busy season.
Recognizing this and stepping up to meet the demands of the season could go a long way. For example, consider extending your hours to accommodate your customers' seasonal schedules or expedite your response times so you can respond to issues or requests faster.
10. Create your own marketing campaign.
Getting creative can help to stand out during the holiday season. Consider OfficeMax and Office Depot's Elfyourself.com concept, which allowed users to create a customized e-card that featured them, their friends and their family dancing as elves.
According to Evolution Bureau, the advertising agency that created and managed the elfyourself effort, the campaign resulted in 193 million visits and the creation of more than 123 million elf faces. OfficeMax saw a 190 percent increase to its web traffic and a sustained steady increase in online and walk-in sales.
This year, try getting creative with your marketing campaigns by thinking outside the box. Just don't wait too long. The holiday season will be here before you know it.
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