Everyone's trying to get more customers through the door as the holiday shopping season rapidly approaches. You’ve heard all about perfecting customer service to push engagement to a max, but what are some concrete ways you can rally your customers and give your bottom line that end-of-the-year boost? We all know the Internet is a labyrinth—it seems like everyday a new social network is created that you need to join. But what will actually make a difference when you’ve got less than two months until the holidays? Open Forum shares some last minute practices you can put into place to get the customers coming in droves.
Online shopping is more ubiquitous than ever, and the holidays are no exception. Experts believe that if you’re not taking advantage of the online market, your business is missing out on huge sales.
While it’s a big jump to go from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce, with a few simple steps you could be selling products online in less than a week, according to Rieva Lesonsky, who recently wrote on the importance of e-commerce for small businesses. “Adding an e-commerce component lets you expand your business without adding a new location. It transforms you from being a local retailer, to a national, or even global one,” she says.
The easiest way to get started is to choose an e-commerce provider. These companies “offer a 'one-stop' solution. They register your domain name, host your site, provide templates and tools to build your site (or do it for you), and provide shopping carts and tools to accept payment. Most even help you market your e-commerce site by providing search engine optimization and social media tools to spread the word,” according to Lesonsky. You can read more on what to consider when researching a provider and on basic e-commerce principles here.
More and more marketing experts are asserting that YouTube is a more powerful tool than Facebook and Twitter. There’s no debate that there are few better, more interactive ways to connect with your customers than incorporating video. After all, what could be more effective at rallying your customers than a real human voice and presence telling them how great your product or service is?
Many small brands grow exponentially due to a viral YouTube video, but don’t expect your business to do the same. There’s no secret formula to making something viral, but there are definitely ways to increase your success in YouTube marketing. Todd Wasserman of Mashable suggests buying some ads and using some focus groups among other tips.
It might be daunting, but these days you can get started shooting video on an iPhone or a basic digital camera that has HD video capabilities. There are also tons of editing programs that are easy-to-use and make uploading a breeze. Chris Brogan outlines these simple steps on how to get started here.
Tweeting from your business’ handle is a great way to reach your followers, but what about non-followers who might benefit from what you’re offering? Twitter has over 200 million members, and you can reach any of them by simply using the search bar. James Clear recommends exploring this world of Twitter leads. “There are people on Twitter actively telling the world that they need help with problem X or issue Y. All you have to do is search for them and you’ve found a potential new client,” he says.
For example, say you sell specialty cupcakes in New York City, like Rachel Thebault of Tribeca Treats. By just searching “cupcakes” within a certain location range on Twitter, you could just happen to come across someone tweeting “anyone know where to get cute cupcakes downtown?” If you reach out to that user, chances are they’ll not only be impressed with your diligence, they’ll reward you with a sale. For more ways to use Twitter for your business, check out our guide on the topic.
These days, it seems like just having a Facebook page for your business isn’t enough. Luckily, Jonathan Goldford, our Mashable contributor, has rounded up a list of Facebook apps that will enhance communication with your fans. Notably, Tweets to Pages will stream your tweets onto your Facebook page for customers who aren’t active Twitter users. Another app allows customers to contact you on the spot (and in the same browser window) as they’re going through your page.
Another popular strategy within Facebook is running contests. But it’s essential to execute correctly in order to succeed. Ben Pickering suggests running social media contests like a farmer. Specifically, follow these 4 steps to communicate with target participants. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these successful and creative Facebook contests run by innovative businesses.