How Small Businesses Can Optimize Their Marketing Strategy This Holiday Season
26th Nov 2019, Author: Victoria Campbell
While the holiday season is notoriously dubbed “the most wonderful time of the year,” for small businesses, the holidays can often be extremely busy, stressful and frenzied. With Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the December holidays on the horizon, the year’s busiest shopping season is officially upon us. Although the next two months of frantic gift buying may seem intimidating, if small businesses plan ahead and outline a simple marketing plan, the holiday season can bring both joy and enhanced sales! Throw on your favorite holiday sweater, grab a cup of eggnog and read our 2019 small business holiday marketing strategies!
Create a Social Media Schedule
When it comes to social media, it’s never too early to start planning a holiday content strategy. Regardless of your platform(s) of choice, make sure to have a clear plan in place for your holiday season posts. With handy tools like this pre-built calendar courtesy of Hootsuite, you can save yourself hours of work by scheduling shareable content weeks in advance. Sounds like the gift that keeps on giving, right?
Speaking of gifts, it’s important to ensure that your followers are receiving the gift of engagement this holiday season. Consider spicing up your social media copy and getting creative with how you interact with customers online. This campaign from Hotels Tonight is a great example. Not only is the content humorous, but it invites Twitter followers to interact with the campaign using the #HotelTonight hashtag. #Brilliant, if you ask us.
Invest in Paid Social Media Ads
Harness the power of social media this holiday season by leveraging paid social media advertising for specific products. By spending a portion of your advertising budget on social media ads, you can exponentially increase your audience reach and engagement. When choosing which platform to advertise, be sure to pick one that is frequently used by your audience and already performing well organically. As the old saying goes, “Fish where the fish are.”
Additionally, don’t be afraid to experiment. Start with a relatively low budget and double-up on ads that are performing better than others. Try different copy variations, designs and calls-to-action. This allows you to see what works and what doesn’t while optimizing your advertising investment. By using Facebook’s audience and targeting tools, small businesses with a retail or brick-and-mortar presence can seamlessly reach local residents. These types of social media campaigns and targeting tactics can drive more business to your store, while sharing product awareness and highlighting holiday offers.
Identify your Keywords
While you may prepare your holiday social media schedule weeks in advance, proper SEO planning typically takes months of research, strategizing and content development. This is because SEO is a long-term strategy that relies on great content, traffic and links to be successful. When planning your holiday SEO strategy, there are several tools you can use to identify holiday keywords that can help your site rank higher in organic searches. Some of our favorite tools are: SEMrush,Google Keyword Planner and Answer the Public.
The ultimate goal for keyword research is to discover which keywords are being used the most, what keywords are easy/difficult to rank well for and where opportunities lie. SEMrush is an awesome tool that shares which keywords your pages are ranking for, as well as sharing competitors’ rankings. With this tool, you can build a keyword strategy that uses your current high-ranking keywords, while also allowing you to target new keywords for the holiday season.
For small businesses, ranking highly on search engine results pages (SERPs) can be difficult and even daunting for popular products or services. Thus, it’s far more effective to target long-tail keywords that are less utilized but more targeted. While these keywords have lower search volumes, their specificity is what makes them matter, driving unique customers directly to your business.
Once you’ve determined which holiday keywords will resonate with your audience, begin to create landing pages that harness the commercial power of those keywords. Pro tip: make sure that each campaign or offer has its own landing page so that you can track conversions separately and compare results. A great landing page consists of a headline, sub-headline, supporting image or video and a call-to-action button that drives shoppers to the next step in the sales process. After building landing pages for each offer, link those pages with your social media and advertising strategy. Then monitor your results, tweaking the landing pages’ design and copy along the way to optimize conversions.
Paid Search Ads
If you’ve never used paid search advertising before, this holiday season is the time to try. Paid search ads (also known as pay-per-click or PPC ads) display on search engine results pages such as Google and Bing and can drive motivated shoppers to your site. Paid search ads benefit small businesses for many reasons, but the speed to ROI is most important. Even with the best organic SEO strategy, most marketers won’t see reliable results immediately. With paid search ads, however, small businesses can build traffic right away, making these ads a perfect supplement to your SEO efforts.
Another reason why paid search ads are great for small businesses is their ability to target local traffic. Over the past couple of years, Google has prioritized local businesses and retailers over larger “big box” stores when searches come from a mobile device. Thus, when potential customers use their smartphones to search for products or services, your ad has a great chance to appear high on the SERPs, complete with directions to your store or physical location.
Finally, be sure to update your business’ s Google My Business page and other search listings with your holiday hours. This ensures in-store visits and foot traffic doesn’t slip through the cracks.
Local Advertising Channels
Social media and SEO/SEM are effective tactics for reaching a large audience, but when it comes to shopping local, you don’t want to neglect traditional channels. Advertising in local newspapers, magazines and holiday guides can be very effective for driving both digital and physical traffic to your small business. Additionally, many local publications offer attractive digital options to go along with a print advertising campaign; this includes digital display advertising as well as organic social media posts.
Don’t be afraid to spread the holiday cheer with your local and small business partners this season! Creating cross-promotional campaigns with other local businesses can save both time and money, while increasing advertising exposure and reach. Your approach can be as simple as sharing your partners’ pages or posts on social media to running holiday contests featuring prizes from your business partners.
Creative tip: partner with your favorite business partners to create gift baskets with products from different local businesses and host an advent-themed raffle that spans the month of December.
Incentivize Your Audience
It’s a universal truth that holiday shoppers procrastinate. Incentivize your time-sensitive customers to shop at your business with last-minute marketing offers and deals. Consider offering a promotional discount store-wide or a special coupon on a specific product. Check out this campaign from Birchbox—they really marketed to the procrastinators. These offers are guaranteed to get last-minute shoppers moving, bringing in even more revenue as the holiday-clock counts down.
For retail and brick-and mortar-businesses, the holidays are a time to go all-in on event marketing. Seasonally-themed gatherings and events can drive physical traffic to your business, allowing you to meet new customers and reconnect with old ones.
When planning an event, take advantage of classic holiday themes. Hosting a “Photos with Santa” event will draw both families and individuals to your business in droves. If you’re more interested in giving back this holiday season, throw a customer appreciation party, offering customers hot cocoa and coupons, along with thanks for their loyalty.
No winter holiday would be complete without an ugly holiday sweater event, so if your inbox isn’t brimming with invitations, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Invite customers to your business, instructing them to don their ugliest holiday-themed duds. Attendees will vote on the most hideous sweater, with the winner taking home a prize.
No matter the size, shape or scale of your business, these marketing strategies and tactics will help position you for holiday success. By planning ahead, developing fun and creative content and leveraging the power of both digital and traditional marketing channels, your small business will be ready to celebrate its best holiday season yet.
And if you’re looking for a few clever elves to develop and execute a customized holiday marketing plan, don’t hesitate to give the Treefall team a call!