Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Tis the season! People will be shopping for gifts, decor, food, and more for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza. How can you increase your sales during the holiday season? If you run a small or home-based business, make sure you plan to incorporate some special promotions during this time. It’s tempting to put off business until “after the holidays” and focus on your own celebrations—there’s always so much to do. That’s fine if it’s your choice. But if you are trying to increase business, now is a great opportunity to do so.
Here are some simple, low-cost ways to increase your revenues during this busy shopping season:
Revamp your descriptions
Think about how your product/service would make a nice gift and tell your prospective customers. “Makes a great gift for the special guy in your life”. Perhaps you could create a gift suggestions flyer. People need help choosing great presents for their friends and family. Help them out by telling them what to buy for their mom, dad, wife, husband, sweetheart, child, co-worker, aunt, etc. Offer your “gift-buying” guide free on your website, put it in with all your orders, and distribute it around town.
If you provide a service, those make great gifts, too—who doesn’t like a massage, or a free housecleaning, or a free tax planning session? Sell gift certificates for your services. A key selling point is that people don’t think to give services, but they can be very unique and appreciated gifts. You might have to come up with ideal recipients—i.e., for the harried homemaker, the busy executive, the loving mother, and so on. Tell your customer (the gift-giver) how much the recipient would love your service instead of a fruitcake
Create Gift Packages
Perhaps you could bundle several products into a basket. Think about the “recipients” and create special baskets—for example, if you sell cosmetics, create a “teen-dream” makeup kit, an “anti-aging” kit, a “glamour party makeup” kit, and so on. Almost any business can come up with creative packaging or bundling for their products and for their services. For services, you could do a “buy one, get half-off” package. Or a buy three, get one free package. You can even team up with partners to create super packages—a spa and a housecleaning service could combine a massage & a house-cleaning for a fabulous gift for working moms.
Offer Free Gift Wrapping or Free Shipping
The word “free” gets attention. Wrapping and shipping are two things that add to the cost of the gift and if you can include it, that would increase your sales. To make it worthwhile, set a spending requirement—free gift wrap on items over $50 or something similar. Ditto for shipping. You can even run specials where shipping is only $5 for all orders by a certain date, or gift wrapping is free on Mondays.
It’s nice to do something extra for your customers during the holidays. If you have a retail store, bring in Christmas cookies or candy or hot chocolate. If you ship products, buy some ornaments at the dollar store and toss them in with the orders. If you visit clients, take a small goodie bag or fruit basket. The ideas are endless. For spa-type businesses (products or services for anything from manicures to bath gel), consider a sample of a product – a holiday-printed emery board costs pennies and is a nice thought. For an event planner, send everyone a “holiday party guide” even if you don’t have their business this year—fill it with great ideas and you’ll get more business! For a wedding planner, a personalized ornament for all your wedding couples will create much good will.
My Holiday Card Rule
If you are going to send holiday cards, please, please, please sign them. Having your company name pre-printed on the card is so impersonal that you’d do better saving your money. Hand-addressing your cards is nice, too, but some people have illegible handwriting, so printing the envelopes is okay. But, really, an unsigned card is simply going to send the message that you don’t have time to be bothered with things like signing cards and you never want your customers to think you don’t have time for them. It’s the greeting card version of a form letter.
Action Item: Take a few minutes to write down some holiday ideas you can implement in your own business—just one could be enough. Don’t overload yourself-one idea well executed will be more fruitful than 20 haphazard ones. Then, put it on your calendar and spread some holiday happiness to your customers!
Sending Thanksgiving cards is a great way to say thank you and stand out from the crowd of holiday cards arriving in December.