Yes, I know it’s still August. Yes, I know we are not even in Spring yet. Yes, we are really facing some challenges right now given the current situation with Covid and the impacts this is having on small businesses.
But yes – we are also sneaking closer to that time of the year where the big corporate advertising starts taking on a festive flavour. And as small business owners, I don’t want you to miss out on your cut of this very important trading period, especially this year.
So whether your business is Christmas orientated, you believe in Christmas or whatever, there’s no denying that for many business owners summer peak season is coming!
Top of mind marketing is so very important when it comes to Christmas or peak season time – and right now coming into early spring is the best time to get this plan in place.
If you’re not marketing to your audience, I guarantee you, your competition is, and they are winning the business.
Not because your customer aren’t loyal or they don’t love you and your products and/or services, but because they have simply been targeted and remarketed too so often by someone else that it seems like the natural choice.
So today I’m going to give you some practical tips and tricks on how to stay top of mind and make it simpler for you do this even when you are caught up in other aspects of your business.
Now is not the time to be taking your foot off the accelerator with your marketing!
Yes, absolutely, it matters what marketing you do in the 4 months leading up to the crazy season, but if you let it go now, you WILL miss out on market share.
We are also contending with the ongoing impacts of Covid-19 – and to my Victorian and New South Wales followers, you are front and centre in my thoughts right now.
Simply put – there is not as much cash around and things have been tight.
But rightly or wrongly, people still find money to purchase Christmas presents, so if you’re not marketing to get your share of this, then your competitors will be.
That may seem harsh, I know, but I’ve seen it too many times before. Last week in November hits and I hear nothing from the stores I love, from the businesses I’ve followed all year, because they are busy being busy.
And I get it. Don’t you worry, I SO get it. I’ve been in retail. I know what busy looks like, but I also know that a little planning goes such a long way to alleviating the stress around marketing your business products and services.
Which is why I’m sharing my content with you now, at the pointy end of August. To give you time to get your marketing ducks in a row!
- PLAN, PLAN and PLAN
Bit obvious I know. But when I was in retail, I planned, and I planned some more, especially for the November/December period.
I dedicated a whole day out of my calendar in November, planned out our Christmas marketing and got together all the assets I needed, and I scheduled my little heart out with any marketing I could.
I know every business is different, but here’s an example of what I did coming into retail.
Have a read and then think how it relates to your business and make it work!
- The first thing I did was work out what marketing we were doing in December. Most of this was already in the pipeline well before I took this day out in November – but planning day was about bringing all my marketing assets together.
- So, we had a catalogue, which we built ourselves – side note – so if you’re in small business and not part of a buying group or franchise, this is something you CAN do. It took lots of planning and effort, but it was SO worth it. It was one of our biggest print marketing strategies for the year.
- Our catalogue had 4 main sections, Kris Kringle presents, Gifts Under $20 & $50, Christmas essentials (like cutlery, plates etc – we were a kitchen shop) and Wish List.
- These 4 sections formed a massive part of our 4-week marketing strategy headed into Christmas – which for us was from last week in November.
- One section per week was what we concentrated on in our socials and email marketing.
- HINT: We definitely did email marketing – it was a MASSIVE part of our sales strategy and it really really worked! It’s definitely something you should be looking at in your business.
We also ran campaigns daily around “Gifts for Him”, “Gifts for Her”, “Gifts for Them”, and “Gifts for the Impossible Person”.
All these strategies were taken offline into our bricks and mortar as well. So, what you saw online matched what you saw when you walked in store.
- SCHEDULE WHAT YOU CAN
Once I mapped out my 4-5-week campaign, I scheduled everything I could. I used a third-party app to schedule everything. There are more schedulers than you can poke a stick at, but even the free scheduling within Facebook Business Suite or Facebook Creator if you only use Facebook and Instagram does the job.
I wrote all my emails and scheduled when they were to be sent.
We absolutely still did off the cuff marketing – but I knew at any stage if we got busy being busy that something would still be going out on social media or via email that day/week.
- GO LIVE
Look – I know doing video content can be daunting. And if you just sunk in your seat at the thought of going live on social media – then start practicing now!
Start getting used to how you sound and show up on live. Because I can tell you it will change your world when it comes to marketing when you are busy.
To have the ability to quickly go live or do a story and showcase a new product or a new arrival in store (and do it in less than a minute most times) is going to make you mega happy because you don’t need to:
- do a post
- find an image
- think of an engaging caption and wonder which hashtags you should be using for maximum traction!
If you plan to use video on Facebook or Instagram every day (either as a live or in a story or reel) in December, and you have an engaged audience, I guarantee you, you will see the benefits financially.
PLUS Instagram’s algorithm is giving SO MUCH LOVE to the Reels feature, you can really take advantage of this in getting your content on peoples screens.
Top of mind marketing – what’s the best way to stay top of mind, show up live!
So, those were my three top my hints for getting marketing done when you’re busy being busy.
And – as a bonus – here’s some tips for making December sales even better:
- Corporate Christmas Gift Giving
One of the best things we did to drive sales in our business at this time of the year was to offer corporate business an “easy out” when it came to buying for their staff and partners.
We said we’d do it for them!
If you’ve never done any corporate Christmas marketing before, when have a think about the “big” businesses in your area, probably more so private big business, and find your best “in” with them. Do you know someone from golf or tennis or from your local networking group and reach out to them with a really well written letter and idea for Christmas?
We were all about making it simple for them. We offered personalised gift vouchers (printed Christmas message of their choice, their logo etc) or gifts to the value of x.
This strategy alone bought us around $20-$30 extra thousand into our business – yep – not kidding!
If this is something you’d like some help with – email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I can send you my templates that we used – this just might help you get started.
- Align yourself with a Local Charity
This has less to do with making money and more to do with being a citizen in your town or suburb.
We actually created our own little charity called “Pay it Forward” and it worked like the Wishing Trees that you see in Kmart etc. But we didn’t have anything like that locally for us. Where we guaranteed the gifts would go to our most vulnerable in our towns.
So, we aligned ourselves with the local hospital, became the drop off point for people who wanted to leave a gift under our “Pay it Forward” tree, the local hospital staff collected the gifts and distributed to the people in our towns who needed them most.
Just with this one, I have to tell you a story. When I was growing up (I grew up in the town I still live in – yes I’ve moved away and then moved home again) and at my catholic school there was a family who really struggled. You know the ones, the kids who never really had proper uniform, struggled with accessing the basics, were just getting by on government support.
So, you can image the well of tears in my eyes, when one of those children from my childhood, all grown up as an adult now, came into my store and put under the Pay it Forward tree, 2 bikes, 2 scooters and 4 helmets. I cried. I’m teary now writing about it.
This was the essence of what paying it forward was all about. People who have been helped now paying it forward.
It is a moment in my life I’ll never forget.
But back to business – did we make more money because we did this? Not directly. But I can tell you that we had people come into our shop that had never been in before and they came back. We had radio, newspaper, social media and television coverage for our brand that we wouldn’t have had without this initiative.
Swings and roundabouts.
Then, like know, one of my core business values is give, give, give, ask.
Maybe you can’t do anything as elaborate as this, but do you offer gift wrapping for free? Well perhaps you could have a box and ask for gold coin donations for the Christmas gift wrapping, and give that money to a local charity?
Maybe you could offer 10% of sales on a particular day to a local charity instead.
Aligning yourself with a charity at this time of the year, just makes you feel good.
- Collaborative marketing
If you’re not aligning yourself with other businesses at this time of the year, then you are missing out big time baby!
Whole street sales, VIP nights and so forth – collaboration is a fabulous ways of growing your business.
If you align yourself with other businesses, even those with similar products or services, you can share in marketing costs for an event, share client lists/databases, share social audiences – umm winning!
If you can reach a different audience you haven’t been able to reach, get them in store or to purchase online from you, and therefore be able to remarket to them in not so crazy times, this is GOLD, business owners, gold I say!
Our December VIP night was our best trading day, except for Christmas Eve, for the whole year! Yes, it was a lot of work because my fellow business owner Michelle and I did most of the work, but it was SO worth it.
Collaborative marketing in December is like printing money!
My hint to you though – if you are going to organise something like this – collaborate with like-minded business owners who are also go-getters and proactive – because those slacko ones will suck your energy and probably never pay (well that’s my experience anyway!).
There’s a lot to think about yes.
Maybe you’re thinking none of this relates to me. I’m in a service-based business – not selling products and you’re wondering how all this relates.
I guess it relates as much as you can see it does.
Because as far as I see it, you’re still selling something – perhaps not a physical product, but definitely something – so regardless don’t take your foot off the marketing pedal.
I see so many service providers have the worst January which is a direct correlation to taking your foot off the pedal in December and not marketing or booking in appointments.
If you want a good January, keep working at it in December.
So, these are my tips for marketing coming into this last part of the year. I hope you can see some gold or some wisdom in them.
Finally, before I go, if you’re interested in more detailed content about how to advertise your business on Facebook, you need to check out my Facebook Ads for Beginners course, I’d love to be the person to teach you.
I take your hand and I walk you through, step by step, not only on the actual Facebook Ads platform, but also goal setting, starting with the end in mind, your client avatar and SO MUCH MORE.
This is truly a labour of love.
My mission is to help as many small business owners as I can. This course is purely built on that core value. So many small business owners don’t effectively use the platform because they don’t know how!
BUT, THAT ALL ENDS TODAY MY PEEPS, today!
To find out all the details about my course, go to the courses area on my website: https://socialmediaandmarketing.com.au/shop/facebook-ads-for-beginners/
You’ll have lifetime access. As the platform changes, this course will update too, and you will have access to those updates, and I have an exclusive Facebook Group for my students of course so they can slip in there and have their questions answered by me or get help from fellow students as well.
It’s almost the end of the year, so if learning Facebook Ads was one of your goals, then perhaps this is just what you need to tick that off your list!
How else can I help you?
There are so many ways to plan out your end-of-year business marketing! And this is definitely something I can help you with.
Book in for a Discovery call with me!
If you’d like to book a call – get in touch – send me a message on any of the social platforms or book a call at http://bit.ly/Discoverwithjenn
There is also my Like Minded Business Owners Facebook group which is a fantastic group of small business owners who have a wealth of knowledge to share – please join if you aren’t already a member and become a part of a wonderful community!
Or you can DM me on Instagram or shoot me an email email@example.com
I wish to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land, the Yorta Yorta People, on which I conduct my business today and pay my respects to their Elders past and present. I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples reading this blog post today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR!
Jenn Donovan is a marketing strategist and social media extraordinaire, coach and mentor to savvy business owners. Owner and Founder of Social Media & Marketing Australia.
With a passion for making business simple, because it’s isn’t easy but it should be simple or at least simpler, she’s built a reputation for helping other small business owners simplify their marketing and businesses so they can reach their goals, be more profitable and live the dream (finding the freedom they set out to achieve when they started … the illusive small business owner freedom dream …!)
Jenn believes in giving before asking and that’s why she’s the host of the popular Small Business Made Simple Podcast.