If you’re a service-based business, I would be willing to bet you have been so busy working on your clients’ fall and winter needs you’ve completely forgotten your own brand.
Service-based businesses tend to struggle with promotions and a holiday push may feel forced (unless your service is gift wrapping). Or you think you’re too late to begin holiday marketing for your brand. You’re wrong.
Here are some last minute things you can do for your own brand to bump up your bottom line in December.
1. Join forces.
It can be hard to think like a retail store, but this is one time of year when you should. To get over the fear of promotions, reach out to other consultants, freelancers and solo entrepreneurs. You’re all in the same boat, so you can all row in the direction of increased sales together. Just like stores in the same retail location partner up, you could offer joint holiday discounts on services or combo service packages with other service-based businesses as affiliate partners.
For example, a social media consultant could partner with a freelance graphic designer to create a special year-end package of social services plus weekly infographics. Don’t forget about bloggers, many of them need holiday giveaways to offer. Could your service fit their readers?
2. Get physical.
Even though online shopping grows each year, according to ShopperTrak, physical stores still make up 90 percent of holiday sales. Consider partnering with a brick-and-mortar store to have some shelf space for a promotional item.
For example, a life coach could put up a display at the counter of a health food store that holds cards good for one month of coaching with copy that plays to the upcoming New Year and consumers’ desire to restart their goals or reinvent themselves.
3. Put on an event.
Multi-level marketing companies are particularly good at this one. Every year around this time I get invited to someone’s “Holiday Party” where there will be five to 10 “booths” set up for shopping.
Service-based companies could do the same thing in more of a lunch-and-learn format or business expo. Partner up with organizations that champion locally-owned businesses for the event. Places to start might be the chamber of commerce or small-business incubators.
4. Send holiday cards.
Don’t forget your existing customers in all the hustle and bustle. Sending out holiday cards thanking them for their business is a great way to enhance their perception of your brand. You could also add an offer or new service “as our thank you for another great year.” Just make sure the offer is on the back or in small typesetting to keep the cards classy.
Put some holiday cheer in your social-media presence and printed materials. If you can do something fun with your logo, (think Google) even better. Take photos of your products in a stylized holiday fashion and start promoting your same products as gift items. If you are a writer and you wrote an e-book about how to improve creative writing, for example, shoot a printed copy with a red bow and attach the caption “the perfect gift for the aspiring writer in your life!”
6. Don’t discount, add.
In many cases it’s too late to come up with a special holiday package and discounting can get lost in the noise this time of year. Instead, throw some bonuses onto your existing service as a holiday promotion.
For example, a physical trainer could add a nutritional consultation to their existing package of four one-on-one sessions. A self-published author could offer free shipping and autographs for their books.
7. Capitalize on the crazy.
Think about the pain points of your client during this time of year. If you are an event planner, you could promote it’s “Not too late for me to take your holiday party off of your hands!” Or if you are a business consultant, use this time of overwhelm to reach out and offer to take on additional hours or services for the month of December to help them out. Don’t overthink it, just pinpoint some problems your target has and solve them.
For example, as a consultant for solo entrepreneurs and small business owners, I’m writing this article to help my target: you.
8. Make Small Business Saturday your Super Bowl.
Your business is every bit as important to the economy as retail shops. Small Business Saturday is celebrating you as well. This is a day for you to post your promotions multiple times on social media, as well as retweet and share other local business owners’ content.
9. Remove roadblocks.
Once you run all of these promotions to get people thinking about your brand, make sure you’re ready for the influx. Monitor social media and your email inbox like a hawk so you don’t miss any questions or comments. Once people get to your site to check out your services, remove unnecessary clutter. Make sure your digital-shopping cart is easy to use and bug-free.
Take a moment out of your day or week and pick at least one of these ideas to try. Push yourself to think like a retailer and grab a small piece of that holiday pie.