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The Holiday Marketing Guide for Small Businesses We have officially entered the holiday season.

By Kimberly de Silva

entrepreneur daily

This story originally appeared on Bizness Apps


We have officially entered the holiday season! October through January is filled with holidays from Halloween to New Years. As a small business, you can take advantage of this joyful time by taking your marketing efforts to the next level. There are many different ways a small business can celebrate (and profit from) the holidays, so let's jump right into to our extensive guide.

Customer appreciation

1. Holiday cards

Send out personalized holiday cards to your most loyal customers. While your customers expect to receive a Christmas card from their grandparents, they aren't expecting one from your small business. This will be sure to leave a positive impression and shows that you truly appreciate your loyal customers. If you don't have the resources to send out personalised cards, you can also hand out cards to customers in-store or include them in online orders.

2. Kid-friendly fun

A great way to capture customers is through their kids. Hold a kids' contest like a make-your-own-ornament contest or holiday coloring contest. You can give away one big prize or give everyone small prizes, like halloween candy or swag. Besides a contest, you can make your business kid-friendly by providing a children's space with toys and books to keep tired, fussy kids occupied while parents do their holiday shopping.

3. Entertainment

Not just the kids need to be entertained while they are out shopping. Think about hiring musicians or a DJ to play in your store or outside your restaurant to attract customers and get them in a joyful mood.

4. Giveaways

Who doesn't love free stuff? Show your customers how much you appreciate them by giving away useful items with each purchase, like good-quality wrapping paper or ribbons for gift wrapping. You could also give away nice gifts with purchase, that can serve as stocking stuffers. Customers will be more likely to buy so they can receive the free gift. Want something more branded? Print a personalized calendar to give out to your clients, a perfect gift for the new year. For example, a dog groomer could showcase a different breed of dog each month.

5. Perks

Use perks to stay competitive during the holiday season. Draw in customers with perks such as free shipping, gift-wrapping options, double loyalty points or guaranteed-before-Christmas delivery dates.

Holiday sales

6. Black Friday

Black Friday is one of the biggest sales of the year, so you should take advantage of this day too. You can start hyping up your Black Friday deals early and get people excited about shopping in store or online. The important thing here is to make it a limited supply. You want people to plan in your store for after their Thanksgiving dinner. As Mashable states, "Using whatever data-driven analytics you've got access to, figure out the products that are most in-demand for your target market, and then give your customers what they want: A deal they can't find elsewhere."

7. Small Business Saturday

A sales day dedicated to small businesses cannot go unnoticed. Small Business Saturday, started by American Express in 2010, is all about celebrating local merchants. This sale day encourages consumers to "shop small" and give independent business a chance in between the huge Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales of larger brands. Reward customers who shop local with special deals and offers on Small Business Saturday.

8. Cyber Monday

And the sales don't stop after the weekend! Cyber Monday has become one of the most profitable days for businesses selling online. In order to provide your customers with the best possible experience on this day, ensure that your website -- both desktop and mobile -- is optimized in the weeks leading up to these holiday sales. Be sure that your site or app can handle the extra traffic if you are offering a "once a year" discount.

Pro tip: To get most of of all these holiday sales, tie them together with tactics like handing out Cyber Monday coupon codes on the receipts of Black Friday purchases. This way, customers are enticed to come back to do the rest of their holiday shopping.

Special publicity

9. Partnerships

Partner with other local businesses by putting their coupons in customers' shopping bags, and have them do the same with yours. The more variety in participating businesses the better, as customers are probably in need of many different holiday supplies (e.g. food, gifts, decoration).

10. Local publicity

A great way to get some local publicity is by getting listed in local holiday gift guides. This could be in the form of a local magazine, or a local blogger sharing their "Top 20 Gifts For Your Mom." Compile a list of relevant media outlets and bloggers and reach out with a free sample.

11. Decoration

There's something magical about a store window filled with a beautiful holiday display. It's also a great way to promote your business to casual passersby. Find some time to add beautiful holiday-themed decor to your storefront to get into the spirit. Even online businesses can add some festive flair by adjusting their website design to match the season.

12. Charity

People in the holiday spirit like to give back to a good cause. As a small business, you should consider giving back to your community during the holiday season. You can add a charitable element in various ways. Maybe you donate a small portion of your proceeds to a local animal shelter, you might set up a donation box in your establishment, or you could organize a toy drive in partnership with surrounding businesses. You'll get customers in the door, while also promotion a charity and your own business.

Now it's time to map out your small business' holiday marketing strategy. You can start by picking one or two options that most suit your small business and go from there. The holiday season can bring your business a lot of good, in terms of revenue, new customers and publicity. Even though the holiday season is still a little ways off, it's a great time to start planning those promotions!

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