The holiday shopping season is rapidly approaching, and NOW is the time to really starting preparing your marketing tactics for the upcoming season. Online technology and social media platforms offer affordable alternatives for small businesses who cannot afford expensive print and TV advertisments, while still letting allowing creativity for campagins. Here are a few tips that can help your small business connect with your customers and provide unique deals and promotions at a cost-effective level.
Tip #1 (And most important)- Be Prepared for Mobile
“Mobile is obviously going to be huge this year.” –
Diane Buzzeo, CEO and founder of Ability Commerce
Mark Grondin, the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Shopatron added –
“We saw huge growth in mobile going to last Christmas, and then, by the middle of the year, it had doubled. I expect this holiday season we will see in the 5% to 10% range of transactions coming from mobile devices.”
Now, more importantly than ever, it the time to make sure you have a mobile-ready site. This includes being prepared for:
When optimizing the mobile site for differently sized devices, don’t forget about tablets in your mobile presence. Grondin stated that although he believes next year will be the big breakthrough for tablets.
“Make sure that you are not forcing tablets to act like mobile phones,” he said. “There is nothing more annoying than going to a website on a 10-inch tablet screen and getting the mobile screen.”
It is true that mobile devices drive a lot of traffic, but tablets are big factors behind the actual sale of a product.
You can also integrate mobile marketing with services like Foursquare to tie your campaign to your store or a specific location. That way, you reach customers right when they’re weighing their options.
Tip #2 – Facebook!
Facebook is one of the number one traffic generators outside of search engines, so it is definitely a good marketing tactic to make your products a part of that conversation. Because of the connection between the social media platform and and retailers, creating a Facebook store can be a great way to spread your idea. One main benefit of having a Facebook store is that people are interacting with brands on Facebook, and having store will make your products that much more part of the discussion. In fact, Facebook has partnered with select retailers to feature the “Want” button – if it’s rolled out nationally before the holidays that is something you want to get live.
When you register your brand with Facebook you can also take advantage of Facebook Insights, their version of analytics, to track what is happening around your brand such as interaction and demographics.
Consider, including the Facebook “like” button on your website(s) to help become part of the social discussion. This interaction with your customers and potential customers can even become part of your Facebook advertising strategy.
Be sure to educate yourself on Facebook advertising. This ad platform can be highly targeted, and one feature allows you to find and use comments about your brand, essentially taking what people are naturally saying about you and making it more visible through advertising. A terrific perk of using this platform.
Social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ can help attract customers with minimal investment. This is particularly beneficial to small businesses who have to compete with the Best Buys and Targets of the world for customer attention during the holidays. But remember: Deliver a reason to interact with you.
Tip #3 – QR Codes
Will they work? Will they not work? That’s a question most ask – and rightfully so. Many marketers have erroniously used the QR code, rendering it ineffective. However, many smartphones and tablets have the ability to scan, which is a great holiday marketing tactic that small businesses can take advantage of as well. QR codes are a way to send information to mobile devices using its camera. You send a short blurb of text such as “Thank you for scanning, drop this in your cart and show the text at the counter to receive our secret 20% off” or you could show a video of the product – “Narration, this toy was featured at the International Toy Expo and received the prestigious 1st Place Educational Toy Award because of features A, B and C.”
It’s not difficult to use them correctly, however it takes more time than just pointing the user at a website that isn’t prepared for mobile traffic.
The codes are easy to generate. Several websites and software programs will make the codes for you. You can add them to signs, print ads, business cards and brochures, and customers can quickly grab coupons, download menus on-demand or even see how your prices compare to rivals’. There are many marketing options to use for QR Codes, just be sure each offers customers meaningful rewards and a call-to-action to maximize performance.
QR codes are currently the best way to transmit information from the real world into an app. The codes were originally designed in 1994 for tracking car parts at Toyota, but they have recently exploded in popularity, and are becoming more familiar to the public. Linda Kelly at the Australian Museum recently surveyed 100 visitors, and 15% said they have scanned a QR code.
Tip #4 – Be Prepared!!
This tactic is short, sweet and should go without saying. You know what days the major holidays fall on.
Tip #5 – Don’t Forget The Old Standbys
- Shipping – Make sure to decide what your shipping policies will be and if you will be providing any incentives
- Email Marketing – develop an email list and the value of your emails all year, not just at the end of the year. That way, you know what customers will be receptive or not to your emails.
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising – No matter your desired budget or audience, purchasing targeted keywords on search engines like Google or Bing will put you in front of prospective buyers.