As a small business competing against retail giants during the holiday season, you may be tempted to play the “Who can shout louder?” game. Not only is this hard on a small business’ time and budget, but it could also potentially alienate the loyal customers you’ve worked so hard to get. So, what can you do this holiday season to market your small business and get heard in spite of larger competitors? Follow the path to success on our Small Business Saturday infographic and try these five tips to promote your local offers during Small Business Saturday and the holiday season.
Create Great, Tailored Content
When developing a content marketing strategy, it’s important to understand the different platforms you are using and create quality content that is specific to your small business for each. Consumers use the Web for many different activities, and tailoring your holiday messages to each can help you stand out. For example, your messages for social media posts on Twitter should include trending hashtags, like #BlackFriday, #SmallBizSat, or #CyberMonday and should be different from your Facebook messages that ask fans to “Like,” comment or share your post. If you are leveraging seasonal online advertising or email marketing, they should contain a coupon or special offer, related imagery, and a strong, effective call to action.
Optimize Your Pages for Organic Search
Did you know that 85% of consumers have used search engines to find a local business? That means you should be doing everything you can to ensure that they can find you when they search for holiday deals. By optimizing content on your website, blog, and social media profiles to show up in local search results, you can improve your rank and make it easier for holiday shoppers to find your business. Also, optimize your local listings like Google+ Local and Yelp by making sure that your basic information – phone number, address, hours of operation, and business description – is accurate and updated to reflect special holiday hours and holiday-related products or services, images, videos, and promotions.
Use Social Media as an Outlet, Not a Podium
Social media can be the best or worst way to promote your holiday deals online. It all depends on how you use it. For many local businesses, social media marketing can help get the word out about offers and specials, especially during the holiday season. But if you turn your social media profiles into a promotion-heavy soapbox, you could potentially lose the fans and followers you’ve worked hard to acquire. Instead, use your social media sites wisely by sharing photos of your staff participating in holiday events or outreach in your community, posting entertaining holiday videos, seasonal products or services, and of course, promoting special deals exclusively for social fans and followers. For example, a Twitter offer like “Mention ‘Small Business Saturday’ at checkout and get 20% off your purchase! #SmallBizSat" can engage followers and entice visits.
Make Your Web Presence Mobile
In 2011, Black Friday mobile traffic increased to 14.3%, up over 150% from 2010. This growth, coupled with the fact that over half of U.S. mobile users own a Smartphone, signifies the importance to have a mobile Web presence. Having a mobile-friendly website is a great way to show holiday shoppers on the go what you have to offer. And if not an entire site, you should create and drive all your mobile advertisements to mobile-friendly holiday landing page. Holiday bargain hunters have no time to waste, so giving them access to quick, informational content with easy conversion paths can help you turn them into customers.
Invest in Multiple Types of Marketing
Holiday shoppers are searching for products and services online, but they’re not all looking in the same place. By using multiple online advertising platforms to promote your holiday deals, you can reach more consumers in more places across the Web. Search, display, mobile, social media, and email marketing are all effective ways to reaching consumers who are ready to purchase. There are different best practices for each of these, but in general, your holiday campaigns should include specific phrases, like “Only on Small Business Saturday”, have a direct call to action, and lead shoppers to a conversion-optimized landing page to capture even more of your prospective customers during the holidays.
What other strategies are you using to promote your small business this holiday season? Let us know in a comment!
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About the Author
Tara Banda writes about how local businesses can reach more customers online with helpful tips about online advertising, social media marketing, and Web presence optimization tips on the ReachLocal Blog.