Monday, November 23, 2009

SMBs: Drive Sales & Get Noticed This Holiday Season

According to the Constant Contact Annual Holiday Survey, 52% of small businesses, who participated in the Small Business Holiday Outlook Survey, expect their holiday season sales to improve over last year. Last year, only less than a third of business owners were as optimistic. Constant Contact, a leading provider of marketing and survey tools for small organizations, said that many respondents expressed overall optimism about the state of the economy.

If you own a small or medium-sized business, chances are you are anxious about your own holidays sales, regardless of what your outlook on the economy is, here are some tips and recommendations for improving your sales and getting your company noticed, this holiday season:

1. Get Your Customers Involved - Survey your customers to find out what they'd like to see go on sale and use social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook to reach customers and potential customers. If you decide to let a popular vote determine your sale products, chances are customers will pass the word along to friends and family who can also vote, in turn, getting the word out about your company.

2. Brand Yourself - Make sure you have a good company logo and use it everywhere, along with your name, message and tone. Consistency in communication is key and will help reinforce your brand.

3. Link Yourself - Have a company website? Company Blog? Company social networking accounts? If not, consider getting them and putting a little time and effort into them. Customers will use them to find out more about your company.

4. Host a Holiday Event - Show your customers how much you appreciate them by hosting a holiday-themed shopping event with discount incentives. Make sure you market and promote your event via social networks and other outlets.

5. Don't Forget Last-Minute Shoppers - They're out there. Don't stop marketing a few days before Christmas. Many people wait until after the holiday to their shopping, in hopes of getting great deals and customers are usually loaded with Christmas money or gift cards after the big day.

6. Remember Why You Stand Out - Do you customers return because of your excellent customer service or because you offer services that other businesses do not? Remind your customers of that every chance you get, through emails, your website, and any other marketing tools you use. Remember, not every customer is looking for the best deal.

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