Want to take advantage of the holiday season to run a promotion for your business but aren’t sure what would work best or how to get started? This is a great time of year as spending increases, people are more in-tune with promotions, and you can use it as a way to build your clientele to kick off the new year strong.
Whether your products or services make great gifts or you’re just looking for an end-of-the-year revenue push, here are a few of my favorite holiday promotions:
Host a Photo Contest
If you offer a product or service that is captured well in photos, this is a great opportunity to build awareness and excitement, increase your social media footprint, and even gather photos for use in future marketing campaigns!
First choose a prize. Ideally, this would be something related to your business. Even better, enlist some partners to co-host the contest with you and put together an even larger prize. Once you know what you’re offering, determine how people should enter the contest. There are a million ways to run a photo contest – choose what works best for you. Do you want people to submit their photos via email, you post them on your channels all at once, and the winner is chosen by votes or likes? Or, do you want people to post photos on their social channels, tag your account, and you choose a winner by the deadline?
Once you know the structure of your contest, it’s time to start promoting. Share on your social channels, enlist partners, email your list, and promote via word of mouth with customers.
Offer a Giveaway
A little spin off of the photo contest, you can offer a simple giveaway in the name of holiday spirit. With a giveaway, the key is making sure that you’re getting VALUE out of the entries. Use this to build your email list, grow your social following, or increase sales. Whatever your goal, build the giveaway rules around what will be most effective.
12 Days of…
Love the idea of a giveaway but can’t choose just one gift? Play off of the 12 Days of Christmas and host an ongoing promotion. This doesn’t have to be giveaways exclusively, you could offer a different promotion or discount on each day and everyone who participates is entered in the giveaway on the 12th day. Get creative with it!
Implement a Referral Program
The holidays are a great time to kick off a referral program because they give you an excuse to reach out to clients who you may have lost touch with. Consider sending holiday wishes, cards, or new year’s updates to all of your contacts and clients from the previous year with information about your new referral program.
“But, my referral program sucks, Brette!” Don’t worry – here’s my advice: Keep it simple. First, identify who you want to refer you. Clients, contacts, social followers, ect. Then, really ask yourself WHY they would take time out of their day to help your business. The answer is always twofold: First, because you have provided an excellent experience in some way. Second, and more importantly, because you make it EASY.
Ask people to share a social post, pass along a coupon code, or offer a free gift for referrals. Find a way to incentivize your audience to take action on your behalf. Simply asking is usually not enough.
My clients that have written books have it easy here. I have them send two copies of their books to anyone that they think would refer them to their ideal prospects. The recipients keep one copy and pass along the other. Not only is this easy (especially during the holidays when re-gifting is already popular) but it also helps your clients provide VALUE to their friends and family.
Even if you don’t have a book, how can you apply this concept to your business?
Develop an Effective Discounting Strategy
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have experienced the joy annoyance that is Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Cyber Week/Small Business Saturday. Seriously, how did one shopping day turn into all that mess?
While couponing can be effective, it’s important to do it right. Offer deep discounts on products or services that typically lead to other, full price, purchases.
Anything other than that, is just an annoyance. An example – This year, I am not lying to you when I say I received no less than TWENTY emails from Overstock.com in 2 days between Thanksgiving and Black Friday. TWENTY EMAILS. And each time, I got more annoyed for a few reasons: First, they all said the same thing. No creativity or variation in the promotion at all. Second, twenty is too much. No means no. Finally, the discount they were offering was 15% off.
I’m going to be honest, I rarely buy anything online for full price and for them to email me 20 times about a TINY discount like that was laughable.
So, offer real value. I like the idea of building the promotion. Start at 25% and do a last chance offer at 35-40% to push people over the edge. No matter what, “listen” to your email list. When people stop opening, change your tactics.
Take Advantage of Parties
Do your products or services tie in with events in any way? Take advantage of the multitude of holiday parties and events to introduce your business to a broader audience. Offer favors for local company parties, co-host an event with a partner, or simply use events as a networking opportunity.
Create a Charitable Promotion
Don’t forget to give back during this time of year. Partner with your favorite charitable organization to donate a portion of your proceeds, co-host a fundraising event, or organize a drive to benefit others. Sure, your business will benefit from the exposure and sales, but more importantly, your community will benefit from your generosity. I love the idea of choosing an organization and affiliating with them several times throughout the year, so use the holidays to kick it off! Bonus points if you can find a charity that ties in with your business or client base.