Some small businesses love the holidays. Others don’t always feel so cheery.

To a certain extent, it’s understandable. Historically speaking, holidays aren’t always the kindest to small businesses. As buyers get swept into crazes such as Black Friday and end up shelling most of their cash to the big box stores, SMBs often feel left out in the cold. In response, small businesses have to pull out all the stops to both survive the holiday season and make sure their business is poised for success next year.

Small businesses don’t get too many opportunities to play around with holiday marketing tactics; however, those few days or weeks become pretty crucial to our survival. Yet what if we looked at marketing for the holidays beyond the holidays? Why do our holiday marketing tactics have to stop as soon as Santa heads out of town?

Make the most of your time and resources this holiday season by planning ahead. Consider the following holiday marketing tactics and how you can continue to use them throughout the New Year.

It’s Still the Season to Be Social

It’s an extraordinary time to be a business owner given the modern social network. There’s just so much going on around us at any given time. The constant flood of interactions has opened up the doors for businesses to connect with customers and capitalize on leads like never before. The holidays represent the perfect time to blend social interaction with sales. How so?

Consider how can you take advantage of the social network to:

  • Promote sales, last-minute deals and other holiday specials
  • Show that you and your business are in the Christmas spirit (e-cards, greetings, images macros)
  • Share holiday-related content, stories and human interest pieces

Now consider also that never before has the social media landscape been so diverse. While there was once a seemingly one-size-fits all approach to managing social, know that times have changed. As you think about the importance of social media updates during the holiday season, further consider how to change up your strategy in the future. What sites will you emphasize? What sites have you let fall to the wayside in the past?

Facebook is not Twitter. Pinterest and Tumblr are not the same. Same applies to Vine and Instagram. Spend some quality time with each site to understand where your audience is and where your priorities lie. Such an understanding will come in handy as you spring into the New Year and social continues to dominate the Internet marketing sphere.

Appeal to Those in Need

It often seems that the be-all-end-all answer to holiday marketing is “have a sale.” That doesn’t always cut it, though. If sales could solve everything, there would be a lot fewer failing businesses, wouldn’t there?

Instead, consider how you can put your business in a position where you’re helping others.
How you go about providing that help is up to you. Naturally, your product and services should be working to serve and help your customers. In addition, there are so many people in need and so few businesses out there to lend a hand. While the economy has improved, still consider the workers and families impacted by the 7% unemployment rate (thankfully down to its lowest rate in roughly five years). While the economy has certainly improved within the last few years, there’s no shortage of the need for helping hands in this country.

How can you provide your customers with something extra this holiday season?

  • Offer Free Shipping – Amazon has seen huge returns from their Prime service and the offer of free shipping, especially during the holidays. If you can offer such a convenience to your customers, you can make yourself look like a million bucks.
  • Deep Discounts – Make sure you have some cheap items on deck for the holiday season. From stocking stuffers to simple sales, it’s refreshing as a buyer to be able to pick up last minute items without breaking the bank.
  • Show and Tell – Let your community know what you’re there for them and show them. Remember the importance of being a local business and what your community means to you. Are you a staple in yours?

What’s a Picture Worth?

Think about how important imagery and image marketing have become in the past couple of years. We know that blogs with images get more impressions, views and clicks. Infographics and memes are getting shared left and right. What do pictures mean to your business?

Now, think about the holidays. Something as simple as a change of color scheme on your site can show visitors that you’re in the spirit. From signage to Christmas cards or email newsletters, there are plenty of options out there to play with imagery and your business’ brand.

The importance of images will only continue to grow and remain a rather important part of holiday marketing. The massive expansion of sites such as Pinterest and Tumblr (which rely heavily on media and image-related content) and the popularity of Vine and Instagram only work to reinforce this.

The Bottom Line

The principles of holiday marketing don’t only apply during the holidays. Consider how the marketing sphere is changing and take these gifts with you throughout the year. Is your small business making any special changes for the holiday season?

Image via Shutterstock