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Holiday marketing tips for small businesses

attman-sarah-rose-col-sigIt’s beginning to look a lot like … the most important time of the year for small businesses. The holidays are peak sales season and can oftentimes make or break your year.

When it comes to marketing for the holidays, many people start months — if not years — in advance. But if you’re one of many small business owners just trying to keep your head above water during 2020, it’s not too late to make an impact over these next few critical weeks.

Here are some simple tips that any small business owner can implement to support holiday sales:

Put a little money toward social media advertising. This is one of my favorite DIY tactics for small businesses (and big businesses too, quite frankly) because it is so efficient. You can spend as little as $50 a week (sometimes even less than that) and still see a lot of value. We have clients now who spend that and reach tens of thousands of people easily.

The targeting options for social media are also mind-blowing. For instance, if you’re a salon owner in Pikesville, you can target women in nearby ZIP codes who have an interest in hair, beauty, nails, etc. You can also target people who recently received a manicure/ haircut or who have just moved to the area and are looking for a new salon.

Mic. Drop.

Facebook is pretty user-friendly too, so you don’t have to be a computer genius to get the ads going. In terms of creative, you can simply upload a photo and some text for a caption or, if you want to take it a step further, you can use an app like Canva to create more eye-catching graphics or videos.

Send out a newsletter. Now, I’m the first to admit there’s nothing worse than the nonstop email spam we get over the holidays. In fact, I sometimes think of it as an ideal time to do my best unsubscribing. But if you’re a business that doesn’t typically do newsletters, I say you have nothing to lose by sending something out in early December.

The reason: People are going to be genuinely interested in and reminded of your business. It’s like seeing an old friend you haven’t thought of for a while but care about and are curious what they’ve been up to.

Worst-case scenario, people unsubscribe. Best case, they buy.

In terms of what to put in your newsletter, please keep it short and prioritize images/videos over text. I’m also a fan of being a bit vulnerable in the newsletter, if that works for you. For instance, if 2020 has been a tough year, don’t be afraid to say so.

Thank people for their support to date. Share the highs and the lows. Small businesses are one of the greatest things about this country, and people are very sympathetic to their struggles and eager to support them.

When it comes to newsletters, people often ask me about how to create their contact list and whom to put on it. I say: Put everyone you can possibly think of on it. I don’t care if you met once at a networking event. The longer the list, the better.

Post about business on your personal social media pages and ask friends to do the same. A lot of business owners I work with tell me that their company social media pages don’t get a lot of action, but their personal pages are filled with hundreds of engaged friends.

Well, there’s no rule that says you can’t promote your business on your personal pages, too. I would definitely make sure you post there about any holiday specials or updates you have going on this month, and then, here’s the catch: As soon as it’s live, text five or more of your friends and ask them to please like/share/comment on the post. This will influence any algorithm to show your post to more people because it will identify your post as being interesting, relevant content.

There are plenty of other marketing tips that small businesses can use this holiday season and beyond. Influencer marketing, PR, videography, SEO, etc. But the three listed above, in my opinion, offer the most bang for your buck, especially considering that two of the three are completely free.

It’s never too late to launch a digital campaign — and with the pandemic, we’re all digital all the time. So put yourself out there, try new tactics, and end 2020 on a high note!

Sarah Rose Attman is the founder of Sarah Rose Public Relations. She is at sarah@sarahrosepr.com.