Fall 2015 Last-Minute Holiday Tips: Marketing Advice to Increase Sales

Follow these suggestions to make this holiday a true success.

In the rush of the holiday season, you may be tempted to gloss over some of the basic marketing and sales promotion ideas that can help make or break sales figures for the holiday season. Since more and more small businesses fight for the same customers, discovering new sales promotional ideas and developing a plan in advance is critical to a successful holiday launch. The difference between a retailer who is a promoter in the truest sense of the word and one who just waits for foot traffic to come to them is the difference between success and failure. SRR has developed a list of promotional ideas to inspire your success this season and help you draft your own creative marketing plan.

Connect on social media: Ask Facebook “friends” to share your news of your location. Send Instagram pictures and messages to your followers as you set up your business. Pictures are worth 1,000 words!

Future connections: Are you collecting email addresses from customers so you can communicate with them later? It
can be as simple as keying it into your POS as part of the sale; or run a contest that requires the customer’s email address to win.

Use your name: Leave business cards with your contact information at the cash register so customers know how to reach you in the future. Be sure to print the products or services you sell on the back of the business card. Leave your business card everywhere you know your target customer is, so you get a chance to communicate your new business location. You can even print a coupon on the back of your card.

Use the web: If you have a website, or e-commerce site, use it to communicate about your store, including important details like its location and operating hours. Showcase your products and services and incentivize traffic with a coupon clipped online to come to your store location.

Contact the media: Issue a press release and send it to the local newspapers, web newsletters, and local blogs. Stress in your release the uniqueness of your product and/or the “story”. Ask the mall marketing manager to share his or her media contact list with you.

Take advantage of national events: Small Business Saturday is an American Express-sponsored event the Saturday following Thanksgiving. Use this as a day to feature special items at special prices. (See more about Small Business Saturday on page 105.)

Local works: What are you selling that is “local”? Customers love buying local so look for a few products to sell in order to build the relationship between your store and the customer.

Develop a schedule for advertising: If you are planning to advertise your store, schedule it at the appropriate times (i.e., before Thanksgiving, second week of December and the week of Christmas).

Sampling works: If your product is appropriate for sampling (food items, lotions, etc.), consider giving out samples. The old adage, “Try it. Buy it.” works to increase sales.

Motivate your staff: Have you given consideration to motivating and incentivizing your sales staff? You can set sales goals for the day, the month or a weekend period and offer prizes to your sales employees to sell more. Consider gift certificates to the mall or their favorite coffee shop—but make it worth their while.

Create a chance to win: Hold a contest where you enter every customer who makes a purchase. Make sure the prize is one of your products. This is also another way to collect email addresses and customer mailing addresses. Create a Frequent Shopper Card (see page 126 to learn how) and reward your customers for either a discount or free product after they have made several purchases.

Customize marketing materials: Print shopping bags, your business letterhead, invoices, etc. with a tagline to inform the business you are in.

Make use of your logo: Have you thought about uniforming your staff with the products/clothing you sell or in shirts that are emblazoned with your logo?

Hold special events: Ask permission of shopping center management to host an early morning or after-hours event at your store or kiosk for an employee friends and family event.

Do internal mall marketing: Coordinate with the center marketing manager and learn about all the internal marketing opportunities for you to participate in. Most centers have websites promoting new retailers. Ask how to participate. Also use marquee messaging, fliers and in-mall banners. Choose a creative and unexpected location to feature
your products.

Stay organized: Develop a sales promotional calendar for internal use that shows campaigns, merchandising efforts and marketing events to help you keep track of what is going on and where you should put your attention next.

Target special interest groups: Offer discounts to special targeted groups like mall walkers, senior citizens and premier shoppers of the center. The deals can be “buy one, get one at 25 percent off,” etc.

Duffy C. Weir

Duffy Weir is the former vice president and director of specialty retail and marketing at The Rouse Company of Columbia, MD. Now an independent retail marketing and sponsorship consultant and writer, Weir travels the world searching for what she says "makes marketplaces tick." She can be reached at or 410.252.8885.
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