6 Holiday Marketing Tips to Stay Off Your Customer’s Naughty List

6 Holiday Tips to Keep You Off Your Customer’s Naughty List

Photo: Viktor Hanacek

The holiday season is a hectic time of year. Your business is working on marketing strategies to compete with others, both larger and smaller, for the best holiday deals and with all the events and promotions going on, your business still needs to have good customer service. Are you getting back to people in a timely fashion? Are you being courteous with a warm, friendly attitude?

On top of all things business related, you and your employees also need to deal with personal holiday agendas. Planning vacations, making time for family, figuring out what to get your 10 year old niece (what are kids that age even into these days?) And if you’re hosting a holiday at your house, forget it!

It’s easy to let these issues get the best of you, but rather than coming across as crazed and stressed, it’s better to be personable, warm and friendly for both you and your business. It’s helpful to do this by planning ahead, reprioritizing and realizing that the little things matter during the holiday season.

As W. C. Jones said, “The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each other’s’ burdens, easing others’ loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays.” 

Now that we’ve got you in the holiday spirit, whether you’re feeling cheerful or crazed, let’s review a few marketing tips that will keep you off your customer’s naughty list.

1. Know the holidays.

This time of year is jam packed with holidays, other than just the well-known Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, Hannukah and New Year’s, celebrated daily, weekly and monthly. Did you know that December 12 is National Poinsettia Day? Until recently, neither did we! Don’t miss out opportunities to celebrate holidays you may not be aware of. Do some research and keep a calendar organized by month with all the holidays that your business should celebrate or incorporate into your marketing strategy through blog posts and social media with related graphics and hashtags.

Here are just a few daily holidays to mark down for November and December 2014.

  • November 28: Black Friday
  • November 29: Small Business Saturday
  • November 30: Cyber Sunday
  • December 1: Cyber Monday
  • December 2: Giving Tuesday
  • December 8: Green Monday
  • December 12: National Poinsetta Day
  • December 18: Free Shipping Day
  • December 20: Super Saturday
  • December 21: First Day of Winter
  • December 22: Last Sleigh Day

bigstock-vector-red-satin-bow-15599711Tip: If you’re having Black Friday sales, make sure your website is mobile friendly. According to TechCrunch, in 2013, 24.9% of all online traffic on Black Friday came from smartphones – that compares to tablets at 14.2%.

2. Be responsive.

Although it’s a busy time of year, make sure you’re getting back to people. The last thing you want to do is let your email inbox pile up to the point where you’ve got unread emails from days ago or you’ve read the emails but forgotten to respond. It’s helpful to dedicate a chunk of time each day to email reading/responding.

However, if that chunk of time happens to midnight to 1 a.m., you might want to consider scheduling your emails to go out at a more appropriate time – yes, being woken up by an email alert at 1 a.m. will put you on the naughty list. You can install an application such as Boomerang for Gmail, which allows you to write an email and have it be sent automatically at the time you choose.

Make sure you’re checking your social media messages as well. Customers enjoy communicating this way and it would be a shame if you lost business by missing a message.

Okay, so you’ve got your email inbox under control but don’t forget your voicemail inbox! Of course, the best thing to do is listen to the message right when you notice it and get back to the person ASAP, but that’s not always easy when you’re swamped and have multiple phones lines.

A helpful tool for keeping track of messages is Google Voice. With Google Voice, you can have your voicemail for all of your forwarding phones in one place, with transcriptions, access to your past voicemails, and voicemail sharing options. You can check your voicemail on the web or through your phone and you can also add notes to a voicemail if there’s a particular part of a message that you’d like to remember without going through and listening to the message again.

These tools will surely help you stay responsive. With all those sugar plums dancing in your head, it’s not easy staying on top of things!

bigstock-vector-red-satin-bow-15599711Tip: If you’re out of office during a certain period of time, it’s a good idea to use a temporary or out of office voicemail greeting and response email to let people know why you’re unable to get in touch with them.

3. Follow proper business etiquette. 

Treat people with consideration, respect, and honesty and be aware of how your actions affect those around you this holiday season. Consider your audience and employees – do they practice different religions? If this is the case, stay neutral with decorations, greetings and celebrations. If you put up a Christmas tree, display a Menorah as well.

Send holiday greeting cards, both digital and paper. Holiday cards may seem like a waste of time and money when your marketing budget is tight, but remember that people want to do business with people that value them and make them feel important during the holidays and throughout the year. Cards leave a lasting impression and let others know you’re thinking about them.

Constant Contact has holiday templates for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday, Lunar New Year, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday. Let your customers know you wish them well and maybe even include a special coupon or promo code.

Look for expert resources on business etiquette such as Emily Post. Although these values may seem old fashioned, they still hold true today.

bigstock-vector-red-satin-bow-15599711Tip: The best time to mail holiday greeting cards is the second week of December. You want to be sure your cards are received before vacations begin.

 

4. ‘Tis better to give than to receive – don’t be a grinch.

Giving is more joyous than receiving, especially during the holidays, so use this time of year as an opportunity to give to those in need. Maybe your business is already affiliated with a charity or multiple charities. If not, do some research and choose a cause that you and your employees care about.

inBLOOM’s client Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts is collecting pet toys, collars, leashes, bedding, and nonperishables for local animal shelters and rescue groups in partnership with the Purr’n Pooch Foundation for Animals through November 30.

Our client the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation, in conjunction with the United States Marines Combat Logistics Battalion 25 in Red Bank, NJ, is currently collecting new, unwrapped toys for the Marine Corps Reserve 2014 Toys for Tots Program.

Maybe your customers could benefit from your business giving to a certain charity?  For instance, during the past two years many businesses around the Jersey Shore were making disaster-related charitable donations as a way to help customers affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Of course you’re donating to charity for altruistic reasons, but it’s beneficial to both your business and the charity to publicize your donations of goods or services by sending a press release to the media. Include your charitable involvement in your marketing campaign as well.

bigstock-vector-red-satin-bow-15599711Tip: When searching for a partner charity, you can use websites such as Charity Navigator, Philanthropedia and GreatNonprofits.

 

5. Include clear and correct messaging in your promotional graphics and website.

With Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, Hannukah and New Year’s around the corner, now is the time to set holiday business hours. It’s crucial that you indicate on your website, social media, voicemail and at your business location if you’ll be open certain hours or closed on certain days.

Make sure this messaging is clearly visible and correct wherever you post it. Otherwise, on the naughty list you’ll go! Your customers will not appreciate it if they show up at your business for goods on Black Friday and you’re lights are off and doors are locked when you gave no indication you’d be closed.

If you’re hosting any holiday events, create promotional graphics and post details on social media, your website and send through Constant Contact. We understand that planning these festive events can take up so much time and energy that you may not be promoting them as much as you should. Don’t be afraid to seek help with your marketing efforts.

bigstock-vector-red-satin-bow-15599711Tip: Post your holiday business hours on Facebook a few days before the holiday and then pin the post to the top of your Page the day of.

 

6. Do something special for employees and customers.

Dust off that apron on a lazy (or not so busy) Sunday and bake some holiday goods for the office. Something as simple as a tray of cookies in the lobby with coffee and hot cocoa will have your business come across as warm and personable. Show your employees and customers you appreciate them while spreading some holiday cheer. It will create a positive atmosphere and maybe even bring you some 5 star reviews on your online business listings!

Another idea you may want to consider is having a giveaway or special promotion. Woman’s Day Magazine is having a Holiday to Remember Sweepstakes where participants enter to win $10,000 to decorate their home for the holidays. Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts is currently having an Annual Holiday Photo Contest where participants submit their pet’s photo for a chance to be featured on Purr’n Pooch’s holiday greeting card and email, and also receive a complimentary day of boarding in a luxury suite and bath upon check-out.

bigstock-vector-red-satin-bow-15599711Tip: If you’re running a photo contest on Facebook, we recommend using the Offerpop app.

 

Hopefully these marketing tips will help your business come across as personable, warm and friendly, rather than crazed and stressed, this holiday season. Be the calm within the storm. We hope you can find some holiday cheer in all the hectic hubbub. If you need a helping hand, feel free to reach out to us for assistance. Even Santa can’t do it all on his own – thank goodness for those elves!

 

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Danielle Thibault
Danielle uses her background in public relations, event coordination and fundraising to gain exposure for inBLOOM’s clients by establishing connections with the media and target audiences. She is most passionate about writing and networking. You’ll never find Danielle without her morning cup of coffee. She is a firm believer that a little caffeine goes a long way!

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