Tag Archive : holidays

Any small business owner knows how stressful the holiday season can feel. December comes around, and it becomes hard to participate in the holiday spirit amidst the hustle and bustle of the fourth quarter. Here are a few guidelines to staying sane during this busy time:

Eat a Balanced Diet
You may think eating has nothing to do with running your business (unless you run a restaurant!), but studies show that’s not at all the case. In fact, there are signals sent directly from your stomach to your brain, which impact your level of stress. So swap out junk food for some fruit and vegetables, and focus on portion size when attending holiday parties with indulgent treats. Eating better will actually make you feel better during those long days at work this month!

Ditch Your Coffee
Caffeine may feel good in the moment (like, really good), but overtime, too much caffeine can cause you to be emotionally overreactive to stress. Drink some festive egg nog instead of your usual cup of joe a few times a week. Cutting back on caffeine will increase its positive effects when you do drink it.

Time to Unwind
Another thing that will make you feel a whole lot better during those long days is a reward waiting for you at the end! Whether it’s time spent baking some christmas goodies, hanging out with your family, or even watching A Christmas Story- you need some down time to balance all your hard work. Also, reward your employees or co-workers by including them in a festive wine night, or treating them to dinner, where you can all focus on making spirits bright.

Get Enough Sleep
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends seven to eight hours of sleep per night for adults. This holiday season, make a point of having lots of silent nights. You will feel more productive in the morning and be more motivated when helping your many customers!

Play Some Music
In the words of Buddy the Elf: “The best way to spread christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”. Okay; so maybe the constant Christmas music echoing through the month of December is not something you find completely relaxing. That said, music is good for your brain. It makes you happier, more productive, and more motivated. Your mood can be improved by simply listening to your favorite tunes. Try listening to music on the way to work, or even playing it in your work environment.

Take some deep breaths, and keep calm this month. After all, the holidays are about appreciating our lives and loved ones, and spreading kindness. Keep that in mind, along with these relaxing tips, and you’re sure to have a successful holiday season.

The holiday season will be here before you know it, and now is the perfect time to map out your digital-marketing campaigns in order to drive the most revenue for your business.

Waiting too long puts you at a severe disadvantage — you need to be ready to capitalize on the increased traffic and the mindset of consumers during this period. They will be ready and willing to click that buy-now button, so run through this quick six-step checklist to make sure your online business is ready for the fast-approaching holiday season.

REMEMBER: Save Local Now is a completely free member benefit. Included in your digital platform: content publishing, email marketing, search engine optimization, and social media sharing.

1. Analyze previous holiday-season data.

This is something so simple, yet many businesses completely ignore the gold mine of data they have available to them. Where did the majority of your holiday traffic that lead to conversions come from last year? Was it email marketing, social media, paid search or organic traffic?

2. Build out holiday-specific landing pages.

You will want to have several landing pages to split test, so rather than scrambling to get them done at the last minute, build them out now. This allows you to start your holiday marketing with a large group to pull data from.

The sooner you are able to clip the poorly performing pages and identify your highest converting landing pages, the sooner you can push the majority of your traffic to the best performing landing pages. You want to make sure you have identified your best performers before the peak of holiday season.

3. Set up your holiday email-marketing campaigns.

There is a good chance that your holiday email offers and funnels will be slightly different than your traditional email campaigns. For example, your traditional conversion funnel might reach the consumer every 10 days with an offer, but during the holiday season you will want to be a little more aggressive. Consumers are in the buying mood — if you wait too long you might lose those potential customers to a competitor that reached them sooner.

4. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

It’s been said a million times — you need a mobile-friendly website. While running your site through Google’s mobile-friendly test is a good start, you need to also test your user experience with real visitors.

Ask friends, family, employees and complete strangers to access your website via their mobile devices and have them navigate your pages, access your offers, submit your forms and attempt to contact your business. You need honest feedback — if something sucks they need to tell you. Holiday visitors are in the buying mindset, so you need to make sure they don’t get frustrated or annoyed while on your website.

5. Map out your holiday content marketing.

It’s never too early to start planning your holiday content. Start chipping away at it now and you can have all of your blog posts scheduled ahead of time.

You will also want to consider increasing your posting frequency during the holiday season. This should be something that you start discussing early with whomever is handling your SEO. You will often want to create your content around holiday specific keywords.

6. Schedule your holiday season social-media posts.

If you aren’t using an automated social-media tool, now is the time to look into it. I use Hootsuite — it costs me less than $120 a year and allows me to schedule posts far in advance. You never want to automate all social media, but it’s nice to know that you always have posts scheduled that can spark interaction and drive website traffic.

Holiday-specific images, hashtags and messages are key — your approach will be a bit different during the holiday season. During peak holiday season, don’t be afraid to throw some direct offers out there — people will be searching for deals and using the correct hashtags and keywords can help attract purchase-ready consumers.

Original Article: http://entm.ag/1NB1ifs

As you know by now, Save Local Now is a true “Buy Local” initiative. With the holidays now just weeks away (can you believe it?!), we wanted to highlight how easy it is to promote your business on the SLN platform. Throwing a special Thanksgiving event? No problem! Offering a Thanksgiving FEAST of savings? Even better! Drive consumer traffic by creating promotions on your Save Local Now platform. November_MP_Chamber_Newsletter

Consumers are looking to buy local this season; let’s make it easy on them! Use your Save Local Now platform to promote fresh produce, holiday décor, or where to buy the plumpest turkey in town; this will drive consumer traffic and encourage shoppers to keep their money close to home this season.

Last but not least, don’t forget to share the promotions you create with Save Local Now’s social sharing benefit; reach more consumers in just 1 click!

From our table to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Many companies experience their best profit margins in the summer. However, and more often than not, when the warm weather starts to fade so do the customers. For many small businesses, autumn means a drop in profit and a noticeable slowdown in overall sales. We’ve put together a list of tips for keeping your marketing fresh, so you can avoid the dreaded “slow season.”

  1. Never forget the power of “free.” Offering your customers something for nothing is a great way to keep them coming in through the door. Whether it’s free samples, a loyalty program, or free swag; if you give it, they will come.
  2. Don’t skimp on social media. It’s easy to update your Instagram when it’s bright and sunny out, but the veteran social media user knows that consistency is key when it comes to adding and retaining customers. Try to stay as active on your various networking sites in the fall and winter as you are in the spring and summer. This will keep you fresh in your customers mind.
  3. Use the holidays to your advantage. Taking advantage of all the holidays and festivities in the fall and winter months will help you maintain a steady buzz about your business. Offer holiday themed deals, have seasonal sales, and orient your product for specific seasons to drive business. Are there any local harvest festivals in your area? Getting involved in seasonal community events will keep business flowing.
  4. Get Interactive. Giving your customers the ability to interact with you and your business will create a sense of loyalty. By reaching out to your customers online (via email, social media, etc.) and in person you give them a personal reason to keep coming out in those cold months.
  5. Have fun with it! Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t be just as motivated and excited as you are in the summer. Your mood will be infectious and will get passed on to your customers. This could be as small as making sure your employees are offering a warm hello as your customers walk through the door to an extravagant winter advertising campaign. Stay cheerful and your customers will thank you.

Now that the big consumer holidays are over you may be having some trouble deciding what to offer your customers. Have no fear, we’ve got some great tips on how to build a campaign strategy to get you through the year.

Seasonal campaigns drive consumer buying patterns. Developing a marketing strategy early in the year will make you prepared and allow you to develop meaningful, creative campaigns that can help drive revenue even during some of the slower months. Take a look at a calender and make a list of special holidays or events that are happening each month. The goal is to make sure your deals and events are relevant to what’s going on in the world so they create a universal connection to all your consumers. Here are a few tips to help you achieve success in your seasonal campaigns:

1. Encourage in store visits

It may be obvious but encouraging people to physically come into your store can develop a better, more personal experience for the customer than just focusing on online sales.

2. Choose Wisely

Check out your records and select the months or occasions where your customers are most likely to shop. Then cater your deals and events so that they relate to your business. For example, if you are a clothing store, do a special Valentines Deal on everything red or pink just for that day. Choosing wisely will make your deals thoughtful and relevant.

3. Get Personal

It’s not always about the sale. Sometimes your customers just want to know that you’re genuine and not a faceless corporation. Use social media to show your support for certain charities and fundraisers or to comment on current events. Show your support for national events like the Winter Olympics or the Super Bowl. It’s fun and it shows a personality that your customers will appreciate.

4. Sharing is Caring

Get your customers to share your deals and events on social media and make sure you share everything on your end too. Save Local Now gives you and your customers social media buttons on everything to make this easy and convenient, so take advantage of them!

5. Plan Ahead

Timing and planning is everything when it comes to developing your marketing strategy. Make sure you give your customers plenty of notice about upcoming sales. If you have some spare time, you can plan all your campaigns ahead of time on Save Local Now and publish them later.

6. Review

Make sure you are monitoring the results of your campaigns. Identify the things that were successful as well as the promotions that may need to be improved. Save Local Now conveniently provides all the statistics on your campaigns you need to help you review and reorganize.

Planning out your marketing strategy may take some time but if done right, it will bring in more revenue. If you make the time now to schedule your deals and events, then it will save you time when you need it the most. Save Local Now provides everything you need to create a profitable and meaningful marketing strategy for your business.

 

This is a great article for Valentines day. Thank you Imran Anwar for reading our minds!

8 Just in Time Valentine’s Day Publicity Ideas for Small Business

by Imran Anwar

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and you may be thinking of ways to squeeze out some extra sales. You can use the world’s 2nd popular gift-giving festival to gain publicity mileage and sell more stuff. Here are a few last minutes Valentine’s Day publicity ideas to help you out:

1. Play on Red: Design a red and white theme for your outlet or website. Think of creative ways to relate red color to your business. You can discount all red items till Feb 14 or keep a surprise discount for walk in customers who are carrying or wearing red things (cellphone, handbag, shoes etc).

2. Do Target Marketing: Plan different shopping packages for ‘him’ and ‘her’. If you are selling cosmetics, this may be your time to target males and give them incentives for buying gifts for their girlfriends or wives.

3. Play on Love: Don’t keep your Valentine’s Day publicity limited to sexual love. Include love for nature, animals, parents, friends and kids when you are storming for your ideas. Plan a special ‘We Love You’ sale.

4. Do Co-promotion: Alright, so your business has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day? Find a business that has and run a co-promotion. If you are selling auto parts, include a cake or flowers or discount voucher from your partnering retailer.

5. Offer Couple Discounts: If a loving couple buys gifts for him and her together, offer them some discount or incentive. Offer complimentary glasses of Champaign to couples who have dinner at your restaurant or plan discounts if someone buys ladies and gents gifts together.

6. Hold a Photo Contest: Ask couples to upload their photos and share them with you. Announce a prize for the winning couple. Add the best images to a special Valentine’s Day board on your Pinterest account. Tip: Hold a Vine video contest.

7. Reward a Story: Ask people to write real life stories about love and announce a reward for the winning story. Publish the top stories on your website and share them on you social media.

8. Offer Something Different: Many people are tired of receiving chocolates, hearts and teddy bears as Valentine’s Day gifts. Think of something new. How about bungee jumping for daring couples or a gaming competition for geek couples?

The money you lose by offering a small discount or surprise gift travels a long way in the form of word-of-mouth publicity. Storm some ideas and come up with something really interesting. Communicate your offer on social media, your website and your outlet. Write down a press release about your plans and send it to a few journalists.

 

View article here

present

The holidays are great for a lot of businesses. As people make their lists, and check them twice, errands get run, gifts get purchased, and restaurants become holly and jolly. One of the problems though is once the holidays are over, the businesses can be left a little less merry and bright…

Not to worry! I have some great tips for businesses of all kinds to keep their holiday hustle and bustle well into the new year!

1. Network with other businesses

The holidays are a perfect time to get out and mingle with your fellow businesses. Support other local businesses by attending their holiday parties and events and while your there, strategize about the upcoming year! Here are a few great topics to discuss

      • Ask them if they have promoting the Save Local Now platform to help the community.
      • See if they would be willing to do a little deal bundling in January to keep customers coming in.
      • Invite them to your own holiday parties.
      • Ask them if they would mind combining email lists with you.

Follow each other on social media platforms.

2. Get to know your customers

Aside from the typical sales pitch, the holidays offer a great time to ask customers more personal questions without being too nosy. Ask them what their plans are for this special season and share some traditions of your own! You can then ask them if you might put together a custom gift package for them, or if they’d like to sign up for emails. Whether you are a retail store, a dry cleaner, or a dentist, customers will always remember a good conversation, and hopefully come back for more.

3. Hint at future savings.

A lot of people unfortunately do not always shop local on black friday and cyber monday. So why not save the blow out sales for January or February? This is especially beneficial for anyone in the service industry that offers things that might have been neglected during the holiday rush, such as an automobile repair shop. Set up events or deals on Save Local Now ahead of time so you can share them through social media and emails. Remind customers once now and again after the new year.

4. Take advantage of any slow times.

If you are finding yourself with too much free time on your hands, why not use it while you’ve got it! Here’s some things you can do:

  • Poll your employees for new creative ideas you could try in the new year
  • Schedule deals and events on your Save Local Now platform for future publication.
  • Clean up your files, update your email lists, or even re-brand yourself!
  • Rearrange the space! Nothing makes customers take a new look at you like rearranging things.
  • Set goals and “resolutions” for the new year.

5. Spend time with family and friends!

I know, this has nothing to do with your business, but it’s important! And who knows it could lead to inspiration for your business as well. After all, I bet your 17 year old niece has a few words of wisdom for your company Facebook page, and your grandmother might have a great new recipe for the winter menu! If not, it’s still worth it.

Happy Holidays all!

 

 

The madness of Black Friday may be over but there are still many consumers running around getting last minute Christmas gifts. Here are some tips to help spread holiday cheer and get more shoppers this year.

1. Decorate the store and show how festive you are!

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2. Put together a holiday gift baskets for shoppers to buy

https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/6913371904/h0DA564A7/

3. Crank up that Christmas music and get people in the holiday spirit!

4. Offer gift wrapping with purchase

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5. Offer small stocking stuffer items
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6. Decorate your businesses Christmas tree
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7. Plan a fun holiday Event and upload it on $LN
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8. Don’t forget to smile!
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9. Post a Christmas Deal on $LN to get them excited!
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10. And of course, wish all your amazing loyal customers a Merry Christmas!
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As with all promotions, the key is getting customers to actually look at them. Your deals, events, and email marketing with Save Local Now are no different. You could be offering the best deal in town but if the title doesn’t make people want to click, you might never get anyone to look at it.

We are here to help. Here are some great ideas to help inspire your deals, events, and emails for both the upcoming holiday season, and year round.

present

Ask A Question

Asking your customers a question in the title of your deal or email will allow them to become intrigued. It also calls for action and begs to be looked at.

For example, a question that relates to something happening right now:
1. Do you really have the perfect gift this holiday season?

Or questions that everyone can relate to at some point:
2. Are you ready to lose that last 10lbs?

Or even questions that let people know time is limited:
3. Have you seen our newest collection?

The point is not to tell people what you have or are promoting but ask them something to make them think and get their attention. It’s a reason for them to go looking for the answer.

Create Some Urgency

Sometimes you can be more direct to create a sense of urgency in the title of your deal, event, or email. This will let your customers know that this is something they absolutely can’t afford to miss out on.

Letting them know there is a time limit is a great way to create some urgency:
4. Don’t wait! Save 50% for this week only.

Or telling your customers that others are interested:
5. Reserve your spot for [name of your event] as they are going fast!

Or making them feel like they are in on something special.
6. Get a sneak peak at what’s in store for us in the month of December!

A call to urgency will at the very least, get your promotions clicked on! The rest is up to you!

Offering Up Your Knowledge

We are in the age of DIY and self proclaimed experts. It’s hard sometimes to offer something when a lot of people think they can do or create what you have themselves. That’s why creating a sense of sharing or a learning opportunity for your customers is sometimes the best way to go

This works even if there are things for sale:
7. Check out the top 3 hot gift ideas for your [husband/wife] this year.

Or if you want to get people in for a workshop or event:
8. Learn how to [do something] this holiday season.

Or just accrediting your business as the expert in something
9. Find out how we do it. We are ranked best in the industry for 25 years!

Try to get them to understand that you are both A) an expert and B) willing to share your expertise (as well as your goods and services) with them. This will help them to look at it less as spending money and more as a learning experience.

Create a List

Lists make it easier for people todigest the information you’re giving them. Lists can also make your points a lot more clearly.

Lists can be great for your deals:
10. 5 gifts under $50!

Events:
11. 8 reasons to attend [name of your event].

Or even for email marketing:
12. 10 holiday time-saving tips from [your business].

Keeping it to a simple number and list in the title means that the content should also be clear, simple, and to the point. Don’t go overboard but also remember to add in some personality!

Fill them in on what’s new

Don’t forget to offer special promotions, or simply send out emails, to let your customers know when you’ve changed something. This is not only important so that they aren’t misinformed, but also creates just another reason to come check out all your business has to offer.

Create excitement over any simple change:
13. Bring on the Holidays, we’ve changed our menu!

Or letting people know that you’re participating in a national event. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday are all around the corner:
14. Come celebrate [shopping day] at [your business].

Or whenever something new is coming:
15. Don’t miss our December collection!

Make sure these titles stay limited to when something is really new or exciting. Don’t try to tell them something new is happening when it is something they have seen before only a month ago.

That should be plenty of information to get you started. But, if I may offer a final bit of advice it would be these 3 tips:

Tip #1: Bounce your titles and subjects off your family, staff, or even your friends at the chamber to get some feedback and see what they think

Tip #2: Always always always check back on your promotions on your analytics page to see how they did and which ones were more popular.

Tip #3: As usual, Keep reading the blog, or follow us on social media to find out more great ways to boost your business this holiday season and all year long!

This article was inspired by this one 🙂

Michael Della Penna, ClickZ.com

The holiday shopping season will be here before you know it. Now is the time retailers need to think about all the ways mobile marketing can help them reach their goals.

Here’s five ways they can:

  1. Responsive design. With the growing number of emails being opened on a mobile device (surpassing 50 percent or more), optimizing email rendering to create a great customer experience is critical this holiday season. But why then have nearly a third of marketers surveyed at my company’s recent conference indicated they have not utilized responsive design for email yet? While responsive design is more difficult to produce, marketers who implement responsive design report a 20 percent increase in clicks and conversions on average. Start slowly by isolating one or two responsive-designed emails to track and measure the impact for your brand and then proceed with a full rollout in time for the holidays.
    Survey results from attendees of “The World Has Gone Mobile” at Responsys Interact 2013.
  2. Apps, push, and cross-channel triggers. App development ranked second to only mobile measurement in terms of a marketer’s top mobile priorities for 2013, according to a recent Responsys survey. If you’re a leading retailer who still does not have an app, build now and consider using the holiday season to launch and promote it. If you already have an app, look to enable push notification and inbox messaging to help promote your marketing efforts. Location-based offers and geo-fencing may also be considered and tested to help drive store traffic and marketing success during the holidays. Finally, location signals from push may also be used to trigger cross-channel-orchestrated messaging across email, SMS, and Passbook if your marketing provider and/or system can connect app users to the customer record. Be sure your marketing provider can also support orchestrated messaging across channels to improve the program’s efficiency and to maximize success.
  3. Passbook/Google Wallet. While the popularity of Passbook/Google Wallet continues to increase, a growing number of retailers are embracing Passbook/Google Wallet to encourage customers to load loyalty cards, coupons, and more. Consider using email and SMS to introduce and promote Passbook/Google Wallet to your subscribers, and be sure to explain the benefits and appropriate call-to-action to encourage usage. Finally, use holdout groups to measure its impact and track the increase in incremental in-store sales.
  4. SMS remains the workhorse of mobile marketing. Leverage the ubiquitousness of SMS to promote marketing programs offline as well as through text messaging. Consider in-store signage and promotional initiatives to encourage incremental spend and text messaging signups. Create program flows that enable the consumer to not only sign up, but to provide her email address and location. This helps tie phone numbers to the right customer records, which in turn enables marketers to produce highly targeted offers and messaging. Finally, it is also important to note that as you add new mobile channels, providing consumers access to an expanded preference center to control what messages they receive where and the frequency of those messages is paramount. Automated technologies may also be used to trigger additional messaging based on behaviors (e.g., didn’t open an email) to help expand reach and response without overwhelming the consumer.
  5. In-store Wi-Fi. In-store Wi-Fi is increasing in popularity. For retailers that are embracing and testing in-store Wi-Fi, it offers numerous opportunities including the ability to measure in-store traffic and competitive online shopping and price comparing. However, the future and opportunity of in-store Wi-Fi will continue to evolve. It will enable marketers to have the ability to capture important consumer behaviors during a brick-and-mortar experience, and potentially serve up offers to individual shoppers based on their behaviors and interests with the appropriate permissions. Finally, Wi-Fi offers and shopping behaviors may even be tied to POS systems enabling marketers to close the loop on the journey from pre-shopping communications to behaviors during an in-store visit to post-shopping up-sell/cross-sell offers. Continued developments including gaining permission to market and match consumers to existing databases while in-store will allow leading retailers to tie behaviors across online and offline activities. Several leading retailers now offering in-store Wi-Fi are currently exploring new and exciting activities on this front.

If the 2013 holiday season is a continuation of last year’s trends, shoppers will be more likely than ever to turn to their mobile devices to view offers, comparison shop in-store, and purchase goods and services. The marketers who embrace the mobile mindset and offer an optimized mobile experience across email, web, apps, Passbook, and in-store will be well positioned to drive success in the coming months.

View the original article here.