There are plenty of people each year who leave their Christmas shopping until the last minute. For local businesses, this is an ideal opportunity to capture some sales in the final hours of Christmas trading. Here are eight last-minute tactics to get those extra customers and boost your sales.
1) Make all your ‘calls to action’ clear
At this late stage in Christmas shopping, sales, discounts, vouchers and limited promotions work well in getting people to buy. Calls to action should be clear and direct. For example:
Sign up for a holiday discount
Click here to shop our sale
Download your 10% off voucher here
Make sure the call to action looks clear too: simple language, easy-to-read font and bold colours are all important.
2) Try online advertising
Advertising your business and offers online in the run-up to Christmas can give you a push by attracting more customers. In fact, the 2016 Christmas period saw a 16% rise in online sales compared to 2015, so it’s the perfect place to target people (IMRG, 2017). Using local sources will attract your local community*
Make sure the call to action on the advert itself is clear and bold – for example, to get people to visit your website. Remember that most of your competitors will also be advertising at this time of year, so it’s more important than ever to be relevant and engaging, and to use the channels that are most effective for your potential customers.
3) Use Google AdWords
If you’re not already using Google AdWords, now might be the time to test it. This advertising service from Google can give you a boost in website visits and sales, because it advertises to people searching for words associated with your business. Consider what types of things your business provides that people might search for at Christmas (for example, “emergency plumber” or “easy Christmas decorations”) and invest in Google AdWords advertising for these phrases.
4) Run promotions on social media
Christmas is a great time of year to ramp up your social media activity. Running promotions just for social media fans can help increase your followers on these channels, and gives you an easy way to track the effectiveness of these promotions.
Competitions, limited-time offers and vouchers can all work well on social media, especially if you sell online. If you don’t sell online, consider how you’ll get people in store; a discount code that social media fans can quote when they come to visit could work well.
5) Text your customers
If you’re regularly emailing your subscriber list about Christmas offers and new products, you could consider sending them text messages in the run-up to Christmas as an extra reminder. Many people use their smartphones to browse before buying, so a well-placed text with a link to your website or latest offer could work well in encouraging more sales at this time of year. If you don’t currently capture customer phone numbers, this is something you can do when they buy from you, or when they subscribe to your website – it can be added as an extra field asking for their phone number when they subscribe, where you could then supply a check box for them to tick if they would be happy to receive text messages from your business.
Remember that you must provide customers with a simple way to opt out of text message marketing, and don’t spam them – that definitely won’t result in any sales!
6) Make the most of local media
If you have any last-minute Christmas events planned (like extended opening hours or a special Christmas evening event) get in touch with the news editor at your local newspaper or radio station. Call or email them with a great story and simple summary, along with pictures if you have them, to try and get your event mentioned or written about. During Christmas, journalists are incredibly busy – make their job easier with a well-written, concise story. You can find some tips on doing this in this article.
7) Community websites
Search online for the details of local community groups and websites*, Call or email the organiser of the community group to see if you can get on their notice board, website or email list and get your business in front of new people. You can always offer a unique promotion or discount to help.
If your business is on social media, you should also consider joining relevant Facebook groups and Twitter chats where you can talk directly to people interested in the same topic, which will help increase your online presence too. These are just eight ideas that could give you a few extra sales during the festive period. The right words in the right places (and in the right ears) could be the difference between an ‘okay’ Christmas season and one that’ll stand your business in good stead for the new year.
* Want to give your business a bigger voice? Click to find out more on your local business membership Handpicked Local. We are passionate about local and business. Together we are stronger!