Q: What’s one way entrepreneurs and small- to mid-size businesses can ensure they increase sales during the holiday season?
A: Get in Holiday Gift Guides
For product-based businesses, holiday gift guides — online or in print — are invaluable. These gift guides form in late summer and early fall, so apply early to make the cut.
Blake Beshore (twitter.com/#!/BlakeBeshore), Tatroux (notesfromakitchen.com)
A: Make Your Product Presentable
Help your customers see your offerings as a great gift; allow them to buy and ship it as a gift. One quick and easy way is to turn your offering into a gift certificate — allow buyers to add a custom message, then ship it to them or let them print it out, so that they’ve something to hide under the tree or slip under the pillow.
Devesh Dwivedi (twitter.com/Break9to5Jail), Breaking the 9 to 5 Jail (breakingthe9to5jail.com)
A: Make Your Holiday Story Stand Out
If you want to stand out during a noisy holiday season, tell the best story as to why someone would want your product as a gift. What story will people tell themselves about your product, and what will people on the receiving end think when they unwrap it? As Seth Godin would say, the best marketers are storytellers.
Matt Wilson (twitter.com/MattWilsontv), Under30CEO.com (under30ceo.com)
A: Offer a Product at Every Price Point
The holiday season is an awesome time for businesses since gift purchases escalate to yearly records, but don’t leave out the opportunity to capture shoppers across the spectrum with different products or packages for each price point. Make sure you have “stocking stuffer”-type offerings in the sub-$15 range, as well as high-price, high-value choices for those who want to go all out.
Doreen Bloch (twitter.com/DoreenBloch), Poshly Inc. (Poshly.com)
A: Customers Expect Promotions
Customers have come to expect deals and discounts during the holiday season, and if you’re not offering them, they may choose a competitor who is. For many small businesses, holidays are such a busy sales period that smart promotions can get pushed to the back burner. Make sure you have your Thanksgiving and Christmas campaigns locked and loaded months in advance.
Laura Roeder (twitter.com/lkr), LKR (LauraRoeder.com)
A: Increase Customer Support
If you want to sell more, then sell more! Just like how retailers bolster up their staff during the busy holiday season, websites need to learn to do the same when traffic increases. You can do so by implementing a sophisticated on-site chat system with no wait time. This ensures that customers will get their questions answered promptly. Pointing them in the right direction increases conversion.
Logan Lenz (twitter.com/loganlenz), Endagon (endagon.com)
A: Plan Your Holiday Content Now
From email newsletters to blog posts to social media updates, you’re going to need piles of holiday content for your sites, starting far in advance of the holiday season. Luckily, you can put together a lot of that in advance. Start planning and writing as far in advance as you can. Personally, I like to work six months in advance.
Thursday Bram (twitter.com/thursdayb), Hyper Modern Consulting (hypermodernconsulting.com)
A: Start Planning Your Press Now
Start preparing press placement now. The season moves quickly, and as a result, many publications have early deadlines — some as early as August. The sooner you get started, the better.
Nick Reese (twitter.com/nickreese), Elite Health Blends (elitehealthblends.com)
A: Join Forces With Other Companies
We have always benefited from product collaborations and traffic sharing, especially around the holidays when folks are looking for unique gifts. You should collaborate with companies that have a unique product, but a similar brand ethos. Make sure that you’re offering your clients something that would interest them — they’ll be grateful, and you’ll pick up new clients from your partner companies!
Aaron Schwartz (twitter.com/#!/ModifyWatches), Modify Watches (modifywatches.com)
A: Be Proactive in the Industry
Proactively get your company talking in media outlets about new things coming up this holiday season in your industry. If you get yourself out there as the thought leader leading the way this holiday season, you’ll outshine your competitors.
John Hall (twitter.com/tweetJohnHall), Digital Talent Agents (digitaltalentagents.com/)
A: Send Thanksgiving Cards or Specials
Everyone focuses on Christmas. Consumers are bombarded with Christmas offers, decorations and events. Start a month early: Mail out a Thanksgiving coupon code or a simple thank-you card to your customers a few weeks before the big day. It’s early enough that people aren’t expecting it, and it will likely bring more focus on your offering as opposed to getting lost in the holiday swarm.
Sean Ogle (twitter.com/seanogle), Location 180 LLC (seanogle.com)
A: It’s the Season of Giving!
Holiday season is the season of giving, so give away something valuable to your customers every day through social media. By giving something away, you’re going to increase the number of people talking about you and your product. The more people who talk about your product, the more they buy your product. Figure out what’s valuable to your customers, give it away, and measure the results.
Brett Farmiloe (twitter.com/brettfarmiloe), Markitors (markitors.com)
A: Don’t Wait Until November’s End
Be proactive. Don’t wait for Black Friday to have your big sale — do it a few days earlier, while people still have some cash (and most limbs) left!
Nicolas Gremion, Foboko.com (www.foboko.com/)