Promotional ideas for small businesses this holiday season

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When the holiday season is in full swing this year, local small businesses can find themselves in a unique position. The novel coronavirus outbreak in late 2019 and early 2020 forced many small businesses to close their facilities to customers in March. While it has been devastating for many small businesses, such closures have caused many consumers to recognize how vital these businesses play in making their communities great places to live.

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With this recognition in mind, many communities have rallied around their local business owners and encouraged residents to patronize them. Local business owners can further increase their chances of recouping lost revenue by considering an assortment of promotional ideas this holiday season.

· Turn dollars into donations. Local charities have also suffered during the COVID-19 outbreak, when unemployment claims have increased and families have cut spending in response or in anticipation of layoffs, furloughs and wage cuts. Small business owners can pay ahead of this holiday season by running community promotions that promise a percentage of every sale will be donated to a local charity. This is a win-win situation that can attract more customers to your store and benefit a local charity at the same time.

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· Offer discounts to loyal customers. Small businesses thrive on loyal customers. A 2018 survey by InMoment, a company that helps businesses compete in the experience economy, found that 77% of consumers acknowledge having had relationships with specific brands for at least a decade. These numbers indicate the importance of maintaining long-term relationships with consumers, and business owners can reward customer loyalty by setting up a discount club. A café can reward customers with a free coffee for every 10 cups purchased, while restaurants can reward take-out customers with free desserts or appetizers for every five meals purchased. Rewards like this can attract more customers this holiday season and let loyal customers know how much they are appreciated.

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· Encourage engagement on social media. Even if it’s not possible to welcome as many customers to your store as you did last holiday season, the possibilities for connecting with customers are seemingly endless. Social media provides a great opportunity for small business owners to promote their products and reward customers who share their experiences through platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Encourage customers to engage via social media by offering exclusive sales and discounts. Customers can then be encouraged to share their experiences with their followers, which is a simple and effective way for business owners to generate interest in their products and services.

Small business owners impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak can use a variety of strategies to connect with customers and recoup lost revenue this holiday season.

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