Rudolph: 6 Last-Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

amplify Dec 13, 2016

Ah, Christmas, the time when we do our very best procrastinating, sailing through the wonder of the season in a holiday stupor. Sometimes it comes naturally and other times it can be difficult to get into the Christmas spirit. This is especially true when you feel like you still have plenty of time left to drink cocoa and make merry… and then, suddenly, you find yourself in an ugly-sweater-jumpsuit looking down at an apartment floor filled with crinkled paper, opened boxes and items you will certainly be needing a gift receipt for, thinking “What the heck just happened?”

If you have waited a little late to get on the marketing bandwagon, here are 6 ways that you can still get in on the fun and make a little green in the process…

Skip the Christmas Party... For Now.

Many B2B companies host holiday soirees for their clients or potential business prospects. However, if you have yet to get familiar with the Christmas party scene in town, you are far from out of the game. Hosting a late Christmas or New Year’s party is actually the best time to come in under the radar for the win. Once everyone is back to work and the real talk starts about 2017’s budgeting needs, you will be the fresh face on their mind and the most likely candidate to snag their business.

Host a Fun Kid-Oriented Social Campaign.

The countdown is on and most grownups will not have much time to participate in contests… but if you make the last-minute campaign about their kids, you will have a much better turn out. Create a hashtag for your audience to post pictures of their child’s best Christmas art and center the contest rules around what you do as a business. For instance, if you were a tractor company, you could ask families to draw their interpretation of how Santa might use his tractor to get around the world.

Keeping the contest simple means that you will have more entries. Drawing takes just a few minutes. Even busy parents will be able to find time for that. The grownups can scan or even snap a photo of their child’s artwork and share then share it with you. Remember to post some of the entries on your site and to offer a winning prize. A post-Christmas gift card might be just the ticket or you could take it a step further and have the winner be your company mascot for the month.

Schedule a Festive Employee Flash Mob.

Want to make the local papers? Get a little free press with a flash mob. If you want to make sure everything is spot on, consider hiring a local choir or junior dance troop. People LOVE flash mobs and if you create one, people WILL get out their phones and record it. If they record it, they will also share it. Check out this video of a holiday flash mob. Then be sure to note the number of views.

Give a Little “Wow.”

Small businesses rarely have the budget to really “go for the gold” in giveaways. However, just because you don’t have a big-business budget, doesn’t mean that you cannot have a big-business turnout. Inspire customers to shop by giving away a couple of gift cards during the checkout process.

You can make it fun for your employees too by writing a lot of attributes on pieces of paper and having the employees draw them from a bowl as their shifts begin. For example, your cashier might pull out a “green sweater” and “brown eyes”. The first customer to checkout with those two qualities will receive a free gift card for a future purchase.

Alternatively, you can get in the spirit of the season by adding other elements too. For instance, “incredibly kind” or “seems a little sad.” Not only will you be furthering your marketing efforts, but you will also help your employees feel like they really made a difference.

Still Gonna Miss the Mark? Frankie Says Relax.

Remember, just because the holidays are only days away doesn’t mean that you cannot still get as much as possible out of your marketing efforts. If you just can’t quite make the Christmas cut-off, host a week of deals and bargains post-Christmas when other shops are back to marking up prices. Find a unique angle and go for it. Consider an advent-style week where you unveil a different deal or giveaway each day. If you are a health store, you could celebrate Santa’s first day of official dieting. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Alright… Somebody Get the Selfie Stick.

Everybody loves a good selfie. Invite your customers to take a silly selfie in-store with one of your products and post it with a unique hashtag you have created. Pick winning selfies to go up on your company wall of fame or send them an e-gift card to spend later. Not only will you create extra buzz even as the holiday clock ticks down to zero… you will have created customers for life.

If you take nothing else away from this article, just remember this. It’s fine. You’re doing great. You’ll be ok. I promise. Small businesses come to me often and they are some of the most passionate people that I have ever worked with. They have a lot invested in their company – both financially and personally. They want to give it their best because they are afraid that if they don’t give it all they have… the big-guys just might win out.

While I’m all for give-it-your-all, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. (I seriously doubt they have ever even built a McDonald’s in a day. If they have, I congratulate that contractor, but I don’t exactly want to go inside it for structural reasons. I will take the drive-thru, thanks.) When you miss the mark, remember that next Christmas is still out there and you will have many other holidays and events to tackle soon. So, go ahead, enjoy Christmas. You’ll build your empire soon enough. Today there is snow on the trees, pancakes on the stove and a Wet Bandit getting hit in the head with a paint can and you don’t want to miss that.



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