How small businesses can create successful customer engagements this holiday season

The holidays can be a lucrative time for small businesses. The holidays can also be a stressful time if you’re unsure what marketing strategies will successfully captivate your audience. This year forecasts say holiday retail sales could reach about 843.4 billion U.S. dollars. And while those figures are conservative from years prior, there is still high demand for your company’s products and services and thus good reason to invest in marketing this holiday season. Knowing that things will be different with supply chain issues, early shoppers, and rising prices, these marketing strategies will help you successfully engage with your customers during the holidays.

MEET CUSTOMERS WHERE THEY ARE BY MARKETING AT AN EVENT OR VENUE

With retail stores at full capacity and more events happening, consider the number of current and potential customers that could see and engage with your brand and products or services at an event or venue. From community holiday festivals and Santa arrival ceremonies to sporting events and shopping malls, you can find the right fit for your brand to meet your company’s goals and objectives.

Sponsorship marketing is a direct way to expose your brand

Sponsorship marketing is a great way for small businesses to take part in their community by supporting local events. Regardless of the investment, most sponsorships will offer some sort of logo, messaging and even product placement around the event site for all attendees to see. Consider how sponsoring part of the event such as a warming lounge or light display that can be branded so customers can create a deeper connection with your brand.

Look for ways to enhance traditional marketing where you know your customers will be

Take traditional marketing up a notch by considering signage placement in highly trafficked venues this time of year. Locations like malls see a tremendous number of visitors during the holiday season. Many offer opportunities for businesses to place signage throughout main walkways and food courts. Make your signage do more by coming up with a creative tie to the holidays and include a QR code scan-to-win promotion that encourages visitors not only to look at the signage but also to engage. Bonus, by doing so, you’ll capture data such as emails to be able to continue conversations with customers after the promotion.

STAND OUT FROM YOUR COMPETITORS THROUGH EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING

Both marketing strategies are a great way to stand out from your competitors, especially in combination with experiential marketing. Through your partnership with an event or venue, consider an on-site vendor or sponsorship booth display so you can provide samples or demonstrate your products and services in a fun and engaging way.

Use the spirit of the season for creative marketing and memorable experiences 

For a memorable experience, outfit your brand ambassador team in seasonal gear, snow hats, and light-up necklaces. Incorporate a game interaction or contest for a chance to win a holiday shopping gift card. Give the display a visual draw by offering a holiday-themed photo opp. For participating, distribute festive giveaways such as branded light-up snowflake wands or texting gloves to thank visitors for engaging with your company. The holidays allow for the opportunity to get creative with your marketing and bring a sense of levity when connecting to your audiences face-to-face.

AMPLIFY YOUR PARTNERSHIP

Getting in front of your target audience at an event or venue will garner impressions ultimately increasing your company’s brand awareness. Even if there is no direct engagement, customers will still be exposed to your signage, brand messages, and integrated displays that include your company’s logo. This exposure increases credibility among a wider audience and can improve brand perception as attendees will associate your logo and products with their positive experience.

Negotiate the benefits of your partnership

To make the most of your holiday marketing dollars, take advantage of the opportunities offered through your partnership, especially if you’re a sponsor where benefits may be more negotiable. Inquire about how your brand will be promoted prior to the event, for instance including your participation in the event listing online and on marketing materials. Look for ways to have your business and logo placed on the event or venue’s website, mentioned via their social media channels, and in printed programs to be distributed to attendees. Additionally, utilize media contacts through your partnership to coordinate media buys and garner publicity. Lastly, negotiate your on-site location so that you’re in a prime spot near main entrances and visible to the majority of attendees—you don’t want to be passed by!

Prepare for increased traffic to your small business website

Having a presence at an event or venue will inevitably draw traffic to your website. That’s why it is so important to stay relevant both as a business and especially online where customers will go to seek out more information about your company following an in-person engagement. To prepare, it may be time to incorporate new industry terms, keywords, and fresh content throughout your website and content marketing. Plus, events and venues with websites and content featuring your business and linking back to your website should serve as additional incentive to have your online presence buttoned up. These tactics in combination with the online benefits through partnerships will surely give your company a boost in browser searches during the holidays.

The holidays can be a stress-free and profitable time for your small business. Consider your target audience and where they might be. Partner with an event or venue that aligns with your brand and attracts your audience. Find ways to extend the reach of your partnership and be sure to have your brand and website in tip-top shape for customers to visit after they’ve experienced your brand in person. By focusing on these strategies, you can create a successful customer engagement this holiday season.



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