The holiday season is a great time to try to maximize your exposure amongst your local community, whether you're hoping to attract holiday shoppers or network with potential new business clients. Get into the holiday spirit and invite your community into your store to partake in some yuletide cheer. In addition to these brick-and-mortar ideas, make sure your online marketing is helping drive holiday shopping performance for you this season too!
1. Host A Sampling Night
Whether your business deals with food, drink, or dry goods- host a Sampling Night. Let locals know they can come in, enjoy free hot coco or cider, and try out our newest winter or holiday inventory. Today's consumers conduct extensive online research before purchasing their gift items- but nothing beats being able to go into the store and actually feel the fabrics, or taste the wines.
Maximize the potential for return on investment by offering incentives for people who bring a friend! Whether it's a coupon or an upgraded freebie (cake or wine), you'll double your exposure. If your local paper does holiday round ups, invite them to attend for possible inclusion in their suggested gift list.
Image via Google
2. Have a Small Business Saturday Party
Small Business Saturday is coming up fast - November 28th! Get together with other businesses and throw a block (or mall) party for Small Business Saturday! Promote the day using the official hashtag #ShopSmall. It's important to remind shoppers that they can show their support for your local town by supporting local businesses. If your store is one of the bigger ones on the block, invite your fellow business owners to set up a booth or a table in your store in celebration of SBS!
Explore event ideas on the official website of Small Business Saturday.
3. Have a Tree Decorating Ceremony
Community members of any size are very appreciative of family-centric events, especially when it provides fun holiday memories. Bring in a large tree for your store (ideally near the front) and host a tree decorating night. Provide paper and markers for kids and parents to main paper chain garland or cut out ornaments. If you have the budget, take Polaroid photos of the families and give them cardboard or tin lids to turn their holiday photo into an ornament. Not only will this feel-good event bring people into to your (and to your register!) but it will make your bond with them even stronger, for increased customer appreciation and loyalty. This kind of community event is definitely newspaper coverage worthy as well!
Image via Kenosha News
4. Bring In Santa
If no other store in your shopping district has a Santa, bring one into your store! You don't need an elaborate setup, a slightly oversized armchair will do (get one from a thrift store!). If a family member (or two) is willing to volunteer, you'll definitely be able to make this marketing tactic cost-effective. Take a Polaroid photo (or email them a digital one) of the kids and families for a nice holiday gift. Make sure you post flyers, let customers know, and alert your local newspaper that Santa will be coming to town to take gift requests in person.
Image via Tofino Co-op Food Store
5. Host an Instructional Class
Whether it's how to cook a holiday dish, how to set a table, how to knit a sweater, or even just how to properly wrap and style presents, invite locals to your store and teach them some holiday skills! Make sure you offer your instructions earlier in the season to get ahead of your attendees gift shopping! Not only will such a class bring people into the store to see your latest offerings, but it will help build good will and customer loyalty amongst your local population- which goes a very long way in small towns.
Image via Shihos Craft Cafe
6. Sponsor a Charitable Cause
Giving back during the holidays is easy, it just takes initiative! Your store can host a winter coat donation drive, a food pantry donation, a toy drive, or a Christmas card writing session for deployed troops. Get in touch with the charitable organization of your choice and let them know you'd like to get involved- they'll provide you with all the instructions, donation bins, and pick up service to help make it happen. You'll free great about giving back this season, and sponsoring a charitable cause is a great way to let your community know your business stands behind admirable principals.
Image via CARQUEST Auto pParts