Top 7 Tips to Create the Perfect Holiday Promotion

Make the holiday season merry and bright for your small business by creating the perfect holiday promotion. With a little preparation you can leverage the busy buying season to end the year on a high note and set the foundation for a new year of success.

Here are a few tips that small business owners can quickly put in place to create the perfect holiday promotion to increase their holiday success.

1. Give the Gift of Service. Add joy to the season with great customer service. As a smaller shop, you have the ability to tailor services and offer your customers a personal touch. Even small things like a follow-up phone call, handwritten thank you note or complimentary gift wrap can make your customers feel extra special.

2. Keep your friends close and your customers closer. Neighboring big businesses cannot match your intimate knowledge of your local community. Use your knowledge to cook up a targeted holiday promotion that reminds them that there is no place like home to shop. Leverage local terms and traditions in your marketing communications and online content. Make sure that you are listed on Google+ Local and other local search directories.

3. No More Reindeer Games. Santa's still using a sleigh but social savvy millennials dash to and fro via mobile devices. Make sure that your website and email promotions are optimized for mobile with fast loading pages, and easy to find information. Help social and mobile customers make a list and check it twice by sharing holiday deals, updates and gift suggestions on social media channels such as Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

4. Help them with their list. Make it easy for customers to find the right gift by grouping items into like categories. For example, you can have gifts by dollar amount, such as "gifts under $50" or by interest like "gifts for the golfer". Group items in your shop or website and promote using your e-newsletter and social media.

5. Better Together. Create a unique holiday gift offering by bundling individual and complementary products and services. You can do this with your own products and services or by partnering with another small business. For example, a running store could team up with a neighboring spa to offer a free or discounted foot massage with the purchase of running shoes, or a restaurant and Movie Theater could offer dinner and a movie packages, for weary holiday shoppers. This differentiates your gift promotions with a personal touch while giving customers a great price and convenient holiday deal.

6. Social, Seasonal and Strategic. Embrace the season in your social media and email communications by creating engaging content mapped to a strategic timeline. For example you can use the 8 days of Hannukah or 12 Days of Christmas to power your social updates and strategically build in a sense of urgency. Feature a product or service for each day, or an update that aligns with the theme. Build urgency as you countdown with subject lines such as "There's still time...", and "It's not too late..."

7. Light the way with email. Make smart use of email to nurture relationships with old and new customers. Segment your email list to send targeted and relevant promotions. Invite online and offline customers to opt in to your list for special deals and early notifications.

Whether your business is retail or service with the right tools, resources and a little pre-planning you can increase your sales and attract new customers during the holiday season.