5 ways to light up your business this Christmas
Even if you operate in business to business, don't think you can't leverage the busiest period on the retail calendar.
The build up to Christmas presents so many opportunities for those that own a small business and operate in the business to business world. It is the perfect time to win the hearts and minds of your customers, by raising awareness, generating new subscribers and increasing loyalty. Think about that sales pipeline for next year!
Here are 5 easy to implement ways of making the most of the season.
1. Use corporate gifts to thank your most valued customers
There is no question that gifts can have a powerful impact on your opinion of a business. C-suite executives are especially impacted by a gift that tells a story and facilitates a deeper personal connection. And C –suite execs are twice as likely to recall an interesting story associated with their last business gift, with 77% saying it made them feel appreciated and 40% reported increased loyalty.
There are so many corporate gifting options but it can be overwhelming deciding where to start. Decide on your budget and consider what your customers would like and their values. Some businesses have strict guidelines on gifting so always check first. Personalisation is a huge trend and you can brand almost anything.
According to the American Express Small Business Monitor, the top corporate gifts are:
Cards or calendars (49%)
Gift certificates for retail or restaurants (26%)
Company branded items (23%)
Fruit or food basket or charity donation (both 18%)
Flowers or plants and alcohol (tied at 10%)
Will Ripley, CEO of Calverley advises "One big trend is gifting which has a CSR element - like Memobottle which has a built in donation to water.org with every bottle sold to provide fresh drinking water to someone in the third world for two months. We've experienced distributors saying they have clients that will only purchase gifts where there is a charitable element to it".
If you need some inspiration, then here are some relevant and up to date ideas from Square Meal. They also have a separate guide to charity gifts so you can combine gifting with corporate social responsibility.
2. Send a Christmas card to all your contacts
Many businesses forget to send Christmas cards to their customers. A Christmas card is a simple and effective way to thank customers, suppliers and partners you've worked with. It also gives you an excuse to contact and nurture prospects and lapsed customers.
If you have the time and budget, then get a card professionally designed and printed. Think of the card as a mini direct mail campaign and incorporate your branding. Ensure you include a handwritten and personalised message, not forgetting to include a subtle call to action at the end.
3. Create seasonal content
Give your website a festive feel. Use free photo libraries to refresh your imagery with seasonal colours making it relevant and up to date. Plus remember it is important to update your website regularly to aid your search engine optimisation (SEO). Google likes fresh content so you should be updating your site regularly to boost your search rankings.
Don't feel Christmas is a time to down tools. You can still use it to increase your pool of prospects and nurture leads gearing up for next year. Get your thinking cap on and generate some content which offers real value to your audience. Calendars and Christmas guides make interesting features at this time of year.
Or you use the occasion to send out an end of year message or round up. This is the perfect time to talk about your business without talking shop. Make sure you get across your company culture and share what has been happening behind the scenes. And remember we are coming up to the end of this decade which is a great communication angle.
And don't forget to communicate your office opening hours.
4. Give back to a worthy cause
If you don't have a CSR policy, Christmas poses a chance to get something in place.
Why not sponsor a charitable cause or event. Not only is this a genuinely enjoyable and satisfying thing to do, but it will also show your customers that you're a business that has positive values.
Rebecca Millburn from TFA a specialist fundraising consultancy advises "It is well known that charitable giving increases in the run up to Christmas, and while individuals are looking for opportunities to give something back and do something good during the festive season they are also looking to companies/suppliers to do the same. Do this in a genuine and authentic way and there are many business benefits in supporting charities, at Christmas, and all year round".
5. Host a New Year party
If you think you've left it too late to get something in the diary, then hold off until next year and throw a New Year get together. It doesn't have to be a party.
Consider hosting a dinner and inviting an inspirational guest along who can talk at the dinner. This takes the pressure off you to run the evening and provides a focal point for the evening which isn't directly business related.
The season of goodwill
Christmas is the season of goodwill when people may be more receptive to receive communication from your business, but do remember that it is a very busy time.
Even, if you think you have left it too late, there ensure you do something to thank your customers, partners and staff for their support.
Are you a consumer brand and need some inspiration for Christmas marketing, then here are 10 tips to help.