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Christmas is coming and pockets are getting fat…with revenue! It’s the time of year when even the stingiest of consumers pry open their wallets and let few coins fall out. If you haven’t started marketing yet – what are you waiting for?
It’s time to put on your Santa hat, pull out the candy canes and put a smile on your face. It’s go time. Here are some ways you can market your business and increase your revenue during the holiday season.
Check websites for mobile and tablet friendliness
According to InternetRetailer.com and IBM, “20% of site sales and more than 43% of site traffic will come from mobile devices in November 2014.” What does that mean for business owners? It’s time get down to business and amp up your mobile presence. Make a note of the three main areas that consumers are likely to look on your website: location information, navigation and product/price information.
Increase social media activity
More than 50% of black Friday purchases will be the result of social media interaction. How active are you on social media? If you faithfully post, respond and interact with clients all year, then the holiday season will be a piece of cake. If you have been neglecting your Facebook or twitter accounts – there’s no time like the present to re-dedicate yourself.
Marketing activities, for all brands, increase during the holiday season. The goal is to market your holiday gifts without alienating your fans and followers. Let’s quickly review the do’s and don’ts of social media:
If you have not been actively utilizing social media:
Do start slow to re-engage with your fans. Watch your fans reactions and adjust as necessary.
Don’t move from one post a month to five a day – this will alienate your community and lower your brand’s trust and authority.
If you are a social media guru:
Do add one or two additional posts to your weekly editorial calendar. Use these additional posts to showcase some holiday gifts or freebies. Continue to post as you normally would.
Don’t stop your social media plan and start posting only marketing messages.
Here are three quick ways to engage your fans and followers on social media:
- Create a Pinterest board for holiday themed photography sessions. Pictures can include kids and couples on sleigh rides, families cutting down trees, grandparents decorating the fireplace, parents wrapping presents and the ever popular newly engaged couples wrapped in strands of Christmas lights.
- Create exclusive holiday offers for your Facebook fans. Reward followers with “just for them” coupon codes, discounted mini sessions and book now, use later sessions.
- Announce last minute openings on twitter. Twitter users love instant and real time information. Post daily openings for twitter users only. Create engagement and community excitement by offering discounts to the first person that responds via twitter.
Start an e-mail marketing campaign
Among the top lead generating marketing tools you can use for your small business, e-mail is still the most popular. 55% of brands send out newsletters, coupons, sales and teasers delivered directly into the inboxes of customers.
Sales are only a click away once the email is opened. There are five weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas – six if you count the week before Thanksgiving. So you have six emails you could send with the potential of hundreds or even thousands of dollars in revenue in a very short amount of time.
Here are six email ideas that you can use to fill your newsletters with holiday cheer:
- Black Friday and cyber Monday specials. Make it easy by offering one product at a huge discount. Put a large button in the email that says “Buy Now” that goes right to the product page. If you are ecommerce savvy, try a 30-50% off discount on multiple items or the entire order total.
- Mini session discounts. Alert those last minute shoppers and holiday card givers to the empty slots in your schedule. Offer discounted rates (and discounted cards).
- Gift giving guide. Group gifts by price, recipient or holiday. Make it easy to find and buy.
- Last minute gifts. Your local location is a benefit! Offer same day, next day or 24 hour pick up at your store.
- One day sale. Pick one day or a week in December and offer enormous discounts via social media and email. Offer in store sales, as well as virtual discounts, to increase foot traffic.
- Discounts on pre-booking for next year. If it’s too late for physical gifts to be printed or framed, offer discounts on future sessions and stretch your busy season into the New Year.
Create a direct mail flyer
Get out your address book and hit the post office to create a high impact mailer.
Two ideas for a holiday mailer:
- How to dress for your holiday photos. Utilize your connections to cross-promote other local boutiques. Style a photo-shoot featuring local models and outfits from local shops. In exchange for promoting other businesses, offer them free use of the photos for their website and marketing materials. Clarify the photo credit and provide a link to your website. Choose a business with your target clientele to give you exposure and generate new leads. Ask the shop if they will give out the direct mail in every shopping bag.
- Send a coupon on purchases. For example, $50 towards your purchase of $250 or more. People love “free money” and they won’t want to waste it by not using it.
Keep building brand awareness
In the quest for sales, sometimes we can forget all of the amazing branding you have accomplished this year. You may have created a new logo and updated all your sales and marketing materials to match. Maybe you finally found an authentic voice on social media that your fans respond to.
During the holiday season it’s easy to have tunnel vision, partly just to get through the season but don’t forget – keep your customers happy by continuing to engage them with the warm, inviting and personable brand that you have been working so hard to achieve.
If you do this, not only will you increase your sales but you will also strengthen your brand.
Five Black Friday and Cyber Monday success tips
Black Friday is often regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and one of the largest consumer spending days. Here are five tips to make this year’s Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) a profitable one.
Send out e-mail
As soon as you know what your deals, discounts and marketing themes for the holidays will be, start creating emails. This is the easiest and quickest way to let all of your clients know about your upcoming holiday sales.
E-mail a holiday gift guide to your clients. Think of the guide as your version of the Neiman Marcus holiday catalog. It is full of gifts personalized with client’s recent photographs.
Remind your clients that the gift of photography isn’t something that will be re-gifted. It comes with pre-written product text. Just add your photos and pricing.
Post to social media
Capitalize on social engagement and create buzz about your company. Announce sales on every social media channel. You can even use your Facebook page to ask what your clients want as a Black Friday deal – this trick will almost guarantees sales.
Create an online deal
84% of people in the U.S. shopped online for Christmas gifts in 2013, 44% of consumers plan to shop on a tablet, 94% will shop from their computer. Black Friday may be the key to getting clients into your studio, but Cyber Monday is how you get them onto your website.
Three ideas for Cyber Monday discounts:
- Create bundles and encourage visitors to book online for a special price.
- Set up a discounted mini session date. Discounts apply on one day only.
- A special discount on images you have already taken with a Cyber Monday code
The key to cyber Monday and Black Friday is to have products that you can upsell once they are in your store or at your mini session. Check our magazine for ideas.
Give out FREEBIES
Everyone likes free stuff! Instead of giving away your time (and profits), give away items that don’t cost you anything, like:
- Free shipping on all online or in store purchases.
- Free gift wrapping with all frame orders (perfect timing to order custom gift wrapping with your logo).
- Buy one get one free gift cards. Your might set up the promotion as “give one to a friend and get one free for yourself”. This means two clients with one purchase, an opportunity to upsell twice as much! If you need a gift card template we have one available.
Speaking of FREEBIES, download my FREE Holiday Mini Session template.
Utilize your rewards program
Do you have a rewards program? Put it to use and offer double points or double the rewards on all purchases on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Or offer this deal the entire month of November on specific products like Christmas family photo sessions.
Four Christmas Marketing Ideas
Photos with Santa
Remember when I said to get out your Santa hat? Now I don’t mean the typical spectacle at the mall where kids anxiously wait for hours to get a three second photo. This is a special event.
How does it work? Partner with an upscale children’s boutique and host “An Evening with Santa” complete with milk, cookies and a story. Stores with more than one location can double or triple revenue.
Kids sit on Santa’s lap and have one or two photographs taken. Then the group enjoys story time and cookies with Santa for about 15 to 20 minutes. During this time, you finish the orders and collect payment. Then those kids leave and another group comes in.
How do I make money? To be successful, keep the photo options simple, have plenty of help and a quick turnaround. Book two events back to back. As a courtesy to the shop, offer a free 5×7 to each customer.
- Order a cute novelty holiday frame in bulk/wholesale and upsell customers.
- Get affordable photo folders.
- Offer simple print packages and greeting cards. The greeting card should be high quality with a simple design. Have samples on hand.
- Thank the store for the event and try to seal the deal for a repeat event next year.
Not only are these events profitable, the bonus is the opportunity to market to a new set of potential clients. Here’s an example found on LinkedIn:
Send holiday or New Year’s cards to clients
Keep your business top of mind by sending clients Christmas or New Year’s cards. This may spark some sales, but it also strengthens relationships with clients and builds customer loyalty. Resist the urge to offer discounts in the cards and keep this simply as a thank you for your business.
If you missed the Christmas season, don’t put off thanking your customers until next year. Send a New Year’s card instead. By sending a New Year’s card you’ll capture attention and possibly spark some referrals for the couple that just recently got engaged.
Host a party
Have you been to a jewelry, bag or makeup party at someone’s house recently? If you have, then you know the power of wine, friends and shopping. Those companies are onto something and it might be beneficial to organize a Holiday Shopping Extravaganza with a few of those businesses.
Each business promotes the event to their customers for a big turnout. Photographers set up a mini Christmas set where you give shoppers a free print on site or e-mail them a complimentary digital file. This allows you to grow your e-mail list for next year. Offer discounts on future sessions and Christmas cards.
Holiday marketing for wedding photographers
The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is the largest proposal time of the year. What is your goal? Capture leads as soon as he slips the ring on her finger.
Three ways to promote your wedding photography business during the holidays:
- Use social media to post holiday engagement shoots and images of couples in holiday settings
- Create a Pinterest board for winter themed weddings
- Give out wedding information with every purchase and at every event