When the seasons change, it’s always a good “excuse” to refresh your marketing. What can your small business do for fall?
- Transform your office to match the new season. Thematic decorating – in this case for Halloween, Thanksgiving or simply with pumpkins, apples, colorful leaves or footballs – is the easiest way to show people your business is in the spirit of the season.
- Outfit your employees in fall apparel such as caps, long-sleeve T’s or fleece vests bearing your logo. You could even sell the apparel, if your business has a loyal following. Give away some items as part of your fall marketing promotions, and you’ll turn people into walking advertisements for your business.
- Start a postcard marketing campaign, if you aren’t already using this valuable tool to promote your business. With the holidays rapidly approaching, you’ll be able to increase your name recognition and get a head start on holiday sales.
- Update your Google+ profile to be sure your fall hours and other details are correct. And make sure your website is optimized for mobile users. More and more people use their smartphones and tablets to look up information when they’re out and about, and you can be sure they will be doing more of that as fall progresses. Can they easily find your information – and easily read it on their small screen? If not, you’ll lose the sale.
- Hold a contest for customers or prospects – what’s their favorite thing about fall? Reward the winners, and use their winning comment or photo in your marketing.
- Hold a “best fall drink recipe” contest and serve the winning entry at your bar/restaurant throughout the season. Name it after the winner, of course, and be sure to promote it widely via social media and your website.
- If you’re a dentist, focus on the “sweets season” from Halloween through New Year’s. Give away mouth-care goodie bags to new patients, or offer specials on cosmetic procedures such as whitening, so patients can look their best for the party season.
- Solicit the “gift” of referrals from your existing customers or clients or patients. Or create a “bring/refer a friend and you’ll both get a discount” campaign. This works well for every type of business, whether you have a brick-and-mortar location or a home services business. Don’t forget to thank everyone who responds.
- Think photos – your most mouth-watering new fall appetizer, your staff in Halloween costumes, etc. — and use them in your postcard marketing as well as at your place of business. Photos pack an impressive marketing punch.
- Serve hot apple cider to customers and clients. The fragrance alone will win people over. And the more comfortable you make people, the longer they’ll stay and shop.
- Get the ball rolling on your holiday marketing. Postcard marketing may be fast to produce, but you still need to plan ahead. Waiting till the last minute will only give you more seasonal stress. You’ll generate the most response if you send two or three postcards to your target recipients, about a week apart.
- Create a rewards program. Building customer loyalty should be a top priority for your marketing, all year long. Remember that rewards don’t have to be big, but they do have to be meaningful to your customers.
- Don’t neglect networking. “I’m too busy” is no excuse. Everyone is just as busy as you are, and the old adage “out of sight, out of mind” applies double to marketing.
Before you do anything else, review what you did in the way of marketing last fall. What worked well, and what wasn’t so hot? This year, focus on doing more of the things that attracted the most publicity and sales. And have fun with it.