With the holiday shopping season in full swing, now’s the time to choose the best holiday marketing ideas for your business.

Whether you’re selling goods or services, own a brick and mortar shop or run an online store, you can’t afford not to capitalize on the biggest shopping season of the year. In fact, Deloitte forecasts that retail sales will reach $1.04 to $1.05 trillion between November 2017 and January 2018, with growth as high as 4.5% for retail stores and 18 to 21% for e-commerce sales.

Use these five holiday marketing ideas for small businesses to create excitement and drive sales during the 2017 holiday shopping season.

1. Ramp Up Your Advertising Efforts

Holiday marketing efforts for small businesses should be frequent and varied. This not only makes your customers aware of your holiday discounts post Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but also allows them to plan their purchases strategically when they hit the shops. Advertising methods could include:

  • Posters in your shop windows
  • Print/radio ads in local media
  • Email list/newsletter reminders
  • Social media posts: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter
  • Banner ads on your website or deals and affiliate sites

2. Get Extra Help

No one enjoys holiday shopping crowds, so plan holiday staffing schedules to make sure you have the extra help you’ll need for an influx of customers.

Hire seasonal employees now to avoid problems finding temporary staff later in the season. And use this as a marketing tool to emphasize that your business offers “extra staff on-site to help you save time and assist with your purchases during the holidays.”

3. Offer Online Shopping Options

If you own a brick and mortar business, instead of lamenting the loss of customers to e-commerce platforms and online shopping sites, consider shoppers’ willingness to try online shopping as a business opportunity this holiday season.

Set up an e-commerce section — also known as an online store — on your website for customers who prefer to shop online. Deloitte reports that, between November 2016 and January 2017, e-commerce sales (excluding gas stations, motor vehicles and parts dealers and food services) grew 14.3 % to $93.8 billion.

4. Optimize Your Store Layout

Trying to find and purchase gifts in a crowded, cramped, dimly lit and/or unorganized shop may leave shoppers frustrated and less likely to complete their shopping on-site.

  • Plan to optimize your store layout before the busy holiday season hits.
  • Choose brighter lights, and highlight sales items or popular seasonal gift items at the front of the store in easy-to-reach displays.
  • Clear your aisles as much as possible.
  • Remove all unnecessary merchandise and other items, and make sure your cashiers/cash counters are easily visible, even adding a hanging sign if necessary.

After all, you’ll likely have much more foot traffic during holiday shopping time, so make sure your displays allow for extra in-store customers.

Deloitte forecasts that retail sales will reach $1.04 to $1.05 trillion between November 2017 and January 2018, with growth as high as 4.5% for retail stores and 18 to 21% for e-commerce sales.1

5. Extend Your Hours

Perhaps one of the oldest and simplest holiday marketing ideas for small businesses is to extend your hours during the season. Open an hour early and stay open late! This is especially important as you get closer to December 25, as many last-minute shoppers may shop for gifts on December 22 and 23 — or even December 24, if you’re still open.

The holiday season is a great end-of-year opportunity to boost your annual sales, and to start new relationships that you can build upon in 2018. Start planning now. Include the ideas that worked in previous years and then try something new to attract those holiday shoppers who are ready to buy.


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