While the holiday season is a great time to gain new customers and capture the attention of consumers, you’re also working nonstop to make sure your business is running at full capacity. Here’s a quick list of items that can make an impact this holiday season, but won’t tax your already limited time available as a small business owner.
1. Make Sure You’re Where Your Potential Customers Spend Their Time
More people go online first to research local businesses for their shopping needs. If your business is not easily found, you are missing out on potential new business opportunities and new customers. Ensure that you are found in search engines, local directories, social sites, GPS devices, and mobile applications so your business is found no matter what way your customers look for you. Many small business owners do not have time to manage this on their own, so they have enlisted us to promote their business for them.
In addition to search results and online listings, Facebook is another area of opportunity for small business owners. With more than 800 million active users (source: Facebook) and with more than 50% of the active users logging on to Facebook any given day, it’s a great place to source potential new customers.
Ensure that your business has a presence on Facebook so that people can check in and broadcast that they were at your business to their entire network of friends. A Facebook Company Page allows you to have a customized business presence that competes with many national businesses that advertise on Facebook. The company page serves as a personalized view to your business showing photos and status updates about new items, and it serves as a communication tool for users to ask questions and connect with your business.
2. Keep Your Website Updated
It’s important to make sure you are delivering accurate and updated information to your website visitors, but also that it is updated frequently so that search engines are encouraged to come back and index the new information. Take a look at your website now and make sure you have all of your products and services updated, include any holiday specials or coupons prominently on the home page, update new extended business hours, and anything else you notice that needs an update.
If you’re too busy to update your site, and you are an existing Web.com customer with our monthly update service included in your website package, call us and we’ll get your website updated for you.
By 2014, 53% of total retail sales (online and offline) will be affected by the Web, as consumers increasingly use the Internet to research products before purchasing.
Forrester, March 2010
3. Give Visitors a Gift
You’ve probably noticed people during the holidays walking around shopping malls or entering your business who have a somewhat glazed look on their face. The holiday shopping crunch and all the activities related to the busy shopping season do tend to wear us down. Something that doesn’t have to cost much but will go the extra mile is to give your customers a gift when they visit your website or your business. It may be as simple as a cup of gourmet coffee in a ceramic mug with your business logo, free gift wrapping, a wrapping paper kit to save customers that extra trip to the store, a coupon for a family holiday photo session, or other time-saving items. Make sure you promote it to customers now, by putting out a sign advertising the free gift, and include it in your email marketing and Facebook Company Page updates to get the word out.
When asked what sources “influence your decision to use or not use a particular company, brand or product,” 71% claim reviews from family members or friends exert a “great deal” or “fair amount” of influence.
Harris Interactive, June 2010
Your gift to website and business visitors will quickly become something to spread instant word of mouth for your business as your customers tell their friends about your offer.
4. Ask for Customer Reviews
Asking for customer reviews is often overlooked and is a very important factor in influencing new customers to do business with you. Your happy customers are the best advocates of your products or services and why they choose to do business with you.
During this holiday season, ask for reviews . . . or even better yet run a contest to encourage customers to provide their reviews on Google Places or Yelp or email them directly to you. Make sure it’s easy for customers to enter their reviews, and that you are set up on Google Places, Yelp, and other review websites before you ask for the reviews. Don’t forget to include your customer reviews on your website as a great way to showcase your business.
83% of all holiday shoppers are influenced by customer reviews.
ChannelAdvisor, “Consumer Shopping Habits Survey,” August 2010
No matter how busy you are this holiday season, make sure you are presenting your business in the best way possible. Ensuring your customers can find you and keeping them updated about your business is the best way to keep your business top of mind . . . and the place to make purchases during the holidays and thereafter.
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