The countdown for the holiday shopping season is on. It’s an exciting time for small business owners, as it can be your biggest sales period of the year. But, there’s competition, from the big-box chains to the Amazons of cyber space. Don’t forget about your small biz competitors, too!
We want to make sure when you pull the levers, you hit a jackpot every single time. So, here’s an early present. We pulled together a small business sales-building checklist to help you prepare:
Inventory: Make sure to check last year’s numbers on the items you sold, and stock beyond last year within reason. Remember, our business loans can help you quickly boost your inventory.
Deals: Take an intelligent approach here. You want to be competitive, but also make people feel like they are getting a deal or saving a dollar somewhere. Free shipping works, and so does 10% off a next purchase. Also, check to see what your competition is doing to outmaneuver.
Communication: Have signs professionally made to post in your business’s window. Plan and send a few customer e-mails per week from mid-November through the end of December, letting customers know about sales, special items and more. Plan and execute social media ad campaigns for your small business. On Facebook, you can target, using a number of different options. On Twitter, target the follower lists of your competition, big and small. Don’t have money for that? We do for you!
Your Website: You have to invest some money here. Hire a web marketing consultant/designer/developer to make sure you’re in a good spot with regard to e-commerce/online sales, search engine optimization (including backlinks, keywords and meta data). If it’s in your budget, you may also want to discuss paid search/PPC campaigns with this individual. This will be money well spent. Again, BFS Capital can help here, too.
Customer service: Make sure to go above and beyond with the service and experience you provide to each and every customer whether it’s in-person or online. Be sure to prep your employees (if you have them) on the importance of customer service during this period, too.
Reviews: These really go hand-in-hand with customer service. Ask and possibly incentivize customers who communicate they had a good experience to post a positive review about your business on your company’s Facebook or Google+ pages. A majority of customers, particularly online ones, will research your business online before they make a purchase. You probably already know that, though 😉
This doesn’t cover everything your business can do to deliver strong holiday sales, but it’s a checklist to get you started. Remember, it’s always helpful to have a documented plan in place to keep yourself and your employees on the yellow brick road. It doesn’t have to account for play-by-play, but it should identify objectives, how-to tactics on how to reach them, and anticipated results. Don’t forget to post them in the break room where they can be seen regularly.