Well everyone, it’s that time of year again. The countdown to Christmas has begun. To those of us in any type of retail or marketing environment this can be a time when either business booms for the year or it totally and completely busts. So what can you do to make sure that you are one of those caroling your way to the bank rather than pulling notes from Ebenezer’s book?
First of all it helps to embrace the holiday spirit. Think gift giving, hot cocoa, and jingle bells. Think of what you have that you can offer your customers/clients to thank them for their continued patronage. Did you see how easy that was? You’re already planning ahead for next year. Never think short term. Always see a potential customer as a potential future customer as well. Thank them. Insure their continued support. A free gift can be something as simple as a small add on to their order; a discount off the total price of the next order; or free samples. Can you think of anyone that doesn’t like getting something for free? Start these campaigns early and continue them through the holidays.
Email every person that you have an email address for and let them know about your special. It doesn’t matter how great a sale is. If no one knows about it, no one saves money and you aren’t making it. You have to let people know what’s going on. It is a great idea to get into the habit of making a mailing list of everyone you come in contact with through your business. If you are in a party plan this can be a very valuable tool. Get the guest list for your parties and make a log. All other businesses if you ship anything you have a physical address for your customer, send flyers with your Christmas specials.
In addition to email, check out local booster clubs for school bands, sports teams, etc. They often sell advertisement space in their brochures for sporting events and seasonal concerts. They are often a bargain, seen by many, and the money actually does go to a good cause rather than filling some greedy corporate honcho’s pocket book. Print advertising is a great way to go. If you are going to utilize newspaper or penny pincher type advertising a good rule of thumb is to expect to run your campaign for three months before you get any real response. It may be a little late for this Christmas, but it is never too early to begin thinking about next Christmas.
Another great plan is to have an open house. Invite all current customers and offer prizes to those who bring a guest. It can be an entry into a drawing, a discount on merchandise purchased at the event, or a free small item. The more people you get in the door the greater sales you can hope to make. You can also offer a 5% discount on purchases at the open house to anyone who books a party within the next 30 days. It’s not too large a discount that it will hurt you if the party doesn’t pan out for whatever reason, and it’s great additional incentive for your guests to host parties of their own.
Don’t be afraid to use your children. Make goodie bags for the classroom for Halloween and Christmas, place your business card and a free sample for mom in the bag. Kids love bringing something special home to mom and most moms actually enjoy the fact that someone thought to include them. Talk to your child’s principal. Find out if you could host a show for the teachers and staff in the teachers lounge. Teachers are busy too and would most likely love to be able to spend the Christmas break with family rather than doing last minute shopping. If you have hostess specials in your business you can have a drawing for the party host. That lucky teacher or staff member will receive all the discounts and bonuses for a host.
And finally, as work at home mothers, we know the struggles of building a business and trying to maintain the perfect balance of business, family, and religious or community obligations. We really need to support each other. Buy from other Work at Home Moms, support their business and remember to drop a flyer, business card, and freebie sample off with your payment for their goods and services. Oh and most importantly don’t forget to make the time to enjoy the wonders of the holiday season. Merry Christmas!