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2015 Holiday Guide

 

Boost Holiday Guide Blog imageThe holiday season can be a stressful time of year for everyone- but especially business owners. There’s a lot to do and little time to do it. It might feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle against your competitors and finances, but there are a number of specific things you can do each month to make sure you get the most out of this time. The key is to plan an outline during the months prior to a major holiday. Hopefully you have already started- but if not, there’s no better time!

NOVEMBER IS HERE. IT’S GAME TIME.

November is by far the biggest shopping month of the entire year. Due to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, the momentum around this time can seem like a freight train to busy small businesses. If your organization would like to be involved with any charity efforts focused around Thanksgiving or the holidays, this would need to be accounted for in your business’ budget plan. Philanthropy is a marvelous way to capture attention, while helping your community at the same time. Many owners decide to volunteer their company at organizations, purchase turkeys/hams for families in need, or collect/purchase non-perishable food items to donate. Whatever your outreach efforts include, they may require a little extra cash-flow. If you’re struggling to find extra capital, obtaining a cash advance from a financial lender like Boost Business Funding is the perfect option for your company. Instead of finding yourself struggling to stay afloat, make this November work to your advantage. Let’s break down the major categories you can focus on to fully utilize the holiday buzz.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

As excitement for Thanksgiving and the holidays steadily increase, there are countless topics your business can use to engage customers. People are arguing about whether it’s too early for Christmas music and discussing Black Friday shopping hours, in addition to looking for upcoming promotions. Other than posting about special discounts and deals (see “Promotions”) -giveaways and contests are the best way to get consumer attention. These methods are the easiest ways to increase your free, organic reach on Facebook. Of course these days, the most efficient way to advertise on Facebook is by paying for it. As for Twitter and Instagram, make use of trending hashtags and eye-catching images. Keep in mind that you can actually link all three of these accounts to post the same thing in order to save time. Remain vigilant when it comes to public interaction on your social pages. You don’t want to lose any potential customers. If you have people asking about your products, they’re interested in buying! The last thing you want to do is ignore their comment or question and lose a possible sale.

 

S.E.O. (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION)

If you want people to find your products and services online, optimizing your product pages is key. Cyber Monday revolves around online shoppers taking to the ease of the internet and spending serious money, as opposed to in the store. Last year 127 million people participated in Cyber Monday. Facilitating the buyer’s ease on your website will result in happy customers and increased sales. This means creating a smooth, user friendly path for customers to travel while purchasing items online. For those businesses that don’t have e-commerce elements (shopping carts, etc.) on their sites, you still need to account for increased online traffic during this time of year. Think of your website as an online billboard with more daily traffic than your town’s busiest intersection. Everyone is off from work and school, which means more free time to browse online- and your website. In addition to revising your content to include “holiday focused” terms, consider incorporating holiday colors and sounds, silly games and festive call-to-actions.

 

BLOGGING AND WEBSITE CONTENT

From small product descriptions to extensive blog posts, make sure to go through your entire website for any potential grammar errors, awkward wording, incorrect or outdated information, glitches or typos. You want to present yourself as an expert in your industry. Customer trust comes from their confidence that you know what you’re doing. Marketing mistakes- even simple ones- don’t reflect well on your business.

Blog about frequently asked questions or struggles customers might be experiencing. If you have the resources, revise your website content with holiday SEO for this and next month. Revise product descriptions and title tags with popular, but relevant detailed keywords. Examples of good words to include are: New, Free, Sale, Now, Holiday, Save, Gift, Christmas, and Shipping. With SEO, fluff will do more harm than good. Make sure that your company information listed is current and correct. Go through this short checklist to make sure that you are covered.

  • Holiday store hours
  • Phone number
  • Physical address(es) of any/all locations
  • Holiday specials, sales, and coupons
  • Currently featured products/services
  • Return/exchange policies
  • Shipping details
  • Anything customers should be aware of

 

INVENTORY & BUDGET

Take a moment to analyze your past data and consider what will and possibly could be needed. In addition to your successes, think about what is not selling and why. How was the product or service displayed and priced? When it comes to inventory, obviously it is better to be safe and have a surplus, than to be ill prepared. Boost can provide quick merchant cash advances to small businesses looking to protect their inventory. Dedicate a large amount of attention to all the aspects.

  • How much product did you order in the last couple of years?
  • Did you run out of product in the past or did you have a surplus?
  • Has your product been selling more or less compared to previous years, prior to the holiday?
  • How will you manage your cash flow between investing in your products and selling them?
  • What is the cut-off date to order more and have it in time for holiday shoppers?

It may sound like a given, but make sure you know your numbers. Be an expert on your own finances. Don’t be afraid to push negotiations with high-priced vendors. If you haven’t already, add gift cards to your line of products or services. Besides being quick to purchase and providing flexibility, gift cards are instant revenue for your store, whether customers use them or not.

 

PROMOTIONS

Not offering any sales or promotions around Thanksgiving and the following shopping days is a detrimental mistake. It doesn’t mean you have to give anything away for free, but customers do expect a certain level of price reduction from this time of year – and often won’t even consider buying full price. It may seem overconfident, but not when you think about the entire discount wielding world of competition. Arrange one or two ways you can offer a discount without negatively affecting your bottom line. As you often see at companies such as Macy’s, some go the extra step and give a “free gift with purchase” to their customers. If you’re in need of extra money quick, contact Boost today. December is also a great month to team up with other businesses and give back – again! Besides the fact that business relationships can be mutually beneficial for your organization, they also solidify your reputation within your community. Everyone likes to see people getting along and working together during the holidays.

 

EMAIL CAMPAIGNS

As already mentioned, this is Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday month. Even if you don’t sell the typical big holiday ticket items (Ex. 60” TVs or gaming systems), your business can still benefit greatly by offering good bargains to existing clients. Use your database of email addresses to remind customers that these days of deals extend to your business as well. Present them with the perfect “gift ideas” or “stock stuffers”. Breakdown your contact lists to send more personal and relevant offers, and most importantly make sure you are tracking the reception of every email campaign.

 

DECEMBER.

It’s all been leading up to this. The holiday shopping season started well before the first of this month, but there are still plenty of opportunities ahead. According to a 2014 report, 23 million people in the UK still had shopping left to do on Christmas Eve. A financial analysist company, First Data SpendTrend found, from looking at card-based transactions at over 400,000 US retail merchants from the period spanning November 1, 2014, to January 4, 2015, that Christmas Eve was the biggest spending day of the year, overriding Black Friday.

KEEPING UP ENERGY

One of the biggest struggles during the thick of the holidays is maintaining hard-working, energetic staff. One way to ensure your employees won’t burn out is by making sure there are plenty of them. Understaffing causes high stress and a lower quality of product or service. You might think you are saving money on payroll, but the cost could be losing profit. If you are suddenly hit with an influx of customers, you want to be sure you are prepared to handle them. A small business loan from Boost can help you to hire and maintain those skilled workers.

2016 BUDGET PLANNING

As mentioned, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. If your goals seem impossible due to low cash flow, contact Boost Business Funding about a quick, customized merchant cash advance. The flexible repayment terms are proportionate to your earnings. Meaning, they will never place unnecessary strain on your cash flow, even if business is slow.

At the end of December, once the holiday dust has settled, it’s important to review your business’ performance. Did you correctly budget for everything you needed in the past four months? Analyze what you would do differently and what you want to repeat next year. How can you improve your business?

Connect with a Funding Specialist today at 1-888-290-4839, or by email to start accomplishing your dreams. Our financing team will review your recent business performance to qualify you for an alternative financing solution that fits your needs.

Report sources:

http://www.statista.com/topics/991/us-christmas-season/

http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Biggest-Holiday-Spending-Day-Christmas-Eve/1011910

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