Holiday Marketing

The Small Business Holiday Checklist

Though the holiday season is fun and exciting, it can be stressful if you’re a small business owner—after all, it’s the busiest shopping period of the year! Fortunately, the key to conquering the small business holiday season is preparation. Preparing for the holidays could mean anything from evaluating your inventory to running a promotion. And if you don’t know where to start, don’t worry! We’ve created a holiday checklist filled with action items you can do right now…and enjoy the spirit of the season later.  

How Do I Prepare My Small Business for the Holidays?

  1. Deck the Halls
  1. Prep Your Packaging
  1. Stock Up on Top Sellers
  1. Plan a Sale or Special Event
  1. Send a Holiday Card
  1. Get Social
  1. Staff Up

1. Deck the Halls

It’s time to start getting ready for the holidays…starting with festive decorations! From colorful string lights to evergreen garlands, a beautifully decorated shop is a surefire way to attract foot traffic and show customers that you’re embracing the season. Take it to the next level by burning wintery candles and playing Christmas music, too! And if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar space, you can still deck out your online presence. Think: a wintery banner on your Facebook page, or a holiday playlist for shoppers to enjoy while they browse your online shop. 

2. Prep Your Packaging

The way you package your merchandise tells customers a lot about your brand. Whether you run an online shop or sell to customers face-to-face, thoughtful packaging is one of the easiest ways to keep your brand top-of-mind long after the transaction is over. In addition to making sure you have enough tissue paper, tape, ribbon, and shopping bags ready for the seasonal rush, take this time before the holidays to level up your packaging offerings. Think: festive wrapping paper, elegant gift boxes, patterned ribbon, and more. 

3. Stock Up on Top Sellers

The last thing you want to do is run out of a customer-favorite item. Check out sales data from last year to see what was popular during the holiday shopping season, and review what’s been popular over the last few months. Make sure your shelves—whether online or IRL—are fully stocked before the holidays so you don’t miss out on any sales. 

4. Plan a Sale or Special Event—And Get the Word Out

While you don’t necessarily have to slash prices to get customers through your doors, running some sort of promotion or special event is a great way to excite and attract customers. And once you decide what you’re doing, make sure to get the word out! Send a holiday marketing email announcing your event or promotion, post about it on your go-to social channels, and hang posters in your shop. 

Aside from running a store-wide promotion, here are some seasonal event ideas to get you inspired: 

  • Choose a weekend during the holiday shopping season to give customers a gift with purchase.
  • Host a holiday open house with light appetizers and complimentary cocktails.
  • Offer free gift wrapping or local gift delivery during the holiday season.
  • Run a raffle—give one ticket to every customer who makes a purchase.

5. Send a Holiday Card

Next on the holiday preparation checklist? A classic Christmas card! Sending holiday greeting cards is a seasonal tradition, and they’re a great way to connect with customers in a meaningful way…while also showing up in their mailbox. Include a brief handwritten message inside, or a personal anecdote if it’s a client you know particularly well.  

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Get customers through your doors by including an incentive in the holiday card—like a coupon or freebie with their next purchase.  

6. Get Social

It’s important to stay active on your social channels all year—but even more so during the holiday season. In addition to sharing photos of new products and news about holiday sales, your social channels are a great place to keep customers in the loop with seasonal store hours or updates on shipping timelines. You can also encourage shoppers to engage with you (and boost visibility for your brand) by tagging your business or checking in online. 

7. Staff Up

Though you might be able to handle day-to-day small business operations by yourself the rest of the year, it’s a good idea to bring in extra help during the busy holiday season. Whether that means recruiting a family member to help pack and ship orders, or hiring a part-time store associate, having adequate help will ensure a better customer experience. And don’t forget to thank your hardworking helpers with a thoughtful gift—or a bonus day off!—once the holiday shopping season ends.  

Allison Russo

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