“January retail sales figures are often dragged down by the post-holiday shopping ‘hangover,’” notes Marketplace’s Bob Moon. “Consumers are shopped out after the holidays, and, even though they offer deep discounts, stores often struggle to lure them back.”
Here are a few marketing strategies to keep your sales skyrocketing instead of watching them plummet in the new year.
Beware the Post-Holiday Glut
Depending on what industry you’re in, Thanksgiving and Christmas may or may not have been significant to your revenue. Either way, one thing’s certain: You’re likely to experience a decrease in sales as consumers tighten their wallets after the holidays.
Katie Burke, a senior manager on the marketing team at HubSpot, says that “studies show the majority of total holiday shopping happens in November, so there’s definitely a post-holiday glut for many small businesses.”
This is understandable, adds Nick Steeves, chief product officer at Wishpond, because “consumers have racked up credit card debt that they will need to pay down.”
That’s the bad news. The good news is there’s still a market out there.
Help Consumers Spend, Reach Goals
The key to making post-holiday sales is shifting from gift buying to purchases with a personal focus. Burke says, “After Christmas, many consumers turn their attention to themselves, so there’s a definite window for retailers to capitalize on a few trends.”
She says small businesses should zone in on two areas: spending gift cards and keeping New Year’s resolutions. You can entice gift-card holders, for example, by introducing them to your products, website, and/or mailing list when they visit your store to use them. This can help you generate new customers and revenue for 2014.
To address customers with a list of resolutions, concentrate on products and services with a self-improvement bent, Steeves suggests. “Think about ways in which you can market your products to fit into these categories and consumers will be driven to buy,” he says.
Target Specific Demographics
Beyond focusing on self-improvement products and services, try catering to specific types of customers. One mistake small businesses make is adopting a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy, Burke says. Instead, she advises, “Invest the time to understand what your customers really want and need from your business, then create content that delivers upon that vision, from your website to your emails to your social media.”
Use your company website or blog and sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to engage customers and prospective clients by providing helpful content and making a personal connection. Over time, this can generate more sales.
“Think of social media as an extension of how you interact with your customers in your store. Identify the channels that matter most to your customer base and block out time in your calendar each day to share content from influencers in your space, promote your blog, answer customer questions, and thank customers for their business,” Burke says.
Use Visuals in Your Marketing Materials
Infographics are a growing form of marketing that can help beef up businesses, too. “Businesses who market with infographics grow in traffic an average of 12 percent more than those who don’t,” Steeves says. “Infographics are not only awesome for brand awareness and social-media sharing, they’re also referenced more frequently than any other pieces of content — increasing their reach exponentially.”
Finally, it would be pointless to do all that work without measuring the results. As Burke observes, “Far too many small businesses pour money into marketing efforts with no clue as to whether they will see a return on investment.” That leads to time and money mistakes. Instead, she suggests making 2014 “your year to always be measuring.”