'Tis the season for connecting with others


Todd Hinson


Business Columnist

Monday, December 4, 2017

The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes opportunities to connect with customers, prospects, vendors and other community members.

There is still time to leverage that holiday spirit and make connections that will last throughout the holiday season and beyond.

The challenge is finding small ways to make a big impact in a season that includes packed schedules and challenges to stay focused on growing your business. If you try to be everything to everyone during this busy season, a holiday marketing hangover will surely be part of your reality.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to market your business during the holidays to help you and your customers feel jollier and less like Scrooge.

■ Show your holiday spirit. Studies show that shoppers are more likely to walk into a business with holiday decorations because often it feels more like home. Festive decorations and subtle holiday music make people happier and more likely to make purchases. Holiday cheer puts employees in a better mood, too, which further improves the experience for your customer.

■ Give the holidays a personal touch. Connect with clients, prospects, vendors, stakeholders and friends with holiday cards or special offers. Take an extra moment to personalize the message so the recipient knows the outreach is specifically for them.

■ Get social. Get festive with your social media channels. Share holiday specials, wish visitors well and showcase the fun that you and your employees are having serving your customers. Showing your spirit online can encourage customers and prospects to stop by.

■ Support the season of giving. If your organization works with nonprofit groups or charitable events throughout the year, the holidays provide the opportunity to highlight your commitment to our community. You can also offer ways for people to make donations of time, money and/or gifts to local nonprofits during the holidays. Ideas include having a bell ringer outside of your business, collecting toys, sponsoring a local holiday event or providing a basket to collect donations that people buy while visiting your business.

■ Think about your business New Years Resolutions. Start by developing realistic marketing and business goals for 2018. Goals can be specific, like scheduling regular direct mail campaigns or updating your logo or website — or more general, such as working less and spending more time with family. Whatever you decide, having something to aspire to will help you stay focused on your 2018 marketing efforts.

Showing your holiday spirit will help you connect with your employees, your customers and your community alike, while also providing marketing impact that will last well beyond the holiday season.

Happy Holidays!

Todd Hinson is co-owner of Allegra Design Marketing Print in Rocky Mount.