Posted on Oct 2, 2020

10 Small Business Marketing Tips for Holiday Season 2020

Holiday season 2020 is poised to be quite different from years past. 

Although the holidays still represent a tremendous business opportunity, the pandemic has created waves of social and economic change that small businesses are still learning to navigate. 

It’s more crucial than ever to get the most bang for your marketing buck. As a small business, this means finding effective and affordable marketing tactics.

Here’s the good news:

E-commerce and social media tools can help you have a fantastic holiday sales season without breaking the bank.

Keep reading for 10 ways you can prepare your small business marketing plan for the holiday season 2020 trends. Here is a quick preview:

  1. Prepare Your Website for a Holiday Surge
  2. Use These Holiday Newsletter Ideas
  3. Update Your Local Listing for Holiday Season 2020
  4. Find Holiday-Friendly Hashtags
  5. Don’t Forget Small Business Saturday
  6. Toy Around with Video Marketing
  7. Make Use of Retargeting
  8. Work with a Local Charity
  9. Share Festive Tips
  10. Create a Dialogue on Social Media

1. Prepare Your Website for a Holiday Surge

It’s no secret that e-commerce is on the rise. 71% of adults say they will do the bulk of their shopping online when holiday season 2020 comes around.

With that in mind, you better make sure your website is ready for the holiday surge

You can do this by:

  • Enhancing your website’s speed
  • Ensuring your website is mobile optimized
  • Testing any promo codes
  • Choosing a reliable web hosting service and backing up your data

However, traffic is just one part of the equation.

For the holiday season 2020 in retail, we expect to see many people shopping online for the first time

Think about it: 

Given the highly contagious nature of coronavirus, older adults are more likely to choose safe, at-home online shopping.

With all those first-time online shoppers, your website needs to have an incredibly simple and intuitive user experience. It’s more critical than ever to make sure that your website’s e-commerce features are functional and that checkout is easy for them to figure out. 

Test your website’s user experience and do a redesign that puts your best products and services front and center. Make finding (and purchasing) the right gifts effortless for your customers.

2. Use These Holiday Newsletter Ideas

Email is the Old Faithful of the marketing toolbox, and your newsletters can be especially useful for holiday season 2020 e-commerce. 

Holiday Newsletter Ideas:

  • Make your newsletter searchable
  • Put “sale” and “discount” in the subject line
  • Start your campaign early
  • Send exclusive offers for subscribers
  • Give previews of sale items

Google research shows that 75% of consumers specifically check their email inbox for promotions and discount codes. You can increase the effectiveness of your email newsletters by making them searchable. 

Include words like “sale” or “discount” in your subject lines so that people can quickly locate your marketing emails in their inbox.

The best strategy for email is to schedule your campaigns early. In fact, 40% of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween. 

It’s definitely not too early to start running promotions in September and October. 

3. Update Your Local Listing for Holiday Season 2020

It’s reasonable to expect that during the holiday season in 2020, COVID concerns will lead to a drop in brick-and-mortar shopping. However, that doesn’t mean you should only focus on e-commerce.

Your store will still be a valuable sales channel.

In anticipation of the holiday rush and the possibility of shipping delays, shoppers are turning to omnichannel purchasing. One-third of consumers say they are interested in buying online and picking up in-store (BOPIS) this holiday season.

While stores won’t be as crowded with people browsing for gifts, brick-and-mortar locations can serve as pick-up centers for shoppers who don’t want to worry about shipping times. So, make sure your customers know if and when your physical locations are open. 

For the best experience, all of your online platforms should reflect the same messaging. Be sure to update your website, Google listing, and social media to reflect your holiday hours and pandemic safety protocols.

If you have a WordPress-powered website, you can use a free plugin to enable dropdown banners that keep your customers informed about your hours.

4. Find Holiday-Friendly Hashtags

Social media platforms have made significant changes to their algorithms. As a result, most businesses are losing reach because social media feeds rely on people liking or following your page.

This is where hashtags come in.

Social media users can now decide to follow specific hashtags. Choose relevant hashtags to reach your target audience and increase your social media campaigns’ visibility. 

In truth, hashtags are more relevant than ever during the holiday season in 2020. 

Optimize your social media campaigns with a list of different hashtags for each holiday or event, including Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

However, be careful not to abuse hashtags. Customers have a keen eye for spammy marketing practices.

For reference, Facebook and Twitter posts do best with 1-2 hashtags, while Instagram posts can perform well with up to nine hashtags.

5. Don’t Forget Small Business Saturday

Created by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is the day after Black Friday. The intent is to support local communities and small businesses. 

People who know about Small Business Saturday are already planning to purchase from an independent retailer. In 2019, U.S. consumers spent a whopping $19.6 billion on Small Business Saturday. 

With that kind of opportunity on the line, it’s best to start advertising early so you can generate maximum awareness before holiday season 2020 starts.

The 2020 pandemic has given consumers an additional reason to support small businesses. So, make sure you don’t miss out on Small Business Saturday.

You can use your social media platforms and targeted hashtags to promote awareness. 

In addition to running social media campaigns, reach out to your local chamber of commerce to see if there are group efforts you can join. The goal is to garner as much awareness as you can.

6. Toy Around with Video Marketing

Did you know that viewers are 64% more likely to purchase a product after watching a related video? 

It’s no wonder that most businesses continue to invest in video marketing

During the holiday season in 2020, customers might not feel as comfortable shopping in person. So, for those who choose to do their holiday shopping remotely, video is the perfect tool for product education. 

As a small business, you can use video to showcase products and services or even customer reviews. Video marketing can also help you increase your engagement on social media and create personal moments with your brand. 

There are many effective ways to use video in your marketing strategy, but sometimes it’s not the most affordable content to create. However, consumers are increasingly prioritizing authenticity over professional production. 

So, if you don’t want to break the bank, just break out your smartphone and start experimenting with video.

7. Make Use of Retargeting

Retargeting is the process of sending advertisements or email campaigns to the people that visited your website but didn’t complete a purchase. 

It’s an excellent strategy for small businesses, primarily because it’s more cost-effective than regular advertising campaigns. Think about it; people who are already interested in your business are more likely to purchase when they’re reminded about you with an advertisement.

In other words, retargeting advertisements have a higher conversion rate, so you don’t have to spend as much to get a significant return on your investment. 

It should be noted that retargeting is a long-term strategy. So, if you don’t already have social media pixels installed on your website, you’ll want to set those up as soon as possible. 

Once you have the relevant pixels set up, you can serve retargeting advertisements on social media platforms or Google.

8. Work with a Local Charity

For the holiday season 2020, the concept of giving will be extremely prevalent. All communities are facing social and economic challenges due to the pandemic. 

With great challenges, come great opportunities for small businesses to establish themselves as integral parts of the community. 

Not to mention, consumers are increasingly looking to buy from businesses that create a positive influence. In particular, 68% of consumers believe that social initiatives by companies are impactful.

By now you might be thinking: “My business is already struggling because of the pandemic. How can I give to the community?”

This requires a little bit of creativity, but it’s absolutely possible.

During the holidays, your business can incentivize customers by pledging a percentage of sales to a local charity. For example, you can let customers know that 5% of every purchase will be donated to a local food bank. 

Alternatively, your business can use the “buy one, give one” promotion (think: TOMS shoes). If a customer purchases a pair of mittens from you, your business might give another pair to a local charity.

9. Share Festive Tips

When it comes to cost-effective marketing strategies, content marketing is one of the best options. Content marketing refers to the creation and distribution of relevant content to attract a particular target audience (kind of like what you’re reading now). 

In other words, your business provides free value (in the form of online content) to customers, rather than directly promoting your products or services. 

Examples of content marketing include how-to guides, blog posts, and infographics. During the holiday season you can even share festive recipes or DIY decoration tutorials. Have fun with it!

The important thing is to ensure that the content you’re creating is relevant to your business. If you sell home goods then sharing holiday recipes might be a good idea. If you offer printing services, you can create tutorials on how to design festive cards or gift tags. 

Since many people are visual learners, it’s worthwhile to combine content marketing with video marketing. How-to videos are still one of the most popular types of content people search for on YouTube.

No matter the format you choose, remember that the content you share should connect back to your brand or your products. 

10. Create a Dialogue on Social Media

Nobody likes to be talked at — including your customers. Still, many businesses only use social media to create one-way dialogue. In other words, they’re only concerned with their total reach.

If you want to create customer relationships, you need to focus on engagement. Unlike reach, engagement involves a two-way dialogue between your business and your customer. 

As a small business, you may not have the same resources as a large corporation. But you have the opportunity to connect more directly with your smaller community. Creating dialogue on social media can be an incredibly impactful part of your overall marketing strategy. 

There are multiple ways to open up a dialogue on social media.

For example, you can:

  • Respond to customer comments
  • Ask questions or create polls
  • Stream live video 
  • Repost user-generated content
  • Engage in relevant social discussions

When you create a dialogue with your customers, you can build their trust while learning more about their wants and needs. 

Customers that trust and like you are more likely to buy from you.

Final Thoughts: Small Business Marketing Strategies for Holiday Season 2020

There’s no doubt about it — holiday season 2020 will be different than previous years. People have already changed the way they live, shop, and celebrate.

Small businesses need to learn how to adjust to the 2020 pandemic while preparing for a holiday surge.

From website updates to strategic social media moves, there are plenty of affordable ways to market your small business in 2020. However, the most significant thing your business can do is start preparing early.

To learn more about how your website hosting service can support your business this holiday season, explore iPage’s marketing services today.