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Holiday Season 101 for Non-Retail Small Businesses

If your small business doesn’t fit neatly into the “retail” category, your holiday season might seem more “ho-hum” than “ho ho ho!” Children don’t climb up on Santa’s lap begging for a new HVAC system, and very few newlyweds sit around the tree Christmas morning, gushing over his and her tune-ups at the local mechanic.

But just because you don’t offer a high-demand holiday product doesn’t mean you can’t have a productive holiday season! If you’re in a non-retail business, here’s how to make the holidays work for you.

Promote Gift Cards or Certificates

It’s the holidays. Bosses want to do something nice for their employees, Secret Santa is in full swing at the office and no one ever knows what to get Great Aunt Muriel. While not the most personal present, gift cards or certificates are (usually) a safe bet.

Offer yours in several denominations to cater to every budget, and regularly offer promotions on them, such as “Get $75 for $50” or “Spend $200, get $50 free.”

The buyer can either gift the certificates or keep them for themselves, banking their savings for a post-holiday treat after the madness dies down.

“Drive” Sales Your Way

This is the time of peace on earth and goodwill toward men — so spread the goodwill further by hosting a food, clothing or toy drive. Partner with a charity such as Access, Toys for Tots or Coats for Kids, and arrange to have the drop-off bins placed in your business.

This helps the community — but it also gets people through your door. While they’re there, have eye-catching sales, information about the services you supply and friendly staff present to thank them for their donation and strike up a conversation. It may not lead to a sale every time, but charity and networking go hand in hand.

Make Customers Feel Special

Customer loyalty events, special deals and discounts, small gifts or even a holiday open house can go a long way toward earning your customers’ business and enticing new prospects into the company fold.

Not able to go quite that big? Send a hand-signed holiday card out to your mailing list. It really is the thought that counts, and one special touch can brighten someone’s day and make them a customer for life.

Get the Timing Right

Non-retail businesses are never going to see the same level of holiday traffic as businesses that sell toys, clothing, gizmos or gadgets, but that’s OK — there’s really no reason for you to be competing. This also means there’s no law that requires you to stick with the traditional “Black Friday through Christmas Eve” shtick.

Kick off your holiday promotions before Thanksgiving. Continue through New Year’s. You can’t compete with the retail traffic, but you can beat them to the punch and stick around long after their party has ended — and since your product or service probably won’t end up beneath the Christmas tree, there’s no need for you stick to anyone’s schedule but your own!

Celebrate Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday falls on Nov. 25 this year, and it’s a great way for both retail and non-retail businesses to get to know their community. You can be on hand to greet customers as they stroll the streets of the city, or even partner with neighboring businesses and host a block party!

Be sure you have a deal specific to Small Business Saturday, and get the word out now that you’ll be participating! You can learn more about how to promote your event and create or download some marketing materials here.

There’s no reason that your holiday season shouldn’t be as merry and bright as other small businesses just because you don’t sell “stuff.” With time, effort and some creativity, success can be all yours!

Already stressing about the holidays? Let Mischa Communications handle the heavy lifting. Call or email us today and we’ll share even more of our marketing secrets with you!

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