Have Yourself a Merry, and Green, Little Holiday

Take steps to maximize your profits through the holidays and the coming months, whether this is your busiest—or slowest—season.

It’s Better to Give, and Fun to Receive
Who doesn’t appreciate a thoughtful gift over the holidays? Gifts to valued customers say “thank you,” strengthen business relationships, and keep you in your customers’ thoughts. Customize your gift if possible. Does your customer collect birdhouses? Appreciate a fine wine or crave Mexican food? Exercise faithfully or play a sport? If you’re not sure what your customer likes, useful items such as calendars, pens, and jotters or small candies and chocolates will also be appreciated. Some customers may be unable to accept a personal gift, but perhaps you can provide a gift that the whole office will enjoy.

Thoughts do Count
If you can’t afford gifts, take time to send a card. It’s not necessary to spend an excessive amount of money, but be sure the card is of good quality. Send cards with more inclusive phrasing such as “Happy Holidays” or “Best Wishes for the New Year,” unless you’re sure of religious affiliation. A handwritten note of thanks and a hand-addressed envelope add an extra personal touch.

Cut. Action!
If this is your busiest season, you have stepped back, assessed your needs, and developed a plan to make the most of it, right? Over the summer, retailers strategize, review products, and place orders for items they hope to sell between November and December. Be sure you have the right mix of product and price points, necessary equipment, and proper staffing in place. Assess your business throughout the season. Determine if there are products or services your customers want that you could easily reposition yourself to provide or avoid in the competition’s services that you could fill. Continue to stay on top o your business during your busy season, and it will be easier to make the necessary adjustments to make the most of the holidays.

Glad Tidings of Comfort and Joy for Customers
If you’re prepared for business and nobody knows, will you actually make money? Spread the good word through advertisement in local papers, radio, television, and mailings. Update your Web site with new services or product and special offers throughout the season. Market your product, your price, and the value of your services; let people know you are there to fulfill their needs and keep their holidays merry!

Loss Leaders and Incentives
Generate as much traffic and excitement as possible to sell more this season. A low-cost, hot item can be the ticket to pull in more customers and provide you with a chance to “sell up.” Discounts, a holiday dinner drawing, the chance to win a free iPod or other hot product, or a free small gift with a purchase or account opening can entice customers to spend their money with you, now! Incentives can be a great way to build more business during slow times as well!

Give Something Back
Giving something back to the community is the right thing to do, especially during the holiday season when people are more acutely aware of what they lack, be it a warm house or toys for their children. Your gift of services or money will be a gift to yourself in terms of personal fulfillment and the appreciation of your customers.

Whatever you do, do it well! You may not have the time or assistance to tackle many marketing initiatives, but you should be able to focus your efforts on one or two that will make the holidays merrier, and a little greener!

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