BUY BC BUSINESSES Business Buyer's Guide Nicola ǀ Thompson ǀ Okanagan ǀ Boundary Regions Fall 2015 - Page 8

6 Seasonal Marketing Tips Here are a few marketing ideas that will kick things up a notch this year in your store. Christmas music - there are those that love and those that hate it, but in general it has been shown that it gets consumers in the mood to buy. The caveat to this is that most people don’t like to hear it too early. Research has shown that December 1st is probably the best day to start playing it. But, most Christmas music played in stores is dreadful elevator style music or worse. If you’re going to play music, select albums that are a little different. For example mix it up a little, play a little Sinatra and Martin singing Christmas tunes, add some classical, jazz, or folk, anything that isn’t that awful generic, annoying, non-music, muzak. Don’t start Christmas too early - people get tired quickly. If you’re trying to compete with the Big Box stores you’d have to start late October and that’s just too much stress. One way to build the anticipation in your customers is to have a countdown clock, or calendar that announces something like, “x number of days until we launch our Christmas extravaganza!” Discover what charitable events are going to be held in the coming months and either become a sponsor, or personally help the cause. Let your customers see you are part of the community and involved. This can mean a lot when your competitors are national and multi-national companies are less prominent at community and charity events. Hire a professional window dresser, or window artist (check your local college), to make your storefront stand out. Make it so good that people will stop and stare at it - and then tell others. Have fun with your customers - here’s a simple idea that will drive customers with children to your store (ignore this tip if you don’t sell to families) - pick up a large barrel and fill it with sawdust, polystyrene peanuts, or even torn paper and add several dozen wrapped presents (pink for girls, blue for boys perhaps). These can be inexpensive items from the dollar store. Charge parents something like $3 for each child to dip in and find a gift. Add signage that lets customers know that proceeds will go to a local charity - choose one that is relevant to your typical customer base. Christmas is a time when stores give discounts, but we live in a time when consumers are increasingly suspicious of whether price reductions are genuine. Instead of giving discounts consider giving a seasonal gift with each purchase (over a certain value). A handmade tree ornament for instance would be well received. Or, if you want something simpler, a gift card to be used early in the New Year. The National Retail Association reports that 61% of gift cardholders spend more than the value of the gift card. Start thinking about how you are going to stand out from the crowd this coming Christmas season – remember what someone once said, “If you carry on doing the same old things, you’ll carry on getting the same old results.” by Mike Wicks President, Blue Beetle Creative Media