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Silly Season is Coming!

Grumpy Christmas Cat
Image courtesy of www.trulyoddplanet.com

For most businesses the festive season is the busiest time of year. Long hectic days filled with a mix of urgent time poor people trying to find gifts, self-indulgent therapies to impress mother-in-law at Christmas lunch, and in some cases, difficult (and often embarrassing) social situations after a little too much Christmas cheer.

This is the prime time to embrace these new customer interactions converting the ones who are coming to you by default (the boss picked the venue!) and turning them into future loyal activists for your business.

HERE ARE THE DO’S –

  • DO – have your communications planned well in advance, including the lead up, during the December peak and the January / February follow-up. This includes an up to date website, prepared social media communications like Facebook, email templates ready for great communications for inquiries and bookings, spare membership sign up forms, brochures, price lists and employee sales guides. What are your goals? Have you educated your staff about them? How will you record the information to measure how close you came to achieving these goals after Christmas?
  • DO – start your Christmas sales attack early – think about October and November, what can you do to get potential Christmas clients in to see you, so you can personally capture their attention for December bookings?  What services do you want to sell the most of? Can you offer this as an early bird special? Can you offer rewards for pre-December Christmas transactions? Have your communications tools ready for maximum impact.
  • DO – try to solve your customer’s problems.  Everyone is time poor at this time of year, so what can your business do to kill two birds with one stone? Can you provide decorations? Offer gift wrapping, delivery services or courtesy transport? Even if you don’t have these services, offer to arrange them.  I promise it will not go unnoticed.
  • DO – have your welcome strategy ready, you only get one change for your first impression! You have many new people coming to you, how will you retain them?
  • DO – capture as much information about your new Christmas customers as you can, so you can use this information to offer more sales opportunities, both during the spending season and into the New Year.  Now that you have wowed them with your welcome and service, you can invite your new best friend back for more!  Use this information to develop the next step in your new customer relationship.
  • DO – be humble and thankful that every customer has chosen you; with so much choice available, the decision to book with, shop with or visit you should not be taken for granted. Genuine appreciation is always memorable.

NOW THINK ABOUT THE DON’T”S –

  • DON’T be greedy.  Too many businesses take the silly season for granted, and are understaffed with the mindset to save wages and make the biggest profit possible, without delivering a quality experience that will ensure the first-timer will return on another occasion. Imagine your restaurant is filled with employees ready to enjoy the meal the boss is shouting.  They are excited, relaxed and happy.  The perfect mindset to perceive the experience as positive, generate great word of mouth and return trade.  Picture yourself making this gesture to your staff; staff are bonding and department boundaries are relaxing.  The last thing you want is some-one else’s office gossip telling everyone how crap your venue was at their Christmas party.
  • DON’T create divisions – overcome a mind-set of “well these people are not my usual customers, so I don’t need to offer them the same attention”.  Make them your usual customers!  What can you do to ensure they convert to a regular?
  • DON’T offer crappy promotions thinking it will generate more interest in your service.  If you are serious about offering a bonus to entice more sales, then don’t make it something that is unlikely to be redeemed. A discount which is not valid until 3 months later, or a bonus that is so restricted that the general consumer will never redeem it will cause more damage than having no bonus at all. Do you want to promote an image that makes your brand look stingy? Instead, offer something great that will excite someone to coming back to you.  This will then become your chance to up-sell, offer a special experience and make a genuine connection.  Small gifts that are tangible are often better than a simple 5% discount that cannot is not clearly defined in value.
  • DON’T forget your existing customers – use your data base of clients to offer loyal customer a thankyou special or a “Christmas gift”.  Why not get them to come and pick a surprize from the Christmas tree (this gets them on site and more likely to spend!), or provide a little gift with every pre-Christmas treatment for members only, or a bonus gift for being so organised if booking well in advance.
  • DON’T think because it’s always busy that you don’t need a Christmas special. Too many times business owners make the mistake of avoiding marketing activities when it’s busy – this is the best time as your customers are paying attention!  Plus, the market is competitive, so you want to attract the people who are prepared to spend! Think of it as a marketing investment for the New Year – once these people are connected to you, you can work at selling directly to them, now and in the future.
  • DON’T just go it alone.  Work with other complimenting businesses to create value packages that are exciting gifts. The person who receives compliments and appreciation for the present they give is likely to give it again. Hence, another trip back to you!

Do you need help to prepare your business strategies before Christmas? Tough Cookie Marketing can help you with a broad range of areas, including social media, event planning, database management and employee service training.  Visit Tough Cookie Marketing at www.facebook.com/toughcookiemarketing for more tips to get your business moving in the right direction.  For more information contact Kathie Bolitho at kathie@toughcookiemarketing.com.

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