How to Survive and Thrive This Holiday Season and Beyond
Some businesses reportedly get 18 to 20% of their annual sales between Thanksgiving and the cut-off date for Christmas delivery, so there is pressure and monetary incentive to make sure those few weeks run as smoothly as possible. Owners must keep up with demand while managing depleted budgets, employees’ holiday vacation time, and the ever-increasing costs to keep up with it all.
All that said, the holidays can be a boon for business. Black Friday, named for the day when retailers move out of the red and into the black, promotes spending across the board, from gift shops to restaurants and B2B to B2C organizations.
Here’s how businesses can make the most of the holiday season so you can keep it in mind for next year. You don’t have to wait though—many of these tips can be implemented now for a financially stable start to 2019.
B2B Tips and Tricks
According to a 2017 Harvard Business Review report, “the number of people involved in B2B solutions purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today.” Competition is stiff, but savvy B2B businesses can stand out from the crowd by following this advice:
Move Pipeline Up in the Year
When businesses focus on boosting sales numbers early in the year, they can turn increased holiday revenue into a bonus, rather than a necessity. No profits are ever promised so this strategy can help safeguard against any negative holiday season surprises.
Digital agency PMG advises B2B companies to plan strategic launches: “Try to avoid launching big-splash branding campaigns or any campaigns backed by a significant investment during November and December. These would be better scheduled at the top of the new year or between summer and fall. The campaign is likely to have a better impact on your marketing strategy and hit your KPI goals outside of peak holiday season.” And if businesses still have open pipeline from these launches going into November or December, they would do well to close as much as possible by the 20th of each month to avoid haggling with prospects during the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Focusing on Converting Existing Opportunities Over Driving New Leads
Especially at the end of the year, it can be more efficient and fruitful to nurture existing opportunities than to try to create net new leads that likely won’t close by the end of the year. B2B organizations are selling to other businesses that are also scrambling to balance budgets by the end of the year, so they likely won’t be as motivated to explore new business opportunities. They will, however, want to tie up any loose ends to deals they have been considering, and get time- and money-saving solutions in place by January. This means that they may be more ready, willing, and able to convert if the relationship has already been established.
Make the Most of End-of-Year Budgeting
Businesses with outstanding budgets will likely need to spend the balances before Dec. 31. So focus the last of those dollars around closing deals for this calendar year by identifying those lead sources that close quickly, and those with longer sales cycles that can close in the following year. Put a holiday pause on the channels that won’t move the needle before the end of the year, and funnel that money into another channel that is more likely to deliver quick wins, especially when bolstered by extra financial support. “It’s important to be tactical about which channels you’re investing in for your holiday media mix,” PMG notes. “Costs spikes for programmatic, social and native channels are inevitable as retailers up their bids in hopes of getting in front of more customers.”
B2C Tips and Tricks
B2C companies have the advantage of casting a wide net to consumers eager to spend during the holidays. But at the same time, consumers have countless businesses to consider spending with as they shop. Here’s how they can shine during the holiday season:
Use Social Media
Knowing that companies may head to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote the latest specials or flash sales, consumers will likely be even more tuned into social media during the holidays than they are the rest of the year. Plus, they’ll have shopping in the back of their minds at all times, always keeping an eye out for gift ideas and stocking stuffers for friends and family. Companies that choose to create campaigns that fulfill customer needs instead of adding to the holiday noise will succeed over those riding the coat tails of the holiday season. They evoke emotions and promote sharing, sometimes even connecting people with their loved ones, or partnering with a charitable organization.”
Seasonal Decorations and Attractions
Sometimes all it takes is a little holiday spirit to attract customers during the holiday season. B2C businesses should consider adding some holiday promotions and decorations to get everyone in the spirit of spending, from adding seasonal decor to giving discounts or special gifts to anyone who spends over a certain amount.
Host a Holiday Event
B2C companies should consider hosting a holiday party that aligns with their brand. An after-hours gathering or daytime soiree can encourage customers to show up, bring friends, and take advantage of exclusive deals for attendees. People who experience memorable moments with the brand are likely to become loyal customers for life.