Black Friday through New Year’s Day is prime time for sales. As customers are busting down doors to get their 52-inch TVs and meandering up and down aisles hunting for the best deals, online companies may feel like they’re being left out on all the fun, not to mention missing out on all the record-breaking profits. Not only that, but consumers tend to expect companies to give a little during the holiday season, so not offering anything special throughout these four or five weeks can put a few holes in the buyer/seller relationship.
It can be difficult as app developers, web designers, web hosts, freelance writers, life coaches, etiquette experts, owners of online marketplaces, and other individuals who don’t have a physical location for people to shop, let alone a physical product for people to buy, to reward their customers during this time of year. That’s why we’ve put together this list of ideas of ways you too can add value and spread good cheer.
Discount Your Services: Just because what you’re selling isn’t scanable, boxable and deliverable, doesn’t mean it can’t go on sale. You can still piggyback on events like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday as well as the typical day after Christmas and end of year sales. By discounting your services for a few days, you can increase the number of customers you receive and increase the number of sales you make, which can increase your profit overall; however, not all businesses can afford to offer huge discounts. The smaller the business, the more likely they need every penny they make. If dropping the prices over the weekend for everybody is completely out of the question, consider offering sales to particular groups of people: military, elderly, students, educators or non-profit organizations.
Donate A Portion To Charity: Here’s a way to put a spin on the discount. Instead of lowering the prices on your products and services, keep them at full-price, but offer to donate a percentage to charity. While your customer may not be receiving a better deal now than any other time throughout the year, you’re giving them a chance to feel good about themselves by giving them the opportunity to give back. If you choose to donate a portion of your profits, choose the charity ahead of time. You should be open about the charity you’ve chosen, including links to the organization’s website, statistics that show the organization’s impact, and maybe even some information about why you’ve chosen that charity in particular. You should also include what percentage of each transaction you plan to give.
Partner Up For Something New: Why not offer your customers something really special by offering them something they couldn't get before and may not get again? By temporarily teaming up with another business, you can offer exclusive one-time-only products, services and deals. If you’re a graphic designer, you can work with a printing company to sell your clients t-shirts or mugs with their logo. If you’re a massage therapist, you might mash up with a company that sells aromatherapy candles and soaps. Game developers might join other game developers to offer both games at a new low price. The opportunities for what two businesses can accomplish when they work together are limitless. And by putting together a temporary partnership, you’re able to feel out how your customers respond, potentially opening doors to new avenues in the future.
Email A Gift: Everybody loves presents. Your customers and clients are no different. Luckily, in today’s digital age, there’s plenty to give. Consider sending with your newsletter this holiday season a free eBook, webinar or series of audio clips. If you run a membership or marketplace site that uses rewards points, bids or other currency, you may be able to throw a couple extra their way – they’re on the house! You can give a little to your fans while helping yourself out too by sending coupon codes for next year’s services and products. You kill two birds with one stone by making your customers feel appreciated, while doing a bit of marketing too!
Send A Card: Giving back to your clients and customers over the holidays doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to cost much. You don’t always need mega discounts or hot new products to earn loyalty. In fact, for independent contractors who are able to build strong, long-term relationships with their clients, sending a personalized card may be the better choice. When choosing a card, you may want to pick something that will make everyone on your client list feel included, regardless of religious beliefs. A card that says “Tis the season” or “Happy Holidays” is more widely accepted than one that says “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukah.”
Host An Event: If you’ve got the right budget, the right location, and a lot of local customers and clientele, you can celebrate the holidays and ring in the new year by hosting an event. Reserve a whole restaurant. Book a conference room. Set up an open bar. Not only does this provide face-to-face time that, as an online company, you don’t often have; it’s also a great way to network, earn some publicity, and make those who support your business feel special. While a majority of your guest list may not be able to make it, just extending an invitation can go a long way.
Add a Touch of Holiday Spirit: You know that over-joyous feeling you get when you open your “major award” and it’s a lamp in the shape of a leg? You can give your customers that same wonderful feeling just by extending a little holiday cheer. Temporarily redesign a portion of your website or rename your products and services to reflect the holiday season. Give your logo a Santa hat. If you can find a way to incorporate the holidays into the very nature of what you do, that’s even better. Sneak a Santa Claus into your game. Let it snow on your app. Your customers will love sharing in that bit of holiday quirkiness.