With Halloween and Bonfire Night fast approaching, your business may be contemplating the different ways in which it can boost sales when seasonal occasions fall upon us. There are various golden opportunities for your SME to enhance its profit margins and capitalising on those events will enable your business to get through the usually uncomfortable quieter months.
Seasonality can be a challenge for many businesses and learning how to weather the storm caused by seasonal peaks is an important aspect of running a successful business.
Whilst it might feel like the festive season is still something to be unconcerned about, at least for another month or so, it is indeed the businesses that plan well ahead of time that tend to see the best return from their Christmas marketing campaigns.
Grasp the opportunity to make more and start planning, as leaving it until the very last minute is a sure-fire way to ensure that your business underachieves when it comes to hitting its targets.
The team at Nucleus have put together the top ways in which your company can bring in large amounts of money in the weeks surrounding the biggest occasions of the year. Check them out below.
1. Halloween Marks The Beginning of The Festive Season
You might think that Christmas is a long way off, even during the lead up to Halloween, but the last few months of the year fly by and before you know it, the New Year is upon us. It is crucial that you start preparations for Christmas now.
Halloween should mark the start of leveraging the holiday season to make more money and depending on your business, you might even be able to capitalise on what was once deemed just a pagan ritual day.
If your business is placed within the hospitality industry, you can easily incorporate a Halloween promotion idea. For bars and pubs, the obvious is to create a Halloween themed drinks menu, decorate your premises to pull in customers and for those that want to make the most of the night itself, a Halloween party is a great way to increase footfall for your hospitality business.
For restaurants, creating a special Halloween menu is a simple and fairly easy way to pull in bigger crowds and adding a free Halloween dessert for kids can ensure you draw bigger crowds by appealing to families.
2. Embrace Early Christmas Marketing Efforts
Sometimes, the only response we can muster upon walking into a store in early November to be greeted with Christmas decor is a groan, followed by “Please no! Christmas decorations already!?” We’re all guilty of it but having that stance when it comes to business could end up costing your SME thousands in profits.
For parents, Christmas signals a change in priorities to spending time with family. For children, the winter months bring with them the excitement of stockings filled with gifts and chocolates. But for entrepreneurs, there is only one goal with the festive period and that is to make as much money as possible.
However, you need to be smart with your Christmas marketing efforts. The majority of businesses have now realised the importance of Christmas advertising and that failing to prepare festive campaigns beforehand will mean missing out on huge amounts of potential to rake in the cash.
But the stark reality is that marketing does not come cheap. Powerful marketing campaigns that resonate with its intended audience take heaps of time, planning and in most cases, money. But a lack of working capital should not stop you from connecting with your target market, as you can obtain additional funding from financial institutions, with alternative lenders specialising in products for SMEs.
A small business loan is a perfect solution for any business wanting to access additional funds to bolster their seasonal marketing efforts. Your company can borrow as little as £3k with our Business Cash Advance and up to £150k.
3. Don’t Miss A Beat, Prepare for EVERY Important Holiday Occasion
The trick to making the most money during the holiday season is to ensure your SME gets involved in some form with every occasion – that is especially the case in retail. Whilst you might think that Black Friday is the start of the holiday season, it is best to launch your festive sales the day prior… yes, Grey Thursday really is a thing and it should be a part of your sales strategy if it isn’t already.
Following Black Friday (24th November), your business will also want to prepare for an additional push – Cyber Monday (27th November) and Panic Saturday (23rd December) are two days in which sales will be booming up and down the country, so have your doors open nice and early to make the most of the consumer rush to buy for their loved ones.
You might be surprised to learn that Christmas Day is the busiest time of the year for online shopping. A study by Criterio found that shoppers use their mobile phone more on Christmas Day than any other time throughout the year, with 62% of online purchases made via mobile.
What does this mean for your business?
Vitally, if your business lies in retail, it is crucial that you have a website that is fully optimised for mobile phones as your SME could experience a sharp sales incline on a day when your team is not even in the office.
4. Join Forces with Another Small Business
One of the biggest selling points your business has over the large conglomerates it’s competing with is that people gravitate to local businesses as it gives a sense of unity. During seasonal holidays, people put a bigger emphasis on spending time with family, which in turn means giving more support to local businesses to enable them to get home to their families too.
A partnership could equate to a huge boost in profits if you get it right and choose well. It is not necessarily about partnering with a local business which you feel makes the most money, as the partnership itself needs to make sense to both customer bases.
One example is – your local business sells Turkish cuisine and appeals to a rather small demographic. Your business could reach out to a local bakery and stock a few sweet treats for dessert or for customers to take away with them, including the famous Turkish delight that so many can’t resist. In return, the bakery you partner with could stock some of your bestselling items too, meaning both parties benefit from the collaboration.
5. Align Yourself with A Charity
Similarly to the last point, partnering with a charity is one way in which to improve brand perception amongst potential customers. But in addition to improving how people view your business, it will also likely increase awareness of your brand as your services or products may well touch the lives of customers who would have not otherwise known about your company.
The holidays bring with them a bigger emotional connection with purchases, with Christmas leading the pack with regards to pulling on the heartstrings of consumers. Your business can opt to donate a certain percentage of profits to a chosen charity for all products during the festive season and you can also encourage customers to donate too via the checkout process.
Working with a charity during seasonal occasions will enable you to grow your network, create more brand awareness as they can help get the word out and most importantly, it will allow your SME to help others and do good in the world.
There are two approaches your business can take. It can either choose to support a cause it relates to – for example if you own a restaurant, it makes sense to partner with charities that support food banks. You might find that your close relationships with suppliers enable you to help a charity in more ways than you originally anticipated.
Alternatively, you can choose to support a charity with a seasonal occasion in mind. Given that the elderly admit to feeling lonelier as Christmas approaches, with 1.7 million not meeting up with a friend for at least a month, it would be a logical choice to work with Age UK or Mind.
6. Action Those All-Important Seasonal Pricing Strategies
Your business must have a Christmas pricing strategy in place if it is to maximise profits during the busier months of the year. This selling period provides a large bulk of revenue for a lot of companies, so getting the pricing right is essential if your SME is to exploit the increased spending during the holidays.
If you are to remember one thing when devising your pricing strategies during seasonal events, it is that price is a deal-breaker for the majority of consumers. Most individuals won’t take the time to distinguish the small differences that set your products or services apart from your competitors, so it is vital that you compete on the most important factor with selling – price.
Your customers will place a high priority on low prices and if your products include a delivery charge, consider slashing them or making free shipping an element of every sale during the seasonal selling period. Ensure that your products are always competitively priced, otherwise, the result of over-inflated prices will be that your customers jump ship to buy from your counterparts.
Emphasising on up-selling and cross-selling should be at the top of your list in the countdown to Christmas. Train your staff on how to effectively up‑sell without coming across as too pushy. Supplying a brief script to every member of staff who interacts with customers is a simple place to start.
There is no reason why your small business can’t capitalise on the generosity of the public during seasonal holidays. But starting early, being prepared and offering more than your competitors are some leading ways in which you can enter the new year with a big smile on your face.
If you are experiencing cash flow challenges or want to realise your business growth plans, get in touch with our team of Funding Specialists today on 020 7839 9451 or email [email protected].