With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday in November kicking off the holiday shopping season, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers three tips to help small businesses thrive. According to the SBA, 60% of consumers plan to do half or more of their winter holiday shopping at local retailers this year. 

Leverage email to grow sales. Take time over the coming weeks to establish an effective email marketing strategy for the holiday season. Start by adopting email marketing best practices, such as using email marketing software and writing engaging subject lines. Next, consider what types of emails will be valuable to your customers during the holiday season, such as highlighting sales, pre-ordering and curbside pickup options, and shipping timelines. After a customer signs up for your email list or makes a purchase, follow up with a “thank you” note and a discount code to stay connected. Avoid sending too many emails each week, or you risk losing subscribers.

Engage with customers on social media. Through social media, you can show why current and prospective customers should buy your products or services. If you’re a retail business owner, broadcast a Facebook Live event to showcase some of your latest merchandise and why it makes the perfect gift. If you provide a service, consider marketing gift cards as holiday presents or explain how your services can ease the stress of the holiday season. Use hashtags and partner with other businesses to help your social media posts reach as many potential customers as possible.

Add a personal touch. In some cases, you might not be seeing your customers in-person due to local regulations related to the pandemic. If you have a direct mailing list, send handwritten notes to customers to maintain personal connections. Post a compilation video of your staff on social media thanking customers for patronizing your business in 2020. As always, provide top-quality customer service by responding promptly to messages by phone, email and social media.

For an expert second opinion on your holiday marketing plans, reach out to local SBA resource partners, who can provide one-on-one advice and are available remotely. Take advantage of SBA marketing resources, including SBA Learning Center courses such as Marketing 101 and Social Media Marketing. 

Visit sba.gov for more information.