As product business owners you will be repeatedly told that this time of year is key, your busiest, so much to do – this is very true – and without wanting to add more to your 'to do list' it’s also a great time to start thinking about an even more successful ‘next year’.
How you can harness the festive time period to give you a springboard into 2020?
All eyes on you
Christmas is your peak selling period. This means that it’s the time of year when you’re going to have the most eyes on your business. Whether that’s through visitors to your website, people seeing your festive social media posts, people purchasing from you or maybe people meeting you in person and seeing your products at Christmas markets or pop-ups.
What can you do right now as a business owner to help use this time and these increased visitors and customers to set you up for a successful 2020?
The main tactic I want you to think about is getting email sign-ups – this goal often gets neglected until you realise how precious they are! If you capture even just a small percentage of this increased traffic through your email sign-ups that will give you a direct line to talking to them in 2020.
Email is a really important tool to keep moving your customers from people who just heard of your business, to loyal fans that keep coming back and who spread the love about your products.
There are lots of different ways of capturing emails. The most popular is through a pop-up on your website. Ideally you would entice them in the pop-up messaging rather than just a ‘please sign-up’ ask. Have a think about what can you offer them that they would be interested in at this time of year.
A discount is the original sign-up offer for a product business – ‘10% off your first purchase when you sign-up to our newsletter’ - however there are other options. A quick checklist to get ready for the festive season for example, three top tips for an amazing Christmas table – you know your customers so tap into what is important to them and what might entice them to sign-up to your emails.
Remember that selling events are a perfect time to ask your customers for an email address as well. They are meeting you in person, seeing your product in real life so more likely to be open to sign-up. Have a sign-up sheet with you, perhaps with a competition or prize in exchange for their email address.
Make a connection
Email gives you a great opportunity to connect with your customers, to start a conversation that feels personal and special.
Make a plan to ‘tag’ your customers who are purchasing from you at this time of year. Take a look at your products and produce a list of the types of items people would buy year on year – for example Christmas crackers, an advent calendar, Christmas decorations or Christmas cards - products that people will be more likely to come back and buy next year.
Businesses that sell diaries or planners use this tactic really successfully. They know at a certain time of year which customers will be looking to buy next year’s diary so they can send them a tailored messaged email to remind them.
So for example, your customers who buy Christmas crackers from you this year, you can tag them and in 2020 when you’re launching your Christmas range you can send them a tailored email and remind them that they bought from you last year and that they could buy from you again this year.
And it’s actually a really useful service for your customer because it reminds them to make that purchase and you can make it really easy for them.
See you soon
I must tell you about the 'bounce back offers' that start appearing at this time of year. A 'bounce back offer' is when you tell your customers if they buy from you in December then they can come back and buy from you again in January with a discount - ‘10% off purchases made in January’.
You’ll see lots of restaurants will use this technique – if you eat dinner with them in December they’ll incentivise you to come back in January when these restaurants are typically much slower.
And of course when you offer this you can ask for their email sign-up in order to send them the ‘voucher’. These aren’t going to be massive cash generators but you will capture a few customers and convert them from hopefully a single time purchasing customer to a repeat one and then into a loyal fan!
You’re an independent product business – you’re able to give your customers something the big corporates can’t (even though they might try!) – an authentic personal touch. My final tip for using the festive period to springboard you into 2020 is to think about exceptional customer service that people really love to have from shopping from an independent brand.
How are you aiming to surprise and delight your customers this festive period? Could you offer a complimentary upgrade of overnight shipping for every 25th customer? Could you put a little handwritten note or a small gift into the package that you send out so those people really remember you? Are you able to keep them really well updated with any changes to your shipping dates or the timing of your order?
All of these things could really help build that trust with your customer and get them coming back because ultimately what really builds long term business is treating your customers well, having that exceptional customer service, wowing them with your amazing product. Your amazing service at this time of the year is key and combine this with the above tips - it will help you have a really strong start to 2020.
Oh and remember - be really clear with your customers as to what they’re signing up for. Make sure you’re explicit about the emails they will receive and always provide an opt out on your emails and newsletters.
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