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$pa Marketing: Light It Up with Holiday Advertising

Ho, ho, ho—it’s time for holiday advertising! While you may know it’s important, did you know that as much as 20-40% of your yearly sales typically take place during the last two months of the year?

You’ve experienced a “buying mode,” right? It’s when you believe it’s the “right time” to make a purchase—whether it’s for a friend’s birthday, or your wedding anniversary, or Christmas, etc.—and even if you don’t have the money sitting in the bank, it’s an important enough occasion that you might just max out your credit cards and go to town. Or, you’ll find the money somehow, some way.

Nordstrom knows all about “buying modes.” Starbucks does, too. And while you may be a small business owner compared to these two giants, the same concept applies to your bottom line. But clients need motivation to hop into buying mode; if you want them to share the excitement of what you’re offering (and get them to share their pocketbooks), you have to motivate them.

Getting Clients Motivated

Let’s look at Nordstrom. It’s no accident that some of its biggest sales start in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. They know consumers are focused then on family gatherings, cooking giant birds and getting their homes spruced up for the holidays. So, they tempt (I mean, motivate) us by offering 40% off the lowest sale price. It can’t be just another sale—it has to be something where you “one up” your game; either an offer that seems almost too good to be true but retains a healthy profit margin, or one that gets prospective customers in the door so that you can sell them additional services and products.

What deals of a lifetime can you offer during the holidays? In the esthetic business, the best place to execute a specific game plan is in the treatment room. Think ahead of synergistic treatments. For example, let’s say you offer an OMG special with photofacial for the face. While your client is on your treatment table, though, you notice she also has sun damage on her chest and lower arms. So, you tell her about your amazing (limited) holiday special in which you can add in her chest and arms for the same OMG price as her face.

Keep in mind that many businesses typically make the least amount of money on a customer’s first visit; it’s cross-sales, up-sales, and repeat customers that are your real bread and butter. McDonald’s knows that 99 cent burgers and drinks won’t keep them afloat; those are just teasers to get customers in the drive-thru where they’ll also buy Big Mac meal combos and McFlurries. Maybe not today, but they will tomorrow. You get the idea.

How to Spread the Word

Take advantage of every avenue available to let customers know about your incredible holiday specials. You don’t need a huge budget to create excitement—just some time and effort. If you don’t have time, consider hiring someone to help you.

At a minimum, I would suggest advertising by:

1) phone,

2) online (website) and pay-per-click (PPC) such as Google Ad Words,

3) “boosted” posts on social media in which you pay a fee to push the post out to a larger and/or more targeted demographic,

4) e-mail (hopefully, you have a client database), and

5) organic social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

I’d also suggest colorful brochures and poster-board sized displays in your lobby, and well as poster-sized print-outs on the wall of every treatment room and bathroom (yes, people do read bathroom walls!). ‘Tis the season to jump your sales up the chimney and through the roof!

Top Three Tips for Holiday Advertising

1. If you haven’t done so already, start planning now for next year’s holiday advertising. Don’t wait until Halloween to decide you should probably get started on it. Your competition is already way ahead of the game.

2. Keep promotional materials looking professional (no cardboard and magic marker stuff). There are many affordable design/copy places now, including big box office supply stores, that can assist you in designing and printing attractive displays, brochures, etc.

3. Enlist your creative friends and family members in coming up with catchy slogans and specials that would entice them into holiday “buying mode.” Have fun with it!