By Colleen Malloy
Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday. Three shopping holidays designed to entice consumers to open their wallets as the countdown to the holidays begins. Do you have a marketing strategy in place to remind shoppers that your store is stocked with goodies to quite literally help trim their trees this holiday season?
While the mega-retailers like Amazon may have a lock on the kids’ wish lists, the holidays are an excellent time to encourage your customers to indulge in a big-ticket splurge or some practical stocking stuffers that will help them keep their property looking prime through the holidays and all year long.
I’ve compiled seven marketing tips and tricks to help keep your dealership top of mind with consumers this holiday season and guarantee that your store makes the holiday gift list.
Tip #1 Get festive
In addition to adding a little festive cheer to your physical store location with decorations, update your social media imagery to reflect the holiday theme, add holiday-themed graphics to your website, and consider the holidays when making updates to the content on your site. Regularly updated content is a must to win the search engine ranking game, and adding some holiday-themed keywords like ‘gifts for dad’ or ‘holiday gift guide’ will help you bolster your search engine optimization (SEO) this holiday season.
Tip #2 Reward the holiday spirit
Run a holiday lights contest on your Facebook page. Contests are a fantastic way to create some buzz around your brand and encourage social sharing. Third-party apps like Woobox (https://woobox.com/photocontests) make it super simple to get a contest rolling. You can also use your social posts to encourage people to share their holiday light pictures and reward the photo with the most likes and shares with a special incentive like a $20 gift card.
Tip #3 Offer gift cards
Speaking of gift cards, if you don’t already, you should absolutely offer them. Gift cards are the most popular holiday gifts bar none. While you may be skeptical that shoppers will see outdoor power equipment as a thoughtful gift, it’s time to get creative to get shoppers excited about all of the fun that the “toys,” which masquerade as tools you sell, can deliver. Who wouldn’t get excited at the prospect of getting to pick out a brand-new chain saw for the holidays?
Tip #4 Help dad shop for mom and vice versa
No, I’m not suggesting that you try convincing your customers to buy their wives line trimmers for Christmas, but what about partnering with other small businesses in your community to promote a “Shop Local for Mom” event? Spas, specialty gift shops and other businesses are hoping to sell to their clientele’s spouses, who may well be on your email list. Promote the “Shop Local for Mom” event via your email and social channels, and have your dealership serve as a rest stop, offering a gift wrapping station and refreshments. You may want to invite Santa to your party and have him add your in-store visitors’ holiday gift wishes from your aisles to his list along with their significant other’s email address. After the event, you can share the shopping advice via email to score some unexpected new shoppers this holiday season.
Tip #5 Participate in Small Business Saturday
Encourage your customers to #shopsmall this Small Business Saturday. Started in 2010, Small Business Saturday taps into the local shopping movement, encouraging people to spend with small businesses in their hometowns the Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 28). American Express Open offers up a full collection of digital and print marketing tools that you can personalize for your dealership to take advantage of the growing popularity of this shopping holiday. For more information, visit www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/.
Tip #6 Make your list, check it twice, and send cards
Send your best customers an honest-to-goodness print Thanksgiving card, thanking them for their business in 2015 and reminding them to think of you for the holidays and into 2016. While I absolutely recommend that you use your dealership’s newsletter and other email marketing initiatives to reach your customers this holiday season, with fewer and fewer people taking advantage of the good ole USPS to send holiday greetings, a hand-written note of thanks can make a big impression. Aren’t up-to-speed with email marketing? Visit the Outdoor Power Equipment online archives and read my recent article to get rolling with a dealership newsletter: https://outdoorpowerequipment.com/2015/07/05/does-your-e-newsletter-deliver/8010/.
Tip #7 Be generous
The holidays are all about giving, and it is the perfect time of year to get involved in your community. Whether you organize a holiday gift-giving tree, volunteer for a great cause like Habitat for Humanity, or adopt a local charity with values that align with yours, don’t forget to give back this holiday season. Your efforts will be appreciated, and you can work together with your charity of choice to create cross-promotional social posts to encourage others in the community to take part, all while getting the gift of a little good online reputation karma.
Got a holiday promotion that’s worked for your dealership? I’d love to hear your seasonal success stories! Drop me an email at email@example.com.
Colleen Malloy is the director of marketing at ARI Network Services. Prior to joining ARI in November 2013, Malloy served as the editor of Motorcycle and Powersports News. She is dedicated to the mission of helping dealers improve their operations through the implementation of ever-evolving best practices paired with ARI’s suite of an award-winning data-driven software tools and marketing services that help dealers “Sell More Stuff!” — online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in the outdoor power equipment, powersports, marine, RV, automotive tire and wheel, and white goods industries. More than 22,000 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website (www.arinet.com) and eCatalog platforms to “Sell More Stuff!”