The Holiday Hustle: Creative Ways to Keep in Touch with Customers This Season

The nonstop shopping bonanza that has become the holiday season used to be the exclusive domain of the retail category. But the Internet, social media, and the evolving nature of how people view gift giving have all given service- and experience-based businesses equal access to consumer wallets.

That means the holiday season is the perfect time for virtually any business to market itself to customers. Need some holiday promotion inspiration? Here are 5 effective ways to keep your brand top of mind.

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Run a Promotion with a Little Urgency

Even service-oriented businesses can take advantage of deal-minded consumers on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or any other day during the shopping season. This painting company offered a deal to the first ten customers who signed up, among other promotions. It’s a clever way to incentivize shoppers to commit to projects they’ve been putting off for the future.

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Host an In-Store Event

Retail shops can host trunk shows, preview parties, ladies’ nights, wine tastings, and cooking demos, but other businesses might need to get a little creative when it comes to keeping customers engaged with the brand. Hotels and inns, especially those with income streams from in-house bars, coffee shops and restaurants, can follow the Austin Four Seasons’s lead. The hotel displayed a “Wild West” Gingerbread Village (with a charity tie-in), which showcased the pastry chef’s talent and appealed to tourists and locals alike with the quirky theme.

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Take Your Customers on a Field Trip

For businesses that rely on forming close relationships with repeat customers, hosting an out-of-store adventure is an exciting way to build buzz and foster connections. This floral and events boutique, which regularly hosts in-store classes and events, organized a holiday shopping trip to NYC to teach customers how to navigate the wholesale markets in the city’s flower district.

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Provide Gift-Giving Inspiration

Shoppers are always on the hunt for the perfect gift. Whether it’s via email, Pinterest, blog, or direct mail (or all four), turn your business’s bread-and-butter into a giftable package. This hardware store chain created customized Pinterest boards featuring products that would make great gifts (above). A local cheese shop took to Twitter, counting down 25 days of gift inspiration (below).

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Let Shoppers Create Their Own Wish List

The “wish list” concept can extend beyond goods and products. Last season, one travel company designed an email campaign that invited customers to put virtual stamps in a passport representing all the places they would love to visit, which they could then share on social media. The sales team then used the data to follow up with targeted promotions.

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