Easy (and cheap) ways to increase holiday sales

The holiday season is upon us – and consumers are prepared to spend. 45 percent of Americans plan to spend more on holiday shopping this year compared to last year. A few simple steps of preparation can go a long way to maximize your efforts and kick off the holiday shopping season. If you’re planning to participate, here are a few attention-grabbing tips to have some fun while cultivating your customer base for the year to come.

1. Host an in-house event or party.

Running a promotion or discount is a great way to attract interest from new customers, but making sure those customers have a great shopping experience will keep them coming back. If your small business has a brick-and-mortar location, consider providing refreshments or offer a free service – gift wrapping perhaps?

2. Capture new leads.

Take advantage of the rush by running a raffle or giveaway to generate excitement -- which is also a great way to capture email addresses or contact information. After the event, follow-up with those who entered within the next few days to thank them for their participation and provide more information on your website and ways to keep in touch on your social media pages. You can even use this outreach to share a special discount with those who supported your business. This will go a long way in converting one-time shoppers into loyal lifelong clients.

3. Keep your online info as up-to-date as possible.

People want to support small business, but one of the biggest complaints among shoppers is small businesses doesn’t update their online information as much as national big chain stores. Outdated information online isn’t helpful, and if you are hard to find, it can be frustrating to potential customers. Make sure your website -- including key information like location and hours -- is up-to-date. Posting sales or events regularly online is ideal.  

4. Reward social interactions.

Incentivize customers to share the news that they stopped by your store. Offer a special promotion or discount to those who show they’ve shared your info across Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Swarm. The most credible advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust, so seeing a friend’s check-in on social media will raise awareness for your store. 

5. Celebrate other small businesses. 

Show your community support by following, re-tweeting or promoting other local businesses in your area. Chances are, they’ll end up doing the same for you, offering exposure to an entirely new set of followers and potential customers.