“We saw the same trends in lowered satisfaction and key behaviours tied to loyalty last year. However, last year’s drops were far more significant. This year, online retailers did a better job managing customer expectations as the holiday shopping deadlines approached. In return, retailers will be rewarded with higher loyalty long after the holiday season comes to a close.” – Larry Freed
The holiday season is here, and companies would have become ‘bombing’ their customers with all kinds of offers and incentives in a bid to gain their attention and business. This also means that unless the recipients see something they really like or the messages are from companies they are loyal / more inclined towards, they would most likely ignore most of the messages. Attracting customers during holiday season is a much steeper climb and a lot more arduous than any other time of the year. Businesses cannot expect customers to ‘hear and see’ them amidst the melee and deluge of messages and offers unless they find unique ways to ‘breaking through’. Two of the hardest tasks that businesses face is gaining and retaining customers – one bad move could send customers in a tizzy, leaving a company and spreading negativity about it. In addition, given the growing number of competitors every company seems to be feeling a resource crunch, and need to use those limited resources to put in place strategies that customers love before they can provide repeat business.
The reason, attracting customers during holiday season becomes so important since customers are in the flow of buying, and ‘playing cards right’ could help companies to maximize their revenue as the year ends. By putting in place intelligent and workable strategies for this time of the year, companies can not only attract more customers for the holidays, but ensure that they keep coming back long after. Does your company have strategies in place for attracting customers during holiday season? If yes, are they working / have worked in the past?
Companies, when asked, mentioned that during the holiday season they usually spend a significant sum to ramp up activities such as SEO, content marketing, and social media. The point to remember, however, is that these strategies would begin to show some results only if the company has sold online or engaged in digital marketing. This seems to be an issue with at least half of the companies – not sold anything online hence the online strategies would not work. It would be a lot smarter to gain more customers and achieve the kind of revenue and growth expected through the basic method of using the network of friends, family, associates, and existing customers. The aim for companies should be to get noticed, ensure that people start buying, keep coming back even after the holiday season, and ways to encourage engagement and grow the relationship.
Experts have provided their inputs for companies to help with attracting customers during holiday season. The most important thing for companies is to become and remain ‘visible’. This means seeking and making opportunities to meet with people – people who would be most likely to buy from the company, provide repeat business, and over time become brand advocates. It makes sense for companies to conduct in-depth research and find people with whom they can collaborate – people with reach would be influencers, market leaders, content writers, and other such people. Of course, it may not always be a smooth ride – there would be some resistance and some outright rejections – but the important thing would be to continue finding people with reach and those who would help with increasing business.
Beginning promotional and marketing activities close to the holiday season is possibly the worst strategy. For attracting customers during holiday season, it would be imperative to begin this process almost mid-year – and allow it to gain momentum, reaching a crescendo during the main holidays. The fact is that marketing during holidays becomes almost a war, with each company making every effort in outdoing the other, and hence in order to stand out and remain in the forefront, it would be prudent to begin promotional efforts as early as possible – it never hurts to spread cheer early and more often. Adding to the point of beginning promotional activities early on in the year put in place contests specifically for the holidays. Attracting customers during holiday season becomes a trifle easier by stoking the interest and curiosity of customers through hosting contests and competitions, announcing rewards to ‘a lucky few’. It should entail people visiting the company’s website, entering their details, and responding to the contest. The company not only gets to choose ‘winners’ but would have also acquired data of prospective customers for the future.
We have mentioned and it is a known fact in business circles that attracting customers is hard, and more so in the holiday season. In order to have repeated success at attracting customers during holiday season, a company must constantly focus on building relationships, encouraging trust, and forging strong bonds with both existing and prospective customers. The more successful a company is at the mentioned activities, the greater the chances that they would find people making a beeline for them during the holiday season and beyond. One of the most effective ways to build trust with customers is to make doing business with your company easy and relaxed. Things like easy purchases, free shipping, longer return period policy, and other such endeavours, enable customers to feel confident in and closer to a company.
People are becoming increasingly aware of the social responsibilities, and tend to trust companies that display commitment towards giving back to the society. While it may seem like a selfish end, contributing to charities or donating for causes, is a great way of attracting customers during holiday season. People tend to see this as responsible behaviour, and believe that a company mindful enough to give back to society, would also be aware and mindful of their needs. Companies should use their social media sites, and enlist the help of media to promote their social cause activities. In addition, socially responsible companies request their employees and other stakeholders to help with their chosen cause. In addition, they would remember to thank publicly, all those who do help. Kindness and charity create warm feelings, and these feelings would translate to attracting customers during holiday season and beyond.
The thumb rule for attracting customers, especially during the holiday season is to give them full attention, make them feel special and welcome. Holidays are stressful for all – but for customers it is an even more confusing and an anxious period given they need to decide quickly and efficiently in order to make the most appropriate choices for their needs – in a limited timeframe. Companies must ensure that they give customers several reasons to buy from them. Attracting customers during holiday season becomes a lot easier when a company makes the effort to do different things – something that would make them appear interested and engaged with their customers. Involve your customers, make it fun for you and them – attracting and retaining customers will not be as tough.
The ‘secret’ to attracting customers during holiday season is about being different – doing things opposite to what everyone else maybe doing – be charming and interesting. Most importantly make every experience and interaction with customers personal and warm – show them your company’s uniqueness by being humane. Chances are – they would not only buy from your company during the holiday season, but would come back repeatedly, with their friends. “The purpose of a business is to create a customer who creates customers.” – Shiv Singh – simple and clear.