SMALL and medium businesses should engage in a targeted marketing campaign ahead of Christmas to capitalise on the holiday season, says MYOB CEO Tim Reed.
Marketing is one of six tips MYOB has offered SME operators ahead of one of the busiest periods of the year for many businesses.
“I encourage business operators to start raising their profile now via targeted marketing, advertising and promotions to help gain a competitive advantage,” says Reed.
“This doesn’t have to cost money – perhaps try public relations activities or strategic partnerships. Only 19% of SMEs are looking to increase their marketing and advertising activities this year. Those who do could see a spike in customers that flows through to sales.”
Reed says moving online, and reviewing business performance in the previous corresponding period are also vital strategies.
“There’s more competition for the shopper dollar during this time so operators should plan a range of tactics for attracting them,” says Reed.
“With more than 80 per cent of consumers researching online prior to making a purchase, consider selling your products and services online and include that sales channel in all marketing activity, It’s no surprise our research shows SMEs with a website were 53% more likely to see revenue rise last financial year.”
The six tips to prepare for the holiday season from MYOB are:
1. Review and learn from last year’s activities
Take a look at the performance of the last festive season to pinpoint the positive and negative aspects. How well did each of your products, services and promotions perform? Other operational aspects? Did you cope with the boost to customer numbers? Think about what you can do this year to improve results.
2. Get online
The internet has added a whole new dimension to shopping, with a vast majority of consumers shopping online on their smartphone, tablet or laptop. Establish a simple website or revamp your existing one as it is a powerful tool to help increase awareness and sales.
3. Shout from the rooftops
Don’t be shy about making your business as visible as possible. Promote your unique selling points (most value or choice, best service, longest warranties, local, eco-friendly etc.) to remind loyal customers and attract potential ones. Consider adding limited-time discounts or expanding your sales/marketing channels.
4. Boost staffing resources if required
Hiring extra staff can help with the extra volume of customers in the lead up to Christmas. The tax-free threshold increase to $18,200 should encourage more part time workers to return to the workforce as it becomes more financially viable, so SMEs might be able to draw from a larger group of skilled candidates.
5. Prepare your team to up the client service ante
Get your team ready via briefings on all store policies, service and complaint procedures, promotional stock and other important business aspects. Conduct training sessions to prepare them for the extra volume of customer and supplier interactions. They will be under more pressure than usual but this also applies to shoppers so a smile and a positive, helpful attitude will make the busy period more pleasant for all.
6. Keep your business house in order
There will likely be an abundance of gift wrapping paper, boxes and/or other packaging in your business as well as more paperwork. Get organised to reduce admin time and stress levels.
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