- By Nick Frost
Just a few weeks back, we momentarily pressed pause on summer to inspire a wee bit of early holiday spirit among retail marketers with five examples of successful in-store/multichannel campaigns geared towards the year’s busiest shopping season.
This week, as we often do, we’re shifting our festive focus to the local.
With just a few months left until the endless loop of holiday music cues up the start of the season, retail chains and department stores are planning their budgets to deliver their holiday campaigns that reach every eyeball imaginable. All may be well and good in campaign land — but beyond the brand name — what strategies can businesses deploy to ensure customers actually get to their locations’ doors?
In order to stand out and be recognized by patrons in the midst of a season filled with not knowing what gifts to give, last-minute shopping, impulse buying and plenty of other wackiness, here are five tips to help drive customers to all of your stores this year.
Tip #1: Get Listed on Important Directories
Getting noticed can be challenging enough during the other ten-or-so months of the year. When holiday season comes around, though, it’s especially important to ensure your efforts are fully ramped up — that means getting your business registered on the best online directories, not just the ones named “Google” or “Facebook.”
Visibility online is the key to attracting any offline attention.Once people find your location, they’ll need to at least know the basics about it: your physical address(es), the phone number of your location(s), etc.
If you’re unsure of which directories your business should be listed in, check out SweetIQ’s Smart Network.
Tip #2: Use Last Year’s Local Insights/Analytics to Guide This Year’s Campaign Decisions
Every good local holiday campaign is built on strong insights and what better place to start than with the holiday data you have from previous years.
Sifting through 2016 data can be extremely beneficial, as it will remind you of all the things you did successfully, as well as all the things you didn’t quite hit the mark on. Pay particular attention to the latter and question yourself as much as possible on what can be done differently. Ask yourself if anything was missing from last year’s approach: data, local tactics,, presence on a social media channel, etc.
Of course, every year is different, so don’t get complacent by simply backsliding into the things you did right and thinking that they’re a lock to work again. Take the strategies and tools that worked, adapt them to 2017 and find new strategies to complement your existing ones.
Pro tip: Ensure your local campaign is primed for social media selling! Platforms like Snapchat and Instagram have made huge advancements in the local space this year, with features such as Geofences and stickers.
Tip #3: Update Your Holiday Hours on All Possible Directories
This one feels pretty self-explanatory. However, It’s worth highlighting because it’s also a perfect example of a small detail that can fall between the cracks while juggling dozens of other holiday-related tasks.
The best advice we could possibly give here is, simply, figure out your seasonal hours right now (right after you’re done reading this article, that is) and get it out of the way. Don’t let it tumble to the bottom of your to-do list. There’s no reason your customers shouldn’t be able to readily access the times your business is open wherever they search for them.
If you can set your holiday hours in advance, like you can with Google My Business, you can literally set them this second. When the time comes, Google will notify searchers that the hours you’ve set for your designated holiday period are special hours, even if your hours aren’t changing for the holidays, just to remove any ambiguity whatsoever from the equation.
If presetting isn’t an option, mark down a time to make the change in your calendar and assign the task to someone on your marketing team (If you’re not sure if someone at Head Office is taking care of this task — ask!) Using your Facebook pages as an example, edit your business hours manually when the time arrives and post about it.
Tip #4: Collaborate With Local Businesses
As much as you’re competing with other businesses for attention, clicks, dollars, etc., there is a definite level of community — especially during the holiday season — between brands both big and small.
Establishing your presence has nothing to do with isolating yourself and singularly focusing on the success of your own business. If you want to become a known entity in your community, it can’t hurt to get out and establish relationships with other local business owners. If you’re a big brand, this may come in the form of allowing a small local business have a pop-up shop in your store. Know an incredible local coffee shop in your area? Bring them into your store. Complementary products may mean more foot traffic to your store.
On another note, why not partner up and offer discounts for purchasing items at each other’s locations to drive shared business? Strength often comes in numbers.
Tip #5: Clean Up Your Local Information ASAP
That last thing you want to discover in the middle of your holiday campaign is that there are out-of-date details, no matter how few or how minuscule, buried within your listings and that they’re coming back to a create nightmarish ripple effect on your search ranking.
Go beyond the most current NAP (name, address, phone number) information in all directories and make sure all your products, services and URLs are updated. Doing this as early as possible will save you one big headache come November, and the best way to do so is with the right listings management system.
Fortunately, SweetIQ can help you make sure your listings are in tip-top shape so you don’t get left out in the cold this holiday season.
- Get listed in all the right places.
- Use data from last year to make smart targeting and in-store decisions.
- Update. Your. Listings! And optimize accordingly to make sure you shine.
- Partner with complementary businesses. Remember: strength in numbers!
- Stay on the “nice” list: clean your local info.