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4 Tips to Connect with Customers Online this Holiday Season

blog holiday

It can be the most stressful, but also the most rewarding time of year for business owners. The holiday season gives small businesses a wonderful gift: the opportunity for growth. Canadians are looking online for ideas and inspiration, and it’s the perfect opportunity to position your business as a great holiday gift or service.

Last year, 1 in 3 Canadians shopped online for all their holiday gifts.

But don’t worry if your business doesn’t do e-commerce –  researching products online and then buying in store is a growing consumer trend. Techvibes reports that most shoppers are now going online and doing research on social media before making a purchase decision. Regardless of whether you sell online or in-store, it’s becoming increasingly important to reach your customers in the right place, at the right moment.

According to Accenture’s 2015 Holiday Shopping Survey, 34 percent of Canadian respondents are planning to spend more on their holiday shopping this year.

The weak Canadian dollar will work in retailers’ favour, with thirty-one percent of shoppers citing the currency as their reason for staying at home to shop this year.

But retailers aren’t the only ones who will benefit from connecting with consumers online this holiday season. Think of all the people who choose to use a catering service for their holiday dinner parties, or those who need the help of a handyman to put up their lights and decorations. The opportunities for positioning your business to consumers during the holiday season are endless.

If you start planning now, any small business can leverage these tips to make the most of the 2015 holiday season.

1. Update your Website

Having a mobile-friendly, responsive website is more important than ever.

Last year, 53% of people who shopped online used smartphones or tablets.

Make sure you don’t lose customers soon after they land on your site. They’re busy and want to find the best solutions quickly. Make sure your website is compatible with all devices so you can maximize sales and minimize frustration this holiday season.

Also, try creating a holiday landing page. Not only will this put people in a festive mood when they visit your website, but it will also boost your SEO. Sprucing up your content will go a long way. Take inventory of your products and services—which ones can you highlight or promote as a great holiday solution?

2. Leverage Social Media

One of the best ways to do this is to offer flash deals through your different social media platforms. Tell your followers before the discount starts so they check back frequently. This will help boost your sales during the holiday season while increasing your social media exposure.

3. Try Email Marketing

Follow up emails are a great way to connect with your existing customers – especially those who are not active on social media. These emails are a way to prompt your customers to purchase again. You can send the same discounts you promote on social media, or offer an even better discount, to reward loyal customers.

4. Advertise, Advertise, and then Advertise some more

According to research by Google, holiday shoppers are open to change, and often look for new stores and brands to purchase from during the holiday season. Since consumers are often overwhelmed with choice, it’s worth it to ensure you get found first by potential customers. Google Adwords is a great place to start, as studies show pay per click (PPC) ads increase brand awareness by 63%.

Unless you have a very niche product or service, listing your business in a directory such as 411.ca can help you stand out among all your competitors. This is especially important at this time of year.

The upcoming holiday season is a prime opportunity to reach out to customers online and maximize sales—no matter what industry you’re in. If you’re looking for more ideas, we love this Marketing Checklist from HubSpot on how to prep your website for the holiday rush.

Use these tips to connect with your customers this holiday season, and then just re-fit and re-use your plan for upcoming special events in 2016 such Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Canada Day.

We love to hear from you! Tweet us your comments, suggestions and experiences @411dotca!

Laura has a B.A. in Honours Communications Studies from McMaster University and is currently enrolled in Humber’s Public Relations Postgraduate program. She is passionate about writing and local business, so this blog is the perfect combination of the two.