holidays shoppingIf you haven’t had the time to start planning your holiday marketing for the year, the time to start is now. The holiday season is not just a time of celebration and relaxation; it is also time when your marketing efforts can build customer confidence and rapport; all while strengthening your brand and increasing your sales base. Your holiday marketing strategies should serve your business and your customers. Here are five ways your holiday marketing efforts can benefit your company:

1. Use Promotions to Build Customer Satisfaction

Customers are the core of your business. Without them your company would not exist, so what holiday promotions can you come up with to thank them for their trade? It can be as simple as free gift wrapping, entry into a contest for commenting, or a discount on select items with purchase. Use your imagination and your market research to help you find the promotion that perfectly aligns with your clientele. Make sure that your campaign communicates how much you value your customers and demonstrates your dedication to their satisfaction.

2. Improve Your Shipping Strategy

If you have products to ship, this is the perfect time to tighten up your shipping procedures. Are you getting your products to your customers in a reasonable time? In the age of Amazon Prime shipping subscriptions, your customers might have a different notion of “fast” than they did even a few years ago. Examine your shipping game plan to suss out where and when you can tighten it up and then promote the heck out of it. If your shipping deadline improves, make sure your customers know about it, but stick to it no matter what. It harms your relationship with customers when you drop the ball. Consider participating in Free Shipping Day: a solo day where merchants offer free shipping during the holidays.

3. Boost Customer or Audience Engagement

If you’re apprehensive about your holiday marketing and looking for input on what promotion will work best with your audience, you have your own built-in focus group that can help you with market research. You can ask a core group of customers to answer a short questionnaire or assist you with A/B testing in exchange for a discount code or gift certificate that they can share with others. You’ll be able to get input from the people who deeply appreciate your company, gain insight on their preferences, expand your audience, and say thank you all in one shot.

4. Expand Social Media Audience

The holiday season is a great time to increase your engagement on social media. You can use tools like Newswhip or Google Trends to find out what’s gaining traction in your industry and craft content that aligns with your holiday marketing strategy. A social media dashboard like Hootsuite can then help you deploy that content in an effective way. Make sure that you tweak your content for each of the social media websites that align most closely with your target audience’s preferences. Cleverly themed holiday campaigns can take on a life of their own and build your audience beyond the holiday season.

5. Find Promising New Hires

Many companies must hire additional staff to deal with increased demand during the holidays. Increased staffing is a strategic way to improve customer satisfaction and you can use seasonal hiring to find potential new employees. You may not be ready to take on more permanent staffing at the moment, but when you find hirelings with exceptional potential, let them know you have eye on them for the future and ask them to stay in touch. You might find your next most valuable member of your business team this season.