5 Holiday Social Media Ideas That’ll Keep Your Registers Ringing

by Lisa Furgison
4 Holiday Social Media Ideas That'll Keep Your Registers Ringing

As business owners, you don’t have elves to help you prepare for the holidays, but you do have social media.

Social media is a powerful marketing tool during the holidays. A survey shows 50 percent of customers use social media to find deals, and others use it to research gift ideas and learn about a specific company, according to Statista.

To help businesses use social media to increase brand awareness and give sales a boost, here are four holiday ideas you can use on your social channels this season:

1. Create an Offer on Facebook

Savvy shoppers are always on the hunt for a great deal.

Ninety-four percent of holiday consumers say discounts impact their purchase decisions, according to Invesp, so why not give customers what they want? Give them a deal they can’t refuse on a platform they’re already familiar with.

Facebook allows brands to create Offers, which are basically coupons for your customers. You can create a coupon that’s redeemable in your store, so customers can present the coupon on their phone at the register, or enter a coupon code during checkout online.

The Offer is shared with your Facebook fans, but once a customer redeems it, it’s mentioned in the customer’s News feed, so it exposes even more people to your deal.

Customers can even save the deal for later, and will receive notifications from Facebook when the deal is about to expire.

Here’s an example of an Offer from Camping and Fishing Outlet:

4 Holiday Social Media Ideas That'll Keep Your Registers Ringing

The cost of a Facebook Offer depends on how many people you want it to reach. You’ll see budget options when you create the offer. Here are the instructions to create an Offer on Facebook, and here’s a list of frequently asked questions about Facebook Offers.

2. Host a holiday contest

Seven out of ten brands are using “gamification techniques,” which is the use of giveaways, games and contests to attract and retain customers, according to HubSpot.

Why are more businesses turning to contests and games? For starters, consumers love them, with 68 percent of adults older than 18 participating in online games.

Plus, it’s fairly simple to host a contest these days on social media.

Local businesses could encourage customers to take pictures of the holiday lights in their community. From decked-out homes to businesses lit up with a Santa’s Workshop display, customers can snap artsy photos and submit them on your Facebook page for a chance to enter an in-store gift card.

Or, have customers submit a short 100-word essay about how your product or service enhances their holiday. Select the best answer, announce the winner on Facebook and give the customer a rare coupon for 50% off one item.

If you don’t have the manpower to create and monitor a contest on social media, there are apps that can help. Try WooBox or Wishpond. (Note: Both WooBox and Wishpond charge a monthly fee for their services, but WooBox does have a few options available for free.)

3. Shoot and share a holiday video tip

Consider shooting a video that gives your customers a holiday tip, which just so happens to promote one of your products.

Videos are highly shareable, and Facebook fans seem to consume them at a high rate. Eight billion videos are viewed through Facebook each day, according to Social Media Today.

Need some video ideas? If you sell coffee and tea, create a video that shows customers how to brew your freshly ground beans for a large group. If you sell cosmetics, shoot a video that offers holiday makeup tips for people going to their company get-together. If you offer heating repair services, create a video that offers heat-related safety tips for the holidays, like how far to keep a tree from a fireplace.

Pit Barrel Cooker Co. shot and shared a video explaining how to cook the perfect holiday turkey. Here’s a look at the video from the company’s Facebook page, which received 254,000+ views:

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4. Create and share a holiday eCard

Small businesses often go the extra mile to create personal relationships with customers. During the holidays, it’s nice to reach out to your customers and thank them for their patronage.

You can send traditional holiday cards in the mail, or you can take a few minutes to create an ecard that you can share on your social channels.

You can use do-it-yourself websites to create animated cards that are highly shareable. If you want to create a traditional digital card, try a site like Punchbowl. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, try a site like JibJab. This site allows you to upload pictures of yourself and your employees, and puts your faces on dancing elves or a singing Santa dancing to Gangnam Style.

5. Use Your Mobile App for In App Only Promotions

Tis the Season for Giving, so use your Mobile App to promote App Only offers. This will increase customer engagement and drive more app downloads, as you make your App feel more like an Exclusive Club, where only members receive the perks!

Additionally why not update your Mobile Apps look to reflect the season.  With the Mass Mobile Apps platform, you can easily update the look & feel of your app which will can keep your message across all channels uniform.

How will you use social media to market your business or product during the holiday season? Share your plans in the comment section below.

Not all Loyalty Apps are Created Equal!

As a small business owner of a denim and sportswear store, I was looking for ways to increase my bottom line, and alternative ways to connect with my customers.  With the social media explosion, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and emails, promoting my business became a full time job.  That was great in the mid 2000’s, but as more and more people and businesses jumped on the bandwagon, I noticed these mediums becoming less effective. As a result after much research, I decided to implement a loyalty program, but discovered that all of the existing Loyalty platforms lacked the qualities and features I felt were relevant to me and most importantly to my customers.

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The existing Loyalty platforms, were not marketing my business but promoting theirs but against my better judgment I gave it a shot, and joined a popular program.  I quickly discovered that this was not specific to me nor did it promote my “Brand”.  It was cookie cutter at best!  Why did I have to fit my business model into their environment and promote their app and brand?  I also questioned why my business was added to a list of similar merchants, some of which were my competitors.

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This is when the Mass Mobile Apps Concept was born.  Out of a need to keep my customers engaged and loyal, and to drive traffic and increase Sales.  Mass Mobile Apps designs customized Loyalty Apps specific to any business promoting their brand and connecting customers in a meaningful way.

Why conform to someone else’s concept of a loyalty program, when you can develop your own!

4 Holiday Marketing Ideas Every Small Business Should Use

4 Joyful Holiday Marketing Ideas Every Small Business Should Use
Holiday shoppers are ready to dash through the aisles this season, spending an average of $935.58 on holiday gifts, food and decor. Retail sales are in good shape for the end of the year, with a predicted 3.6 percent increase from last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Are you ready to cash in on the holiday shopping craze? If so, you need to create a few holiday marketing campaigns to attract customers to your store. But, creating marketing campaigns takes time, and who has extra time during the holidays? You’re busy scheduling additional staff, ordering extra inventory and prepping your store.

To take the hassle out of the holidays, we’ve put together a list of four holiday marketing ideas that every business can and should use during the holidays.

1. Ask customers to submit holiday designs
Take a cue from Starbucks and get your customers involved in the design process. Starbucks asked its customers to draw holiday designs on their coffee cups, and submit pictures via Instagram. Starbucks selected a handful of winning designs and mass-produced the artwork on holiday cups this season. Here’s a winning design created by a nurse in Chicago:

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The campaign sparked 1200 submissions from 13 different countries, and engaged fans all over the world as the designs filled social media channels.

Your company can do something similar. For instance, you can ask customers to turn your everyday logo into a festive one. Have participants submit the photos online and select the best one. Then use the winning design on your website throughout the holidays.

You can promote the contest on your website, social channels and in store. Send out email and text about the contest too. You might consider giving the winner an additional prize, like a $100 in-store gift card, to sweeten the deal.

2. Create a ’12 Days of Christmas’ giveaway
Giveaways are a great way to introduce customers to a new product. Plus, everyone loves a freebie, especially during the holidays.

Use the inspiration of the beloved 12 Days of Christmas song to give away 12 items leading up to Christmas. HBO, for example, offered 12 episodes of its hottest shows for free during the holiday season.

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If you offer a service, consider giving customers 12 days free, or an upgrade for 12 days.

If you want to give away 12 products, one on each day, you could ask customers to participate in a trivia game on social game media. The first person to get the answer right wins the prize of the day.

Or, the 20th shopper that comes into your store gets the day’s giveaway; or the first customer that makes a donation at the register to a charity that your store supports wins the prize.

Be sure to advertise the giveaways on social media, email and text message. Let customers know what the prize is each day, and how they can win.

3. Provide gift inspiration via Email, Social or Mobile
The average person expects to receive 13 gifts for Christmas, according to Statista. That’s a lot of gifts to buy.

And how many times have you wandered aimlessly through the aisles looking for the perfect gift for Aunt Susie, only to come up empty handed? It happens to everyone. Why not suggest some of your products or services as the perfect gift?

If you have collected email addresses from your customers, create and email a gift guide that highlights a handful of cool gift ideas. You can break the guides into categories like “Gifts for Mom” or “Stocking Stuffers Under $10.” Or, maximize Pinterest and create special gift guide boards like the examples below. Share links on your social media channels in your emails, and your Mobile App.

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Here’s an example on Instagram:

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If you have access to cell phone numbers, consider texting customers a specific gift idea. Provide the idea, and an incentive to get customers to come to your store. Try a text like this, “Can’t find a gift for your mom? Get an extra 10% off [name of your product].”

4. Provide a last minute holiday deal
Holiday shoppers procrastinate. It’s a fact. Last year, as of December 15, the average shopper had only completed 53.5% of their shopping, according to the National Retail Federation.

Give your customers an incentive to shop at your store for their last minute holiday needs. Consider sending a promotion that offers a 15% store wide discount or a specific deal on a popular product.

If you operate an online store or ship products to your customers, remind customers about last minute shipping deadlines too.

Here’s a great holiday promotion from Birchbox that combines a holiday deal, which includes extra rewards points, with a shipping reminder. Consider trying a similar promotion. Send it to your customers via text, email or both.

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There you have it, four ideas that your business can use to get registers ringing during the holidays. Which ideas will you use? Or, do you have tried-and-true holiday marketing ideas of your own? If so, share your holiday marketing plans with us in the comment section below.

 

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3 Time-Tested Retail Sales Promotions That Drive Foot Traffic and Build Loyalty

How do you entice people to buy more from your store? What do you do when you want customers to make purchases more frequently, or in greater volume, or if you’re looking to boost business during slow hours and more?

Whatever your goal may be as a retailer, by creating a time-sensitive sales promotion and having a good grasp on your target customer demographic, you’ll be able to incentivize the right actions, get them to respond, and grow your business in the process.

In this post, we’ll look at three retail sales promotion techniques that are worth their weight in gold when implemented effectively. They are:

So, the next time you’re stuck as to how you can increase sales, get new customers, or retain existing ones, you’ll have no trouble turning to the perfect promotion strategy for your goal.

Let’s get started.

The Power of Promotional Pricing

As a small business owner, you already know the power of discounting products to increase demand.

But which products do you give a discount on? And by how much? Or for how long? These are all questions that come to mind when considering the option of reducing prices. They’re also important questions due to the nature of how pricing affects consumer psychology.

For example, you might have heard about the power of ending prices with the number 9. Researchers have discovered that items priced at $39 sell more than the cheaper price point of $34. Or the overbearing power of the word “free,” which Dr. Dan Ariely has shown to motivate us even when the perceived value and price of two options remain the same.

Now, let’s take a look at a few of the more popular promotional pricing options that you can deploy in your own store:

  • Markdowns: This is when you reduce prices on a wide range of products in your store for all customers. This is especially effective when backed by a wider advertising campaign, be it through paid or unpaid channels.
  • Loss Leaders: When you know that certain products are in demand, regardless of whether it’s a luxury item like an iPad or everyday need like under garments, you can provide certain products at a steep discount to draw new customers to your store. Known as loss leaders, these products are great for selling overstocked items, increasing traffic to your store, and generating brand awareness.
  • Bundle Pricing: Bundling products is a great way to generate a higher perceived value for a lower cost that customers have a hard time staying away from. Whether it’s a “buy one, get one free” deal or a “3 for the price of 1” special, this tactic is great for making customers feel that they’re getting more for what they’re paying. As a bonus, this is a huge draw to then entice those customers to buy higher priced items once they’re in your store.

Retail sales to help foot traffic | Shopify Retail

Leveraging Point-of-Purchase (POP) Displays

Though you might be most familiar with POP displays from your visit to the grocery store, where you just couldn’t help but notice all those glossy magazines filled with celebrity gossip, you’ll be pleased to know that they’re one of the most effective ways for retailers to encourage impulse buying.

For example, you might have noticed that the last time you went shopping for clothes, there was a never-ending array of bins and displays filled with items that could be seen as “add-ons” or “up sells” as you make your way closer to the checkout.

The reason why these POP displays and the impulse purchases they generate are so effective is thataccording to research, almost 66% of all decisions to buy something are made while people are in the store shopping. And guess what? Almost 53% of those decisions are classified as impulse buying.

Well, it’s time to start thinking about what you could do around your checkout area to get consumers to buy more.

Here are a few examples of different types of POP displays:

  • Speed Bumps: As prospective customers get closer to the end of their purchasing journey at your store, you can intentionally draw their attention to products that they may have missed by strategically placing them along the path to checkout or even as they wander the store.
  • Dump Bins: These are bins full of products once again strategically placed to elicit curiosity in consumers and get them to “dig in” and find an item that they’ll add to their shopping cart as they stand in line to pay for what they came to buy.
  • Free Samples: This is a surefire way to build demand for any new products that you may have recently added to your store. Giving away free samplers of certain products invites customers to use them at no cost and though they may not reach for the full-price version right away, you can be sure they’ll think about it the next time they visit your store.

Optimizing point of purchase displays | Shopify Retail

Getting the Most Out of Loyalty Programs

Let’s face it, getting new customers costs a lot of time, money, and effort. Providing great service and creating customer loyalty programs that get customers to come back, time and time again, is far more profitable and efficient as a retailer.

Though you may not have the big-box retailer budget to launch a full-out customer loyalty program, rest assured, there are some great alternatives that also happen to be very cost effective as well.

The most beneficial of those alternatives would have to be a Mobile Loyalty App.  Your business can now implement a full blown loyalty program that will rival those of the big-box-retailers.  Mass Mobile Apps provides a solution that will meet all your needs!  With their solution, in exchange for rewarding your customers for shopping, you will be given the ability to reach them like you have never had before.  Each customer must download your app, and register in your program, and in doing so they provide you unprecedented access.  You are now able to send “Push Notifications” directly to their mobile devices, which appears just like a text message. With a wide variety of features that are designed to enhance the customer experience, and provide the retailer the most up to date marketing tools available.

Another alternative would be email marketing. It’s an effective way to drive customer retention and loyalty and starts as quickly as when you collect customer’s email as they checkout, and then email them about exclusive sales, discounts, coupons, and other promotional offerings for a limited time period. Not only will this incentivize them to visit your store again, but it will also increase the perceived value they have of being on your email list.

One simple way to do that in your store is to use a really handy app by MailChimp called Chimpadeedoo, which you could use alongside your iPad POS system. They’ve also got some great in-depth case studies I suggest checking out. For example, in one case, a retailer saw their email list grow from 250 to 10,000 subscribers in just one year.

Chimpadeedoo sales promotions | Shopify Retail

Another app you might want to check out is Belly, which helps local businesses connect with customers through a customer-facing mobile app and merchant iPad app, and helps you build loyalty by rewarding your customers each time they visit and make a purchase from your store.

Lastly, Don’t Forget To Track Your Efforts

In order for you to get the most benefit from running a sales promotion campaign, you must track the percentage of sales resulting from the promotional campaign. Ideally, you should be able to assign tracking codes or discounts to certain products within your POS system and generate a report to see how well you’ve done since first launching the campaign.

The other important component is setting a timeline for each campaign, not just to help your customers act faster, but for you to start looking at promotions from the perspective of seasonality. That will also help you to be far more strategic and give you enough time to plan everything in advance so as to ensure you’re not wasting your efforts.

How iOs 10 Empowers Mobile Marketers

 

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Apple’s iOS 10 updates are coming this fall — the public beta is now available for download, so the official release is likely closer than we think — and the host of changes will have a significant impact on mobile marketers. How can you be poised to take advantage of the changes when they launch? Here’s a quick primer.

SiriKit

This is one of the bigger changes. SiriKit opens Apple’s virtual assistant to developers, meaning they can build voice controls into their own apps. Siri will be able to order you a Lyft or Uber with a simple voice command.

Your move: Integrate your app with Siri as much as you can. It will help your product stay top of mind with consumers if they can call it up with a simple one-liner as they lie in bed on a weekend morning.

New Messaging Features

This one is pretty big, too. In an effort to compete with WhatsApp/Facebook Messenger, Apple added a variety of new messaging features in the iOS 10 updates:

  • There’s an iMessage App Store coming. Users will be able to add third-party functionality to messaging (i.e. stickers and GIFs).
  • Calendar scheduling and mobile payments. (More on the mobile payments in one second.)
  • Powerful iMessage capabilities. Send full-screen messages, hand-written notes, ‘invisible ink’ messages that are only revealed if swiped by the recipient (a little Snapchat touch there), and a ‘Tapback’ functionality to quickly reply with a pre-set message. You can also easily replace words with emojis, i.e. “Going for pizza or burgers” becomes “Going for 🍕 or 🍔.” Venmo, anyone?

Your move: As messaging functionality (and fun) continues to increase with iOS 10 updates, it’s time to consider investing more in SMS marketing. Coca-Cola, is wasting no time getting in on the action, as they’re poised to spend 70% of its mobile budget on SMS in the next fiscal year. It also means users want messaging that has the tone and feel of a personal message. Embrace emojis! 😜

Mobile Payments

 We’re arriving at a tipping point for the adoption of digital wallets, and the iOS 10 updates might push Apple Pay to the forefront.

in the U.S., we’ve had magnetic stripes on the back of our credit cards for a generation. But these days, chip technology is becoming more prevalent in the U.S. It’s called EMV, and most chip-card reading terminals can work with NFC, or near-field communications. NFC is a set of standards for portable devices. It allows them to establish peer-to-peer radio communications, passing data from one device to another by touching them or putting them very close together.

This new system supports contactless payment, which means a whole host of digital wallet options are opening up as the U.S. fully transitions to chip-based credit cards.

Your move: It’s a great time to adjust your app’s payment options. Digital wallets will foster ease of payment, and ease of payment could be huge for customer retention and acquisition.

Expedited app reviews

 Currently the cycle takes about 4-10 days. With iOS 10 updates, the expectation is 1-2 days.While Apple still reviews about 100,000 apps/week, it’s devised a faster process. This means that from the point of submission, you could be ‘live’ in front of consumers within about 30 hours.

Your move: Have your ducks in a row for rollout before you submit your app, because it’s not a potential two-week waiting game anymore.

Revenue Splits and Subscriptions

 Apps that use subscriptions will see a 70 (developers) / 30 (Apple) revenue split in year 1, and then in year 2, it will become 85-15. Subscriptions will now be available across allcategories, whereas previously it was limited to only a few.

Your move: Do subscription services make sense for your app? To qualify, you’ll need content that is updated or delivered on a regular basis — or you need to provide paid access to an ongoing service within the app, i.e. massive multiplayer online games.

Paid App Search

This will be new feature — but unlike Google AdWords, only one ad result will show at the top of keyword searches in the App Store. Mobile marketers can bid on keyword searches, but the competition for some might be very tight,and relevancy is going to play a key role here. Apple is apparently going to parse the app descriptions for relevance, which is the first time they’ve done that in any iOS release.

Your move: Write compelling, targeted descriptions of your apps if you plan to keyword-bid at any point.

Simple unsubscribes

 iOS 10 Mail will offer simple unsubscribes from marketing list e-mails, which is a potentially great feature for users — and makes prioritizing permission-based subscription more important than ever for email marketers. The exact repercussions of this will evolve once iOS 10 gets out of beta, but standard email marketing approaches will become even more important. In essence: good subject lines, relevant content, and offers and personalized approaches that resonate with consumers.

So, where should you start?

This is a jumping-off point for your thinking about iOS 10, which will likely be live by the end of September. For now, we recommend brainstorming strategies around how to use messaging more effectively (one of the bigger changes) and utilizing SiriKit to integrate with the voice of the iPhone.

See Original Article Here

4 Ways to Build Trust with Your Customers

What efforts do you take to build trust with your customers? Building solid, trusting relationships with your customer base is one of the best ways to retain them. In fact, News Cred’s recent study revealed that among millennials, the top three brand loyalty drivers include a great product (77%), followed by brand recognition (69%) and trust (69%).

Research also shows that retaining customers is much cheaper than acquiring new ones. The longer a customer is loyal to a brand, the more money they spend. What does that mean for your bottom line? According to a study cited by Retention Science, increasing customer retention by just 5% increases profits by 25-95 percent.

Needless to say, building trust with your customers is a worthwhile and profitable endeavor. Here are four ways to build trust with your audience:

1. Communicate with customers on a regular basis

You shouldn’t just contact customers when you want them to make a purchase. If customers feel like every communication is a sales push, you’ll dash any hope of building trust.

Instead, communicate with your customers on a regular basis. Consider emailing a regular newsletter, sharing links to helpful articles on your social media channels or providing how-to articles on your blog. Customers appreciate useful information that makes their day a little better.

For example, if you run a fast casual restaurant, create a monthly newsletter that highlights upcoming menu items and welcomes new staff.

If you run a cleaning company, share an article about best ways to clean up nail polish, like the example below.

Every interaction builds trust. Plus, if customers hear from you on a regular basis, your occasional promotional email won’t feel out of place. It’s just another message from a friend.

2. Provide quality customer service in your store

One of the best ways to gain trust is to offer your customers service they can’t find anywhere else. Here’s a quick checklist to make sure your service inside your store is top-notch:

Make sure your staff is friendly
Create a welcoming environment that keeps customers coming back. Train employees to nurture your customer relationships. Don’t assume employees know how to interact with your audience, show them.

Collect and use feedback
Ask your customers to provide feedback and use it to implement changes that can improve their experience. Collect feedback in store and online.

Show gratitude
Make sure your customers know that you appreciate them. Send exclusive deals to your most valued customers, host a customer appreciation event and set up a loyalty program that rewards your customers for their continued support.

3. Consider providing customer support on social

With so many of your customers using social media, using these platforms to offer service and support is quickly catching on. Xbox, a popular gaming system, offers customer support through Twitter. Customers can tweet questions and get live help. It’s so popular Xbox has created multiple accounts to handle the massive crowds.

If you plan to offer support on social channels there are a few tools that can help. ZenDesk, for example, offers software that manages customers’ requests and creates a self-help arena for customers to troubleshoot issues on their own.

Desk.com is another option. It creates a universal inbox where you can help your customers through social sites like Facebook and Twitter all from one dashboard.

Your online service should compliment your service efforts in store.

4. Own up to mistakes

Customers reward companies that are honest and transparent. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Whether you missed a service appointment or have products on backorder, it’s important to communicate with customers about any problems that affect them.

As soon as you’re aware of the problem, reach out. For example, when Adorama fell short on cameras, an email was sent to explain that the item was on backorder. Notice the company apologizes for the wait and offers additional relevant information like how to cancel an order.

Correct A Mistake Quickly

Research shows 95% of complaining customers will forgive a company if a problem is resolved in the next interaction. So, in addition to being honest, you also need to act quickly. Customers expect swift solutions.

How do you build trust with your customers? Feel free to share any additional strategies or tips.