It was only yesterday, I was walking through the streets of Tralee, Co.Kerry and i noticed the town was vibrant with festive energy and atmosphere. Despite it being St.Stephens Day, I nonetheless felt that sparkle and special feeling stirring in the pit of my stomach, which normally is only reserved for Christmas Day. This scene accentuated to me the importance for businesses to celebrate Christmas (whether instore or online) in order to connect with customers. In essence, i believe poignant and distinct Christmas themed visual marketing at this time of year can propel a business out of the shadows.

Why invest?

Often the sad reality i see, is that a lot of SME’s cannot afford to invest sufficiently to improve their stores appearance and visual marketing for Christmas. This unfortunately, leads directly to the exudence of a dull and archaic sales experience for customers. In other words, store entry doesn’t imbue consumers with a festive spirit decreasing the possibility of max spend. Let’s not forget, customers spend more and stay in a store longer, if they are feeling happy and comfortable. This also applies online. A website appearing very festive improves the user’s emotional state eliciting feelings of comfort on the website.

Specifically, what’s key here is relevancy. At Christmas or any other time of year, a brand needs to tailor their marketing to emulate people’s present thoughts in order to get attention. If I’m thinking about Christmas then I’m more likely to notice an ad which captures the season. Giving your business the Christmas makeover also positions the company to appear more human and not a mere profiteering machine. It enhances the relationship by making the business appear as friendly, approachable and caring as possible. This minimizes fear of entry, trial and purchase.

I know, all this takes investment but it doesn’t need to be excessive. Giving your business festive spirit is easy with many options available. Some include the following:

  • Decorating

Whether offline or online, the sales area should be appropriately decorated to make it look as seasonal as possible. This boosts the much vaunted first impression. The physical premises could be enriched with Christmas lights, utensils, a sign wishing people “Happy Christmas” and a Christmas tree to name but a few. All this creates the perfect atmosphere both inside and out.

Encouraging staff to wear their Christmas jumpers also augments the overall store appearance and atmosphere. This stimulates further feelings of happiness and comfort within the consumer. The company website is equally deserving of similar attention particularly if it is e-commerce. The modifying of the company logo or name of the website could help, briefly adding snow atop or similar Christmas objects. Overall, improving the whole website giving it a Christmas is a nice touch. It provides customers with a different and fresh experience for Christmas. This builds engagement. At Askmen, you will see how each day in the run up to Christmas they have a different subject from throughout their year’s articles, to help make 2017 the best year yet.

  • Seasonal Advertising

Indeed, Christmas offers us many exciting opportunities for utilising creativity and emotion to connect with our old customers and potential new ones. Updating your advertising at this time of year can help tremendously. It improves brand appeal for the Christmas  season. This enhances sales opportunities. I believe keeping the same print advert or advertising style all year around, is the biggest mistake SME’s make. Tailoring your advertising to specific seasons or times of year is much more effective due to its freshness. Using Images of Santa, Christmas trees, reindeers and general Christmas associated products in your messages, creates advertising that not only gets attention but impels action.

  • Christmas promotions

Christmas means more gifts, more food and more expenditure. This should imbue SME’s with the courage to recognize this opportunity and tailor their marketing to these consumers. Maybe one of your products might make an excellent Christmas gift. Then stimulate a need through advertising. Or maybe a product is popular for Christmas, in addition you could create a bundle deal with complimentary items. Creating calls to action effectively brings consumers to your store. Packaging special gift bags can also make the purchase decision-making process easier for those last minute present buyers.

Then, there is also the added option of having a post-Christmas sale when many shoppers are already on the hunt for “bargains”. This gets bargain hunters attention and increases sales of any leftover products.

  • Communication

Always remember when communicating with customers (whether online or offline), that it’s Christmas. Emphasize this to customers. Build an effective content marketing strategy focusing on spreading Christmas related content to resonate with the audience. Create blogs that add value to your customer’s lives this Christmas. As an example, if you are a butcher, you could create a blog about how to cook the perfect Christmas Turkey. Given that the end of the year is approaching, a blog about what happened in your industry this year, could be created or even trends expected next year.

Give-aways on social media or competitions could be introduced especially for Christmas also. Wish your customers a happy Christmas on social media or on the website showing care and consideration for them. Little things like this can make a big difference as they all add up to demonstrating that this company values the customer relationship.

Be festive

So don’t be Grinch like this Christmas. Show customers how much you appreciate their custom and enhance your visual marketing to improve the consumer experience. Decorate your business in festive colours. Advertise with a pervading Christmas spirit. Create special tailored Christmas promotions. Communicate with them. And maybe, Santa might be good to your business this year.