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Easy Strategies to Attract and Keep Customers During the Holiday Season [WEBINAR RECAP]

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Thanks to all the attendees of our September webinar, Easy Strategies to Attract and Keep Customers During the Holiday Season, featuring Tommy Walker, Editor-in-Chief, Shopify Plus Blog, from Shopify.

If you missed the webinar, you can view the video playback on our Kabbage KamWebinars YouTube Channel and view the slides on our SlideShare. Both the slides and video are also embedded at the bottom of this article for you.

For small business owners, two of the most difficult things to master are acquiring and retaining customers for their online or offline business. Not only are you often working with limited means to invest, but you’re less likely to have programs in place that customers rely on for repeat purchases. Considering the holiday season is the best time of the year to maximize your end-of-year revenue, you need to have a plan that implement simple strategies to attract new customers and keep them coming back for more.

So how do business owners plan to acquire new customers this holiday season?

2 of 3 business owners say that they plan to spend a significant amount of money on social media, search engine optimization, and content management this holiday season. However, if you haven’t sold anything online before, nor done digital marketing, where do you even start with these marketing strategies? Well, you’re not alone! In fact, about 50% of people that look into implementing these strategies have never sold online before, and sometimes it’s best to go back to the basics. What you really should focus on is implementing an acquisition strategy where you leverage your network, friends and family to achieve growth. These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself:

  1. How can I be guaranteed to get in front of real people?
  2. How am I going to get that real person to buy from me more after the holiday season?
  3. How can I get them to buy from me again as quickly as possible?
  4. What else can I do with the customer relationship that will encourage growth?

Get in front of real people

You should always be looking for opportunities to meet real people. These are the actual people that are likely to purchase from you! Make sure you do your research on people with reach such as bloggers, reviewers, social media “influencers”, group admins, etc. and find their contact info. Once you have identified these individuals, reach out and find a way to work together. Keep in mind that you will be ignored and hear a lot of “no’s”, and when that happens – you go back to rule number 1: Keep researching people with reach.

How do you find people with reach?

  • Do a simple Google search to find influencers
  • Look up social media groups
  • Topsy.com
  • Reddit.com/domain/www.yourdomain.com

Google search

Do a search with keywords that pertain to your business. You know the drill. Social media groups

  • Facebook: use Facebook to look up social media groups. Find these groups by typing in a key phrase (as shown below).
  • Twitter: use Hashtags on Twitter to find conversations.
  • Blogs: enter those URLs into Popsy.com. Searching for blogs gives you more ways to tap into dedicated audiences than doing Facebook ads, as you are targeting them more specifically.
  • Visit Reddit.com to find influencers, follow real-time conversations, view who has shared this content in the past. If you get influencers to share your offer, remember to reward those people as you want to keep building that relationship.

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Build a spreadsheet that contains at least 50 contacts

Once you’ve identified your contacts for outreach, start a conversation, and make sure to keep track of:

  • Domain
  • Contact info
  • Whether or not they refer
  • Offer you’re making together (cross-marketing opportunities)

*Bonus point: create a “secret” list on Twitter that tracks their activity, without actually following them. Keep in mind that some people are going to say yes, some will say no, and some are not going to respond at all. And that’s okay.

Do outreach

There’s really no one “right” way to do outreach. This is where it comes down to your own personal experience and style. One thing that’s recommended is that you do a thorough research of the people that are in the markets that you are trying to target, otherwise you’ll be shouting like everyone else. You want to make an offer in a way that will attract your main audience. Bottom line, the more research you do, the better equipped you’ll be once you do your outreach!

Don’t be afraid to be honest about being a newer business

Think about it: what is the advantage of ordering your product over going to the next 100 results in Google of similar products? Best tasting and high quality is too cliché of an approach. Rather, just be honest by answering: “Right now, not much. It’s just a great tasting product. The idea is to build the product based on customer feedback to create a product our customers will like.” Read Tommy’s comprehensive answer to this question below:

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 5.00.10 PMIf you are a newer business, approach the influencer with honesty. Show something interesting to your audience. There will be plenty of people that say no, but some will say yes!

 

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How do I get more sales after the holiday period is over?

It’s important to be aware of that repeating revenue is what will keep your business afloat. Ecommerce growth benchmarks show that within the 3-year mark repeating revenue is at 50% of a company’s total revenue. These easy strategies will help guide you beyond the holiday season:

  • Focus on building a strategy rather than an immediate solution such as a holiday sale. 2nd time buyers within 30 days of purchase are more likely to become a lifetime customer.
  • Create an email marketing strategy to keep nurturing your customers. Give people a reason to buy again.
  • Don’t discount products at all times, as your sales number will not return to what it once was. Instead, have a flash-sale that only lasts for a few hours to create urgency, such as, “we know you just bought a pair of socks…in the next 3 hours only you can get a 2nd pair of socks for 50% off.”
  • Cross-sell or up-sell by creating accessories to your products. Partner up with another company to make this happen.
  • Send surveys to customers to find out what they like/don’t like about your product or current providers. Questions you should ask are: what do they like about your product and/or what almost made them not buy?
  • Encourage people to follow you on social media by gradually introducing them to your social media channels. Give them a reason to follow you with an offer or content.
  • Ask for feedback on your content strategy.

More great best practices that came up during the webinar’s Q&A session

  • Follow people on Twitter ‘without actually following them’ by adding people to lists.
  • Twitter lists can be set to secret. Make sure to add social media influencers to a list.
  • Use TweetDeck to privately follow influencers and get more context into what these people are sharing.
  • Find an opportunity for outreach based on conversations you see on TweetDeck.
  • A good way to promote a new product and to keep it relevant during the holidays is to create a seed advertising campaign. Start smaller, get your content introduced, and as you learn more about your customers, you will eventually learn how to effectively position your product.
  • The best way to gather followers on Reddit is by starting 1-1 conversations with people. You should monitor conversations and identify once they get uploads on content. Make sure you balance the line between a stalker and a marketer. Communicate appropriately.
  • HootSuite is a good platform to use to automate posts across multiple social media channels. However, it’s not enough to only automate posts, as you need to contextualize your message. Don’t automate the same message for all platforms. Each platform has its own culture.

We hope you found the information that Tommy provided useful, and that it gave you new ideas to some easy to implement strategies so you can keep growing your small business this holiday season and beyond. To learn more about Shopify, visit their website.

Still have questions about how to attract and keep customers during this holiday season? Leave us a comment on Twitter: @KabbageInc, or email us at webinars@kabbage.com. You can also sign-up for our free small business newsletter to get access to more webinars and business tips by entering your email in the form at the top of the sidebar of this blog.

Thanks for listening in, we hope to see you next time!

 

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Kabbage Team

Kabbage is here not only to provide access to the small business funding you need, but to also help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.