4 marketing tactics to maximise Christmas sales

Holiday shoppers are savvier than ever. They're budget-minded, have bargains on the brain, and are using all the tools at their disposal from smartphones to coupon sites to research, locate, and purchase each item on their gift list (as well as the things they want for themselves).

The competition today is fierce, so how can your business get its share of the Christmas shopping pie? We present four ways to market your small business and give yourself the gift of big profits this festive season.

Make your site mobile friendly

Many shoppers use their smartphone or tablet devices to shop, and to ensure these mobile users find your website, make sure your website is compatible with all mobile platforms.

Your mobile-friendly  site should have fewer words and images than a traditional website so it loads quickly. And make sure it answers the questions customers on the go are most likely to ask: How do they get to your business? What are your hours? How can they contact you?

Harness the power of local search

Frenzied holiday shoppers need to rest, refresh, and refuel, so if your restaurant, cafe or bakery is lucky enough to be right in the thick of the action, it can benefit from the hordes of shoppers looking for some down time in between shopping sprees.

To be sure customers find your eatery, register your business on local search engines such as Google Places, Yahoo! Local, Hotfrog as well as restaurant review site. Make sure your listing includes relevant information such as address, phone number, and directions. Submit your best photos to entice customers to swing by. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews; the more information is out there about your business, the more likely it is to pop up in a hungry shopper's search results.

Practice extreme couponing

Coupons are so popular, they even have their own reality show these days. Despite their reputation, coupon-clippers aren't stingy grinches, they're just savvier shoppers. You can deliver coupons to your customers via direct mail and in-store flyers - but don't forget email and mobile coupons as well.

Become involved with the community

During the Christmas season, people are in a charitable frame of mind and want to feel good about where their hard-earned dollars are going. That's why they're more likely to buy from a small business that is actively involved in the local community. You can help by partnering with a charity that many of your customers care about. You and your team could volunteer at the charity, sponsor an event, or donate part of your holiday profits to the organisation. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Of course, simply doing good is its own reward, but don't forgot to let customers know about your charitable efforts! Better yet, invite them to get involved as well, which will further build a sense of community with the people who patronise your business.

By Rieva Lesonsky of All Business.com

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