By Deborah Sweeney
If you own a retail business, chances are you’re more than ready for the holidays. There’s also no shortage of expert advice to guide you to success. From hiring seasonal employees to optimizing websites, retailers are a Google search away from getting the answers to all their seasonal sales.
What happens if you’re a non-retailer? Service-based businesses, like law firms, landscapers, and plumbers, provide offerings to their clients year-round. Unlike their retail counterparts, however, they’re not as likely to offer doorbuster deals or inspire crowds to line up around their building.
It’s not just retailers who can benefit from the busy holiday season.
© deagreez- Adobe Stock
As the owner of a service-based business, I can tell you it is still possible for non-retailers to take part in the holidays. Here are a few areas where your business can shine and help create a seasonal, exceptional customer experience:
1. Create a holiday discount
This is the perfect time of year to offer a discount on your services. Create a special holiday discount for a percentage off a customer’s next purchase. Distribute news about the discount through your social media accounts, e-newsletters, website, and any print mailers or in-store signage.
Encourage existing customers to spread the news and get other interested customers to sign up for your e-newsletter. This is a win-win for both email marketing and engaging with customers for future updates with your business.
2. Offer a creative storefront experience
So, you might not be selling a traditional physical product. However, your business still has a brick-and-mortar location, and clients walk in and out of this space when they schedule appointments with you throughout the year. Get crafty during the holiday season by offering these additional services:
- Host an open house. Maybe you’re new to the neighborhood or would like to get to know other small businesses in the area. Hold a holiday-themed open house event with music and snacks, and also provide information about who you are. Keep employees informed about your plans and encourage them to mingle with visitors and answer any questions.
- Set up a makeshift “Santa’s Workshop.” You’ve heard of the naughty and nice list, right? Let your customers know you’re here to make the holidays a little bit less stressful for them by taking an item off their to-do list. This can include anything from gift wrapping services to providing a complimentary 15-minute consultation.
- Decorate your storefront. Your foot traffic is much more likely to increase if you physically advertise holiday participation.
3. Give back
Does your business support a specific charity? Donate a portion of proceeds to a charity and give back to a cause you believe in. You may also consider giving back physically, too. Meet with your team to discuss opportunities where you can help out in the community. Your team may decide to volunteer at a soup kitchen, spend some time at retirement homes, or sponsor families for Christmas gifts.
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4. Boost employee morale
Employees, from interns to managers, are a major driving force behind successful holiday shopping seasons. They also work incredibly hard throughout the rest of the year, too. The season may be a busy one, but it’s important to show your team how much you appreciate their hard work through creative, fun initiatives.
Not sure where to start? Consider these simple, inexpensive gifts that boost morale:
- Write a thoughtful, personalized thank you card.
- Cater in breakfast or lunch.
- Pair up random team members in the office to send a candy cane gram to (that’s a candy cane with a nice note attached to it).
- Host a white elephant gift exchange.
- Engage in a fun, post-work activity together, like seeing a movie or going to an ice skating rink.
5. Thank your clients and partners
While we’re on the topic of thanking employees, don’t forget to thank your current clients and partners. Write out personalized thank you cards and let clients and partners know how thankful you are to have worked with them throughout the year. Share how they helped your business succeed and say cheers to the next year ahead and all that’s to come in the new year and beyond.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation. See all posts by Deborah Sweeney.
This article was originally published on AllBusiness.