Are you looking for ways to ensure a steady income stream? Many small businesses struggle with seasonal dips, but creative promotions and seasonal planning can help keep traffic flowing year-round, both in-store and online. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become holiday juggernauts, but you have the opportunity to take advantage of lesser-known celebrations to create a truly memorable promotion. You could even create your own… isn’t that what Prime Day is all about?
Here are a few upcoming holidays you can make your own. Just remember the golden rule of any promotion: focus on a business goal. What are you trying to achieve, and how will you track it?
Love Your Pets Day (February 20)
Pets are part of the family, and celebrating that special relationship can be a great way to bond with your customers. Make their special buddy feel welcome in your shop. Consider offers like these:
- A “goody bag” of treats for your customers’ pets. Increase your ticket size with an irresistible branded gift for pets at checkout. Do you sell toys? Offer a ball they can play fetch with. Do you own a liquor store? Sell a relaxing night for humans and pets—catnip bundled with a bourbon bottle. Local hardware store? Offer a specially built birdhouse where birds can “play” outside their normal cages.
- Help an animal in need. Show your customers how much you love animals—round up the bill and send the excess as a donation to animals in need. (CoinOut and Donate at Checkout are great Clover apps that make this easy.) You could also help promote a local pet adoption fair.
- Early-bird incentives. Are you a seasonal business like an accounting firm? Avoid the April 15 rush by giving your customers a reason to come in early. Offer a “pet deduction” (a discount for pet owners who come in before Love Your Pets Day). You could also offer a special donation to animal charities in their name.
- “Doggie and me” deals. This is for you spa owners out there. Partner with pet groomers to offer a doggie and me mani-pedi special. Encourage them to share their “story” on social media with special prizes for pet-owner pairs that look alike.
- Pet-friendly services. Most pets hate vacuum cleaners, which creates a special opportunity for cleaning services. Consider a Spring Cleaning special where you de-hair (or de-feather) a home while the owner takes the pet out for a treat.
National Employee Appreciation Day (March 1)
Did you know it costs companies up to 33% of a person’s salary to replace them? That’s why so many organizations celebrate Employee Appreciation Day—finding and retaining the right people can be expensive.
Help local companies think past free pizza in the break room. Employee appreciation can be a fantastic way for businesses to really shine. By offering your services to other companies, you can help them care for their own employees while giving your own business a boost.
- The 10-minute hand/shoulder rub. For the office employee, carpal tunnel syndrome and “frozen shoulder” are common and can be debilitating. Why not offer a 10-minute hand and shoulder rub to all employees? You can work out a deal with their employer to allow you to travel to their site as a popup.
- Free financial review or estate planning. Are you a law office or financial planner? Many organizations offer retirement and other estate-planning benefits. Why not come in for the day and offer (by prior appointment) a quick review of their employees’ concerns? This is a great way to build trust and get word-of-mouth going for your services.
- Free tire check or a discounted oil change. Are you an automotive service near an office building? Offer commuters discounted services while they’re at the office. Get them used to the idea that you’re right around the corner… and willing to pick up and drop off so they’re never late to work due to a car breakdown. Clover’s Discount app makes this a snap.
- Free trial session. Personal trainer? What better way for an organization to promote their “work-life balance” than to offer classes or personal training sessions with you!
And while you’re at it… don’t forget to show appreciation for your own employees. Turnover can be one of your worst enemies and eat away at profits. Here are some other suggestions for rewarding employees after the holiday rush.
National Get to Know Your Customers Day (April 18)
Want to improve customer loyalty this year? Learn how to engage your customers by finding out what makes them tick. Clover apps like Feedback help you gather customer insights discreetly. All you have to do is download the app and you can start getting to know your customers better.
Don’t just ask customers how you’re doing as a business. Start a conversation. Whether using the app or chatting with customers, ask open-ended questions like:
- What’s the best thing your stylist ever did for you?
- What are your financial goals for the next 5 years?
- What would get you to try our VIP services?
- What’s your best memory in our store?
- What would make it even easier to shop with us?
Don’t get overwhelmed by the possibilities. Choose one promotion that sounds like it could work for your business, either thematically or because it falls during a naturally slow period, and do it well. Take the time to advertise it in advance and set up promotion tracking so you know how well you did. (Psst… here’s more advice on How to Run a Successful Promotion.) Once you’re done, ask yourself these 5 questions to determine whether it’s worth repeating. And remember, Clover’s in your corner.
We hope you find these suggestions and ideas useful. If you run a restaurant or food business, check out this similar post tailored just for you.
Clover is sold by leading U.S. banks including Bank of America, BBVA, Citi, PNC, SunTrust and Wells Fargo. You’ll also find Clover at our trusted partners including CardConnect, Restaurant Depot, and Sam’s Club. For more information, visit us at clover.com.