There’s snow in the air, logs on the fire, and the mistletoe has been strategically placed around the office.
It can only mean one thing – it’s beginning to look a heck of a lot like Christmas.
But before you close up shop for the holidays and raid the mince pies, here are four lessons that you can apply to your business to boost your sales, all courtesy of the holiday season.
Lesson 1: Make your brand clear and consistent
A jolly bearded chap, dressed in red and white. Conifer trees covered in tinsel. Elves on shelves.
All those aspects combine to create an easily recognisable brand for the holiday season. They’ve become shorthand, a quick and easy way to bring Christmas to people’s minds.
- They’re simple
- They’re visual
- They complement each other
So what’s that got to do with sales?
If you want your company to be the first in your potential customer’s minds, you need a clear and solid brand in place. It doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, the simpler it is the better.
But it has to be consistent! If the colours constantly change, if the type of tree is different each year, then you wouldn’t have a brand. You’d have a mess.
Action: Analyze your brand. Is it easily recognizable from your competitors? Is it simple and consistent?
Lesson 2: Don’t be a scrooge
In ‘A Christmas Carol’, Charles Dickens introduced us to Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge had a rather interesting take on Christmas:
“If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.” Ebenezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol
Not the kind of person you’d want at your office party. He was also a miserly man, a penny pincher who only cared about himself. This made him about as popular as a plate of sprouts.
If you want to avoid a visit by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, now’s the time to get generous.
Now, you’ve put a lot of hard work into your product/service, so you may struggle with the idea of discounting.
But with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas offers and Boxing Day sales, this is the season that your potential customers are out there hunting for bargains.
Bear in mind, customers are savvier and are looking for genuine deals. UK consumer watchdog Which? found 60% of Black Friday deals were the same price or cheaper at other times in the year. If you want to keep your customer’s trust, be transparent with your offers.
Action: Take a look at your products and services and see if you can offer a genuine discount.
Bonus Action: Watch ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol.’ You can thank me in the comments.
Lesson 3: Never underestimate the power of a good story
Every Christmas, companies compete to see who can come up with the best advert.
British retailer John Lewis has built a strong reputation over the years, mainly thanks to their clever use of storytelling.
This year’s effort, about a child who makes friends with the monster under the bed, has been watched on YouTube over 9 million times.
The adverts are clever, showing John Lewis as the place to get ‘gifts that brighten their world.’ They’re professionally polished. They come with their own hashtags. But they’re also great little stories in their own right.
My favorite is the ‘Man in the Moon’ advert, an emotional tale where a girl gets a present for the lonely man who lives on the moon.
Chances are you don’t have the same kind of budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also use storytelling to boost your sales.
It doesn’t need to be a high quality video, or an epic 10,000 word blog post. Just tell a story about your customer, and how you can help them with their quest.
Action: Clearly identify how your product or service helps your customers, then try building a simple story around that. Remember – the customer is the hero of the story, not you.
Lesson 4: Anchor your business to something bigger
Personally, I know it’s Christmas when I start seeing the Coca Cola advert on the telly. For me, it has become intrinsically linked to the holidays. In effect, it’s become part of the Christmas brand, amplifying its own brand.
If you can find a way to link your product/service to something else, to something bigger, you can also increase your reach.
This one isn’t just restricted to Christmas though. Are there annual events specific to your industry you can either sponsor or speak at? The chances are there’ll be some event relevant to your business taking place in the next 12 months.
For example, here is a list of conferences around the world that B2B tech companies should be checking out in 2018.
If your budget doesn’t stretch to sponsoring massive events, then how about working with complementary business to cross-promote each other’s services?
Think about what other services your ideal customers would need, then find professional businesses in that sector. Both you, the other business, and your customer will benefit.
Action: Find events or companies that are linked to your service, and reach out to see how you can help each other.
There you go. Four lessons you can start applying in your business today to increase your sales. Now you can go ahead and enjoy the holidays guilt-free.
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