Can you believe it’s almost officially Christmas time? I was pretty bummed out about summer ending, but then the air got chilly and the rain came and all of a sudden I’m in the mood for pumpkin bread and hot tea and Elf!
But let’s slow down a little. Even if you share my love for the holidays, this season can be crazy stressful. As if your day-to-day effort to balance life and business weren’t enough, the holidays put both on overdrive.
You either have more clients, more orders, and more marketing to do or things get so painfully slow that you wonder whether you’ll still be in business come the new year. Either way, you have serious business stuff to wrangle along with all the planning, shopping, cooking, and that inevitable dose of family drama.
The holidays bring so many great opportunities to make a big impression and build your brand. If you have an influx of new shoppers, you have the chance to convert them into repeat customers and brand cheerleaders. If business is kind of slow, you have a great excuse to reach out to past clients and remind them of how amazing it is to work with you.
But it’s easy to miss these brand-building opportunities in the mad seasonal hustle. The best time to plan and prepare is now, so I’m bringing you 8 tips for building your brand through the holidays:
- Get your card game together
If you do nothing else for the holidays, at least send a card. We all know handwritten note can go a long way, and getting one unexpectedly from a brand can create a really strong impression.
If you’re really dedicated, you can choose to send one to all your past customers or clients. If that’s too huge an endeavor, narrow it down to this year’s roster or your top 50 supporters. Or announce that you’re sending a personal card with the next 25 orders and use it as a fun giveaway type thing.
There are so many amazing card options out there, you’ll probably be able to find one that’s on-brand for you. If you can’t find the perfect card, it’s still early enough in the season to have one designed just for you. Just don’t wait at all if that’s the option you want to go with!
- Plan your packaging
If you ship out any physical products, this is the perfect opportunity to elevate your clients’ experience. By making your product feel like a gift, you can make their box opening a special and memorable thing.
Use packaging materials that support the brand impression you want to make. Keep your brand colors and overall style in mind. Look for ways to further personalize your packaging with logo stamps, hang tags, or even custom-printed tissue paper.
Your packaging can be a huge way to make an amazing impression and make your people feel special.
- Redecorate thoughtfully
I’m not a huge fan of throwing snowflakes or hat-wearing turkeys onto a website header just for the sake of holiday decorating. It’s more important to stay on brand than it is to stay on season.
If you love decorating your online home, though, there are ways to make it work. Choose colors that go with your brand instead of the standard holiday ones. Use images that blend well with your established style. Look for fonts that fit in with your brand fonts.
And try not to mess with your logo. Make sure that when you’re adding holiday decorations, you’re also protecting the brand you’ve been working so hard to build.
- Rethink sales and discounts
Everyone will be expecting the Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday, and Cyber Monday sales. I get that discounts are an easy, almost guaranteed way to make some sales. And I get that your people might be used to getting them from you. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to do them.
My whole view on sales and discounts needs a post of its own, but let me just say that offering discounts isn’t always the best way to build your brand. It attracts discount shoppers instead of your ideal client.It discourages loyalty and encourages people to just wait until your next sale.
I’m not telling you to ditch them, I’m just asking you to think about it. There are other ways to encourage your people to buy. Like….
- Be a giver of gifts
Yes, that’s a 30 Rock reference. No, this is not about marriage.The holidays are all about being generous and embracing the gift of giving. Why not offer a small gift with each order? It doesn’t have to be big or elaborate. Just a little something to add some magic to each of your orders.
If you offer services and work with clients, use this chance to say thanks by sending a thoughtful gift. The best client gifts are somehow related to your work with them, so think of something that can add value to your services.
- Offer a holiday exclusive
Another way you can encourage sale without discounting is by creating a product or service that you only offer during this time of year. Think of it as your business’ Pumpkin Spice Latte.
What is your ideal client looking for this time of year? What would get her really excited about your brand? How can you become a part of her holiday traditions?
If you do this really well, you can build up momentum not only for this year, but for many to come.
- Be helpful
Your ideal client is probably at least a little bit stressed out during the holidays. Sadly, we all are. How can you help her out with some of this stress?
Would a pre-made gift package make her life easier? Maybe a gift certificate option would help her share your brand without worrying about choosing the right thing. If you’re down for gift-wrapping, that can be something else you offer.
Be prepared to handle shipping emergencies, lost items, and refunds.Think of your ideal client and how you can make her holidays easier.
- Create a cohesive experience
Consistency is the key to building a strong brand. If you rock one area but fall short in another, you risk creating a negative brand experience for your ideal client. Take a step back and make sure you’re crafting each part of your clients’ experience to communicate your brand message.
Being clear about your brand will help you nail down that message and figure out how to best get it across to your ideal client. It will help you figure out how to balance the special holiday stuff with your everyday brand building stuff.
When you have Brand Clarity, you can tackle the holidays with confidence and grace, knowing you have a roadmap to lead you where you want to go.
The holidays offer so many ways to strengthen and build your brand. If you start planning now, you can make the most of these opportunities and end the year strong.