It is fair to say that, for many small businesses, the holiday season is a crucial make-or-break period during which they earn the profits that they must live off for the slow first months of the next year. It’s an absolutely critical period for maximizing sales and profits and for squirrelling away the necessary cash to carry the business until after the first few months of the New Year. Good planning then leads to the kind of December that will set them up to go into the New Year in a strong position.
So how do you then distinguish your business during the holiday season, develop a sales plan for the holidays, and use marketing strategies—including online—to boost holiday sales?
Here are some online marketing strategies to consider when trying to boost sales during the holidays
The holiday season is a good time to use the e-mail list of customers that you have been compiled all year. But while the holidays may be a good time to send out coupons that they can share with friends, it shouldn’t be the first time that your customers are hearing from you. If you’ve been doing the right things and building a list all year long, you should take advantage of that.
There are a variety of ways to advertise your holiday promotions online. You can buy ads on websites frequented by your customers. You can also buy keywords from search engines, such as Google and Yahoo!, which will promote your website when someone searches the internet using those terms. In addition, businesses can target their online ads based on demographic information, such as location or age or gender. The major search engines now offer more customized options for ad placement, such as demographic targeting (age, sex, or ethnicity), geographic targeting, and contextual targeting.
Social media marketing
Social media, such as social networks and blogs, presents another opportunity for advertisers. Keeping customers engaged in issues using a blog is one good marketing tool. Alerting them to last-minute sales via Twitter and Instagram feeds might also be useful when it comes to the last few days of the holidays — and unlike so many other promotions, it won’t cost you anything.
Offer special discounts to loyal customers
Offer special discounts to your best or most loyal customers on the things they buy the most. Why not treat them to a holiday gift, from you to them? Remember, it usually costs you a lot more to acquire brand new customers than to retain the ones you have. So if you only really reach out to your all-stars once a year, make sure it is during the holiday season. One approach to increase holiday sales might be to offer these loyal customers an even bigger break when they refer your business to family or friends and those referrals make purchases.
The months leading up to the holidays are a great time to suggest items to go with the products or services your customers are already purchasing. Maybe they bought a beautiful set of earrings last year for mom. This year, suggest the matching necklace. When you sell a spa package, offer the premium at-home spa kit to go with it.
Offer free shipping or special deliveries
Who doesn’t love a surprise? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box to increase holiday sales. What if that premium spa package and at-home spa kit were hand-delivered with a bouquet of fresh flowers or a box of chocolates? Also, how you craft the customer experience around waiting for and receiving their purchase can make a big difference in how willing people are to shell out for shipping costs or wait longer than they’d have to if they bought from a competitor.
Send cards or gifts to current and past clients
Maybe staying in touch and top of mind is as simple as wishing your customers a Happy Holiday and thanking them for their business! Customers love to know they’re appreciated. Send them a thank you card or a special gift that has nothing to do with trying to sell them anything — they’ll love you for it!
Create special landing pages
It is a proven strategy that you should create exclusive landing pages for holiday season sales like Christmas and New Year sale. These exclusive landing pages help users to easily know about your discounts, offers, products, and appeal them to purchase.
Follow these tips to make a perfect landing page for your products:
- Your landing page must be simple and with the required details.
- Don’t use too much content on the landing page.
- Describe and highlight your holiday sale discount.
- Use suitable call-to-action at suitable places on your page.
- Use countdown-timer to create urgency.
- Make it simple for the user to purchase easily.
- The landing page must be mobile-friendly and fast to load.
Use limited-time offers and deals
Believe it or not, time-limited offers and deals still work: Although people know this marketing tactic well, the fear of missing out (FOMO) effect has a great impact on them, so customers hasten to buy from you during a certain period of time to get a reward. Many brands get great results when they include scarcity.
Run a giveaway or contest
The festive season is a perfect period to reward your customers for being with you. While it can be daunting to send personalized holiday cards to every customer, Instagram giveaways are another great way to reward loyal customers.
It’s psychologically proven that free stuff is hard to resist, so running Instagram giveaways helps to improve engagement, increase brand awareness, and boost seasonal sales. When you give away branded freebies, you highlight your holiday products and services, which means you have promoted them without much sales.
CBN adds Maize importation to “41 banned list”
Dealers are to return their forms on or before Wednesday, July 15, 2020.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed all authorised dealers to immediately discontinue the processing of Forms M for maize/corn importation into the country. This directive is contained in a notice that was addressed to authorised dealers and signed by Dr O.S Nnaji, CBN’s Director in charge of Trade and Exchange Department.
In the notice which was made available to the public earlier today, the CBN noted four main reasons for the directive to discontinue maize importation, The reasons are:
- To increase local production
- To stimulate a rapid economic recovery
- To safeguard rural livelihoods
- To increase jobs
In line with this development, all the authorised dealers have been told to return all the Forms M they have already registered for the purpose of importing maize. They are to return the forms on or before Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The notice by the CBN said:
“As part of efforts by the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase local production, stimulate a rapid economic recovery, safeguard rural livelihoods, and increase jobs which were lost as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Authorised Dealers are hereby directed to discontinue the processing of Forms M for the importation of Maize/Corn with immediate effect.
“Accordingly, all Authorised Dealers are hereby requested to submit the list of Forms M already registered for the importation of Maize/Corn using the attached format on or before the close of business on Wednesday July 15, 2020. Please ensure strict compliance.”
What this means: Recall that in June 2015, the CBN issued a circular containing a list of 41 imported goods and services that were banned from accessing Nigeria’s official Foreign Exchange Market. A Nairametrics report at the time had noted that the ban was another hard-line position taken by the apex bank to keep control of the demand of the dollar to as low as it possibly can.
Over the years, the CBN has been modifying this list by including more items. The addition of maize/corn, which is a widely-consumed staple food in the country, is the latest modification.
It should be noted that cereals (which include maize and other assorted grains) make up Nigeria’s top ten imports. In 2019 alone, the country spent about $1.3 billion on cereals importation, according to World’s Top Export.
You may see a copy of the CBN notice along with ‘the attached format’ by clicking here.
CITN issues rejoinder to ICAN’s claim over court case
The rebuttal claims that there are some ‘critical misinterpretations’ contained in ICAN’s claims concerning the judgment.
The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has issued a rebuttal to the “critical misrepresentations” that are supposedly contained in a notice to members sent out by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) over a court case, as reported by Nairametrics.
Recall that ICAN had informed its members that Justice S. A. Onigbanjo of the High Court of Lagos State ruled in their favour by striking out “Suit No. LD/3288GCM/19 – CITN VS ICAN” which was filed by CITN. In the suit, CITN had, among other things, prayed the court to restrain ICAN members from filing tax returns with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) unless they have a CITN license.
CITN’s position: Now, in its rebuttal to ICAN’s claims concerning the court case, a copy of which was sent to Nairametrics, CITN clarified the following points:
- The Ruling of the Hon. Justice S. A. Onigbanjo of the 2/7/2020 in LD/3288GCM/19 did not invalidate the MOU and TOS because it did NOT address the issues in the substantive suit, itself. However, since ICAN has resiled from the MoU and ToS it freely entered with CITN, the CITN will not stop ICAN from walking away.
- The Judge only struck out the suit based on the Preliminary Objection of ICAN to the effect that the suit was an abuse of court process because the issues in it were the same as the issues in FHC/L/CS/125/2019 – ICAN VS FIRS & 1 OTHER which was earlier decided in favour of CITN. However, the issues in the two suits are completely different and distinct as has now been explicitly admitted by ICAN in its Notice under reference when it said: “The earlier ruling at the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/125/2019 did not make pronouncement on the memorandum and terms of settlement between ICAN and CITN.”ICAN having admitted that the judgment in FHC/L/CS/125/2019 did not make any pronouncement on the MOU and TOS (and this is a fact), how then could issues in that suit be the same as those in LD/3288GCM/2019 (decided by Justice Onigbanjo) which only asked for judicial pronouncement on the MOU and TOS?
- Regulation 5 of the Tax Administration (Self-Assessment) Regulations, 2011, was categorically annulled by the Hon. Justice Liman in the judgment delivered in FHC/L/CS/125/2019 on 21/11/2019. None of the lawyers to the parties (including ICAN) can deny hearing the annulment of Regulation 5 during delivery of the judgment. It is unfortunate that ICAN is jumping the gun in a case with a pending post-judgment application.
- In the judgment delivered in FHC/L/CS/1480/2018 – CHIEF IGBAROOLA & OTHERS VS FIRS & OTHERS on 21/5/2019, the Hon. Justice A. O. Faji, declared: “CITN Act is thus superior to ICAN Act on the issue of tax practice. The Self-Assessment Regulations being in conflict with the CITN Act is null and void. The Plaintiffs cannot practice as tax agents without first being members of the 2nd Defendant.”
- In the Court of Appeal judgement of 2013 between ICAN v. CITN, it was held that the power to regulate and control the tax profession, to the exclusion of any other body, in Nigeria lies with CITN.
- It is, therefore, now firmly settled from all the relevant judgements at the Lagos High Court, Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal, which have all upheld the primacy of the CITN Charter, that no member of ICAN can practice taxation without first being a member of CITN.
- For the avoidance of doubt, no ICAN member, who is not registered with CITN, has been permitted by any law or court decision to practice taxation. The law has made it clear about the professional body that can regulate tax profession in Nigeria and CITN reserves the right to invoke the relevant provisions against any person that violates the provisions of its charter.
The backstory: The disagreement between ICAN and CITN dates back to 2015 following a misinterpretation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Terms of Settlement (ToS) between the two organisations. Due to the disagreement, CITN took legal actions in a bid to basically make the MoU and ToS binding on ICAN members.
UPDATED: Court rules ICAN members do not need CITN license to file tax returns
The suit, which was filed some years ago by CITN, was basically struck out for lacking merit.
Justice S. A. Onigbanjo of the High Court of Lagos State has ruled that members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) do not need to be licensed by the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) before they can file tax returns.
The ruling on July 2nd followed a suit filed by CITN trying to restrain ICAN members from filing tax returns for their clients unless they have a practicing CITN license.
A notice to ICAN members regarding this development, as seen by Nairametrics, noted that Justice Onigbanjo struck out the suit after describing it as “an abuse of court process and an embarrassment to the judiciary.”
The backstory: Nairametrics understands that the disagreement between ICAN and CITN stemmed from the misinterpretation of a 2015 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Terms of Settlement (ToS) between the two organisations. Consequently, CITN had filed a suit before the High Court of Lagos State, seeking the following:
- A declaration that the Memorandum of Understanding and Terms of Service both dated February 12, 2015 between the CITN and ICAN are valid, subsisting, and binding on the CITN and ICAN.
- An injunction restraining ICAN whether by its agents, privies, assigns, or whosoever called, from repudiating, resiling from or acting in any manner or doing anything that is inconsistent with, contrary to or is a violation of the Memorandum of Understanding and the Terms of Settlement dated February 12, 2015, between the CITN and ICAN.
- Determine whether the Memorandum of Understanding and Terms of Settlement both dated February 12, 2015 between the CITN and ICAN are valid, subsisting, and binding on CITN and the ICAN.
However, last week’s ruling by Justice S. A. Onigbanjo which, by the way, was delivered virtually due to COVID-19, has made it impossible for the CITN to implement the terms of the 2015 MoU and ToS. The ruling also aligned with ICAN’s earlier objection to the MoU and ToS.
The status quo: In view of this development, ICAN has informed its members that they do not need to obtain any license from the CITN before they can file tax returns for their clients with the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.
ICAN members were also informed that an earlier ruling by the Federal High Court on the case does not affect the status quo. This is because “the earlier ruling by the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/125/2019 did not make pronouncement on the memorandum and terms of settlement between ICAN and CITN.” More so, regulation 5 of the FIRS Act was not reflected in the earlier judgment of the Federal High Court.