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.
How SMEs can access capital in Nigeria
Despite the global consensus that SMEs are crucial to economic development, access to funds remains a militating factor against the sector’s growth.
The significance of SMEs for any country, especially Nigeria, cannot be overemphasized. It is, therefore, not surprising that SMEs constitute one of the bedrocks of economic development in the country. This makes it a sector that should be given utmost priority by the government.
To get started, the government needs to make funding more accessible to small and medium enterprises at low interest rate. Reason being that they need capital to thrive and nurture their businesses. Despite the global consensus that SMEs are crucial to economic development, access to funds remains a militating factor against the growth of SMEs in both developed and developing nations of the world.
The federal government of Nigeria with the support of the World Bank and the African Development Bank have tried in the past to assist SMEs through various credit schemes and loans structured to fund Small and Medium Enterprises, some of which are World Bank SME loan scheme, African Development Bank Export Stimulation Loan scheme; CBN Rediscounting and Re-financing Facility, National Economic Reconstruction Fund, Bank of Industry and the Graduate Employment Loan Scheme initiated by the National Directorate of Employment. Moreso, there are other ways that SMEs can be funded which are through Bootstrapping, loans from banks, moneylenders and grants from government institutions and non-governmental institutions.
Source: Nigerian Institute for Social & Economic Research
According to NISER findings, about 73% of SMEs raised their funds through Boostrapping (personal savings), about 2% obtained their funds from financial institutions, while 0.21% obtained their funds from other sources.
Here are some ways that SMEs are can access funds in Nigeria.
Accessing loans from banks
Banks (Commercial, Merchant & Development banks) offer credits to Small & Medium Enterprise in Nigeria. Before giving you a loan, they need to ascertain that you are creditworthy, and your business would have gotten to a particular stage. Also, you need to know that before applying for a loan, your small-scale business must conform with the goals and interest of the financial institution you want to apply to. Other things banks put into consideration before disbursing a loan are a well-written business plan, a financial record, collateral, and a guarantor. Nevertheless, many financial institutions are sceptical about giving SMEs loans because of the associated risks. Some prefer to pay the fine imposed for not meeting the target of giving SMEs loans than run the risk of being exposed to them.
Funding from Small and Medium Industries Equity Investment Scheme (SMIEIS)
Another source of funding for SMEs in Nigeria is the Small and Medium Industries Equity Investment Scheme (SMIEIS) Fund. This type of funding is designed to finance SMEs through venture capital. This initiative is from the government and its aim is to advance SMEs to drive industrialisation, poverty mitigation, sustainable economic development, and creation of employment. Venture Capital financing provides funds as a loan to SMEs with the idea of converting the debt capital into equity in future. Venture capital may be regarded as an equity investment where investors expect significant capital gains in return for accepting the risk that they may lose all their equity. To be eligible for equity funding under the scheme, a prospective beneficiary shall have the following:
- Be registered as a limited liability company with the Corporate Affairs Commission and comply with all relevant regulations of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (2020) such as filing of annual returns, including audited financial statements.
- Be in compliance with all applicable tax laws and regulations and render regular returns to the appropriate authorities.
Grants from non-governmental organisations/foundations
Business grants are another source of funding and they are mostly given by NGOs and foundations. These grants can be accessed by individuals, firms/company, business, or corporations to develop their businesses or scale up operations. One of the best ways to get finance for business or ideas is getting a grant. While a loan is a good alternative, a grant is far better than a loan. It gives you the peace of mind to build and grow your business or idea. It is like getting “free money.” There are many organizations that offer grants in Nigeria, Africa and worldwide. Some of these organizations are the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Bank of Industry, YouWIN, AYEEN financial grant, etc.
This is a situation where business owners resort to funding their businesses with their savings and revenue without the support of venture capitalists or bank loans. Apart from personal savings, financial support for businesses, especially at the startup stage, can also be sourced from relatives and friends.
Getting loans from microfinance schemes/moneylenders
Due to the rigorous processes and high interest rates demanded by commercial banks, Microfinance banks were established to assist small businesses in securing loans. SMEs are eligible for Microfinance loans if they meet the requirements stipulated by the bank.
In conclusion, SMEs constitute the driving force of industrial growth and development in the country. The government should focus on and nurture the sector by making funds at low-interest rates more accessible to players in it to help them thrive.
TLG Capital and Fidelity Bank to invest $20 million on Nigerian SMEs
TLG Capital announced that it would be investing with Fidelity Bank Plc amount to the tune of $20 million on SMEs in Nigeria
Private Equity firm, TLG Capital has announced that it would be investing together with Fidelity Bank Plc, an amount to the tune of $20 million on SMEs in Nigeria.
The funds will be channelled through TLG’s Africa Growth Impact Fund (ADIF), towards the development of SMEs in the country. Notably, the fund will be directed to SMEs that are focused on healthcare, education, consumer sectors, amongst others.
This new investment is in line with the bank’s move to provide innovative funding options and other forms of relevant support to entrepreneurs in the country.
What you need to know
- Fidelity Bank Plc is a commercial bank in Nigeria with over 5 million customers, serviced across its 250 business offices and other digital banking channels.
- According to information from the website of TLG Capital, a total of $303 million loans was still outstanding to SMEs and the unbanked through its portfolio companies.
Why this matters
This new investment will come as good news to SMEs and other entrepreneurs in the country, especially those seeking to obtain loans in the listed sectors.
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