November may still be hanging in there by the skin of its teeth but the Coca Cola advert is on telly which definitely means it is Christmas. But this festive theatrical display does more than un-subliminally tell us we will be drinking the brown elixir this year, it also acts as a useful indicator of time reminding you that any promotion or giveaway you had in mind for your customers should have been given ample, careful consideration and now be in the final stages of rollout.

It might seem clichéd to do a seasonal offer, and it probably is as they seem to be ten a penny this time of year, but nonetheless, whether you are an advocate of all things merry involving goodwill to man or a Scrooge McScrooge who has humbugs for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they work and really instil a warm, fuzzy feeling in your customers!

So going back to the point I made earlier about the plethora of offers around now, how are you going to make yours shine brighter than all the others?

Well, think about what your customer wants and needs at this time of year…

Time is most certainly of the essence so avoid anything that involves a lengthy registering process or that they need to wait too long for as they are likely to a) forget and b) lose interest.

Gimmicky branded stuff. Christmas is full of it. And whilst most are novel and serve a relatively useful purpose, chances are your branded bauble will end up in the same place as all the wrapping paper and empty Bucks Fizz bottles come boxing day.

Sell, sell sell and buy, buy, buy. This message may as well replace the token ‘Merry Christmas’ bid to customers as they enter and exit sites and stores as it seems to be taking over the spirit of Christmas. Don’t ask your customers for something in return, break the mould and surprise them with your thoughtful generosity.

Don’t get me wrong. I am most definitely not on a one woman mission to bankrupt each and every one of you. All I mean is that showing your appreciation is easy and could be done by simply replacing your monthly newsletter with a Christmas card or adding a relaxing tea bag in with an order.

You should know your customers better than anyone so use this knowledge to segment them and tailor your well-wishes accordingly. For example, look at buying history and form an offer or gift accordingly. Or, consider your type of business and make educated decisions. For example; say you are a pet supplies retailer. It would be safe to assume that your customers have dogs. Dogs need walked, it’s cold outside, your hands will get nippy when holding the lead – voila! Pocket hand warmers for your top 50 customers.

Often the less obvious has the most impact and creating the desire to use your free gift is your biggest asset so give your customers something to look forward to.

Now, with three more blogs scheduled between now and the big day I had better take a leaf out my own book and don my elf-ish thinking cap and come up with something really exciting for next week…watch this space!

Christmas – is it better to give than receive?
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