The beginning of the year can be a tricky time to market a small business. The vast majority of people will be starting the year off of the back of having spent a small fortune on Christmas, and although there’s still an expectation of spending during the January sales, standing out amongst the competition can be a real challenge.
If you really want to get your customers to part with even more of their hard-earned cash at a time when they’re potentially slightly strapped, you’re going to have to make the effort to get creative and add value through your marketing offerings.
With this in mind, we’ve put our thinking caps on to come up with some ideas for you to get your New Year off to a lucrative start:
Launch a New Product
Let’s be real - we’re all a bit tired of the hackneyed “New Year, New You” expectation that comes around every January. However, that doesn’t mean that most consumers won’t see the beginning of the year as an opportunity to make a change or start something new - there’s something about that place on the calendar which makes people crave some sort of transformation, and there’s nothing wrong with capitalising on that mindset.
If you’ve got a new product or service in the pipeline, 1st January is a good time to launch it. You can create a countdown to launch, which makes it all the more enticing, and you could even offer your customers a deal where they get money off or some other added incentive to buy, such as a free gift.
Limited Time Offers
Whether you’re offering a new product or service or marketing your current stock, there’s actual psychological research which shows that limited-time offers can have a profound effect on sales. By tapping into people’s FOMO (fear of missing out), you prompt them to take the plunge and buy something that they may ordinarily have dragged their heels over.
If you want to really get inside the matrix, you can even tailor your language to make the offer seem even more urgent. Phrases like “time is running out” and “get yours before stock runs out” give the impression of scarcity, which is more likely to result in a sale. If you really want to hit the FOMO home, you could even add a countdown timer to any emails you send, literally showing the time running out!
If you need any more proof that FOMO is a great motivator, just look at what happened a few years ago when Asda announced they’d be selling some TVs at bargain prices on Black Friday only...
Focus On Your Client
Aside from being the most expensive time of the year, the festive season can be mentally and emotionally taxing for many people. The pressure of giving your family a “perfect” Christmas, combined with lots of eating, drinking and late nights PLUS dealing with extended family can leave us feeling well and truly burnt out by the time NYE rolls around.
If your products or services are in any way “self care” related, this is a great time of year to focus on that benefit. A recent survey by Hearst found that a massive 84% of consumers think that there should be a greater focus on self-care, following the outbreak of COVID, which means there’s never been a better time to promote wellness.
Even if your product isn’t directly self-care related, giving it a “this can make your life easier/less stressful” spin could be enough to land you a sale. Remember, it’s all about what YOU can offer your customer or client.
Offer Free Shipping
If you sell a physical product which usually costs money to ship and it’s within your margins to do so, offering free shipping for a set period can be beneficial to your bottom line. It’s a fact that not only do shipping fees directly contribute to abandoned carts, but customers are more likely to buy something that costs £10 with free shipping than something which costs £7 plus £3 shipping.
This aversion to shipping is known as the decoy effect and proves that when it comes to pricing, perception is key. A study by Baymard found that an enormous 49% of abandoned carts were related to shipping costs.
Despite the total cost of a sale being the same, the consumer feels that free shipping offers better value, so it stands to reason that even a short period of free shipping could boost your sales in the New Year.
Run A Competition
Running a competition can be beneficial to a small business for a number of reasons, depending on how you run it. If you’re launching a new product, offering one or some as competition prizes can create extra buzz around the launch, on top of your other marketing efforts.
It can also be valuable in terms of your social media following; asking people to follow you when entering the giveaway will give your follower count a healthy boost.
There’s another golden trick when it comes to giveaways; comping sites. Websites like Loquax and Money Saving Expert have dedicated boards where you can post links to your giveaways and these sites can drive SERIOUS traffic to your giveaway. “Compers”, people who enter competitions on an almost professional level, live for a freebie and will happily follow you on social media for the chance to win something.
Hosting a giveaway can be the gift that keeps on giving - according to research highlighted by Toggl, 84.5% of people who enter social media contests still share content from that brand—even after the competition has ended.
Send an Email
We know, we know. Sending an email to your customers is marketing 101 and doesn’t do much to ensure that you’ll stand out amongst the other three dozen Happy New Year emails that they’ll probably receive. To make your email worthwhile, you’re going to need to go the extra mile.
Film a video of you and your team singing Auld Lang Syne, tell a joke or a story or get creative in some other way. There are SO many ways to make your emails more personal and distinctive, you just have to use your imagination.
About The Author: Jayne Crammond
Jayne is a freelance copywriter and marketing assistant with over a decade of experience. A mum to two girls and a menagerie of animals, Jayne started writing her own blog after the birth of her eldest daughter and her career grew from there. She’s provided copywriting and marketing support to small businesses and marketing agencies, and is also in the middle of writing a children’s novel!