Can Small Businesses Leverage Holiday Sales into Year-Round Success?

During the holiday season, most companies, regardless of their size, usually see at least some sort of uptick in the amount of business they do, and this year is likely no different. However, when the annual shopping period ends, many such enterprises see sales drop off appreciably. Those that don't want to suffer that same fate again this year, though, might be able to do a little more to encourage heightened sales revenues throughout the year.

There are a number of ways that small businesses may be able to help ensure that their sales figures remain at a somewhat elevated level, even after the holiday season comes to a close, according to a report from the Greenville News. Chief among these, in general, may be starting or more diligently maintaining a database of customer email addresses so that people companies know are likely to be interested in their products can be marketed to more directly. The ability of a small business to know it can reach a more willing audience can be huge, and the holidays can be particularly helpful when trying to expand the number of people who receive such marketing. It may be wise, especially early on, to make sure that there are discounts – specifically for those who sign up for such mailing lists, as a means of helping to encourage participation and, of course, future sales.

Obviously, though, in this day and age businesses should be focused on far more than just email marketing, because the vast majority of most companies' target audiences are now using social media regularly, the report said. As with building a following for an email list, independent enterprises may want to help encourage sign-ups on these sites through special and unique promotions that help to incentivize those that "follow" or "like." Once people are dialed in on these sites, they are probably going to be more willing to make a purchase because they feel more connected to the company. However, it's also important not to overdo it with tweets or status updates, because too many in a day can serve as a major turnoff.

Think outside current offerings
Of course, small businesses are often seen as some of the most innovative in their fields, but many owners might not know how to improve upon what choices they give to consumers, the report said. One way to change things up a little bit without actually coming up with new products – and which ensures ongoing sales – is creating a subscription service, so that customers can continue to make a regularly scheduled purchase every month. Figuring out the best way a company can offer such a plan may be key to helping ensure heightened sales all year long.

In addition, it might be wise to start giving out coupons to those who make holiday purchases, while making sure those discounts will only be good for some period during the 2014 calendar year, the report said. For instance, if a purchase is made in mid-December, offering a coupon that's only good for a week or two in mid-January might be a smart way to increase their chances of becoming repeat customers.

Many owners may also want to take some time after the holiday season to evaluate their financial situations, including the amount they're spending on vital small business insurance policies. Looking for ways to cut costs on workers' compensation or general liability insurance may go a long way toward helping to improve a company's bottom line going forward, as this can save enterprises thousands of dollars or more every year.