SMBs Depend on Email and Social Media for Holiday Season

BY Kathy Crosett
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Do your clients have their marketing strategy mapped out for the rest of the holiday selling season? Many SMBs will depend on email and social media to grow sales this holiday season. New research indicates that SMBs will need to use specific promotional strategies and messaging language to differentiate themselves in the crowded marketplace.

The new U.S. Small Business Holiday Forecast from Ecwid E‑commerce finds that 41% of small business owners expect to increase their sales during the holiday season, when compared to last year. But these businesses have been significantly impacted by the pandemic. In a year when business is anything but usual, SMB owners are changing their plan book. In previous years, businesses were able to promise timely deliveries for orders placed at the last minute. With the package delivery system straining to keep with overwhelming demand since the pandemic started, 55% of businesses are moving up shipping dates. They want to keep their customers’ expectations in check. They’ll also be offering:

  • Price discounts
  • Free shipping
  • Free gift with purchase
  • Curbside pickup

If your clients aren’t offering these enticements, they should consider doing so. And if they sell unique, locally produced items, they’ll find it easier to compete with more established online retailers.

Use Email and Social Media

Local retailers face another challenge this year. Shoppers are reluctant to spend a lot of time in stores because of the COVID-​19 outbreak. To make up for the reduction in foot traffic, more small business owners are using email and organic social media, 73% and 70%, respectively, to advertise. Consumers are growing more comfortable ordering online from local retailers. But that doesn’t mean the competition is any easier.

To ensure that consumers respond well to your clients’ email messages, talk with them about tone. Schwa Consulting talked with over 200 marketers about how their messaging has changed since the pandemic started. In the U.S., marketers have adopted a formal tone in email messages to assure customers that they are taking the pandemic seriously. About 40% of marketers also use messaging that shows how much they care about the challenges their customers are facing.

"Companies often send out emails and social posts just so that they're seen to be doing something,” Meg Roberts, creative director at Schwa. This year, your clients may have felt the need to assure customers that they were still in business and taking appropriate safety precautions. During the holiday season, they should take extra care with this messaging. 

They may need your help to craft email messages that acknowledge the new normal we’re all experiencing. Those messages can include text about how the business owners feel aligned with what community members are experiencing. Additional text about how the business is sharing a commitment to help the disadvantaged in the local community by donating a portion of revenue from every sale can increase the bond with consumers. SMBs depend on email to stay connected with consumers. Help them get the sentiment right.

Audiences have definite preferences about the types of email they want to receive from businesses. Check out the details in the AudienceSCAN profiles available from SalesFuel by AdMall.