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Small Business Must Advertise to Be Successful "this" Holiday Season...

Clearly, this holiday season will be different than any in recent memory. Can we gather with family and friends? Can we celebrate in a manner that we choose? Can we hug? Can we embrace? Well, the answer is different with each situation.

With all the changes and modifications this year, the way we shop will be different as well. The only way small business in America can have a chance to consistently hear their cash register ring is with effective advertising. This is nearly always true, but 2020 is dictating a deeper necessity to market properly.

So why is advertising even more important this year? First, it begins with how we will all shop. This year will not see holiday shoppers browsing multiple stores hoping to find that perfect gift. Christmas 2020 will have more and more shoppers going directly into a store for a specific purchase. We will not shop until we drop. We will not enter a dozen different stores. We will have purpose with our purchase. Living in an accelerated pandemic will necessitate most people spending less time shopping.

Next, online shopping will be even more popular. The ability to "shop" from home will make more sense than ever.

However, nothing replaces doing business with local people in local stores. Most prefer to do business locally. Here is where the opportunity, and necessity, lies for most small businesses in each of our communities. If we buy into the thought that there will be less browsing and more intentional time in stores, local businesses must tell the customer what they offer and why they should include them in their holiday shopping. In short, local businesses MUST consistently tell their story in order to have a chance to earn the business. This is profoundly true every year, but vital this season. The per store visit is going to be reduced, therefore, more businesses will get left out unless they advertise. Advertising is the only way to keep local customers from buying their products online from a major retailer. Millions of people will buy things online that they could purchase locally, but they are not aware.

The purpose of advertising is to create recall and build a brand for the business. Advertising reminds us of the brands we already know when we need them. Simply, small business wants to be remembered when the customer needs them. However, with so many choices, most who fail to advertise ultimately fail.

John Wanamaker famously said, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half". Experience has shown that nothing creates the recall and builds brands like broadcast radio and television. Creative marketing campaigns with strategic, frequency driven schedules nearly always delivers results. Small business can rise above their multitude of competitors by effectively telling their story. The failure to invest in advertising will drastically lessen the chance that customers give them a chance. Small business owners, call your local radio and television stations and ask for help. Local radio and television, don't wait for them to call. Be proactive in helping them tell their story to your listeners and viewers. This is important for us all!

Finally, it is up to us all to do our part to support the local businesses in our communities. Shop local. Think about local. Buy local. Give local the first shot and see how it feels to support them.

From all of us at the Swagger Institute, Thank you! We are grateful for you all! Swagger On friends!

Written by Derron Steenbergen, President of the Swagger Institute.

The Swagger Institute specializes in motivational speaking, sales training, customer service training and organizational development.

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