You need to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

 I can see your tilted head. The wrinkled brow.

I can hear you mumbling, “What the heck – this is THE gift giving season. It’s December 3rd! I MUST put out a big sale notice! How else can I get sales?”

Well, yes, it is the season of gift giving. But for most of us, the really small and personal businesses that we are, we need to remember that we are not going to endear our customers if every email or tweet or post is asking for money. Sale Sale Sale – Get it now! Big Savings!

If you want to stand out in the crowd, don’t look and sound like the rest of the crowd.

I am here to tell you this can be the best time of year to grow sales for the rest of this year (and next year) without asking people to buy. That is what I am sharing (for free, no strings attached, no Codes to use in a shopping cart) in today’s blog. I offer you a list of ways to keep them thinking about you and buying from you.

You still have time – it’s early December. You can do this.

Use your “small business” advantage.

If you are an Amazon-styled business or similar to other, giant retailers, like Sears or Walmart, then go for it. All you are is a selling machine. You don’t have a Personal side to your business. There is no “human” at the controls. There is no story to share. There are no photos of Fluffy or Fido the happy mascots who hang out and greet your customers.

Big Box retailers have no way to compete with that kind of real human connection, so they do the only thing that is expected of them: blast out announcements about the latest special deal, super-duper sale, or other news revolving around selling us something. That’s all they have. That’s their entire marketing campaign.

And that is fine. I am not unsubscribing from Amazon anytime soon. Are you?

However, the vast majority of you are in a different category. You may have actually met the person getting the emails you send. Therefore, if every email you send is designed entirely for soliciting money, you may be losing an essential marketing edge and, ironically, costing yourself sales.

Is this the Thanks I get?

I got a lot of “Thanksgiving” emails. I am sure you did, too. However, even the really big companies seemed to sense that they should send a simple greeting with no “sales-strings” attached. For those giant companies, this can be as close to acting human and caring as they can possibly achieve.

But alarmingly, I got a few emails from small, one-owner businesses who used the Thanksgiving holiday to announce their “early” Black Friday sales or worse: “On this Thanksgiving we are thankful for your business and to show our gratitude we are having a BIG SALE! Use coupon code “WeAreGreedy” and get 30% off until midnight Friday!”

This crass attempt to copy the Big Box mentality is shortsighted. You are a sole proprietor. People can call you up on the phone and have a chat. You are a real person running your company and living in your community.

Macy’s can’t say that. Blick Art Materials can’t say that. Even as real as she seems, Martha Stewart can’t say that. But you can. And you should differentiate yourself.

It’s not too late

My clients know that they should send at least one email every month. Minimum. However, if all you do every time you hit send is try to sell your subscribers something they may lose their connection to you. They may even forget why they signed up and unsubscribe.

Send that monthly email, but then throw in the occasional promotional email. The calendar might look something like this:

Send one email each month sharing as though you are talking about your business life to a close friend or family member. Your best tool: a blog post! Pick a day, like every first Tuesday, and stick to it! Keep it warm, fuzzy, and friendly. (See the list below for ideas.)

Throw in the sales as the occasions come up. Make sure you are allowing people time for shipping if applicable. Valentine’s Day for example might get its first mention in the third week of January (hint hint – get your calendar and start planning!) and then the actual “Two Day Only Sale” might be announced 10 or so days ahead of the fourteenth.

The point is, you need to ration the selling. A great ratio is 3 to 1; three emails with no selling to every one email touting sales or selling messages. Be seen as the island oasis in the middle of an ocean of “deal grabber” sales pitches. You have that advantage – don’t lose sight of that.

Don’t let someone with a Starbucks app on their phone forget to drive to your location. If the only thing they ever know about you is that your coffee is 20% off you are not memorable. But they will remember you if you just shared pictures of you roasting your beans in the back of your store.

My challenge to you

Write down a whole bunch of things you can share that will make you stand out and look like you are a living breathing person. Pick one and share it this December – early next week would be great timing. Stumped? Here’s some possible subjects to use:

  • Picking out the Tree for the store window.
  • Untangling lights – or decorating your child with gold stars – or – well this is a list all by itself!
  • An interview with the newest employee.
  • An interview with your most valuable supplier and why you use their goods
  • Why we only use (some source) for our (product)
  • What our customers share with us every day. Everyone loves reading testimonials!
  • We just changed our menu – we have more (or less) something. (Showing you care about healthy eating or NOT as the case may be!)
  • Six self-massaging techniques just in time for your tired shopper’s feet.
  • Seven tips for throwing the simplest and best holiday parties.
  • Why I teach oil painting to (kids, seniors, the community). And yes… you sell gift certificates for painting classes so you can share that in your selling email.

Are you seeing a trend? It’s all about them. Whatever your business is about, you can find a way to show that you are not just about the almighty BIG SALE events. If you are doing this properly, they will click on a link in your email to visit your blog and read the rest of the story. They will potentially click around your site. They might just buy something from you! You will always have a link to your website in your signature section.  (If it applies to you, you do have a free shopping cart, right?)

No links? We need to talk. No blog? We need to talk. No email marketing? How in the world are you staying in front of your clients and customers and wannabes?

It’s not too late to rally some sales. Call me: 808-283-2108 or better yet email me and let’s discuss how you can be a better marketer now and in 2016!

It time to start being a better marketer. Start by joining my mailing list if you aren’t on it yet:


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