7 Fall Promo Ideas for Small Businesses

My favorite season is right around the corner! Fall is so close I can almost taste my mom’s homemade stuffing. For businesses, it’s a great time to empty your summer stock, draw in new customers and engage with the community. It’s also a fresh opportunity to get customers to fall in love with your small business just in time for the holidays (pun intended).

It’s always easy to throw together a seasonal sale, but I beg all of my clients to push further outside their comfort zones. As I like to say, “You have to think bigger to be bigger.” One of the most powerful target markets for small businesses exists just beyond their front door– their community (both online and local). People, by nature, tend to stick to what they know so become something they know!

If you’re a small (or medium) business owner I urge you stay away from a typical sale, and try two or more of the promotional ideas for fall I’ve come up with below:

  • Deliverables.
    • Get a small crew together to quickly bag or box a fun bundle of treats to send to two groups: neighbors and clients. Your message for clients should fall along the lines of a thank you and don’t be shy to hand write the note to add authenticity. All deliverables should include these items somewhere inside: branding and company logo, your address, website, a sincere message and an incentive for them to come into your shop. Here’s an example of a box USB Memory Direct and my team put together last year…

Halloween Candy Box 2

  • Fall inspired email blast.
    • Put together an email list of contacts you’ve collected throughout the past couple of years. Reach out to them using a fall inspired graphic with some redeemables. This can include a coupon or other incentive to remind them of your product or service and get them to walk through your doors once more. My favorite, free program I use to quickly design an easy graphic is Canva. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes to put together professional grade graphic art here.

annual68th fallfestival (1)

  • Social media engagement.
    • There are more ways to engage your audience on social media than announcing sales and new products. Keeping up with the seasons and posting shareable content keeps visitors viewing your profile. Start a fun, fall social media contest that requires participants to share the contest with others. You can pick winners by random selection, select winners yourself or by putting it up to a vote via a panel of judges or followers. Get even more creative by planning a fall inspired product photo shoot. Also, asking social media followers to repost an image of yours for charity donations around thanksgiving could get your company a lot of exposure online.
  • Sponsor/host a local event.
    • Grab your best employees and hit the hay. Ask around the town and find an event you can volunteer support at this fall. You could engage with the crowds by setting up a well designed, cut-out photo booth with your company logo that festival goers will take photos of and post online. If your company is having a hard time finding things to get involved in, try approaching nearby businesses, schools or churches for a co-hosting opportunity. You could plan a local pumpkin patch, corn maze, haunted house, fall festival or charitable function.
  • Company holiday blog post or video.
    • Company blog posts or seasonal videos are a unique way to connect with current, previous and potential customers. Many do-it-yourself blog posts tend to get shared around the holiday season. Readers who share the post on their own sites are going to give you an SEO boost. If you’re willing to go the extra mile and put together a business video that stands out, you’re guaranteed to make an impact. Here are some video ideas from off the top of my head:
      1. Lip Sync a Halloween song with employees in costumes.
      2.  Re-create an iconic holiday movie scene or moment of the past year.
      3. Nostalgic holiday moments with employees, “What’s a traditional plate on your Thanksgiving table?”
      4. Create a mockumentary about that time you hired the headless horseman as a cashier.
      5. Thoughtfully plan out a helpful how-to video that customers can share on Facebook and email.
  • Redecorate your window store front.
    • I remember I worked for an adorable woman’s boutique at an outdoor shopping mall and they loved to decorate the store front for holidays and seasons. Why? BECAUSE IT WORKED. They knew their target market and drew in passing cars and people like honey to flies. Potential customers would stop in front of the window and take photos and post it on social media and walk in to see more. I highly suggest going the creative route on this one, and remember, less is more!
  • Specialty seasonal products or foods that get people talking.
    • It’s no secret that Starbucks is the king of this little marketing trick. What is your product? How can you fall-ify it? For Starbucks, they have made a home for pumpkin spice lattes. Also, M&M’s comes out with new flavors for trick-and-treat shoppers every year. Religiously enticing yearly purchasers with new products to buy. The latest seasonal offering from M&M’s has a cookies ‘n’ cream flavor and speckled shell. (Mars)

The latest seasonal offering from M&M's has a cookies 'n' cream flavor and speckled shell. (Mars)

Many of my examples have included generic fall holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, but there are so many more! So, I’ve composed a list for you of national observances and other holidays below that I have created promotional content for throughout my time as a marketing manager. Please keep in mind the list is not in no particular order.

  1. First Day of Fall
  2. Thanksgiving
  3. You’re Welcome Day
  4. Small Business Saturday
  5. Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October)
  6. Black Friday
  7. Election Day
  8. Veterans Day
  9. Presidents’ Day
  10. Cyber Monday
  11. Lung Cancer Awareness Month (November)
  12. Military Family Appreciation Month (November)
  13. World Kindness Week: November 7-13
  14. National Suicide Prevention Week
  15. Hispanic Heritage Month
  16. National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Successful seasonal promotions take time to plan out thoughtfully, so don’t wait too late to begin the creative process. Luckily for you, I’ve planted the seed with this post just in time for you to prepare.

There’s a lot of money to made in the fall, but before you know it– it’s already Christmas! So, get to making your marketing plan for the season to reconnect with old customers and draw in new customers before the leaves turn orange.

Have fun,

Script3transp

3 Simple and Easy Ways To Improve Your Media Pitch

Every business benefits from media coverage — it all starts with a pitch. 

When sent to the right people, a media pitch is a great way get a company press coverage. There are a lot of factors you have to get just right for a successful pitch well-delivered. Make your email stand out by simplifying it, doing your research, and making your story newsworthy. Once you organize a targeted list of media contacts, draft an email that’s easy-to-read with a conversational tone. Avoid industry jargon and complex vocabulary at all costs. Only use an email template as the backbone of the pitch. Remember, each and every email should be personalized to its intended media contact.

There’s an art to pitching. After spending a few years at public relations and marketing companies, here are a few ways I learned to bring email pitches to life:

  1. Do your research.

Do some stalking before you send them an email. Pitch smarter, not harder. Instead of blasting tons of journalists with cold emails, find a way to make their job easier by fitting your pitch into their editorial calendars. For example, if it’s Christmas time and you’re trying to sell a story about toys in the subject line relate it to an article they have posted the year before which had toys in it. Usually, around this time they write about Christmas wishlists or the hottest toys of the season.

Do some digging. First, figure out every outlet they contribute to. Glance over their articles, do they write about similar products or companies you’re pitching? Next, figure out what they are talking about on social media. Journalists have never been easier to follow. Use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to get a feel for what they are like and how to best communicate with them. Don’t be shy to comment on their posts either, building a relationship with target journalists helps your company down the road!

2. Make it newsworthy.

Journalists are always looking for the next great story.

Although companies may go through a couple of big changes and partnerships a year, they don’t always correlate with trends and current events. See what’s currently trending and tie the pitch into it. This will help bring it some positive attention. I use Google Trends and trending items on Twitter and Facebook to help me come up with some ideas.

Google Trends:

googletrends

Sneak peek Google’s insights. Track big events and discussions with Google Trends.

 What’s trending on Facebook:

FacebookTrending

Scroll down to see what’s trending on the sidebar section labeled “Trending.”

What’s trending on Twitter:

Twitter Trends

My favorite way to catch up on all things trending!

3. Keep the email short and sweet!

The subject line should be juicy and the receiver should be able to get the gist of your pitch by reading it. In the body of the email always remember less is more. Sorry to break it to you, but journalists don’t read pitches word for word. They have become masters of skimming. Only about 1-2 sentences will actually by absorbed and if they’re not interested in those couple of lines, it’s on to the next. Writing less text gives them more time to soak in what you’re presenting. Limit your pitch to 3 short paragraphs ranging from 2 to 3 sentences each.

In the first paragraph, give them a reason why they should care about your story. Give them some insider information and make them want to be involved in what’s going on.

Make a connection. The next paragraph should show them you’ve done your homework. Refer to previous articles they have written and highlight topics they are passionate about. Also, tell the journalist why you’ve specifically chosen them to break the story. Feel free to bring up titles of previous articles they’ve written.

The last couple of sentences should be a call to action. Tell the journalist what to do with the information. If they contribute to a couple outlets, indicate which outlet you would like to see the story breaking on. If you’re interested in all their platforms say that so. You can also use the last paragraph to suggest an interview, invite them to tour the facilities or give them a time and date to a press conference.

Tip: If you’re launching a product, offer to send them a sample! They love getting stuff and it’s so much easier for them to review it when they have actual experience with the product. If it’s a new menu item, have them stop by for a comped meal. Add this in the last paragraph (it’s a call to action). Score.

Once your email has been created, attach a full press kit for their convenience. I use Canva.com to make eye-catching kits that are simple are enjoyable for others to view. Also, make sure to include several high-resolution photos they can use in articles. Provide a press release if you have one too. The more information they have, the better! After you proofread, as you would with anything else, have another set of eyes review the pitch. I like to ask those proofreading my pitches to relay a couple of points they drew from the email. Do they understand the point you’re trying to get across? Is it newsworthy? If they were the journalist, would they understand the call to action?

Then, proofread it again.

Any little mistake can totally throw away your credibility. I highly recommend installing the Grammarly extension on Chrome for this. It has saved my life about a million times. It’s a 100% free grammar checker that not only reviews spelling errors but sentence structure and punctuation too.

And WHATEVER you do, make sure their names are correct! Even outlets spell the names of their own journalists incorrectly. Cross check their names via social media, Google and Cision.com (if you have access to it).

Tip: If you’re working on a spreadsheet, use the highlighter in black to fill cells after you email contacts. That way you don’t accidentally email the same person twice or worse… call them another name with a different email pitch.

Wow, I even had a mini-panic attack just writing that!

Have any tips or tricks that you’ve learned from pitching to media contacts? Share it in the comments below 🙂

Happy pitching,

Script3transp