As a small business owner I have always written Thank You notes with every purchase. My stores first year I hand wrote every holiday card. Last year I sent a pre scripted holiday cards to all my customers. This year VIP customers who spent so much in the store or helped support in other ways got cupcakes in a jar from a small business I love supporting. Plus I sent out holiday cards that had a promo code for 15% off.
It’s that time of year again. And as you begin to wade through the sudden onslaught of holiday cards and gifts and party invites, you may be wishing your corporate holiday savings account was a little more, well, merry. You would love to thank your clients this holiday season with cards, gifts, and a fabulous party, but as a small business with limited resources, can you?
Luckily, the answer is yes. Try one of these creative spins on corporate holiday traditions to engage your community in unique, meaningful ways this season—without breaking the bank.
1. Holiday Cards
You may not have the funds to buy, print, and send hundreds (or thousands!) of holiday cards to your customers, but luckily, the boom of e-cards has made this process both cheaper and less time consuming. Need a great resource? Check out Paperless Post. It has a huge selection of holiday cards to choose from—some of which are free, and all of which can be personalized with your own brand message. The best part? An “envelope” feature that personalizes each card with the recipients name on the front. The pricing scheme is a bit confusing, but you’ll find the costs to be minimal once you get the hang of it.
2. Holiday Party with Drink Tickets
You are determined to have a holiday party. You are also determined to not have to sell your apartment in order to throw one. How? Host a party with drink tickets. Find a venue that allows you to put a certain amount of money behind the bar, and then work with them to figure out how many drinks per guest you can offer (and any free nibbles they might be able to throw in!). In your invite, find a fun and witty way to tell your guests that the first two or three are on you, but they’re on their own after that. To cut the cost down further, keep your guest list tight. Your co-worker’s boyfriend’s mom can come to your going-public party.
During the holiday season, many businesses will offer extensive discounts to their customers as holiday “gifts.” But if you’re unable to offer a 30% storewide price cut, swap the heavy discount for a more meaningful offering. If you’re a restaurant, gift each of your guests with a glass of champagne on the house to celebrate the holidays. If you sell home goods, offer a free ornament with purchases over $100. Your community will appreciate the detail, and you won’t have to forego a third of your profits during a lucrative sales month.
A great byproduct of the holiday season is the emphasis on donating to charity. But instead of just donating to a charity you like, why not get your community involved? Let them know that you’ll be donating to a certain number of charities this holiday season, and that you’d love their recommendations for the causes they care about the most. Or, take this a step further and organize a volunteer day with a local charity, inviting your community to participate. You can give back using the resources you have available, and it’s a great way to work with your community on a meaningful common goal.
As a small business, it’s easy to get envious of larger brands that seem to have endless resources to support and entice their community. But it’s because you’re a small business that you are able to interact with your clients in such a genuine, personal way. Take advantage of it! And remember to continue that momentum beyond the holiday season and throughout the year.