The Holidays are getting closer and closer, can you feel it? It’s a little different this year. Halloween is next weekend, then we slide right into Thanksgiving, and then the race is on to Christmas. Then, it’s a short jump to the New Year.

I know things are strange with the Pandemic for your business, but people are still going to be celebrating the holidays with their family, friends, and coworkers. It might just look different than last year. Which means you, as a business owner, have to adapt.

Bill Glazer, one of my marketing mentors, once told me a saying he learned very early in his career. Dig The Well BEFORE You Thirst. I often quote it. Now’s the time to make plans to take advantage of the upcoming seasonal business.

You need to ask yourself – What are my plans to capitalize on this holiday season?

The great copywriter Robert Collier’s best principle was, enter the conversation already taking place in the prospect’s mind. The holiday season is an important use of this idea because most people really get caught up in “holiday thinking,” earlier and for longer spans than ever before. Even right now, with a looming election and the possibility of a second wave.

We all need the distraction that the holidays bring, and your customers are looking to celebrate.

In this week’s edition of Mike’s Marketing Minutes, I give you eight, down-and -irty strategies to promote Holiday Parties for your business in the middle of a Pandemic.

As youngsters, Thanksgiving was a two-day deal. The holiday, then the big Christmas shopping day the day after. You went downtown; there was a tree lighting at the big department store. Then, pretty much everybody went back to work and forgot about Christmas until around mid-December.

Now, the retail stores start weeks before Black Friday and carry over into the following week with Cyber Monday. The marketing and media hype that leads up to Black Friday starts well at the beginning of November, not the end. Not to mention that now Thanksgiving through New Year’s is one long, uninterrupted diversion.

This requires advance planning and lengthy marketing campaigns on your part. For Halloween linked promotions, you start October 1. For Thanksgiving, November 1. For Christmas, right after, or even toward the end of your Thanksgiving campaign.

Do you have a detailed, week by week, day by day plan? A series of mailers, e-mails, no peeking, holiday giveaways, VIP clubs… ? Are you ready to push the go button?

Remember, panic marketing DOES NOT WORK.

To help you out with your holiday party planning, here are eight strategies you can use to help your customers celebrate and grab more business, even in the middle of a Pandemic.

  1. Family Meal Themed: Have some fun with your customers. Call them your Thanksgiving Day Celebration Pack or Kit – everything you need to have a safe and fun holiday. (You fill in the details)
  2. Grocery Items: Include everything your customers need to have a party. The plates, silverware, beverages…be the one-stop-shop. In the middle of a Pandemic, nobody wants to go to another store. If you can be their complete solution, you will capture the business away from your competition. This is how you stand out.
  3. All-Inclusive Packages: Think Box Lunches or Box Dinners. Get creative here. With the Pandemic, parties will look different and have to adapt to what your customers are looking for. I talk with hundreds of restaurants and caterers each week that have converted over from buffets, family-style, and individual service to individually-packaged meals. Find what works for you and your customers.
  4. At-Home Delivery, Pick Up, Hot or Cold: Be flexible and offer Delivery or Pick up at your location. Contactless delivery is a big thing right now, and it’s what your customers want. Make it easy for them to order, pay, and get their food. Also, offer a cold delivery option to give them the flexibility to warm the meals when they want.
  5. Healthy and Safe Options: Health and Safety perception by your customers is everything right now. Offer some healthy alternatives as everyone wants to stay well during the holidays. Let your customers know how you are keeping them safe; from preparing the food to getting it to them. Maybe throw in a mask and hand sanitizer for everyone as a nice gesture.
  6. Online Ordering and Payment: If you haven’t paid attention to this one, now is the time. Ask someone not on your staff to try and order something from your restaurant and get their honest feedback how easy and pleasurable it was. Don’t let this one get by you. It’s way too important right now.
  7. Pandemic Guarantee: With the situation we are all in right now, circumstances change. Be flexible with your customers. Let them know if something comes up, you will reschedule their party for them without any hassles. This is a big selling point for you and a great way to relax your customers when ordering for a party.
  8. Corporates (Employee Take Home, Pick Up, or Delivered to Them): Love this idea! Lots of companies are working virtually, where their staff are all at home. But they still want to have a Holiday Party. Make it easy for them and offer to deliver to each one of their employees at home, or have a designated pickup and time they can get their individual holiday meal. For an extra perk, offer to host or give them a special code where they can all zoom a Holiday Party virtually together while they enjoy your food.

 

The bottom line is, don’t wait till the last minute – it doesn’t make for very effective marketing. I want you to have the best holiday season at your business ever, even in the middle of the Pandemic. You just have to be creative right now.

Stay Strong,

Michael

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