Monday, November 16, 2015

10 Top Tips to Get Your Business Ready for the Holidays.

Ho! Ho! Ho!  - It’s Holiday Season - Merry Main Street is BACK! by Lani Lott, NEDCO Consultant

The countdown to the busiest time of the year for most businesses has begun.  With less than 40 days until Christmas, there is no time to waste to make sure you have your marketing in place, your employees geared up and YOUR customers excited to come downtown, shop with you and then enjoy the array of festivities planned.   The City, Downtown Mesa Association, NEDCO, RAILmesa, VisitMesa and the Mesa Chamber of Commerce are busy planning numerous activities beginning the Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 28) and continuing through January 3, 2016.  Do the math - that is six full weeks of events and promotions for your business to leverage.   Let’s get going and make this the best year for both Downtown Mesa as well as for your business.   To kick-start your creative juices, below are 10 tips to keep in mind as you set your marketing and promotional calendar. 

Tip 1:  Be in the Know
Make sure you know what is going on during the next six weeks.   Regularly check the Merry Main Street website and Downtown Mesa’s website  Watch for email updates and attend all merchant meetings.  Activities are being added daily and you don’t want to be left out.   Inform your employees of the various activities, when the events are planned and how you will be participating.  Most importantly get the word out to YOUR customers.   Incorporate the Merry Main Street website into your holiday advertising and printed marketing materials.  Spread the word -- the holidays in Downtown Mesa should NOT be the best kept secret --- we want the entire Valley to know about Merry Main Street and Downtown Mesa.

Tip 2:  Register to be part of Indie Fest/Small Business Saturday - November 28, 2015. Don’t miss out on this national campaign and all the FREE marketing materials and promotional venues they offer.  Register at As part of Indie Fest/Small Business Saturday, DMA is also collecting sales/specials to advertise and is launching a business passport program that for every $5 a customer spends, they get a signature.  Every $35 spent they get a $5 downtown gift card.  Make sure they know you want to be involved.  If you're in the DMA service area, call them at 480-890-2613 or email them.

Tip 3:  Take advantage of the $150 stipends DMA is offering to businesses that want to host a holiday activity in their store. 
If you’re in the DMA service area, never pass up an offer like this! Call DMA today and reserve your stipend.  Brainstorm with them ideas you have for an in-store activity and once confirmed, start to promote your “special holiday event” in all of your advertising and material. 

Tip 4:  Participate in as many cooperative and discounted advertising campaigns as resources allow. 
Ask your advertising representative about any special advertising rates they may be offering.  Ask your vendors if they will be offering any cooperative adverting programs over the holidays.  Keep an eye out for special programs that DMA or even the City may be organizing.

Tip 5:  Send out an email blast to your entire customer email list inviting them, their families and their friends to come downtown and enjoy Merry Main Street events. 
Highlight the special activities you will be hosting as well as the new Ice Skating Rink at Mesa City Plaza and the Mesa Christmas Tree sponsored by the Mesa Chamber of Commerce in your email blast.  Cross promote your neighbor business activities and of course let them know where and when Santa will be downtown.  Highlight the ease of getting downtown via Light Rail or that all of downtown offers tons of FREE Parking.

Tip 6:  Start today to generate enthusiasm through your social media and marketing networks promoting the festivities.

Tip 7:  Freshen up your business for the holidays.  
Of course, decorate for the holidays -- that’s the best part of this season.  However also focus on freshening up your landscaping and cleaning your windows.   If allowed, consider putting twinkle lights around your windows and on the eves of your building.   But remember as soon as you can after January 3rd, take down all those holiday decorations and store them in a safe place until December 2016.  

Tip 8:  Build a window display that everyone in town just has to come and see.  
This is your season small downtown business owner -- so leverage your windows and take full advantage of the 24/7 advertising it provides you.   Consider adding moving mechanisms if possible; incorporate a theme like gingerbread houses or Santa’s village or North Pole.   Partner with a local non-profit and offer them one of your window display areas to promote their cause.  Live mannequins are also a hit as well as entertainers in the windows.

Tip 9:  Offer Value Added Customer Service during the Holidays.  
One of your greatest strengths as a locally owned business or franchise is that you can add those special touches that big box retailers can’t even imagine.   During the holidays (and all year long) consider offering complementary gift wrapping, extending return policy, a holiday “thank you” gift to your loyal customers, cookies and hot cocoa/punch, complementary shipping for orders over a certain price point, etc. 

Tip 10:  Draft your plan today and make sure it’s more then words on paper -- implement it. 
Ideas are a dime a dozen but turning them into action takes time and commitment.  Get started today on drafting your plan for the holiday season, making those calls to your vendors and advertising representatives and gearing up your sales staff and employees.   Be part of being a locally owned business in Downtown Mesa and celebrate the season together.   It’s been a long year and we deserve to celebrate. Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays - Lani Lott, NEDCO Consultant

602-738-8381 -

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