Christmas is a time for family and friends, for reflecting on the year that has passed and for winding down. For businesses, it is also a great time to offer a little extra to surprise and excite clients. Creative initiatives during this period can go a long way towards securing loyalty and attracting new business.

So this Christmas, while others are adding tinsel to their trees and buying gifts, why not add some sparkle to your marketing and communications strategy? Here are some ideas you might want to consider:

Decorate your store or business

You don’t have to make your store front look like a Tiffany’s or David Jones’ shop window to make an impact. Adding a few lights and decorations, and investing a little time and effort into giving your business premises a festive spirit is something clients will notice and appreciate. It sends a message that, while there is still work to be done, you can also have a sense of fun and enter into the Christmas spirit.

If you're an online business, the same thing applies to your website – get festive!

Add a Christmas touch to your branding

Jazzing up your business over the holiday season isn’t just about propping cardboard reindeers in your shop window or playing Michael Buble’s Christmas compilation in the reception area. While you’re at it, why not add a bit of Christmas cheer to your branding materials, whether it’s your company logo, envelopes, e-newsletter or online signature?

Make your social media presence more festive

Be inventive. Your Facebook, Twitter and other online sites could include holiday-themed messages, articles and videos. Why not post tips on how to wrap presents, where to find gifts for your loved ones, or where to spend the holidays? An effective social media presence is not just about advertising your business, it’s also about connecting with people on a personal level.

Capitalise on opportunities to talk to your customers

There are good reasons to talk to customers frequently in the lead-up to the holidays. This is the perfect time to wish them well, thank them for their support, hear what they have to say about their needs and expectations, as well as communicate news about any products or services you’ll be offering in the lead up to Christmas and the new year.
Reward your customer with gifts

During the festive season, why not go the extra mile and reward loyal customers by adding something special to their Christmas stockings? You might want to indulge them with Christmas cakes and truffles, a nice bottle of wine or bubbly, or send them vouchers for spa and beauty treatments. They’ll appreciate the gesture.
Host a Christmas event

After a hard year’s work, most of us can do with some relaxation during this period. Organising a pre-Christmas lunch or party for clients is a great way to thank them in person and provides down time as well as an opportunity for networking. Another option is to tie in with an existing event – a cheese and wine tasting, for example, or an author event at a bookstore – where customers can unwind and take part in something fun while reconnecting with your business.

Organise a competition

This is the time of year where people are spending money. So why not make it more interesting for customers by organising a competition, where by spending a certain amount they go in the draw to win prizes? It’s a win-win situation: you are marketing your products and rewarding clients too.
Give back to the community

Yes, we tend to spend more during the festive season and become just that little bit more materialistic, but there are also plenty of opportunities to be charitable. That is what Christmas is about: being caring and thoughtful, doing something for others. So why not volunteer for a charity or sponsor a worthy cause and make that part of your business message? By doing this, you’re sending out a positive message about your business’s ethical standing.

Stay open longer

Though many are winding down ahead of the holiday season, this may be the time for you to stay on your toes. If you’re in retail, you may need to close shop later so customers can do their Christmas shopping. Make sure your products and services are readily available, and that you can be counted on.

Give your customers something to look forward to

The new year is around the corner and while clients and customers may be looking forward simply to more of the same, it can be a good idea to give them a taste of what else they might expect. While you want to make sure they can rely on the products and services they have enjoyed until now, think about whether you can also give them something exciting to look forward to.