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Even Santa Would Shop in Airdrie with These Christmas Events Ideas

Christmas accounts for as much as 30% of sales for some retail outlets.

That’s why it’s a great idea to seize the day and cash in on the holiday spirit.

While the holidays might be stressful for some people, it’s the time of year when everyone is ready to spend money, as well as quality time with their friends and family members.

In this blog post, we’ll give you some of the best Christmas events ideas, both online and off, to help boost awareness of your brand and store.

1. Host an Online Advent Calendar

Try an online advent calendar, but instead of giving away a present each day, give away a discount or free gift with purchase every day.

This one works best for users who are almost entirely web-based, or who have high volumes of web traffic.

Each day that people log on, they will be treated to 15%, 20% or a small gift like a lip balm with their purchase.

Don’t tell them ahead of time what each day has in store, but do promote your online advent calendar ahead of time. You can promote it as “25 Days of Savings,” or other such names that makes it obvious what kinds of gifts people can expect.

2. Christmas in July

Host a Christmas in July party, or a Christmas before it’s actually Christmas season. While adults might roll their eyes at the “oversaturation” of the holiday, kids will always be excited to participate in anything Christmas related.

For your Christmas in July event, roll out some of your Christmas items and let people preview some things that will be coming to your store in December.

You can even do this online, giving future customers a preview of what to expect from your store during the Christmas season.

3. Host Santa!

Hosting Santa is a fantastic way to get people into your store. This is especially the case if you run a photography studio. This also works well for pet stores or children’s stores.

While many malls and communities will host Santa, you can coordinate with them to have him in your store for one day.

Let shoppers know St. Nick is coming to town by advertising when you expect him, and his merry band of elves, to show up.

If you run a pet store, having people bring their pets to visit Santa is also a fun activity. Many national pet store chains do this, and it has become a very popular idea. It’s also a great way to ensure that you get a lot of customer traffic into your store.

4. Christmas Events Ideas: Make Christmas Cookies

If your store appeals to families, or sells any kind of homeware or home baking items, host a day to bake Christmas cookies. You can even host workshops in order to show customers how to make more intricate cookies than they might find online.

If you have people from several different countries working at your store, you might even use this time to have them introduce some new recipes to the community. Invite people to come to learn to make classic Christmas cookies and a special treat.

You can either charge for the class and have people sign up in advance, or simply just have it as a drop-in event. When participants finish, they can get a discount to use in the store. You can also show off some of the items you used in the recipe or used to bake the recipe that you have in store.

If you have ovens available at your store, bake the cookies in the store while the customers wait. Or, wrap up the batter well so that each child or family can take it home to cook on their own time.

5. Christmas Crafts

Everyone loves crafts, and parents will always treasure anything their children made with their hands. Host Christmas crafts for families or for young children to come and have fun in your store.

This event can operate similar to the cookies event, in that you can either organize it as a drop-in, or you can have people sign up for the class ahead of time.

Again, use this as an opportunity to show off items you have for sale in your store. Give out discounts to those who have participated, or a free item.

6. Christmas Hashtags

Feeling festive but your business is all online? No problem! You can stay in the holiday spirit by using a wide variety of Christmas hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They’re very popular during the holiday season, and people will definitely be clicking on them to find others talking about the holidays.

You can look at a list of the most popular Christmas hashtags here, and start getting in on it as soon as you start stocking Christmas items.

Participate in conversations organically instead of just advertising your products. If you get good engagement with potential customers, people will be more inclined to check you out rather than if you just advertise your wares.

Getting in the Christmas Mood

There are endless Christmas events ideas that you can employ to get your customers in the festive mood. You can even get special Christmas packaging or Christmas bags for your customers to give them even more of the holiday cheer.

If you’re ready to start talking about your next Christmas event and how we can help support you, reach out and contact us today! If you want a sample of our work before you dash off that first email, have a look here.

After Black Friday Comes Giving Tuesday | Learn How Your Non-Profit Can Benefit

When the chaos that is Black Friday is over, and things are getting back to normal (or, normal for the holiday shopping season), it is time for an important day in your not-for-profit calendar: Giving Tuesday.

Set up as a reaction to the quite often literally rampant consumerism on Black Friday, Giving Tuesday is a day for individuals and businesses to give to charities. Unsurprisingly for a movement that prizes civility and public-spirited giving over macing your neighbours to get at a 70%-off waffle iron, the idea is big in Canada (you can read more about it here.) This year Giving Tuesday will be held on November 28th.

How can your non-profit use this time to encourage people to give back to the community, country and world?

Start Early (And Set Goals)

At the risk of repeating advice from our Black Friday blog post, starting the preparations for Giving Tuesday early is important. Giving yourself a few weeks or even months to plan, prepare and spread the word will reap dividends.

Shout It Out

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are guaranteed to be trending topics on any social platform you care to name for their respective days, so a good thing to do in the days and weeks preceding Giving Tuesday is get on your social platform and talk about it. People are more likely to engage with a not-for-profit with their wallets if the charity engages with their lives- give them the idea that they can (and probably should) give back on #GivingTuesday and they’ll associate you with a good thing in their life, and reward you accordingly.

Engage Locally

Your local community is a great source of exposure and networking, so make it a priority to promote there first. From a purely marketing standpoint, a ten-thousand-dollar donation to the Red Cross doesn’t have as much of an impact on local people as a fun run at a local park (which is not to say that you shouldn’t do it.) Try to find local events you can partner with on Giving Tuesday, and if you can’t find them, make them: wash cars, organize a #giveback day, partner with other local businesses. You don’t need to shout about it in more than a few blog or social media posts, but it will have an impact, especially if you can multiply that impact by…

Networking

Retailers are going to be in the same boat as you on the Black Friday week- their marketing efforts drowned out by the big stores, the discounts they can offer limited by their ability to buy in bulk. But, by joining together on Giving Tuesday with other smaller, local not-for-profits you can level the playing field. Team up to promote Giving Tuesday across your social media channels, organize a big charity event with local partners, design a poster for #GivingTuesday that can be in every store in town. Your ‘competitors’ are often not really your competitors when compared to Amazon and the like, so by joining together you can massively expand your reach.

Every Little Bit Helps

If you have retail partners then a donation box at the checkout can gather a few dollars for you, but why not expand on that? Businesses want to give back for PR purposes, so reach out and see if any are willing to organize a fundraising day or give a percentage of their profits over a period, and (depending on their POS system) can often add the option for customers to make a donation on top of their purchase. Businesses can also add this option to their online sales with apps like this one.

Make It Fun

Nobody likes feeling guilty about giving, so instead of plastering your building with pictures of starving orphans, come up with a fun name for your particular campaign, hire a dunk tank and make some money by dunking your boss, play music, hire a face painter for the kids.

Integrate It

If you’ve been working on a marketing message for the past year it doesn’t make sense for you to suddenly switch up your message when Giving Tuesday comes around. Keeping your tone and imagery consistent won’t just prevent tonal whiplash when you’re moving from one tone to another, it will enforce the idea that charitable giving is an intrinsic part of a successful community.

 

Giving Tuesday is getting bigger every year- $177 million was raised in 2016. You can contribute to breaking that record, and we want to see your non-profit succeed on this day!  If you’re ever looking for advice on not-for-profit marketing (or how you can access free advertising dollars as a registered charity) then get in touch with us 🙂

Social Media Rallies to Support the Fort

When the fire struck Fort McMurray on Tuesday, May 3, it was as if hell was at the doorstep of the city. Reports were coming in of 60,000 people being forced to evacuate, and then 80,000, finally ending closer to 90,000. Entire communities forced to leave their homes and businesses. Many evacuees leaving with just the clothes on their back, and countless others separated from their loved ones.

For many Albertans, and Canadians as a whole, the ferocity of the devastation and the images being shared, both through news outlets and individuals on social media, incited people to action. Far be it for Canadians to sit idly by as their brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends and fellow Canadians raced to safety. This is where the story of human spirit, community, and unflinching tenacity begins.

Social media erupted in a chorus of support. #ymmhelps was trending on twitter and an open source help page was born, @ymmhelp. In the days following there were nearly 100,000 tweets using the hashtag #ymmhelps or #ymmfire. Just over the last 8 days the hashtag #ymmhelps resulted in more than 14 million impressions. Facebook initiated Safety Check on the day of the evacuation to help evacuees communicate that they were safe and sound. Facebook groups were popping up like dandelions. The group, Fort McMurray Evac Relocation Help Group, had just a couple thousand members when Octopus Creative originally posted the link on our Facebook timeline. Today, there are more than 103,000 members.

People were using social media to help coordinate refuelling efforts and vehicle rescues as people headed up 63 & 881. They were helping evacuees locate loved ones and pets that were separated during the crisis. Businesses large and small were using social media to coordinate fundraisers. Companies donating lodging, food, clothing, and supplies, and more, absolutely free or at huge discounts. Still today, individuals and companies are using social media to facilitate ongoing communication to support evacuees in ways too many to list.

Of course, this disaster is nowhere near ending. Even as we write this blog post we are hearing about more evacuations happening in the work camps where residents took shelter in their time of need. To see how our province, in fact, how our country has come together, it gives us faith that the community of Ft. McMurray will come back even stronger than before. Our province will be stronger; I would even go so far as to say that our country will be stronger and more united.

As of May 14, the donation tally for the Canadian Red Cross Alberta Fires Appeal was at $86 million, not including the federal or provincial government matching commitments. If you would like to make a donation visit the Red Cross Alberta Fires page or text REDCROSS to 30333 to make an immediate $5 donation.

The best way to end off this post is to say, thank you. Thank you to all the first responders, firefighters, volunteers, donors, the industry partners who responded so quickly, the small and medium-sized businesses, and all the residents who opened their homes and wallets. To all the evacuees who are still living in a state of limbo – and I’m sure I speak for all Albertans – our hearts and thoughts are with you. We are here for you 100%.