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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.

8 Revealing Reasons You Need A Digital Marketing Sidekick

Let’s be honest here. The internet dominates our lives from the time we wake up until the time we hit the sac. We have tiny little hand-held devices that allow us to search for whatever pops into our mind and all we have to do is twiddle our fingers! As a business, you should be where your audience is, and today that’s online. Maintaining an online presence can be all-consuming. Trying to stay ahead of the wave while also running a business is like trying to row a boat upstream with a broken paddle. Sure, it is possible, but you probably won’t enjoy it. That’s where a digital marketing agency floats over and hoists you out of troubled waters.

  1. Websites Say What?

Typically, your website is one of the first places your audience will learn about your business. With 87% of internet users browsing the web on their smartphone, having a is beneficial. Websites require maintenance and security that protect not only your content but any information your potential customers’ input, including their email address or payment information. CSS, HTML, OCTCRE (you caught us – that last one isn’t real!) are just some of the languages digital marketing agencies speak fluently to help you create a killer website.

  1. Let’s Get Visual, Visual!

People process visual content faster than they process words. If a relevant image is paired with writing, we retain 65% of the information three days later*. Hiring a digital marketing agency means you’ll have a one-of-a-kind website that has been designed to showcase your entire brand. Of course, having professional images of your product or service is an incredible asset and totally outshines flip-phone camera pictures (does anyone use flip phones anymore?).

  1. Your Tricked-Out Wooden Leg

Hiring a digital marketing agency will give your online brand the personal touch that could be causing you difficulty. We know it sounds counterproductive – how can hiring a marketing agency make your brand more personal? Our job is to know your business inside and out. We have to know where you currently are and where you want to go. We have to know your competition. Working with a digital marketing agency can uncover aspects of your brand you were unaware of previously – like your brand voice. Online marketing has to be personalized for your business because no two businesses are the same.  Sometimes that outside perspective can do wonders for your business and give you the leg-up that you need. 😉

  1. Diving into Social Media

Alberta has some of the heaviest users of social media in Canada, with 75% of Albertans* using Facebook regularly. If you’ve avoided social media marketing because it’s confusing, you’re missing out on a boatload of opportunity to interact directly with your customers. Facebook has so many features that it can make your head spin. Pages, groups, ads, offers, friends, followers; what does it all mean? Embracing digital marketing solutions means businesses can target with incredible precision, gain a better understanding of their audience, and have measurable marketing!

  1. Pull Out Your Periscope

Your business is like your baby and you dreamed it into reality. When you love something as much as we know you love your business, it can be hard to remove the rose-coloured glasses look at it objectively. Having another person (or crew of people) to bounce ideas off of can be just what you need to break through the glass ceiling.

  1. No Floaties Required

When you hire an employee, you have to train them. It takes time for a new employee to understand their role and the expectations required of them. With an agency, there is no training required, freeing you up to focus on what you do best – running your business.

  1. Swimming in a Sea of Gadgets

Part of a marketer’s job is to stay up-to-date with current trends, and that includes technology. One of the most recent cool gadgets is the Google 360 camera, and guess who has access to one? Your digital marketing sidekick, of course! Marketing agencies have access to premium-level services, software and analytical data reports and can interpret the data to help you make uber-intelligent decisions about the next step your business takes.

  1. It’s Okay If You Don’t Speak Pirate Fluently

Writing is a creative tool you can use to connect with your audience and excellent writing always leaves people wanting more. The secret to incredible writing is in the planning. A full strategic plan should be in place before you even sit down to write a single sentence. Without establishing your brand voice, rule sets, or deciding your audience, your content will be left without direction.

 

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and admitting that can only be beneficial to your business. Whether you need help with graphic design in Lac La Biche or content writing in Cold Lake, a digital marketing agency sidekick is the best way to navigate the world wide web. Rather than spending your time being frustrated with social media, you could be focusing on other aspects of your business. Hiring an agency means you’ll have an entire crew of people to help sail your ship through choppy waters. A captain doesn’t get far without a crew behind him!

If you’re perplexed by Facebook, struggling with content, have no free time, are worried about your website, or need help with graphic design in Lac La Biche, we can be the marketing sidekick you need in the Lakeland, that way you can #StickToYourThing.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy#sm.000ezgot317iuf9aqdm2kkzewpy6x

2. http://www.6smarketing.com/blog/survey-alberta-facebook/

Could Your Home Router Really Be A Security Risk?

Earlier today, Wordfence released a blog highlighting a current trend amongst hackers; accessing home internet routers and turning them into weapons to target WordPress sites.

According to Wordfence:

“These IPS switch on, perform a few attacks and then switch off and aren’t heard from again for a month. What we have found is a botnet that is distributed across thousands if IPs. Each IP is only performing a few attacks, those attacks are spread across many websites, and the attacks only last a few minutes or hours.

The attacker controlling this botnet is using several evasive techniques. They are spreading their attacks across a very large number of IP addresses. They are using low-frequency attacks to avoid being blocked. They are also spreading their attacks across a large number of WordPress sites.”

At this moment in time, the hackers in question are targeting countries such as Algeria, India and the Philippines, but you never know where they’ll strike next. If a hacker manages to infiltrate your home router, they can access everything on your home network: your workstation, mobile devices that use WiFi, and other internet controlled devices like climate control systems and home security systems. Once they’re in, anything connected to the compromised router could  That’s not even touching on the damage they can do to the web globally, through your router and IP.

The botnet that Wordfence uncovered was built to take WordPress sites (which make up 25% of the internet) offline by flooding them with traffic from thousands of compromised routers. The routers themselves might slow down for a short time during the attack, but otherwise, their owners will never know that they’ve been compromised. The owner of a targeted WordPress, however, will lose their website, email and any files being kept on the same server for as long as the attack lasts. Unscrupulous companies can take their competitors offline using so-called ‘Testing’ services for as little as $40 per hour.

 

What can you do?

Wordfence found that the attackers were able to access Algerian routers through a known vulnerability in the router’s firewall software. Your home or business router probably has some security software like a firewall installed so make sure that it’s turned on and do a quick google search to see if there are any known vulnerabilities- there’s a quick guide to setting up your router for maximum security here. Hackers are going to be particularly interested in penetrating the routers that ISPs give away free- they know that millions of people will all be using the same router, so break one and you’ve broken them all. Consider buying a new router– it’ll probably speed up your browsing and extend your wireless range in addition to making you safer.

We always recommend backing up your files and keeping them on an external hard-drive, or you can kick it old school and keep paper copies within a filing system. Google Photos is a handy app that will automatically sync your photos to the app from your mobile device and store them on a private, password-protected site for you to access from anywhere through your Google account. That way, if your mobile device is compromised, you won’t lose all your photos! Make sure that you have Two-step verification enabled on your Google account to make it harder

Here at Octopus Creative, we keep your online brand safe, and security is never an add-on option– we consider it a necessity.

 

Easy Tips To Network Your Way To Success

With the rise of social media, we are quite literally, the most connected generation ever. With one-third of the world using social networks regularly, information is always just a click away. With the swipe of a finger, we can speak with friends and family on the other side of the world. While this has simplified our life somewhat – you can interact with the world while lounging on the couch in your pyjamas – an online presence doesn’t eliminate the need for face-to-face communication. Small business networking is vital to establishing your company within the market.

No one will ever take lounging in your PJs away from you, but sometimes, you have to put on your pants, smile and get yourself out there. The market is always changing, and no one knows what the future will bring for their business. It’s important to connect with people both in your field of expertise and outside. While you may not need their assistance now, you could benefit from their advice later on – or an opportunity could arise to work together!

Whether you’re a self-proclaimed ‘people-person’ or you find social situations uncomfortable, networking will always be vital to maintaining your business. Select the events you attend carefully. Ideally, you want to be as comfortable as you can in the situation. If you despise wearing a tie, avoid black-tie events and stick to casual meetups. The more relaxed you feel, the more approachable you’ll be – which is key to successful networking!

When participating in small business networking, you want to build relationships. Relationships are an equal amount of give and take; if you’re willing to receive, you have to be prepared to give. Don’t be afraid to speak up and offer your experience if it will help! Building a successful networking relationship takes time and effort. If you hit it off with an individual at an event, don’t be afraid to shoot them an email to catch up, or send an interesting article their way! Meeting someone new can open up opportunities to learn and grow – both personally and within your business.

Set your sights high when you’re building networking relationships. Dive in, and strike up a conversation with a person that intimidates you. Often, we can learn the most from people that are different from ourselves. Differing business views can allow you to see a different perspective, and once you’ve achieved that, imagine the difference you can make!

Small business networking can open the doors to opportunities you were unaware even existed. Often, other companies will be seeking out specific opportunities through back door channels – like networking. A vast majority of the options available to you, you won’t even know they exist until you ask! Think of it this way: if you had two people applying for the same position, with equal skills and experience, what would differentiate the candidates? Your personal ability to interact and build a working relationship with them. And that, friends, is precisely why small business networking is vital to establishing and maintaining a successful business!

You might not be able to control the wind, but you can adjust your sails! Combine face-to-face networking with social media marketing, and you’ll always catch the breeze. Create a Facebook business page and utilize it by interacting with other local businesses. This will help get your name out there and make your business more recognizable to the public. Facebook is an excellent social media tool that allows you to interact directly with your target audience. You’ll be able to get first-hand opinions, and you’ll be able to respond directly. With 73% of people using Facebook as a professional tool, there’s a multitude of options available for you to take advantage of. Search for networking groups, groups related to your industry, and more! Build an online presence that your audience will come to know and trust.

LinkedIn is the only major social media platform where the 30 to 49-year-olds dominate the usage rates. With LinkedIn, you can directly communicate with industry leaders, who are often ready and willing to offer advice to small businesses.

Make 2017 the year you take the leap and build professional relationships that can see your small business through all the ups and downs. Remember, the compound effects of networking are significant and long-lasting.