Ahhh, the nights are getting longer, school buses are on the road again, and you can feel hints of the coolness of Autumn….

…oh, we’re in St. Augustine, Florida. Forget about the coolness of the changing season. We’re still a bit sweltering in these parts.

However, a trip to Michaels, Hobby Lobby, even Target shows all the promotional signs that Summer is ending and Fall is just around the corner…love watching the changing colors of the plastic leaves at the hobby stores.

For St. Augustine small businesses, now is the time to think about Fall promotions as well.

Let’s brainstorm some marketing ideas you can use to capitalize on the approaching season.

Prepare for the Holidays Big and Small

Fall is chock-full of holidays all leading up to the big shopping days after Thanksgiving (Black Friday or Small Business Day, hint hint). You can piggyback on public interest on these holidays in your:

  • Social Media: Look to boost promotions to target markets receptive to making purchases during these holidays. Yes, Facebook has all the details you can leverage for this.
  • Print Ads: Add some seasonal colors, language and offers to your ads
  • And in-store promotions: Add card and poster reminders of upcoming holidays. Plus motivate your staff to put in the word about these holidays with your customers.

Grandparents Day: September 10

I know, not quite Fall—but still a good day to keep in mind.

Plus my wife and I just became first-time grandparents to a beautiful little girl (named Autumn—how appropriate). So this small but endearing holiday has hit my radar in a personal way.

This is a great day for grandchildren to give a gift to their grandparents. Or, take grandparents out to dinner.

First Day of Fall: September 22

Or, as we like to call it in our household, first day of pumpkin season.

Pumpkin spice appears magically every year to spruce up our drinks, food and potpourri. Play along with adding pumpkin themes to your promotion.

Invite customers over for a pumpkin & Fall celebration with flavored beverages and cookies. Promote the First Day of Fall sales and offers.

Give out Fall Season coupons (good through Black Friday or Small Business Day, hint hint).

Bosses Day: October 16

Wonderful opportunity to motivate people to take their boss out for lunch. Or, give a gift certificate to a restaurant, spa or favorite shop.

Halloween: October 31

Halloween is a time to let loose, get playful and scare up some creative promotions. Run a “Frightfully Great” or “Monstrously Fun” sale. Invite families over for Trick or Treat. Hand out small bags of candy with coupons inside (good through Black Friday or Small Business Day, hint hint).

Daylight Savings Time: November 5

We all gain an hour (or get it back depending on your opinion) on this day. Celebrate that extra hour with an hour-only sale or give-away.

Veteran’s Day: November 11

Be sure to thank veterans first and foremost. Also, be tactful, authentic and appreciative in your promotions. Give freebies and discounts to veterans and their families.

Thanksgiving Day: November 23

As a time for reflection and gratefulness, this is an opportunity to send out thank you cards and emails to your customers. You’ll also be ahead of schedule as most businesses do this in December. Also, it’s a good opportunity to provide an appreciation discount or coupon (good through Black Friday or Small Business Day, hint hint).

Black Friday: November 24
Small Business Day: November 25

Between Thanksgiving and the following Sunday, we Americans will spend an average $407. Most of the big corporate businesses are locked and loaded to grab a huge share (or all of it) of that cash.

By the way, did you get my hints up above? Start promoting your Black Friday and Small Business Day offers as often as you can leading up to that big day. Remind your customers to come back those days and bring friends to help support local businesses.

Here are some fun and simple offer ideas you can use during this time:

  • Mystery Gifts: For $25 purchase, customer’s get a mystery gift (maybe a small item or a $5 gift card to your store or restaurant).
  • Scavenger Hunt: Place a stuffed animal, pirate or another item somewhere in your store or restaurant. Have customers take a photo, share it on Facebook, show the cashier or waitress and get a discount or free appetizer. Maybe, place a hidden bowl of coupons somewhere in the store.
  • Reward Loyalty: Open early for past customers only and offer amazing deals. Have an appetizer or menu item only loyal customers (those who are on your email list or received a coupon from earlier) know about.

Take advantage of the Fall season. It’s a time your customers are starting to spend money and you don’t want to miss out.

Give us a call at (904) 429-4588 if you’d like help brainstorming creative marketing ideas for the Fall.