The start of fall is an exciting time for small business owners to try out some fresh marketing ideas and bring in new customers. We know how overwhelming it can be with all types of businesses. Thankfully, SpotOn's got you covered. These ten simple and effective fall marketing ideas can work for any small business looking to try something new to celebrate the end of summer and the change into the autumn season.

1.  Say goodbye to summer in a marketing campaign

Promotions celebrating the end of summer are a great way to get more guests through your front door, even if they fall outside your typical target audience. Just set up a series of social media and email announcements that promote special discounts on summer items you know won’t sell in the fall. It'll give you a little boost in sales and help you align your brand to the upcoming fall season, while organizing your marketing strategy once fall has ended as well.

Don’t forget to add a sense of urgency to your promotions as part of this end-of-summer marketing campaign. And to make things easier, you can even announce these end-of-season summer specials through the client database built through your point-of-sale system. It's an effortless way to keep your marketing strategy up-to-date, especially with the holiday season approaching afterward.

It can be challenging to build a successful marketing campaign for these different seasons, especially if you want to see more activity on your different social media accounts. Thankfully, we have a marketing guide to help you build your brand beyond the simple small business website. It covers how to build an email marketing plan, how to target customers at the right time of year, and even tips on using search engine optimization to create more website traffic.

2. Use gift cards to build brand awareness

Gift cards aren't only great as birthday gifts or stocking stuffers for winter holidays. They're a great way to create more flexible payment options for types of guests beyond your usual clientele. Small businesses should encourage customers to hand out gift cards to friends, family members, and coworkers. It's a great way to get bring in potential customers who'd never considered stepping into the business in the first place.

Small businesses should also remember that they can also use QR codes to give more power to their guests, all while streamlining their overall operations. While some marketing strategies don’t usually cover QR codes, these hidden gems can still be helpful to have on hand for your old and new customers. When guests use their mobile devices to look up items, special deals, and more, staff will have more time to focus on other, more time-consuming tasks.

3. Set up a business stand and participate in local events

A man holding a beer glass pulls a lever down to pour beer.
Photo by Louis Hansel / Unsplash

With fall-themed festivals popping up everywhere, there are bound to be some events in your area worthy of your participation. Whether it be Oktoberfest, a Halloween celebration, or even a community Thanksgiving potluck, you could set up a booth or even become a sponsor to help raise brand awareness, all while racking in some profit from curious locals.

Of course, you can conduct market research, post ads on social media platforms, and optimize your website for search engine results pages on your own. Or you can also land some extra outreach by adding automation to your digital marketing plan. With SpotOn’s automated marketing tools, you’ll be able to get your business in front of as many potential customers as possible, all while freeing up more time in your work week.

4. Create fall promotions to celebrate specific holidays

Bowl of tortilla chips next to smaller bowl of guacamole and pico de gallo.
Photo by Juan Manuel Giraldo Grisales / Unsplash

Along with celebrating conventional holidays like Labor Day and Thanksgiving, create some fall advertising for social media-friendly holidays tied to your business, like Guacamole Day (September 16), International Coffee Day (October 1), National Dessert Day (October 14), or Small Business Saturday (November 25). Whether you own a salon, gym, or hardware store doesn't matter. These promotions excite customers about your special deals and offers related to that holiday.

If you want to increase awareness of your holiday discounts, consider sending out a fall newsletter that includes a simple calendar of all the special promotions on different days. Additionally, don't hesitate to feature this promotional calendar on your business website. Doing so could potentially attract more organic traffic to your website than traditional print ads.

5. Hold a photo contest on different social media channels

Social media is by far the most accessible type of online marketing for any small business. Posting simple selfie while tagging your business on Facebook or Instagram can help amplify your presence on social media to others scrolling on their smartphones. To get more reach with your social media posts, try creating a #customhashtag relevant to the new season and your services. If you want to break past the usual fall slogans and clichés, try making a hashtag that connects to a unique giveaway or promotion for your business. Just remember to do your keyword research to ensure you stay on brand with your hashtags and overall social media campaign.

Here are some popular hashtag ideas that can help spread awareness of your fall marketing ideas this season. Be sure to incorporate them naturally to also boost your social media presence:

  1. #Pumpkinspice: This iconic flavor captures the taste of fall for many customers, so incorporating anything involving pumpkins as a hashtag can boost outreach.
  2. #Fallingleaves: Another great hashtag can involve falling foliage or anything associated with the change of the season. Some social media sites even let you include an emoji in your hashtag. For example, you can post on Instagram and use the hashtag #🍂coffee to help get customers excited for a fall promotion towards a free cup of coffee.
  3. #Halloween2023: Halloween and other fall holidays like Thanksgiving are great hashtags to use. Since they’re so popular, these fall holiday hashtags are usually grouped with other tags used for promotions. It’ll help boost your social media content towards a variety of users beyond the customers in your usual market.

6. Run a cross-promotional activity with other businesses

Teaming up with neighboring businesses can be a great way to get a wider reach beyond your target audience, boosting business and exposure for everyone involved. And when you collaborate on these pop-up promotions by combining your resources and marketing efforts, you also get to promote your products or services on weekdays or other slower moments that wouldn’t typically see a lot of guest traffic. Additionally, cross-promotional activity can provide a unique and engaging customer experience by creating a one-stop shop that offers a wider range of products and services customers wouldn’t encounter otherwise.

7.  Hand out themed giveaways

Large sign spelling out GIVEAWAY
Photo by Don Agnello / Unsplash

Fall marks the start of football season and school and the end of summer. It's the perfect season to include themed giveaways in your small business's marketing efforts. You can hand out backpacks, caps, or even tickets to a local game to show some appreciation to your lucky customers. The execution can be as simple as asking customers to sign up for your rewards program through SpotOn Loyalty and randomly picking a winner at the end of each week.

8. Promote limited-time offers

Time-sensitive deals during the fall are a powerful way to bring a sense of urgency to your customers. For example, a surprise flash sale will always excite your customers to crash your business immediately. You can even include a time-sensitive email announcement with a flashy headline to make sure loyal customers feel rewarded for paying attention to their inboxes.

It can be tough to make sure your business is always bustling with activity. Thankfully, there are ways to create a sense of excitement and urgency among your customers. You can boost sales and engage your customers by incorporating time-sensitive promotions and limited-edition products. If you sell clothing, you could release a unique collection that's only available for a short time. These limited-time items will get your customers talking about your brand and motivate them to act quickly before those items sell out. Plus, limited edition products can help you gauge what your customers are interested in buying.

9. Use friends & family discounts as part of your small business marketing strategy

Since Thanksgiving is the perfect excuse to invite friends and family together and relax, you can use that inviting atmosphere to get more families through your doors. Try providing offers that any group can redeem during the weekends leading up to Thanksgiving. If you run a salon or spa, one fall promotional idea is to offer a mother-daughter discount on specific salon treatments like manicures and pedicures. It'll incentivize satisfied customers to post a review on Yelp or share their new nails on Instagram.

People eating a meal around a table.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

Before you have guests recommending you on Yelp, remember to claim your business page on other popular review sites. When you've claimed your Google business profile and Facebook business page, it'll give you more control over what your customers see when searching for these Labor Day discounts.

10. Reward your best customers

Remember, retaining existing customers is easier and more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. You can create a customer loyalty program that gives specific rewards to loyal customers who've been shopping with you the entire year round. Your loyalty program will incentivize recent customers to return after seeing your list of rewards.

You can even identify your best customers through SpotOn Marketing to send exclusive offers or invite them for a “VIP Customers Only” event. When you let them in on these fall promotional ideas, you'll create stronger customer relationships since they'll feel a sense of appreciation for specifically noticing them.

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