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Snowman saying Happy HolidaysThe holiday season is the perfect time to promote your business. There are many ways to leverage this festive time of year to give your small business a boost. Here are five ideas:

1. Start a gift card program
Many businesses can benefit from a gift card program during the holiday season and all year long. According to, gift cards enable small businesses to compete with national chains, bring in new business and help small businesses form long-lasting relationships with customers. There are many types of gift card programs -- using a gift card vendor, in-store only cards and prepaid cards -- and all of them keep business coming through your doors long after the holidays are over.

2. Plan for seasonal giveaways
Consumers are bombarded with deals during the holiday season so it takes a very strategic effort to have your business rise to the top and get the attention it deserves. Consider giving away a big ticket item through a raffle or other randomized drawing. This serves two main purposes: You generate a buzz about your business and you can collect customer information via email opt-ins that bolster your future marketing activities.

3. Donate to charities
The holiday season is a great time to let your customers know how your small business supports various causes. And this doesn't only mean making cash donations. You can donate a percentage of all sales during the holidays to an appropriate charity, sponsor a local event or even match your employees' donations to charities of their choice. Then, mention your charitable activity on your receipt or in your email newsletters, and encourage your customers to give as well.

4. Send greeting cards
If you have a business with a smaller client list, consider sending out holiday greeting cards. This is a great way to thank your clients for their patronage, strengthen your relationships with them and boost your brand's image. You can even include a coupon or branded promotional item with your card to give your clients something that will remind them of your business during the year. Promotional pens, magnets and calendars are great options for this one.

5. Use the power of social media
You can use social media to leverage the holiday season even if you have a brick-and-mortar shop. Consider holding a Twitter chat that provides tips on maintaining productivity during the holidays or getting the best deals when gift shopping. Or, hold a photo contest on Facebook that gets customers engaged and excited about your business. Small Business Trends has some great tips for using social media during the holidays.

You can try just one or a few of these ideas to incorporate the celebrations of the season into your small business. And don't stop when the holidays end! Keep the momentum going all year so you're ready for the next holiday season.

Want to learn more? Get more tips from Alyssa Gregory.

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory is a digital strategist, content marketer and small business consultant with more than 15 years of experience helping businesses reach and engage with their target audience. In 2011, she founded the Small Business Bonfire, an online community for small business owners that also includes a blog and weekly small business newsletter with actionable tips and advice.

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