It’s that time of year again, the holiday season is upon us. Arguably the most profitable time of year for many small businesses, the holidays bring about tremendous opportunities for gaining new customers, building brand awareness and increasing sales. In fact, according to the National Retail Foundation, 20-40% of yearly sales for small and mid-sized businesses takes place within the final two months of the year.

Whether customers are researching or purchasing online or in-store, you want to make sure that you have components in place online that guides, encourages and educates them. So how can you increase your chances of standing out against competitors online this year? Here are a few tips.

Determine Your Goals

What was your target holiday revenue last year? What is it this year? What are you going to do to achieve it? In order to meet your goals, both sales and others, you must first determine what they are. Are you looking to gain more social media followers this holiday season, or increase your exposure across multiple channels?

Much like a digital marketing plan you would prepare for the entire year, you should also create one that focuses on holiday goals, specifically. As stated above, this time of year provides the greatest opportunity for optimal sales. Take advantage by putting together a plan, as well as the steps needed to achieve your goals.

Start Sooner Rather than Later

It’s seems that every year holiday promotions start earlier and earlier. Don’t get left behind, sooner is better when it comes to launching your digital promotions and campaigns for the holidays. You want to let consumers know what you’re planning as soon as possible. Keep them in the loop as the year goes on.

Although many people plan to shop on Black Friday, they may be unaware of exactly where they’d like to go. Consumers need to know what you can offer them, whether it’s discounts, a new product or something else. By advertising your offerings prior, you may sway them into visiting your store, as opposed to a competitor’s.

Offer Discounts and Promotions

Nothing sets a business apart better than a good discount or promotion. Think about the problems your customers might be facing this holiday season and come up with promotions that help solve these issues. For instance, you might consider offering free shipping on all orders. Or perhaps a limited offer that runs a few days before the holiday, that way, last minute shoppers will take advantage.

Consumers are continuously researching products and services on mobile devices. According to a Google/Purchase Digital Diary study, of the consumers who used a mobile device to research a product or service, 92% made a purchase within a day and 76% visited a related business within a day.

If you want to capture the attention of these users, it’s a good idea to send targeted promotions via email, or even post about them on social media. This will increase your exposure over multiple avenues, rather than just your website.

Utilize Social Media

Social media is not only an easy way to let people know about your holiday deals and promotions, but it’s also a great avenue for interacting with customers and spreading holiday cheer to them.

Don’t solely promote your business, be sure to set posts aside that simply celebrate the holidays and wish people well during the season. Not only will this humanize your brand, but it will show your commit to customers and making them happy. They might even share your post to their followers to highlight the positive message you’re sending.