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With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, many small businesses are gearing up for the busiest and most profitable time of year. To help you make the most of the season, we brought in 2 MailChimp customers to share their tips and tricks for holiday prep.

Little Barn Apothecary first formed in 2012 when co-founders Joshua Morgan and Brad Scoggins experimented with simple self-care product recipes at home, which friends and family loved and kept requesting. The Atlanta-based company’s safe, alternative, and modern apothecary goods, created using organic and wild-harvested ingredients, officially debuted 3 years later.

Cheeky Peach is an Athens, Georgia-based boutique that Katie Jacobs founded in 2010. The shop specializes in fashion-forward women’s apparel with a Southern twist.

Here are Brad and Katie’s top 3 tips to boost holiday sales:

Katie is big on customer appreciation at Cheeky Peach. Each year, the shop hosts an open house that includes a hot cocoa bar and trunk show by one of their favorite brands. She also throws an exclusive VIP event for their top customers after-hours. “Last year we had hot apps, a bar, and a DJ,” she says. “It ended up turning into a dance party! You really can’t beat shopping and dancing.”

Little Barn also holds events to increase traffic and exposure for the shop, like a campfire and s’mores night. “We love to have interactive events that are not focused on selling a product,” Brad says. “We have seen more interest and conversions from events that bring the community together rather than being ‘sales-pitchy.’” 

At another location, the company also hosts mini master classes during the holidays that focus on techniques to combat holiday stress.

This may seem obvious, but after you’ve placed your orders and staffed up for the holidays, you need to actually let customers know about your holiday plans. Little Barn, for example, sends teasers, email blasts, and social postings leading up to both days.

“The more anticipation you can build always makes the conversions even higher,” Brad says. “One of our biggest days for [our website] is Cyber Monday. Last year we had our largest promotion that day and sales from that day alone matched a typical week sales goal.”

Segmentation and groups are a good way to send people content that they care about. “We segment based on location, how, and where subscribers signed up for our email list,” Brad says.

Little Barn also has specific location events and promos that they send to two segments of customers: those that live close to the events, and return customers. “We segment based on last purchase date to retarget customers who shop primarily during a promo. New launch item segments are typically sent to a VIP segment of frequent customers or those with a higher spend total,” he adds.

“We definitely send more emails because there’s so much going on—that’s generally where our list segments really come into play,” Katie says. “Invites go to certain segments—that’s so important for getting the customers in and shopping during the huge holiday parties we throw.” 

You can also set up marketing automations, which act like a second brain for your business. Once you set them up, they run on their own. Little Barn, for example, finds abandoned cart automations to be the most effective during the holidays.

Katie loves automations and uses them year-round. “They definitely help over the holidays for finalizing that online sale, and helping us remind our customers that we’re here and how we can help,” she says. “It’s like the great customer service we offer in-store, just translating it over to our emails, which makes our branding really strong online.”