SMB Marketing Tips For The Holidays

The fourth quarter is supposed to be the strongest time of the year for local businesses. Even the National Retail Federation says that almost 20% of annual sales can be attributed to holiday purchases. But Q4 is more than carols, sugar plumbs, and turkey. Halloween is becoming one of the most popular holidays in the country, Labor Day holds strong allure to a number of our own local businesses, and year-end/New Year’s events are always on the coat tails of Christmas and Hanukkah.

While Q4 retail events may hold some tradition, the use of “traditional” marketing tactics won’t hold up with today’s audiences. Keeping up with the competition is going to demand updated methods. Here’s four recommendations that all local businesses should hear, and follow.

  1. Get an Early Start-It seems as though the holiday season starts earlier every year. If you count Halloween, you could even say that holiday marketing starts by Labor Day!
  2. Target Separate Events of the Season-While we talk about “the holiday season” as if it’s one long stretch, it’s actually divided into many parts. Halloween is now a huge event that you can tie into your marketing, even if it’s just to hold a spooky sale with scary discounts. Other specific holiday and seasonal events you can use in your marketing include, Veteran’s Day, Hanukkah, New Year’s, end of Fall/start of Winter, etc.
  3. Incorporate Mobile Marketing-With more than 50% of internet access being conducted on mobile devices, you can’t overlook ways to use it as part of your holiday marketing strategy.
  4. Look Ahead to the New Year-While the holiday season officially ends on New Year’s Day, savvy businesses can connect their holiday marketing with customers’ needs during the post-holiday season. Consumers have come to expect extra savings at the beginning of the year.

For the full breakdown on these recommendations, check out HuffPost, from 9/16/17.

Quote of the week

 “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

― Peter Drucker

Getting To Know Your MOM

  • Follow MOM, receive an email notification every time a new update of MOM is published. If you are a WordPress user and are logged in, just click the Follow button in the admin bar. If you are not a WordPress user, or are logged out, just click the Follow button in the lower right-hand corner of your blog’s home page.
  • The menu in the upper right includes tabs that will maintain static pages. We will keep updating the information on these pages as we go, but you should be able to find links, names, and phone numbers that you need on a regular basis. You can use this kind of like your own in-house directory.
  • Rate any post, or leave a comment. 
  • MOM is available on ALL devices…desktop, mobile (Android & iOS), and tablet.

This is your MOM, at least at work that is.

All digital revenue counts towards our overall performance, but we’ve added a few packages to help open up even more conversations. We have intermediate and short-term campaign specials that fit many budgets and offer digital campaigns with print support. And in addition, those that participate are able to add additional ENC Media Group components value priced for easy adoption.

For details on the Revenue Race packages check them out here on the Drive.

More Ways to Reach ThriveHive Training

We now have two ways to contact the Training Team: OR a new phone number 877-863-2723. Any time you need to know something specific about a product, the training team will be able to provide direction. Please allow 24 hour turn around for most inquiries…they are able to beat that often.

Note: If anyone has gone directly to the ThriveHive website and used their chat box for a training question, please remember that this site is for consumers. It is not an internal website. This specific tool is a lead generation tool for businesses looking for information on the Guided Marketing Platform.

For more information see the ThriveHive training website from your LMS.



The “3 P’s of Q4 & Holidays…

Packages, Pricing, and Presentations

Packages, pricing, and presentations are on the drive! 

There are many reasons to see all local businesses today about a strong finish to 2017. And ENC’s pricing is already set. Check out the deck from our Q4 kick off, plus the Q4 customer presentation template. You will also see sample presentations for guidance.

Remember, most local businesses are expecting a stronger holiday season this year, help them make that come true with our great Q4 bundles!

  1. Plan and prep: do your research
  2. Call opening: make the right intro based on your research and questions to get the right to perform your needs analysis (remember, you can use the Readers Choice voting as a basis for questions.)
  3. Needs Analysis: start your needs assessment
  4. Develop Solutions:choose the package that fits the needs, just modify the presentation provided
  5. Gain Agreement in Principal: make the convincing presentation, gain agreement in principle to help the business build their brand for a chance at winning next year.
  6. Gain Agreement in Price: close the sale



Sell Thru Report

Inventory Availability

Digital Campaign Reports

Monthly O&O Audience Reports

Inventory Alert

We are entering a busy time for our digital sales requests. Please check in advance for any schedule that you propose to sell or one to which we will need to commit. We can make inventory available, our customers and clients will receive the digital value they expect. However we will need to know ahead of time to schedule. If you have a campaign that is going to start in the intermediate future, no matter how far out it extends. PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR ORDERS IN THEIR ENTIRETY ASAP. We will reserve the inventory accordingly so client orders will be fulfilled.


Events & Promotion

ENC Live is…

ENC Media Group’s events are now available with their own website, ENC Live is also now available from,, and, via the left hand menu navigation. We will be pointing all future website navigation for our live events to this website, and updating the site with appropriate detail and information. This is just another step in ENC’s evolution as a leading marketing services provider in the eastern and coastal North Carolina region.

Events More Important Than Ever To Local Media Companies

GateHouse Media and GatehouseLive are not alone. Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the US (in terms of daily circulation, GateHouse is the largest in terms of the number of titles) is increasing its focus on local events under a single Gannet Brand. Their 2017 target is 500 local and regional events, and they are taking an incredibly important role in solidifying relationships with local businesses in each of their markets. GateHouse and GateHouse Live’s focus is identical. Wilmington Star News has already seen the power of GateHouse Live with their first High School Athlete of the Week event earlier this year. ENC Live will be focusing on developing more events here, and will be working with GateHouse Live when appropriate.

Upcoming ENCLive events

  • ENC Home & Holiday Gift Show  December 15 & 16, 2017
  • ENC Bridal & Special Event Expo  January 21, 2018
  • ENC Jacksonville Home & Garden Show  March 10 & 11, 2018
  • ENC New Bern Home & Garden Show  March 17 & 18, 2018


Best of the Best-Readers Choice Events

Are you going to attend our first Readers Choice Receptions this year?

  • New Bern Best of the Best, Riverfront Convention Center, 9/26/17, 5 pm – 7 pm
  • Kinston Best of the Best, CSS Neuse Interpretive Center, 10/10/17, 5 pm – 7 pm

Both of these events are now proudly being promoted as events our the Sun Journal and Free Press Facebook Pages. Do yourself a favor, check out these events on our social media sites, and check off whether you are going or not. That kind of activity breeds more interest!

Halloween Pet Photo Contest

Who doesn’t like pets? Who doesn’t like pets in costume? Who doesn’t like a great marketing value?

  • Sell sheets on this will be out in a few days, but here’s the summary.
  • $5,000 worth of marketing value
  • 45% Discount
  • Total cost $2,799

This includes a separate marketing program for the sponsor that can extend for 3 months, (Premium digital, plus a promotion, a “KPI 2-fer”!)

Look for our Veteran’s Day Promotion very quickly!


Pie Chart of the Week

Who’s the competition? EVERYONE!


This chart represents data captured from the Borrell 2017 SMB survey. When asking local SMB’s “who handles “digital services” for them, there was very little consensus. In fact, there was absolutely no clear winner. Not too surprisingly, GoDaddy received the most responses, but that represented only 5% of the total. And even more businesses said they handled their digital services “themselves” than outsourcing the services to Google. Family showed up among all the responses, as some businesses preferred to outsource their digital services to “wife” and “son-in-law”.

What does this mean to me? 

Digital Services are highly competitive. And successfully fulfilling them for local businesses is not the same as selling a full-page to the same business. Our internal training is where this starts, then it moves to a comprehensive understanding of what the services can do , and what the local business wants to accomplish. (Another outcome of this year’s survey was a demand that local media company sales representatives become more knowledgeable in the tools they were providing.)

So our local businesses are telling us they are willing to outsource support for digital services. And our ability to be successful is dependent upon our comprehensive knowledge of the tools we are providing.

ThriveHive training offers very complete webinars and videos on all products, some you may not already be aware of. Please access the training site regularly to keep up to date with all that is available.

Other notables receiving responses were This is from Borrell Assoc’s 2016 survey, but it is still valid. And we should expect this trend to continue. Facebook itself, is on the verge of eclipsing local media companies as a preferred marketing choice. Social media overall, ranks #2 for marketing choice, behind paid search. But dissecting social overall, uncovers that Facebook was an overwhelming favorite in 2016. The new 2017 results will tell us that SMB’s have merely continued to go down the Facebook path for local marketing. (Facebook advertising falls within the “Targeted Display” category within the SMB Survey results.)

The bottom line.

The bottom line is this. We have continued to presume that Facebook advertising is a specialty that only large players can utilize. Yet we seem to have little challenge recommending Targeted Display to most of our customers. Facebook advertising (different from social media management) falls within the Targeted Display channel category…it’s targeted advertising. And an overwhelming majority of local businesses are relying heavily on Facebook for their targeting activities.

It’s time we helped them do it professionally.

Too many SMB’s continue to presume that anything posted or boosted on Facebook is targeted advertising. The truth is, it’s not targeted in some cases, and it’s not advertising in other cases. It’s time we took a hard look at our Facebook…and Instagram…offerings and categorized them as strong targeting channels. This holiday season, many local businesses will be looking at Facebook to help them find customers and create a wider fan base. It’s time we placed our social media advertising capabilities next to our targeted display capabilities and start utilizing the channels that make the most sense for our local businesses.

Note: we will have special Q4 targeted and social media advertising packages for businesses to use all thru the holiday season. Take some time to review the ThriveHive training on social media advertising, this will help us as well as our local businesses have a great 4th quarter.  


…the new norm

Training with Tom

Tom Ellis will be in ENC land on September 25-28 to visit with each one of us with a very specific agenda…prospecting.


  • Research and planning leading to a phone call or in-person cold call
  • Cold opening and transition to customer needs analysis
  • Field calls, either via appointment or walk in

These will be 3-4 hour sessions with every member of the sales team. All times have been assigned, please review, sign up sheet here.

Author: David Prizer

Digital media executive and thought leader, emphasizing local and small business strategies. 20 years of experience in metro and community markets. Still watching Seinfeld reruns and holding out for a Cubs-White Sox subway series in my lifetime.

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