By Margie Zable Fisher

The holiday season is one of the busiest times for many businesses. Gift-buying, holiday meals and parties help keep stores, online shops and restaurants profitable during the fourth quarter.

While your current and potential customers spend time and money on family and friends, they are less likely to think about home-improvement projects. That means a slower season for you and your business.

You can shut your business down for a week or two to give you and your employees a much-needed break, but it’s likely you’ll want to continue operating during the fourth quarter.

What if you could not only continue operations, but grow your home services business during the holiday season, gaining business from new and existing customers? Sounds good, right?

Try these five holiday promotion ideas for small businesses to get creative with your holiday marketing efforts.

1. Holiday Loyalty Offer

The holidays are a perfect time to show appreciation and thanks for your customers. You can do that with a special holiday promotion discount or freebie just for them. This will help you generate business, while reminding customers you value them — a win-win!

Pro tip: Create and schedule an email to send at Thanksgiving (you can do all this in advance, using email or text marketing automation).

For example:

“All of us at Fran’s Plumbing give thanks for your business! We’d also like to offer you a thank you gift of 30% off your next service call. We hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving!”

2. End-of-Year Special

When people aren’t thinking about home services needs during the holidays, give them a reason to pay attention: offer a substantial discount.

The key is to make this a limited-time offer, such as at the end of the year or the week before Christmas.

You can have fun with some of the messages, too:

“Help us give our hard-working employees some time off to enjoy the holidays — hire West Coast HVAC for a furnace tune-up now. Schedule our team for a preventative maintenance service on or before Dec. 20 and get 25% off.”

Remember, one message may not be enough to get them interested. You can send a series of emails and texts weekly (again, using your marketing automation software), starting in early November. Some examples:

“We interrupt your holiday shopping for an important announcement — get 25% off all services by the end of the year.”

“Give yourself a great gift — the security of a new roof. We’re offering 25% off roof construction that begins by Dec. 15.”

Pro tip: End-of-year specials are perfect for sharing on social media. Save time by connecting your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts in one place.

You can then post your special offer to all your social media networks with one click. You can also schedule posts in advance.

3. Holiday Home Services Special Offer

Some companies have services tailor-made for the holiday season.

  • HVAC companies could offer a winter heating checkup.
  • Landscapers can add wintertime services to their offerings, such as snow and ice removal.
  • A plumber could offer a special on new water heaters.

Here’s an example:

“Guests coming for the holidays? Make sure they get a hot shower! Now is a great time to replace your water heater, with a 20% discount for orders placed by Dec. 15.”

Pro tip: Remind customers they can book services anytime, through your online scheduling system.

4. Holiday Email and/or Text Greetings

The holidays are a great time to send greetings and thanks to your customers via email and text.

If your email or text automation systems don’t have pre-built holiday marketing templates, create your own, such as:

“Happy Holidays, Jane! We are thankful for your business. Thanks also for thinking of us when you or your friends or family need plumbing services. There’s no better gift than a plumber they can trust.”

Pro tip: As Dale Carnegie said, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Personalizing your emails and texts, easily done through your marketing automation system, is important. It also helps increase revenue.

5. Participate in a Community Donation Project

The holidays are prime time for helping out those less fortunate.

While volunteering your time and talents is a good thing on its own, it also can drive business your way.

The best part? Home services companies have an advantage over others when it comes to donations. While performing services at homes, your team can pick up donations so your customers don’t have to drop them off somewhere else.

Choose a charity you feel strongly about, or something that provides an easy way to donate (such as non-perishable food for food banks). This will make you and your customers feel good, and help the needy.

Don’t forget to post about this on your social media platforms, too!

Pro tip: Ask customers to share photos of themselves, or offer to take photos of them donating to your charity. Then you can use the photos in social media posts.

Not only will this help create connections with current and potential clients, but social media posts with images receive 2.3 times more engagement than those without, according to BuzzSumo.