The lag period after dollar-draining Christmas can be a difficult time for some companies to make sales, but New Year's presents the perfect opportunity to start the year off right for intrepid marketers who aren't afraid to go full throttle. The trick is in knowing what customers buy around the New Year's holiday, and the answer isn't necessarily champagne, horns and other party supplies. Those are products, and like any other product there's always a market for them. So then, what people buy on the New Year's holiday isn't as important as why people make purchases on the New Year's holiday. What motivates your customers to spend money a mere week or two after major holiday (and expensive gift-giving) celebrations?
Customers want big sales
The first, and most obvious, reason customers make purchases on the New Year's holiday is to take advantage of stupendous sales. Liquidated inventory, revolutionary promotions and after-Christmas steals dominate the market. Just like any other time of year, if you want your customers to flock to your business for deep discounts you'll have to launch a robust direct-marketing campaign. Start with posters distributed where your target buyers congregate and postcards mailed directly to their doors. With the right offer and bit of creative copy ("Your belated Christmas gift," for example), you should see a spike in business no matter the season - if you give a good reason.
Customers also make purchases based on image. The New Year is a time for new resolutions, and many people contemplate their personal images. Getting in shape, wearing a stylish wardrobe, being more fiscally responsible, remodeling the house - these are all examples of ways people might resolve to be different or better in the upcoming year. See if you can tie in your product or service as a way to help your customers feel better and gain a better personal image.
Make way for progress
In that same light, customers are considering how they can progress. Some people are considering going back to school, making a career change, purchasing a home or new car, or investing money. Divide your products and services into marketable sub-niches, and conquer your audience by exceeding sales projections. Many small businesses are reluctant to specialize, but the more you can identify with a specific customer the more opportunities you'll have to make sales.
Time to splurge
People also make New Year's purchases simply because they want to splurge on themselves. Many people have spent the last six weeks shopping for others, and they've seen many things they'd like to own. Perhaps they wanted to wait to see if they received everything on their wish lists, or just didn't want to make any additional purchases until they received their Christmas bonus. Once the holidays are over, they head out with check in-hand to get the stuff they really want. Your best bet: Be there when they come looking for it.
A lot of research has been conducted to try to define exactly what motivates people to spend money, and it is widely available online and in libraries. Still, a bit of common sense goes a long way. People buy to improve their lives, bar none, no matter what time of year it is. Your job is to position your company's products and services to fill that void so that your customers' lives are easier, more enjoyable, or otherwise better.