You’re running your website and you’re seeing growth. And then comes the glorious time right around October to December where there is a sudden and great influx in the amount of people visiting your website and giving you business. This holiday season, as reported by numerous news agencies, was one of the best ones for profit online. In other words, companies that sell online are seeing more business than ever before.

However, if you’re a small to medium size online retailer rather than one of the big giants like 6PM and Finish Line, it might be more difficult to get people running to your website to make purchases rather than going to the big giants who also probably sell the same product as you do and, perhaps, at a slight discount. How can you be prepared for the holiday season next year by starting now?

What I’d advise doing is starting your email list. In other words, starting today, you want to start collecting people’s email addresses. You can do it anyway you want, but one of the more successful ways it to trade a coupon for the address. The person signs up and once they confirm their email account, they then get an email that includes a coupon for whatever percent you want. This is great for two reasons.

First, you’re getting their email which means you’ll be able to communicate with them whenever you want to. Second is that you’ve now given a coupon away which might result in some business. Sure, it’s less revenue than you normally would get, but it’s still a sale and you’ve now got that email.

Now that you’ve got the email account, the next twelve months needs to be strategizing and beginning to get into the hearts and minds of these potential customers. Don’t just start spamming them your latest coupons because they’re more likely to unsubscribe. Bide your time and wait for the real big time when they are really looking to purchase: the holidays.

However, throughout the year, do what you can to increase engagement with your subscribers. If you aren’t already doing so, try and get them to follow you on Twitter and Facebook. The best way to do that is to say that you sometimes post coupons on Twitter and/or Facebook that you don’t email.

You might be asking, “why should I try and get them on Twitter and Facebook when I’ve already got their email?” That’s a good question and let me explain. If you mention your coupon once in email, they might come check it out, but they might not. But, if they see the exact same coupon in their email, on Twitter and on Facebook, they’re more inclined to use it. It’s like advertising: sometimes the person needs to see the same ad five times before it clicks in their minds. If they see the coupon often, they’re more likely to get it.

Throughout the year, send emails out about new products that might be coming out. For example, if you’re an online retailer of designer shirts, talk about the new line that Ralph Lauren is releasing. You can link to it on your website, but don’t make it about the sale. Just reveal the information about it. If the person is interested, they’ll buy it. But, even if they’re not, it’ll intrigue someone who has subscribed to the email.

Finally, when October and November come, the time is now for you to begin marketing. Send an email out to your subscribers a few weeks before Black Friday/Cyber Monday telling them about the big sale that you’re going to have. Tweet about it and post it on Facebook so that those subscribers see it a couple of times.

Then, a few hours before the actual event, send another email out to them. In this email, maybe include an even better coupon. Basically, this will work on their psychology that says “the deal is in a couple hours and you’re going to save even more!” Even if this was the percentage you were going to offer to begin with, by starting a bit lower and rising to it, they’re psyche will be on your side.

Finally, rinse and repeat. Even after the sale is over, don’t forget to continue engaging with your followers. This is how you can continuously get them to buy from you year in and year out. And that’s how you grow your business. The holidays are great; however, it takes a bit of creativity to get business from the big companies.

Guest Post By: Jay is an Internet marketer who helps companies earn revenue online. By researching companies such as 6PM and Finish Line, he’s able to help smaller retailers earn online. He runs a small coupon and discount website that offers info about the finish line promotion and the 6pm discount code for free shipping.