If, like many vendors, you’ve waited until now to get your holiday marketing plan together, do not fret—we’re here to help.
The holiday season is one of the most profitable times of the year, and you need to capture every sales opportunity during the next few weeks.
Research firm eMarketer predicts that U.S. retail sales in November and December could grow 5.7 percent over the same period last year. With unemployment having dropped from 5.8 percent at the beginning of the year to 5 percent today, more Americans have more money to spend on loved ones.
Review this list of last minute holiday marketing tips and consider adding a few over the next few weeks to maximize your profits.
Related Article: Unwrapping Success: 4 Online Sales Tips to Make Your Holidays Merry
Keep Specific Days and Dates in Mind
First, get a handle on the key November and December holiday dates. Write these on your calendar and consider what offers you plan to make (and their rationale) in the few days beforehand. It’s interesting to note that Christmas Day is on a Friday. Americans will mostly likely have most of Christmas Eve (Thursday) and the next day off. They will then have Saturday and Sunday to return things and shop for themselves. So don’t neglect a returns and exchanges special to go out on December 26th!
- Black Friday: Black Friday November 27, 2015
- Small Business Saturday: Saturday, November 28
- Cyber Monday: Monday, November 30
- Hannukah: Sunday, December 6 - Monday, December 14
- Christmas Eve: Thursday, December 24
- Christmas Day: Friday, December 25
- Return & Exchanges Day: Saturday, December 26
- Kwanzaa: Saturday, December 26 – Friday, January 1
Update Local Page With Holiday Hours
First and foremost, this year you can update your business hours on your Google My Business listing. Extended hours will only last for a few days or weeks, but working customers depend on them to get their shopping done.
After you update your Google My Business local listing, try to do the same on Yelp, SuperPages, and the other directories where your customers are finding you. Send out an email about your extended hours and consider including an offer. In one MailChimp survey, 100 percent of marketers shared that they planned to use email to reach out to customers during the holiday season.
Sending a paper card or ecard with seasons’ greetings is a great excuse to remind your customers about you. Sending a gift along with your best wishes goes even further. Brick and mortar stores can offer free samples during the season, or coupons for a discount. E-commerce outlets can throw in an additional gift (added value) or discount to any order over $20.
Holiday Themed Blog Posts
If you are a service business, you can help your clients by sending along helpful tips for handling the holiday rush.
Here are some ideas for specific job functions, but in order to come up with your own, think about your specific offering and how that could potentially be of benefit for the holidays.
- Plumbers could write about why it’s critical to tell dinner guests to put unused gravy, meat, and butter into the trash or a bin rather than the garbage disposal. They could also recommend getting slow drains checked out BEFORE holiday guests arrive. Extra bathroom traffic will most likely turn a slow drain into a completely stopped one.
- Accountants can send tips along of how to keep holiday spending in check.
- Therapists and counselors can provide tips for handling the curmudgeon or the firestarter in the family.
- Salon owners provide tips on glamorous up-dos and glittery make-up for holiday parties.
- Family attorneys remind co-parents to remain upbeat whether it’s their year to celebrate with the children or not.
- Veterinarians warn pet owners to keep pets away from the tinsel, rubber bands, ribbons, rich chocolate and loud Aunt Edna.
Related Article: Earlier Every Year: Get Ready for the Holiday Shopping Season Now
Given today’s busy schedules, people want information on the events and issues right in front of them. When you provide that, they feel grateful to you. Their gratitude is the beginning of the trusting bond you’ll have with them. Don’t forget to put these holiday themed blog posts into a newsletter and send it out to your list with a coupon or offer on the end.
Segment Your Email Lists to Prevent Irritating Subscribers
‘Tis the season that everyone needs stuff ( and hopefully, it's your stuff). You have to keep your email offers to a minimum, however, to keep yourself on the “good” list with clients.
Customers want updates, but they do not want to be bombarded with relentless sales messages. One way to keep the money flowing in regularly is to segment your email lists. The veterinarian keeps dog owners, cat owners, and bird owners on separate lists. The salon owner keeps hair clients separate from skin treatment clients. Stagger the offers, switching one list off with another the next week.
Research has shown that once weekly gets a little much for consumers. Every other week works better.
Don’t Forget to Capture Email Addresses
Some Americans ONLY shop during the holidays. The other 10 months, they completely ignore malls, stores, and catalogs. Use a great offer to snatch email addresses while they’re in your store or on your site. After all, these shoppers probably aren’t too devoted to many brands.
In exchange for an email address, you’ll send them your best deals all year as well as useful information they need. Sales people in bricks and mortar stores can explain that they will send the email to the right address with email-only coupons. E-commerce stores offering twenty percent off the Christmas purchase could entice some shoppers to get on the email list. Finally, some vendors choose to hold a raffle where consumers turn over their email address for a chance to win a significant product. The value of this prize should be over $300 in order to get subscribers over their initial resistance.
Related Article: How to Create an Amazing Direct Mail Piece to Generate Holiday Sales
There’s Still Time to Get Your Share of Holiday Sales
Even though time is running out, there is still time to get your holiday marketing in order so you can maximize your sales this holiday season. Be sure to get out your list and check it twice to make sure you’re taking full advantage of this time of year! Happy holidays!