If you think your holiday marketing plan is only about tackling your upcoming Christmas campaign, then think again. We’ve got some holiday marketing tips to help you take on everything from Halloween and Small Business Saturday to Cyber Monday, Boxing Day and every holiday sales day in between.
In 2018, holiday retail sales grew 2.9 percent to $707.5 billion, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). It wasn’t as high as retailers hoped but worries of trade wars, a roller-coaster stock market and the government shutdown likely influenced the numbers. Expect those same three factors to influence retail sales in 2019.
Believing that the base economy is sound, and encouraged by high consumer confidence, low unemployment and increasing wages, the NRF, however, still expects retail sales to rise to $3.8 trillion in 2019, up 3.8% to 4.4%. So, you need to get your holiday marketing plan in gear whether the NRF forecast is right or wrong.
To help you out, we’ve gathered some holiday marketing tips to help with your preparation. Not all these ideas will work for every business, but find the ones that might work for you and tailor it toward your products or service.
Most of these holiday marketing ideas are budget-friendly and easy to coordinate, but they do take some planning. Get a head start now so your holiday selling season goes smoothly.
Whether you already have a favorite charity you give to or it’s something you want to start doing, donating to a nonprofit organization benefits more than just the receiver.
Along with the obvious feel-good factor for you and your employees, partnering with a charity can also generate customer loyalty, strong community relationships, increased brand awareness and a hike in your profits. And the holidays are a great time to start a new charitable partnership as consumers are in a giving mood, and obviously, everyone is shopping.
For instance, a business that sells small-batch pet food could partner with the local animal shelter and donate proceeds of each sale, or actual products.
The partnership could be publicized on both partners’ websites and social media accounts as well as including it on promotional materials and product packaging. This could be as simple as adding a starburst label callout to the front of existing products or marketing brochures that showcases the partnership. Offering a place for customers to donate pet supplies or sponsoring a local blanket drive or adoption event could also strengthen community relationships.
No matter what product or service you sell, this type of partnership costs little and both partners reap valuable rewards.
Things to consider when picking a charity to partner with:
Whether it’s putting a jar on the counter of your salon to collect money for the local women’s shelter or donating a $1 of every online candle sale to the American Red Cross, there are amazing benefits for everyone involved.
Taking advantage of increased holiday sales traffic, whether it is online or in-store, is a must.
One great holiday marketing tip is an online contest. It’s a great way to pick up leads, followers and new customers. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money.
Don’t have a lot of followers? Then a good solution would be a Tag-a-Friend contest on Instagram for example.
It’s simple to host this type of giveaway. Using the small-batch pet food as an example again, they could post a cute or funny photo of their favorite pooch and state the giveaway and rules. To enter, followers are asked to comment on the post and tag a friend and then a winner is chosen randomly.
It’s that easy, and these kind of contests are a great way to pick up a lot of free followers and advertising along the way.
Have a good social following already? Try a Post-Your-Own-Picture giveaway to increase engagement.
The pet food owner could have followers post a picture of their pets doing something silly or sweet, maybe even featuring the pet food product, accompanied by a custom hashtag. The more people who enter, the more leads and new customers you get.
If you’re a storefront business without an online social presence, then in-store contests can also be a simple way to garner customers. It can be as easy as customers dropping their name or business card in a fishbowl or guessing the number of candy canes on the store’s Christmas tree.
Want to go bigger? Have a holiday party for customers and local residents
Start on this one early if you want help from social media influencers or bloggers. Especially if you want to partner with ones with large followings that can help your business most. But small influencers with a very targeted niche or local audience can also be extremely valuable.
If you’re unfamiliar with influencers, they are individuals with large followings based on their knowledge of specific industries, items or topics. They post regularly about their specific topic and their followers are completely engaged and take heed of the influencer’s views and recommendations.
For instance, there are numerous pet food influencers that our example company could use to promote their product. Companies like Influence.co are devoted strictly to helping businesses and influencers find each other.
Research, research, research. Sit down in your spare time and Google.
Find local bloggers or ones that cover an industry that’s related to your product or service. Check out their blog, see if people are visiting their site and commenting on posts. You can use a site like websiteiq.com that estimates website traffic.
Build a relationship with the blogger you feel is a good fit. Show them you’re authentic and let them see the value in showcasing your product. If you’re sending a product to review, make sure it’s ready to go and represented in the best light.
Also, the most important holiday marketing tip of all: get a signed contract with any influencer or blogger you work with.
As NYC travel and lifestyle blog, Sher She Goes says, you should have a contract ready from the beginning. Even if it’s a one-page deal, it will not only protect you financially but show that you’re professional as well.
At the end of summer, whether you have a storefront, online shop or both, start offering holiday shopping discounts. Simply tuck an exclusive offer in orders and shopping bags to incentivize customers to return to buy their holiday gifts.
For larger packages or carryout bags, you can easily add a larger personalized holiday card/coupon that customers will see instantly when they open their packages.
If you have smaller products, create your coupons using custom business cards that will fit easily in packaging. These are great to personally hand out to loyal customers as a special appreciation for their business as well.
Get creative. Whatever size card you choose for in-packing, your goal should be to make it refrigerator-worthy. A great offer, combined with a fun slogan or cute photo (see dogs & cats) can mean the difference of getting clipped to your customer’s to-do list or tossed in their trash.
You can easily add on to this campaign by including it in social media posts and email. Create holiday-themed posts that coordinate with the cards you include in packaging then send to your customers and followers.
There are procrastinators everywhere. According to the NRF, in 2018 the average shopper had completed only 53.5% of their shopping by December 15. Target those shoppers and give them an incentive to shop with you. Think about things like a 20% sitewide or in-store discount. Or offer a good deal on a customer-favorite item or service that’s sure to lure in last-minute buyers.
Once you have them in your store or on your site, tempt them with other inexpensive Christmas gift ideas. People are always looking for items they can buy quickly and cheaply for neighbors, friends, and co-workers. Keep that in mind when pitching products on your homepage or placing products by the cash register.
Lastly, pay attention to shipping deadlines as the holidays near. If you offer online holiday deals, you need to be able to get your customers their items when needed. Don’t overpromise.
Do you have any great holiday marketing tips you’ve tried that worked or not? We’d love to share it with our readers to help them with their holiday marketing and sales. Let us know in the comments below.
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