Though the season has just started to show the briskness of fall, brick-and-mortar aisles are already filling up with Christmas cheer. Too early for holiday marketing and selling, you say? It may seem too early to the average consumer but merchants are on a different clock.
If you haven’t already started planning the holiday marketing for your online store, you’re running late! The analytics uncovered in Google Trends show that searches for ‘Christmas Gift Ideas’ start steadily appearing in August!
Need some help getting on track?
Get your holiday marketing started with these tips
1. Autumn Efforts
Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram are no longer just social fun networks. They are serious eCommerce tools that drive real traffic and buyers to your site… and they’re mostly free. Since social media results are low-cost and measurable, you should start connecting with customers and testing holiday messages/ads on them before frigid weather hits. Put your social media manager to work on holiday marketing ASAP. If you don’t have one, consider hiring part-time help for this task during the holidays. And remember, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram users all adore high-quality images. Use those images to show off your best selling products, high-profit items, and tease about future offerings. Make sure the images are linked to landing pages on your website (or to the products themselves).
2. Festive Favoritism
It costs nothing to be inclusive – doing so can earn you a global audience. By avoiding the typical Christmas bias in your holiday marketing efforts, consider opening the door to all who may be gift shopping during the end of the year. Sure, feature a ton of Christmas spirit but occasionally, throw in messages that recognize the many holidays that will be celebrated this winter. Regardless of who you ‘think’ you’re selling to, all bets are off with the holidays. If you want to maximize your Q4 success, market with all winter season holidays in mind or post a universal message of family, friends, and giving.
3. Holiday Countdown Clocks
You’ve seen those cute ‘xx days til (insert special event here) type of timers, right? They certainly catch shoppers’ attention so take advantage of that interest. Pair holiday countdown clocks with an “Item of the Day” and other featured product suggestion. Doing so will help funnel customers towards your popular, high profit, or overlooked products. Use the countdown to feature any significant countdown that you feel will sell, like the eight days of Hanukkah or the 12 days of Christmas.
4. Sell Yourself
Inspire the holiday spirit in your followers by entertaining and strengthening the connection you have with them. A great way to do this is sharing holiday stories and hellos. Your story can be about your company, the importance of giving and sharing, or a friendly Happy Holidays message. Start working now to develop a feelgood story and watch it put a more personal touch to your holiday marketing campaign.
5. Holiday Announcements
Regardless of your niche market, you’ll undoubtedly send out a handful of holiday announcements this season. Save time and energy by creating and scheduling holiday messages well before the holiday rush. Make sure they include attractive photos that will grab the attention of those who view them. Keep in mind, however, that not all announcements should be promotional. Alternate every post with feel-good stories, shares from other brands you respect, company updates, and general holiday cheer so your target audience doesn’t feel like their being constantly blasted with promotions!
6. Holiday Gift Guides
Post-holiday gift guides on blogs, email, and social networks to spark ideas and provide clever buying ideas for customers. This task is as simple as it gets and yet some online store owners never get around to making gift guides with their own products. It’s easy to do. Just pick a few of your favorite gifts and filter them into your lists. There are so many unique gift lists you can make. Ideas include gift guides for the typical husband, wife, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, sister, and brother, etc, but it can get much more creative. Consider creating lists for teachers, work friends, bosses, secret crushes, favorite ‘mommy friends’, nannies or daycare favorites, yoga teachers, stylists, massage therapists, and more. Keep your gift guides light and festive and provide a variety of price points in the gifts you list.
7. Holiday Promotions
Spread holiday cheer this winter season by giving out free holiday coupons to your customers. Everyone loves a good deal so being able to purchase items using festive coupons will get your shoppers seriously excited about your brand. Consider using promo codes as rewards for sharing your products or company on social media – word of mouth sells!! This type of holiday marketing will drive traffic and inspire customers to purchase more items from your website. So, create compelling and cheery social posts and emails, but remember to include the freebie coupon!
8. Irresistibly Attractive Sales
Tickle your customer’s fancy by offering the best holiday gifts and products. Be very clear when you explain the sales so it’s easier for your shoppers to give into the offer. Expect and make sure your business is ready for a spike in holiday sales as attractive offers bring in more customers. Again, we can’t overemphasize the importance of planning holiday marketing early, before the rush. These holiday sales and offers should be created and scheduled well before holiday madness sets in. This will give you free time to take care of other holiday business needs.
9. Holiday Videos
Ever noticed those awesome holiday videos that are featured on popular social sites? As it turns out, they are highly effective. It’s reported that shoppers who click on video advertisements are almost two times more likely to buy your products. So deck the halls, or your website’s storefront and social media with some sensational holiday videos. Post videos that demonstrate your products in action, share a heartfelt story, or just say “Happy Holidays” and thank your loyal followers for another great year.
10. Eleventh Hour Reminders
Last-minute social media posts and email reminders are a fantastic way to make sure your customers don’t forget someone important on their holiday shopping list. Like many of your other holiday marketing tasks, these reminders should be pre-written and scheduled before Black Friday is even a thought in your shoppers’ minds. You can sculpt media posts for individualized markets such as grandparents, Godchildren, step-parents, and more. Your last-minute emails can include more targeted gift collection suggestions that are based on your customer base and their demographics or your super awesome gift guide lists (see above). Once they’re ready to go, promote, promote, promote them in the days leading up to Christmas!
11. Thank You Notes
End the year with a bang and celebrate what your company has accomplished. Share the great news and best wishes with your customers and they will be glad to know about your success. Thank and provide them with something to look forward to in the next year so they will be more likely to remember you for the next gift-giving occasion. Use the holiday season to promote your upcoming activities and encourage customer loyalty.
The holidays present a lot of opportunities for engaging with and increasing customer loyalty. So, put your best foot forward and make this holiday one to remember. Keep your holiday marketing campaign fun, creative, and engaging to ensure both you and your customers have a happy, festive season.
Do you have more ideas on how to keep your holiday marketing campaigns fun and festive? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!
Inspired by her love of travel, Susan is a passionate supporter of eCommerce software and the idea that people should own their own internet business (so they can work from anywhere in the world). Though she currently resides in California, she is often found blogging from random beaches and teaching her kindergartner the delightful difference between ‘hola’ and ‘ciao’.
With a strong past in product evaluation, educational content, and eCommerce sales, Susan is serious about helping online merchants succeed in their goals. She loves meeting other independent business owners on the road and hopes to run into you one day… maybe in the hammock next to her!