“Wisdom,” says, “if you want to go big, then prepare early.” Holidays are coming, and the preparations have already begun despite the fact that the covid-19 pandemic has jolted the economic activities around the globe. But, are you, as an entrepreneur, ready to create and implement your holiday marketing strategy?
The corona pandemic has not only severely affected the economies globally but also has changed consumers buying patterns. Customers are inclined to do online shopping more than ever. Businesses have no option left but to strategize their marketing campaigns accordingly. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just a few months away. Now is the right time to start developing a holiday marketing strategy for your business, and here are few crucial tips that can help you.
11 Holiday Marketing Strategies to Consider this Season
Keep Focusing on Customer Experience
When we think about holidays, we mostly think about joys and happiness. But at the same time, they can be a little stressful as well, especially when it comes to gift selection or making arrangements for special occasions (Christmas eve, New Year, etc.).
So how can you, as a business owner, help your customers? Well, you can start by providing useful tricks and tips to make things less stressful for them. You can provide useful information that can make your product or service an automatic selection for customers.
For instance, if you run a superstore, you can create a book with different easy recipes to make cooking easier during the holidays. Most importantly, there is no point in pitching your product or service if it is not helping people during holidays. In a nutshell, your focus should be bettering the customer experience rather than forcing your marketing strategies.
Be an Early Bird
Procrastination is somehow a “built-in” feature in humans, and sometimes businesses do the same. Yes, the season may start in November, but that does not mean you leave everything for the last minute. A lot of consumers prefer last-minute shopping, but there are so many others who start buying early, especially after the pandemic.
That means you need to start developing your marketing campaign for the holidays early (in August or September) and execute it ASAP. This way, you will not only grab early buyers, but you will have enough time to advertise your products for the season. In fact, it will give you time to reassess things timely if plan A doesn’t work.
Adopt Email Marketing Strategy
The holiday season means people have “a lot” to do. For instance, they have to run errands, shop for the holidays, make preparations, etc. Realistically, people usually don’t have enough time for phone calls, physical mails, or in-person meetings. Still, there is one very effective way to reach your customers; emails.
Even during all that hustle, people make time to check their email inbox, and this is where you can pitch your promotional offers, discounts, or seasonal product line. A simple but well-targeted email marketing strategy can get you a heavy influx of customers, yielding more sales.
Use Social Media Platforms
Any marketing campaign is simply incomplete without social media presence. According to statistics, 43 percent of internet users in the United States are termed as “social media shoppers.” This fact alone is enough to motivate any business to utilize social media platforms for marketing purposes.
Social media platforms have a massive user-base, and it becomes pretty easy to reach a huge audience with minimum costs. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are highly suitable for marketing your products or services. Facebook allows you to run classified ads so that you can target a specific group of customers. Instagram is very effective in gaining a broader reach, and people mostly follow Instagram for the latest trends.
Create Video Campaigns
Videos are one of the most effective ways to convey your message. In fact, a one-minute video is as effective as 8 million words. 90% of users said that videos (ads etc.) help them with their purchase decisions.
A business can use its promotional or brand videos in different ways. For instance, you can add your business videos to your business website, social media profiles, and email campaigns so that users can learn more about your brand.
Showcase Your Products on the Internet
Generally, businesses have their outlets/franchises or showrooms to showcase their products. However, with the changing customer preferences, it is equally important to showcase your product on the internet. Showrooms/outlets allow the customers to have a really closer look at the product before they make their purchase decision.
Businesses can make life easier for shoppers by webrooming their products. Webrooms allow users to examine a product from different angles, just like the in-person experience. However, it is important to provide high-quality images/videos of products on webrooms. Last but not least, you need developers and photographers for your webroom, and it may take few months to develop a webroom (depending on your product line).
Just as mentioned above, social media platforms are the biggest markets for businesses. There are literally millions of users on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, etc., and a business can target its potential audience by having social media presence.
Hashtags are really a powerful tool to market your brand if you can get the right ones. Hashtags are not common or useful on Facebook, but they are extremely effective on Instagram and Twitter. Most Instagram users search with the help of hashtags. If you know how to use hashtags effectively, you can easily market your brand on these platforms.
Don’t Underestimate Influencers
How can someone skip the importance of influencers while developing any marketing strategy? Influencers can boost your sales graph to an unbelievable extent. According to a poll on Tomson (influencer marketplace), businesses generate $6.50 on every single dollar they spend on influencer marketing. Not to mention, influence marketing is one of the fastest-growing forms of marketing. Connecting with industry-related influencers is a big plus.
Always Offer Something Free
“Free” is a very desirable word for any shopper. Yes, customers’ main focus is to buy gifts during the holiday season, but they won’t mind something “free” or a gift from brands. If a business can incorporate a “free product or purchase gift” policy, it will be really effective for its holiday marketing strategies. For instance, you can offer free shipping, provide a special discount on spending a specific (minimum) amount, etc.
Don’t Forget Your Existing Customers
While you are looking to grab new customers, DO NOT forget the existing ones. It is easier to keep a customer rather than making a new one. Besides, some shoppers are occasional customers and may switch to other brands easily if they see “better” options.
On the other hand, your current customers are the ones that bring you sales continuously. Offering special discounts or gifts to regular customers can help you easily win their loyalty.
Answer Customers Queries
Customers (especially new ones) always have a lot of doubts and questions in their minds before making a purchase decision. In fact, choosing a gift for loved ones is a matter of serious concern for people because of their cultural or religious values. That is why consumers try to make sure that they buy the best for their friends, family, or loved ones.
How can a business help shoppers? Well, high-quality customer service is a “must-have” part of any holiday marketing strategy. Try to facilitate your customer at every point of their purchase decision. Listen to their concerns and answer them accurately and calmly. An honest and accurate answer helps in gaining customer’s trust.
These were some important ingredients of an effective holiday marketing campaign. However, a lot of businesses make “fierce” marketing mistakes that can literally nullify all their efforts. Here are some of them
Marketing Mistakes to Avoid During the Holiday Season
- Businesses Don’t Know Their Customer Persona. There are not enough words to describe the fact that it is VERY IMPORTANT to understand your customers. As a matter of fact, it has become more important to know your customers after this devastating pandemic because people have lost a lot, and their preferences have changed. That is why just blindly preaching your agenda won’t do you any good.
- Lack of Live Chat and Support. Not answering the queries quickly from potential customers would be a grave mistake for your business. You have to facilitate them at every point of their purchase decision, and setting up live chat and support will make things a lot easier for them.
- No Paid Advertisements. Using free advertising or marketing channels doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t invest in paid advertisements. In fact, paid advertisements, such as Facebook ads, allow you to target a more receptive group of potential customers.
- Last-Minute Planning. As mentioned above, “last-minute” plans can make you lose a lot of customers. A lot of people, after the covid-19 pandemic, prefer buying earlier, and that means you cannot wait for the so-called “right time” to develop and execute a holiday marketing strategy.
- Not Implementing an Email Marketing Strategy. You can miss out on a massive amount of potential sales by not creating an email marketing strategy. In 2017, email campaigns converted more potential customers into actual customers as compared to direct mail and other channels (Source: Shopify Report for the Holiday Season). Therefore, don’t forget to add email campaigns to your holiday marketing strategies.