Holiday Marketing Starts Now!
We know no-one wants to consider seasonal shopping this far ahead of the holidays. Businesses don't want to spend too much of their holiday marketing budget up front, and consumers can't think about the retail rush this early on. Or so the common wisdom goes... Unfortunately, the stats don't agree! According to a Google/Ipsos study, 61 percent of consumers now start researching holiday purchases before Thanksgiving. In short, there's no time like the present to ramp up your holiday marketing and attract customers before your competitors' efforts kick into high gear.
Holiday Marketing: By the NumbersVery few brands still need to be convinced about the value of the holiday period. It's the busiest time of year for many businesses, but let's break down the numbers that emphasize that fact:
- Holiday sales rose to $626.1 billion in 2015, a 3 percent rise despite flat numbers in other areas of the economy. (Source: National Retail Federation)
- E-commerce grew even more rapidly last year, with $341.7 billion from online sales accounting for around one-third of all holiday purchases overall. (Source: Internet Retailer/U.S. Dept. of Commerce)
- More than half of shoppers surveyed about their 2015 purchases said they were open to purchasing from a business they hadn't bought from before. (Source: Google/Ipsos)
- Almost one-quarter of holiday shoppers use their mobile device for some part of the research and purchase process, a number that continues to rise every year. (Source: National Retail Federation)
Be Mobile, Be MemorableSo what can you do to make the most of this seasonal opportunity? There are many ways to reach people at any time of year, but holiday marketing provides a shared experience that you can use to your advantage. By catching different segments of your customer base at the right moment, you can either capitalize on early sales or build a foundation for the sale at a later date. Here are some ways to start connecting with customers early, before the holiday rush hits in a couple of weeks time:
- Segment your customers based on those who buy quickly and those who take more time to reach a purchase. Promotional ideas for the former must be more direct and launched immediately, where as marketing to the latter should initially be focused on engagement, catching their attention and getting your product or service on their radar ahead of the holidays.
- Take advantage of mobile ads on Facebook and Google to catch potential customers on the move. Use the opportunity to make them aware of your location, services, and special offers. Even if they aren't attracted immediately, you'll stand out in advance and stick in their mind when they do start holiday shopping.
- Send an advance card, either for Thanksgiving or a general "Season's Greetings," including a personal thank you and some form of holiday offer. People expect to receive cards throughout December, but November is less common. This makes the act appreciated and helps your offer stand out.
- Share images and videos that relate to the occasion and feature your product, service, office etc. Create a content calendar to ensure that your message is different every day and you cover a variety of content styles.
- Make your earliest promotions "sneak peaks," teasing the customer about the big specials you have coming up in your holiday marketing. Use terms like "insider information" and "for your eyes only" to pique their interest.
- Tie the personal to the professional and ask your employees to attend local shows or community events. Keep an eye on the calendar in your area and look for opportunities to get out into the real world, connect with people, and share the results.
- As you start to celebrate the holidays in your office, share the festivities and encourage customers to do the same. If you can, invite locals to attend and get promotional materials out with early invitations to the event.
- Provide relevant information that your customers will find useful for the season, including ways to use your product or service to help. If you provide kitchenware, for example, recipes and cooking tips that relate to your products would make sense.
- Share amusing or inspiring memes that communicate the sense and spirit of an occasion. Most online audiences will share things that touch them or make them feel good.
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