To benefit any readers that were raised on a distant planet and only recently arrived on Earth, let’s start with the obvious: Christmas is an excellent time to market your business. Even businesses that normally aren’t active during the winter or for Christian holidays stand to benefit from marketing their products or services during the season. After all, the local Indian restaurant will see business increase as shoppers stop to eat, surfboards make excellent Christmas gifts, and even season-specific attractions or services (e.g. water amusement parks) can sell gift certificates for the next season. What this means for business owners and marketers is that they need to put their best foot forward during the holidays. Here three tips for creating memorable and profitable holiday marketing campaigns, each for a different style of marketing.
Use a Lot of Images For Social Media Marketing
Social media sites may only create about 2 percent of the direct traffic to ecommerce websites, but their ability to spread information and buzz about a product make them essential for holiday marketing campaigns. Kids can’t ask Santa for things they haven’t heard of, nor will any amount of subtle hints help the husband who doesn’t know the things his wife likes. A quick search of YouTube for “Most Popular Toys 2013” shows that it is not too early to start marketing the perfect Christmas gift.
Images are the best way to get that message out there and make it memorable to consumers. Not only are images more likely to be shared than text-based posts, they make it easier for the customer to remember what they are supposed to be looking for, whether that’s a specific product or particular brand name.
Be sure to use holiday-related imagery as well in individual posts as well as the overall marketing scheme. As was discussed in a previous article on this blog, research has shown that people respond more to Christmas and holiday-themed marketing than they do to generic marketing campaign, during this time of year. There’s no need to schedule a new photoshoot (though it wouldn’t hurt). A little Photoshopping with winter backgrounds, Christmas lights, and a layer of snow can turn just about anything into a piece of holiday merriment.
Make Sure Your Email Marketing Campaign Stands Out From the Norm
For marketers who are trying to use email marketing to reach consumers, the most important thing is building a marketing campaign that is extremely eye-catching and engaging. As one would imagine, consumers will be bombarded with email offers from every retailer they’ve ever shopped with (and a few they never heard of). Marketers need to make sure their offer pops out at the consumer. Coupons for 5 percent off may cut it in March, but for December, retailers need to bring their ‘A’ game.
The same is true for the overall feel of the email marketing campaign. If customers are already used to receiving emails from a retailer, there is a risk that they will only gloss over the information. That’s why the email itself should be designed differently and with more flare than usual. Simple things like Christmas borders or shots of the business owners dressed up in Santa gear may be enough to catch the eye of the marketing weary consumer.
Make Sure Your Ecommerce Site Works
Ecommerce sites are becoming more important for holiday sales. Estimates for 2013 ecommerce sales this holiday season are for more than $60 billion dollars. Clearly, business owners should be trying to get a piece of that pie. As mobile device and tablets increase internet and people’s ability to shop online, small business owners need to make sure that their site is available to people on these kinds of devices. This means more than just making sure the site is usable. Consumers expect a good experience from ecommerce sites, even when viewed from mobile devices. That means fast loading times, all images working, no broken links, and the like.
Of equal importance is ensuring that all coupons and promotions work properly. In the short amount of time it takes for a retailer to become aware of and fix a problem with a coupon, many of the most likely buyers have already been turned off from buying. This includes making sure that affiliate sites are posting accurate information.
“There’s nothing worse for a customer to be excited about a great deal, only to be disappointed at the last minute by a malfunctioning coupon code or a promotion that didn’t work,” said marketing specialist Jason John in an article with Forbes. “So make sure the quality assurance process is scrutinized for the last holiday push.”
Include Mobile Marketing as Part of Multi Pronged Marketing Campaign
Mobile marketing may not yet be the dominating force that it is destined to become, there are still more than enough people using mobile devices for shopping and information that business owners should include a mobile marketing component as part of every comprehensive marketing campaign.
There are a lot of ways that businesses can use mobile marketing, such as using SMS-based coupons, Check-In deals or contests, or using cost per click ads. Business owners should experiment to see what works best for their target audience. However, a business chooses to include mobile marketing, they should make sure to track their efforts. This makes it easier to measure the effectiveness of the campaign so they can refine their efforts for next year.
Deals and specials through mobile devices need to be just as enticing as those for emails or direct mailers. Many retailers have begun to take advantage of mobile marketing, so business owners can expect to see a more competitive playing field.
Though the economy remains sluggish, some experts are projecting a 3 percent increase over last year’s sales. Business owners undoubtedly want to make the most of the holiday season, but they can’t just slap together a campaign and hope for the best. Hopefully, these tips will help business owners find more profits under the tree. Be sure to check this blog for more marketing tips for the holidays and beyond.