There are various times of year that bring an uptick in demand for certain niches. For example, lawn care brands focus on the warmer spring and summer months to market products and services as people head back out into their yards. However, there is no season more powerful and important to businesses than the holiday shopping season. The 2018 holiday season was the strongest in six years with American consumers spending more than $850 billion shopping online and in-store. With so much brand exposure and money at stake, what are some useful holiday marketing tips brands can use to take advantage?
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Tip 1 – Plan Ahead
The motto of scouts in the United States has long been “be prepared.” You may not be venturing into the woods for a camping trip, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think ahead. Some marketing strategists suggest that summer is the best time to start shaping your plans for the upcoming holiday season. That might be a bit aggressive to broadly apply to all industries, but there is a rule of thumb you can keep in mind.
As autumn approaches, your marketing plan should begin to take shape. One of the best ways you can do this is to look at what other companies in your industry are doing. What tactics are competitors employing? What seems to be working? Do they have something unique and distinctive?
Tip 2 – Advertise Early
You’ve been putting your plans together and compared them to what you’re seeing from competitors, now it’s time to start testing your own ads. You don’t want consumers to hear about deals and offers once they expire or too close to the expiration date. Make sure you roll out ads promoting deals and special offers early. This helps build a sense of excitement among consumers and can actually have them planning their shopping around your event.
Tip 3 – Target the Best Shopping Days
Whether your brand is a small business, online-only, or a major corporation, you will find certain days that work the best for your brand. For example, Small Business Saturday has emerged in recent years as a community-building day that encourages consumers to shop local. If this is your business, you want your ads and marketing content to promote the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Most major national and international brands will roll out ads and promotional content the week of Thanksgiving to capitalize on Black Friday, or even Thanksgiving evening as some stores open early to get a jump on Black Friday sales. Finally, online brands use Cyber Monday (Monday after Thanksgiving) to promote special deals and limited-issue options.
Of course, if your business has a footprint in more than one of these areas, you will want to develop unique promotions for each. For example, a small business that also sells its products online could offer different deals for in-store shoppers on Saturday and exclusive online-only deals for Cyber Monday.
Tip 4 – Give Consumers a Reason to Buy
One of the worst things you can do is create a false sense of urgency among consumers. Online shoppers know how to spot a genuine deal and how to differentiate that against over-hyped deals. If this is a deal or product you only have once or twice a year, that is a valuable commodity and you should focus on promoting that. This gives your consumers a reason to buy rather than relying on false hype to trick consumers into buying. While you might still make money and generate conversions with hype, you will find yourself building a better reputation and generating repeat customers when you give them a valid reason to buy.
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Tip 5 – Include Your Existing Customers in Your Marketing Plan
Finally, it is important not to leave your existing customers on the outside looking in on your holiday marketing plan. In fact, the most important thing you can do is give them something unique that is not available to new customers. For example, you can reach out to those already on your email newsletter lists with offers that new customers won’t find anywhere else online.