It may be too early to start chopping down pine trees or even unrolling the Thanksgiving decorations for that matter, but it’s never too early to start planning what your business is going to do during the holiday season.
November and December are huge months for all kinds of retailers. To phrase it in medieval terms: competition is fierce, but the rewards can be great.
To make sure your marketing promotions reach their full potential, don’t forget to go into the holiday season with a checklist that asks these questions:
1. Do you have a special holiday deal for customers?
Start planning out your holiday marketing campaign by thinking about what you’re going to do to stick out during the big shopping season.
For example, Nicole Arnold, Owner of Little Cottage Services, is helping one client run an email marketing campaign called “The 12 Weeks of Christmas,” which provides customers with a new deal every week.
“We’re also planning on running a contest on Facebook in November to give away multiple gift certificates,” she says.
This shows us things haven’t changed much at their core. Discounts, exclusive offers, and special sales are still the traditional methods for getting customers into the store.
But the way you communicate those benefits has changed.
All three of these promotional methods can help expand your potential audience, because they allow recipients to share the deal with friends.
“The key is to know who your customer is and what they value as a good deal,” says Nicole. “You should have a plan for current customers and for new ones. The holidays are a great opportunity to do some really fun things.”
2. Are your promotions focused?
When you do send out something about your promotion, you don’t want customers to get distracted by something else. That’s why any marketing material you send out should be laser-focused.
Emails should exclusively showcase the deal. Websites should prominently display the deal to visitors as soon as they get to the page.
You may even want to consider creating a central location you can link to from your social media sites and email, to track how many people are visiting the page about the deal.
Better yet, consider using SaveLocal, which can do the tracking for you and create an easily shareable page, with built-in share incentives.
3. Have you updated everything to reflect your special deal?
Once you’ve planned out a deal for the holidays, make sure all of your channels are synced up with your promotion. You don’t want it hidden somewhere on the website, because no one will know it’s there.
Carefully check every online property your business owns and update them accordingly.
Creating special landing pages and copy to accommodate the holiday season is a good idea, too. Go through your email messages, social media posts, and company website to update accordingly.
“Use links in your emails to landing pages, so people don’t have to search for the specific offer you’re making,” Nicole advises. “Sending someone to the homepage of your site is less effective. You sold them in the email, make it easy for them to complete the purchase.”
4. Have you created a funnel?
Having a central place for your deal will help you take the most important step: building your sales funnel.
Are you trying to attract new customers or old customers? Probably both, but that means you’ll want to consider how you market the deal.
New customers are more likely to come in from search engines for specific terms, so consider using Google Adwords and search engine optimization (SEO) to boost your place in the results.
Nicole explains that to really stick out, you need to offer something the competition can’t.
“Don’t match big retailer’s prices, offer services they can’t. You won’t beat Amazon at their own game, so think of bundles and other creative packages.”
From there, she says you’ll want to find a way to capture emails or “likes” from new customers, so you can communicate with them later.
Both social media and email marketing are great ways to follow up with leads.
When it’s all said and done…
Outline your parameters for success. This could mean the sales you receive during a certain time period, or the amount of money coming in from one specific deal.
Either way, create a system that helps you track the revenue from your holiday promotion.
Measure how effective each channel was, from email, to Facebook, to direct mail, so next holiday season you can keep making the promotion better and better.
Want to learn more about how to plan for the holidays? Check out our free live webinar about planning for the holiday season!
Want to plan for Small Business Saturday? Check out our toolkit for holiday planning!