By: Brent Barnhart
on Tuesday, December 04, 2012
The holidays are upon us and Internet marketers and small business owners alike are taking notice. Effectively marketing your small business during the holiday season requires a keen understanding of what works in today's marketing world. Just as there are certain hot items that fly off the shelves during the holiday season, certain strategies are showing big returns for marketers willing to put in the time, effort and creativity to make them work.
Appealing to shoppers during the holidays can be accomplished in three simply steps.
- Make potential customers aware of your deals, discounts and deadlines.
- Make these same customers aware that the clock is ticking.
How exactly is this done?
Reach Everyone On Your (Email) List
This is the big one.
Email marketing was a huge component of Internet marketing efforts during the 2011 holiday season, and this season small businesses are upping their game. According to a recent Hubspot survey
, 96% of businesses that conducted email marketing campaigns during the last holiday season considered them "successful," meanwhile an impressive 54% considered them "extremely successful."
If you've purchased from an online retailer recently, perhaps during Cyber Monday, you're probably well aware that businesses are in full swing when it comes to sending out emails to new and repeat customers. There's a reason for it, too; the numbers don't lie.
Additionally, email marketing is a double-whammy when it comes to reaching new and potential customers. Many buyers are already checking their email for the latest deals; furthermore, a large chunk of these users are doing so on-the-go. There's no better time to reach mobile users, and there's perhaps no better way to grab a user's attention by offering them an enticing deal.
Offering deals and discounts through email marketing is nothing new. That said, the holidays provide an opportunity businesses to be particularly creative in terms of what sort of offers and deals they send out to their respective lists. Gift certificates, store credit, free shipping; you name. Consider deals that won't cut into your bottom line but will keep customers coming back into your doors. For this reason, gift certificates and in-store credit are particularly popular during the holiday season.
How the Holidays Create a Sense of Urgency
When it comes to email marketing or any sort of marketing during the holidays, it's important to try and create a sense of urgency when it comes to your offers, deals and gifts.
As you are probably aware from personal experience, the Saturday before Christmas (December 22nd this year) represents a surge in sales due to last-minute shoppers. While last-minute shoppers tend to become rather desperate, they're still looking for the best deals available. Through time-sensitive offers and discounts, you can serve up such a deal on a silver platter.
Brainstorm additional ways you can employ time-sensitive deals to entice buyers. Consider a deal-a-week strategy up until the weekend befor Christmas, for example. You can further appeal to last-minute shoppers with last minute deals and bargains, or perhaps offer reduced shipping as Christmas Day nears. Such deals encourage buyers to act now rather than later, and as time begins to run out for such shoppers, such discounts can really help provide a reason to seal the deal.
Tis the Season to be Social
The social network as we know it is growing. It's not just about the big three (Facebook, Twitter
and Google Plus) anymore. While some marketers are still getting a handle on what Google's platform is offering, sites such as Pinterest
are breaking through. Marketers are taking notice, with 40% more marketers investing in Pinterest this year versus last year, This may require you to cover more ground when it comes to Social Media. In addition to attempting to reach out to buyers through the social network, many SMBs are upping their ad budgets on Facebook to rev up sales for the holiday season.
If this is out of your expertise or seems overwhelming, don't fret and don't spread yourself too thin.
Simply know that having a social presence during the holiday season is critical. While emails help spell out the deals you're offering loud and clear, the social channel helps keep a line of communication open and allows you to stay visible in front of your users beyond their inbox. Remember; be visible but don't be relentless. Aggressive marketing, both through email and social media, can be a turn-off for buyers.
Think Beyond the Holidays
Like it or not, your business will continue moving past the holiday season; there are plenty of opportunities to employ the aforementioned marketing moves long after the holidays have ended. Once potential customers have entered your list, either through email marketing, social media or by physically stepping into your store, it's crucial to nurture these users and turn them into repeat customers. The holidays represent an ideal time for grabbing the attention of new buyers. By continually engaging these buyers through relevant email marketing and keeping communication open through the social channels, a business is much more likely to retain such customers.
The Bottom Line
The holidays afford businesses an opportunity to be creative when it comes to tried and trusted methods of Internet marketing. Holiday shoppers may seem like a unique breed when it comes to marketing, yet these shoppers can easily become your repeat customers once the holiday season ends. There are many options open to small businesses
when it comes to marketing and reaching out to customers during the holiday season; how will your business spread the cheer?