For many small businesses, the holidays are more than just a time for decorations and music. To many businesses, the holiday season represents a significant chunk of their yearly sales revenue.
Just how big of a chunk? According to the National Retail Foundation, 20%-40% of yearly sales for small and mid-size businesses come in the last two months of the year.
Yes, for SMBs and marketers, this is a time to step your game up and crush the holiday season! The best place to do that? Come on, it’s 2018. You know it’s online. The question is, are you ready for the holiday season?
Whether you’re ready or need a place to get started, here’s how to win big this holiday season.
Create A Plan
I know what you’re thinking. It’s late into November, Christmas is right around the corner. It’s too late, right? Wrong. It’s true that the holidays “unofficially” start around Halloween and many marketers begin their holiday campaigns then.
However, there’s still plenty of time for Christmas and New Year’s. So, if you’re just getting started, make a mental note to start earlier next year. We can still accomplish a lot in these last couple of months!
Planning your holiday marketing strategy entails creating a checklist of activities you’re going to engage in. Running ads online? Check. Creating holiday-themed content? Check. Sales and promotions? Greeting your customers? Decide what you’re running, when it’s running, and create content to promote it.
Get yourself prepared now so you’re not scrambling at the last minute on Christmas Eve.
Up Your Content Game
You already know that content marketing is a winning strategy. However, when it comes to the holiday season, it’s time to take things up a notch. This is a time when everyone’s looking to gain an edge. As such, there’s a lot more competition.
Promo, (disclaimer, this the company I work for) conducted a survey of 400 small business owners and asked them how they were approaching the holidays. Nearly half (45%) said they were creating more content and posting it more often.
One of the key takeaways from this survey? Creating videos is high on the list of priorities. In all, 77% of marketers and SMB owners are using video marketing as part of their overall strategy. And 45% of all of them are planning to post more content for the upcoming holidays.
Content comes in many forms, but video marketing is on the rise and this holiday season you can bet your competitors are going to be upping their game as well. So, your number one tip this holiday season? More video marketing content.
Start creating your content now and add it to the holiday marketing plan you’re creating. Plan out what videos you’ll create and post; along with when and where you’re going to post them.
Run Paid Ads
If you’re already adept at running ad campaigns, the holidays are an excellent time to kick things up a notch. Since holiday sales and promotions are time sensitive, this is no time to play the long game.
Facebook is a great place to focus your attention. Your customers are there, the ad targeting is second to none, and you can set your own budget.
Because this is a holiday promotion, you’ll want to theme your content in that direction. All businesses are going to be running sales and promotions this season. Yours will too! What does that sale look like? Is it free shipping or delivery? A big sale on must-have items?
Create your video ads and target your ideal customer. Theme your content around the holidays so they’ll stand out and your audience will take notice. Then, pay attention to the analytics and make changes if need be.
‘Tis the season for paid video marketing content!
Partner Up With Another Business
A time-honored tradition is a cross-promotional opportunity. Partner up with another local business that is similar to yours without being a direct competitor. Create a special holiday offer that uses both of your products and promotes it to both of your audiences.
This is a great opportunity for video marketing content because both businesses can promote the content to their respective followers. Twice the audience means twice the reach. Will it mean twice the sales also?
Beyond being a great way to increase your reach for the holidays, this is a great opportunity any time of the year. A business similar to yours will likely have some crossover with your own. Both businesses get the opportunity to promote themselves to a new group of like-minded potential customers. The effects during the holidays will be quick. Longterm? You may just make a few new regular customers.
If your business operates solely online, you can still accomplish this by partnering with another online business. If physical products are too difficult to pair up logistically on short notice, cross-promote promo codes, i.e. “When you make a purchase at website X, you’ll get a coupon for website Y.”
Remember: holiday shopping doesn’t just take place in stores anymore!
Offer Bounceback Coupons
An easy, low-cost, and low-tech promotion this holiday season is the bounce back coupon. Bounce back coupons are coupons (or codes) which accompany a purchase. The discount cannot be used for the initial purchase, but instead are used towards a purchase made in the future, usually within a set timeframe.
Think of these discounts as serving three purposes:
- They’re an immediate incentive to buy now. The added value of a discount on a future purchase enhances the appeal of the initial purchase.
- They guarantee that a certain percentage of your customers will be back to use their discount in the future.
- If the initial purchase is made by a customer who is not already a known customer, you’re offering the initial incentive plus the promise of a future discount to someone who just may become a long-term customer of yours.
In this way, the promotion doesn’t have to end with the initial purchase. When the sales end on Christmas Eve, you’ve got an army of future sales already guaranteed. You’ll see benefits for the next several weeks as customers drip back in to use their coupon.
Typically, codes or coupons should have an expiration date. This creates a sense of urgency from the customer and makes them feel like they’re wasting money if they don’t use it before it expires. 30-90 days is a solid time frame to use, depending on the type of products you sell.
This type of promotion is most effective for items such as clothing or accessories but can be effective for others goods or for restaurants, bars, spa services, and more.
The “Like And Share” Promotion
A great way to expand your social reach without having to pay for it is the “like and share” promotion on Facebook. Create a piece of video content promoting your business for the upcoming holiday season. Then, encourage your followers to “like and share” the post for the chance to win a prize.
The prize can be a gift certificate, free shipping, a percentage discount, or a free product. However, the real value for you comes in the “like and share.” By taking that action, your audience is doing the heavy lifting on spreading your content.
The act of “liking” automatically increase your content’s performance and may help its organic reach. By “sharing” the content, your audience is doing your promotional work for you and spreading your content to their followers as well.
Pick a starting and ending date for the contest (usually 24 hours will do) and watch your engagement rates soar.
Space Out Your Promotions
You’re writing all this down in your holiday marketing plan, right? One of the main things to keep in mind is to not try and cram all of your promotions into one block of time. Remember, this holiday season your followers will have both their hands and their social news feeds full. Everyone is traveling, celebrating, and posting things online.
The last thing you want to do is throw all of your promotions on at the same time and try to compete for space on their news feed. Rather, space out your promotions and drip them out as the weeks go on.
Between your cross-promoting, your regular holiday sales, and all the content you’re creating; you should have enough to fill a few weeks worth of holiday-themed posts. And if you’re still thinking there’s not enough time; Christmas was ranked as the best performing holiday of the season for marketing campaigns.
Christmas is undoubtedly the biggest gift-giving holiday of the season so theme your content in that direction to maximize the time you have left!
Ready to Win This Holiday Season?
It’s a little late in the season, but there’s still plenty of time. The stores haven’t all started playing Christmas music yet, eggnog is still on the shelves, and plenty of folks have yet to drag the Christmas lights out from the garage.
Plenty of time to plan and execute a perfect holiday marketing strategy! The tips above will help you win the holidays online. If you need additional help, check out this Holiday Marketing Strategy Guide, and start creating all the content you need to win this holiday season.