The holiday season is just around the corner, and with it comes a lot of shopping. Like the kind of shopping that could almost qualify as a competitive sport. Consumer spending during this year’s holiday season is expected to increase as much as 4.8%, and e-commerce sales are expected to jump 14%.

That’s one huge chunk of change. I’d like one business owner to tell me they don’t want a slice of that figgy pudding.

So, what can your business do to cash in on the holiday season? I’m so glad you asked. But first, here’s a list of all the holidays coming up that can earn your business some serious cash this season:

Your Holiday Marketing Tips

Preparation is key

And that means if you haven’t started preparing for the holiday season, you should probably start. No, you should definitely start. If the onslaught of frenzied shoppers isn’t enough, a recent survey from the National Retail Federation states that 54% of shoppers begin researching products and sales in October or earlier. This means they’re looking at recommendations from retailers and relying on product reviews.

Read one of our earlier blog posts for a more detailed approach to planning your holiday marketing.

Send Limited-Time offers

By nature, the holiday season is limited-time. And by nature of the sales, people are ready and willing to make on-the-spot purchases. If you’re having a sale for an extended period of days, you can highlight certain products or services with a limited-time offer/ coupon that can only be used or claimed during one specific day of your sale. The most effective way to let your customers know of these limited-time offers are by sending a simple promotional email. The urgency of a “sale within a sale” will drive foot traffic/ clicks because nobody likes FOMO (fear of missing out).

Send Holiday Cards

One of the best selling points for your business is to appreciate the customers you already have and thank them for their business this year. When customers feel appreciated, they spend more money. And the holidays are the perfect time to tie the whole year up with a bow. If your budget allows it, snail mail is always the best. You can also send a holiday video or e-card to your email list as well!

Return Policy Transparency

Make sure it’s clear. Make sure it’s easy. If you ship your items out, offer free return shipping. If they purchase in-store, offer a full refund instead of an in-store credit. Consumers expect a generous and transparent return policy, and by neglecting this, you could lose a ton of sales.

Sponsor a local holiday event

This can be huge for small local businesses to get exposure to more people in your area who would love to shop with you. Research local holiday festivals, parades, or parties to see if they accept sponsors.

Host a Secret sale (online or in-store)

People love being in on a secret. Reward your most valued customers and/or email list by hosting a secret sale exclusive only to them. Offer certain products or services to them before they go on sale for everyone else, or even with a little bit of an extra discount. Or maybe you want to offer those prices exclusive to them.

Holiday Blog Campaign

If your business has a blog, consider creating themed blog posts featuring your products. Spin them in the way of providing gift ideas, recipes, how to host the perfect holiday party, etc. The point is to show how your products can work in your reader’s everyday life.

If you don’t have a blog, no problem! Chances are, there are plenty of relevant bloggers in your niche and community that write holiday gift guides. Reach out to the bloggers with a sample of your products and services and ask for a spotlight on their blog!

Exclusive Downloadable Bonuses

If you’re primarily B2B, you could offer exclusive downloads you would usually charge for as a bonus for signing up with you during the holiday season.

Start gathering reviews

I’m not kidding. Earlier I mentioned that shoppers are starting their research now and relying on reviews to help them. That same survey said that 96% of shoppers read reviews specific to the businesses site. So those first-party reviews your business gather (these are reviews that live on your website, not on Google, Yelp, etc.) is super important during the holiday season. The more recent the reviews the better since most people don’t really consider anything older than three months relevant enough.

We’ve got a great system here at IGV for review generation and local search engine optimization all in one, so check it out here to learn more.

Even More Holiday Advertising Tips

Check out this great infographic from Strike Social packed with even more tips to advertise your business during the holidays!

See info Graph!

Let’s “Wrap” This Up

Those are all just a few ways your business can amp up its holiday marketing for 2019. The possibilities are really endless. Hopefully we provided you with some ideas to get you started. And really, get started – your customers are starting to research you now!

Winter SaleIt’s never too early for your small business to start preparing for the holiday season. With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday right around the corner it’s time to start thinking about how your business can ramp up your marketing. Having a solid plan in place going into the holiday season will help your business be prepared and avoid any last minute rushing to get ready. You want to start early so you have time to develop your plan, create any marketing materials and train you staff on how to handle the holiday rush. Whether you are a business-to-business, business-to-consumer or a non-profit it helps to start planning early for your holiday promotion.

Whenever you create a holiday marketing plan you want to make sure that it ties into your overall strategy. You want to make sure it is a cohesive fit with everything else you have been doing all year. You also want to set goals and objectives for your holiday promotion so you know how you did looking back. By having benchmarks in place you are able to compare your seasons from year to year and see how changes you’ve made have helped grow your business during the holiday season.

Some simple things that you can do to help promote your business in the holiday season are to:

  1. Send out a staff holiday email to all of your customers thanking them for being loyal customers.
  2. Offer holiday based promotions such as your own version of a Black Friday Sale, offer free holiday shipping or a discounts and coupons.
  3. Hold holiday based social media contests, like Facebook sweepstakes to increase your engagement and grow your email list. An example can be share your favorite holiday tradition for the chance to win some sort of prize.
  4. Send out holiday themed emails with trackable coupons so you can easily track who used the code and how many total people used the coupon.
  5. Make sure to cross-promote your Holiday Marketing efforts on all platforms including email & social media.

Whatever promotional material you create should relate back to your brand in some way. You can use holiday colors but make sure that you logo is present and you use a similar font to your website so people can easily recognize your brand. Make sure to pick a theme and stick with it, you don’t want all of your print to one theme and everything on social media has another. You want to make sure everything is cohesive and looks similar.

So make sure that you start planning early for this holiday season! Give yourself an adequate amount of time to plan, create and execute your plan. Keep in mind that most people feel that it is normal to start seeing holiday promotions in November. Make sure that whatever plan you come up with ties into your overall marketing strategy for the year and stays true to your company’s brand. Pick promotions that your customers will appreciate and make sure to thank them for being your loyal customers! Need help getting started? Contact IGV today to help formulate your holiday marketing plan and create and execute any promotional materials you may need.

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