Looking for holiday marketing ideas that will work in 2017? You’re in the right place. Don’t make a mistake by missing out on the consumer frenzy between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
If you search “holiday marketing” on Google, you’ll find content about campaigns that have been successful, and brief, textbook marketing advice about what you should be doing.
I’ll be honest—I’m not impressed. These suggestions mostly appeal to national brands, but no one seems interested in helping small and medium businesses get in the game.
That’s where this post comes in. I want to bring you up to speed with the superior digital marketing strategies that are generally only used by retail giants.
The holiday season in November and December can yield your best sales of the year. Your business can and should be a contender just like national brands spending millions of dollars on marketing every month.
Holiday marketing matters. You’ll probably get a sales boost regardless, but with so much more advertising taking place every year, you have to work harder to avoid getting washed out by all the other noise.
A great roundup post on holiday marketing campaigns shares the following about seasonal trends:
- Retailers can expect a 59% increase in customers
- Email frequency to subscribers increases by 50%
- Last year, consumers spent $1.2 billion on Black Friday—just on mobile devices!
You’d be nuts not to take advantage of this season when wallets fly open.
The benefits of holiday marketing aren’t just for retailers selling products—there is a huge opportunity to grow for restaurants and other entertainment businesses too.
You can benefit from these holiday marketing strategies whether you’re a retailer, restaurant, accountant, or pool installation company. The holiday season is primetime for getting people to buy whatever you’re selling.
Use Digital Marketing To Dominate This Holiday Season
Start Promoting Now
November is when 59% of shoppers say they’d like to start seeing holiday advertisements. So in theory, you should start planning your holiday marketing campaigns in September or October.
Let’s be realistic—if you’re a small business, you probably don’t have the time to be that rigorous and plan that far in advance.
I’m writing this post to give you some tangible steps you can take right now. Of course it’s always ideal to plan earlier and earlier.
Whatever you do, make sure you’re hitting your audience hard with Black Friday promotions and then keep at it throughout the holiday season.
Every business amps up their marketing during the holiday season, so what will give your business an edge? Use the following strategies and I promise your business will have a bell-jingling sales season.
Promote On Every Channel—Especially Less Common Ones
Your business has different ideal channels based on your industry and size. To drive explosive sales, hit all your usual channels hard.
Post more frequently than you normally would on Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, and so on.
And if you aren’t using all the best marketing channels for your business, you can either give it a shot or make a strategic decision to wait until next year. Just make sure you start building your following in January!
In order to get any attention during all the holiday noise, you have to make a lot of noise as well.
You might be afraid of being annoying or saturating your customers with too much content, but that’s a better problem to have than not hitting them with enough.
Business owners tell me every day they wish more people knew about their brand, or their customers want them to post more information online. It’s rare that I hear complaints of posting too much.
Since 1 in 5 gift purchases are based on impulse, promote your products everywhere to capitalize on these impulsive purchases.
Keep in mind Facebook organic reach is as low as 2%, so if you don’t already run paid advertisements online, the holiday season is a great time to start. Since people are spending more money than usual, it’s even more likely you’ll get a great ROI.
I named six of the most prevalent platforms before, but don’t neglect less common platforms. Your competition is probably neglecting them, creating a real opportunity for you to stand out.
Depending on your industry, consider whether advertising on Reddit, Quora, Waze, local news sites, and other more obscure channels might be worth it. If you want help charting a course for your specific business, schedule a free consultation and we’d be happy to talk you through it.
Give your website a facelift to feature your best holiday promotions. Create a “holiday promotions” page, add a few slider images and call-to-action buttons, and make sure a website visitor couldn’t possibly miss your holiday deals.
And don’t forget the power of email marketing, still the most effective digital advertising channel in terms of converting campaigns to sales.
Once you’re pushing your holiday promotions on all the right channels, you need to take your digital marketing to the next level to stand out.
Use Remarketing To Skyrocket Your Conversion Rates
If you’re not already familiar with remarketing, the holiday season is a great time to enjoy its massive benefits. You can expect your conversion rates to increase drastically.
Remarketing enables you to increase the value and effectiveness of your marketing efforts by targeting the same individuals across multiple channels.
You know how Facebook creeps you out all the time by showing you ads related to websites you recently visited? That’s remarketing—so let’s make your business a bit creepier AND more profitable!
Set up the Facebook Pixel on your website. Make sure you fully integrate the Pixel across all relevant pages, especially your cart and checkout pages.
If you’re technical or work with a company, you can further integrate the Facebook Pixel with an e-commerce site, reservation system, or whatever you sell on your website. Capturing this data about what specific individuals do on your site is tremendously valuable.
There I go with the fancy marketing terms. “Dynamic remarketing” is promoting specific products or services your website visitors learned about on your site.
For example, if you run a home goods store and sell a wide variety of products, targeting me with a general ad about your store isn’t going to be as effective as possible.
And if I was checking out plants on your website, advertising bedding to me isn’t going to be extremely relevant.
But if you serve an ad to me offering 10-20% off the exact plant I spent a minute reading about, I’m going to think “wow, how convenient” and click through to buy that plant.
Google, Facebook, and other advertising platforms arm you with the tools to score an unbelievable ROI with the right campaigns.
It’s great to have remarketing trackers running on your website year-round, but even if you’re just now hearing about this, you can still use it to make a big difference with your sales.
If your company is big enough to justify the expense and robust effort, consider a comprehensive platform like HubSpot Marketing to take this effort up a notch.
Turn Abandoned Carts Into A Gold Mine
More than two-thirds of online shopping carts are abandoned before a purchase is made. Talk about a disappointing stat for Santa!
You can use the same remarketing tactics we just discussed to serve highly targeted ads to customers who were just a few clicks away from completing the purchase process.
Just think about it—who’s more likely to buy a given product, someone who added it to their cart and left or someone just learning about it for the first time?
People leave online carts all the time, and it’s not just because they changed their minds. With the prevalence of mobile browsing and constant notifications, you shouldn’t be surprised people get distracted.
It’s great to tie in email marketing with your abandoned cart campaigns in addition to Facebook and Google remarketing. Email marketing platforms like MailChimp offer features to make it simple to integrate email campaigns with your website e-commerce system.
You only have so much money to invest in online advertisements, so you should spend this budget with the most effective that will result in the highest ROI. And abandoned cart advertising is among the best uses of your digital ad budget.
Let’s turn on our left brains for a moment—you should put yourself in a position to use data to make great holiday marketing decisions this year and beyond.
Installing the Facebook Pixel (mentioned above) on your website is a great start. You should also make sure you set up Google Analytics.
All the big advertising platforms offer conversion tracking features, which don’t cost extra on top of the ads you’re already buying. You’d be crazy not to use these features that arm you with information to improve your ads over time.
Here’s an excellent video from Google about conversion tracking in AdWords.
Make sure you use an email platform that tracks a ton of data like open rates and click-through rates.
Most of the major platforms offer these features, so just look into what’s available to you and then really think about what the data says. (If you have a boatload of data but you can’t make sense of it, schedule a free consultation and we’ll share our take.)
If you run a lot of paid advertisements or focus heavily on e-commerce, it’s most likely worth it to pay for a platform like LeadPages or ClickFunnels that will help you design the best landing pages in terms of ROI and track the results in detail.
With effective marketing like this, you’ll be in business for years to come. Track all this data about your holiday campaigns, then save it for next year so you can make more informed decisions.
Viral has become an Internet buzzword, but what does it mean? If your business gets viral attention, that’s the best marketing gift Santa could put in your stocking.
Your business or promotion is going viral if tons of people are sharing it, commenting, and giving you completely free traffic with no paid advertising spend on your part.
With greedy organic reach rates, going viral is basically the holy grail now.
Luck is a big part of it—you can’t just read a few bullet points here and go write a post in 5 minutes that will get thousands of shares for free. If that were possible, no one would ever pay for advertisements.
You can certainly strategically develop content and promotions, though, that your audience is likely to share.
In my eyes, “viral” doesn’t have to mean your website crashes from millions of hits and you get invited to appear on Ellen.
It can be as simple as running an effective giveaway that gets a ton of attention in your local market and builds great awareness for your business.
Think about what your audience is most interested in seeing on social media (other than silly arguments of course), and try all sorts of content formats to get something to stick. You can make a video, write a blog post, create an infographic, and so on.
Be Bold: Run A Shocking Promotion
I don’t want to state the obvious, but I have to get back to the marketing basics for this last point.
Your offer needs to be absolutely awesome, desirable, and memorable. And it needs to be better than what your competition is offering.
Your customers are probably in the 97% of consumers who look for deals before making a purchase.
It’s true, the Internet has turned us all into “coupon clippers!”
So give your audience a coupon worth clipping, or in other words, an offer worth clicking on. When every fourth post they’ll see on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms is a holiday advertisement throughout November and December, an awesome offer is the bare minimum you can do to grab their attention.
Customers don’t care who they’re buying from, they just want the best deal.
Whatever you sell, you might think “if I always sold at this price, I’d go out of business!”
That’s probably how you should feel about your holiday promotion. If not, the promotion isn’t bold enough.
Here’s why it’s ok: you’ll sell a lot more volume than normal and you can earn back many of these customers for additional purchases throughout the year.
It’s also great for cashflow at the end of the year or liquidating inventory of an old item you don’t intend to sell in the following year.
Restrict these promotions to a limited time to encourage your customers to buy now. This is why time-specific promotions like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are so prevalent—they work!
Take advantage of market trends too—when are your customers most likely to buy? If you’re a catering company, offer a sweet deal on a special holiday buffet. If you’re a gym, sell half-off memberships to the New Year’s Resolution crowd. If you sell novelty items almost always bought specifically as gifts, run a great deal and fill stockings everywhere with your product. And so on…
Maximize Your Holiday Marketing
We wanted to craft a way to give business owners a customized playbook for a digital marketing booster shot. We turn around packages very quickly, so it could be just what you need to crush your competition and make this holiday season yield your best sales ever.
Most small businesses don’t use nearly any of these powerful tools in their arsenal, leaving the revenue for the giant corporations. Your product is great, so go claim your piece of the pie.
Implement these strategies and you might just be spending your next holiday season where you belong—on a beach!