Marketing during the holidays takes on new meaning for many business owners. It doesn’t matter if you have an online business or an offline business, planning for holiday sales is crucial to keeping your business going. If you ignore the holidays and think that sales will come anyway, you’re mistaken.
Even if you sell Christmas trees you will have to plan your marketing efforts. If you don’t sell Christmas trees you have to remember that people often want to hold on to their money during the holidays for holiday-related merchandise. It’ll be up to you to give them a reason to spend it with you.
Plan in Advance
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have; if you don’t plan for holiday sales, you won’t have any. Planning for the holidays has to start in advance of the event, just like any other event that you have ever planned for your business. If you have an offline business, planning will start in July and you’ll start your promotions in September and October. If you have an online business, you can get away with waiting until the end of October to start promoting your November and December events.
Determine what has sold well during the year thus far and figure out how you can repackage and promote those items. Consider repackaging well-selling items with some items that didn’t sell as well during the year. Developing these specials that are only for the holidays will entice those who have not bought yet to buy during these special events. By packaging things in a new way at a new holiday price, you’ll encourage fence sitters to buy. Consider “last chance” sales for some products that you will retire after the New Year.
Segment Your Marketing List
Focus your holiday promotions on people who are on your list who have not purchased your products and services yet. By being exposed to the holiday specials, they may become customers before the year is out in order to not miss out. Create a special sign-up form for people who want to be on the holiday promotions list. Promote the list on social media, your website, and if you have a physical location, in the store.
Give Extra Incentives and Gifts
During the holidays it’s fun to offer at checkout extra unplanned incentives and gifts to customers who are making a purchase. Throwing in an extra item for a buck, or even free, will make the shopping experience fun for the customer and encourage a complete checkout. Everyone loves surprises, and this is a great way to surprise someone and encourage more purchases.
Plan and Organize an Event
Whether you have an online business or offline business, you can plan and organize holiday events. A holiday webinar created with some partners, or an in-store event offering free hot cocoa or pictures with Santa will enliven your customers and bring out the holiday spirit. Just a little creativity goes a long way. You can even have an online scavenger hunt using social media, blogs and hashtags.
Partner with Other Business Owners
As mentioned above with the idea of the webinar, getting more business owners in on the event will create a lot more buzz. You can do the same if you own a bricks and mortar store by asking local businesses to work together on an event like a scavenger hunt where someone will win a big prize package that everyone donated to. Events can garner free advertising in the form of press coverage about the event.
Donate to Charity
You can make promotion simple by donating a percentage of sales for a particular item or all items during the holidays. Choose your dates and promote the charity. You can even give your customers a choice of charities. For instance, let them vote at checkout which charity they’d like the money to go to. You can either divide it as the customer directs or make it a contest where a certain charity will get it all based on customer votes.
By planning ahead and giving these ideas some consideration, you can make the holiday season your best time for new sales. If you wait around and don’t plan anything, you’re likely to be disappointed by the lack of sales.