Marketing During Holidays

It's not something that is being questioned anymore. Today's entrepreneurs know that online media is equally important to marketing around the holidays as traditional print media. The challenge is that, with so many businesses issuing online campaigns and going all out to capture the attention of customers, it has become critical to know the right tools to reach your target audience and build visibility  during holidays. This time of year gives you an opportunity to show another side of your business and maintain contact to build the relationship. Here are some tips on how retailers and other SMBs can stay in touch with customers online.

Send holiday greetings

When your customers (like everyone else) are being barraged with holiday messages, it is wise to send short, relevant communications that will be perceived as valuable and respectful of their time. A photo of your team or one showing your community initiative could catch their interest. It could also be an animation, a puzzle or a simple greeting that connects with your customers. You could it post it on YouTube with a link it to your website. If you include an element of humor or quirkiness, it is more likely people will share it and give you more mileage. Check out jibjab.com, a free website that helps in creating funny holiday e-cards. Don't forget to use subtle brand reminders like using colors of your logo or your brand tagline in your message!

Optimize your website for mobile searches

Google predicts 65% of consumers will use their mobile device to look for a business to make in-store purchases.{C}{C}

The findings also project that 44% of total searches for last-minute gifts and store locations will come from mobile devices this holiday season, given data based on historical growth rates. Get your website mobile-optimized for smaller smartphones screen with features that leverage location and touch-screen features to use the opportunity to attract the shoppers this holiday season!

Two points to address while planning your mobile marketing should be:

  • Separate mobile and desktop campaigns—Mobile-only campaigns will help you to target specific groups and geographies and track sales to understand how well mobile marketing is working for your store and what kind of ROI is being generated through these campaigns. It will also help you build a separate database of people who search for your store through their mobile devices to help you to understand their consumption patterns.
  • Mobile-optimized site—Mobile users are looking for information while on the go, from a device that is much smaller with different navigation than a PC. Try to have your website frames streamlined for that screen size. Keep your mobile website light, without any flash, animation or other heavy features. Use content that is relevant and products that don't require large amounts of documentation be read before purchase decisions are made.

Include a social call to action in your online offers

Online offers and promotions could be an effective way to get traffic in your store. Spice them up by including a social call to action. For example, while making a promotional offer via email, make it clear to your readers what you want them to do next. It may be to "Like" you on Facebook to get a coupon, follow you and retweet an offer on Twitter to be eligible for a prize, or continue a hot-topic holiday discussion elsewhere. This will create a ripple effect and take your promotion to a very large number of potential customers.

Grow your database during holidays Holidays are an excellent time to grow your mailing lists too! Invite email sign ups via all your online initiatives. These help you to thank all the new customers who visited your website during holidays and also include them in your future promotions. Remember to incorporate these items:

  • Have a "Subscribe to this newsletter" tab on your promotional newsletters
  • Post sign-up links across your social media accounts
  • Add a "Join our mailing list" tab to your website and Facebook page

Don't forget to be social during holidays Plan your blog posts and schedule them in advance if you plan to close down for holidays. If you are staying away from your computer during this time, then you could use social media scheduling platforms like HootSuite  to post your tweets and Facebook updates on your behalf.

Your social media discussions could be adjusted to align with the holiday spirit. For example, a grocery store blog could discuss tips for husbands on what to get their wives or a sporting goods store could provide safety tips for sledding. Along the same lines, an auto parts store could have a blog post on how to winter-proof your car. Here is an example of a blog that offers a Caramel Apple Kit complete with vintage butter knives and assorted toppings for gifting.

Draft out-of-office email with a holiday feel None of us really want to check mail during holidays, so we put an out-of-office response on our email account and check in when we can. But wouldn't it be better to have a design with a holiday feel on your OOO email? So when your vendors, colleagues and customers email you, they get something to enjoy or that reminds them how thoughtful you are. Something interesting with some good background music could be easily designed or downloaded from the internet. If your team has the skills, you could also design a webpage built with a Christmas puzzle for people to work out. Whatever you choose, it should be something unique that keeps you top-of-mind.

What ideas have you been working on to tie in with the holidays this year? How will they help you engage your customers and give them even more reasons to celebrate?


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