Posted on June 25, 2015 by Aaron Johnson
We’ve all seen it – stores with shelves lined with holiday items weeks and sometimes months before the holiday itself. This is not an accident. Advance preparation for the holidays is important to consumers and should also be for companies.
Believe it or not, this is an effective marketing strategy, and it can be easily applied to the online platform. Not only does preemptive action give your customers the ability to avoid a hectic holiday season, some early offers can give your business the opportunity to stay ahead of the curve and avoid being overwhelmed, too.
If your organization is one that tends to see less traffic during the holidays, this can also be a crucial element in preparing to remedy that lull and orchestrate a rush of your own. Below are some tips to get your customers and your company prepared for the Christmas rush, and to become a fixture with your client base in the months to come.
1) Assess Your Client Base
This is an essential element in any client/provider relationship but can become especially useful when crafting a holiday internet marketing strategy. Take an in-depth look at your clients, their spending habits, and their past purchases or activities with your company to determine what their holiday needs may be. Then, begin taking the steps to make those habits work for your benefit.
If your clients tend to hide out during the holiday season, craft holiday marketing strategies to incentivize them to engage. If, during the holidays, customers tend to overwhelm you with business, an early start is the perfect way to make sure they leave satisfied.
2) Focus Your Blogs and Content
If you want to bring customers into your business for the holidays, it may be a good time to begin dropping hints and ideas about the season. Holiday internet marketing is most effective if executed well in advance. This gives clients and customers time to absorb the information and begin their holiday planning. Producing content that steers customers toward the benefits of preparation is a great way to get the holiday – and your organization – on their year-end radar.
3) Work Through Social Media
Social media is an ever-valuable tool for getting the word out about your business. When planning a holiday internet marketing campaign, sometimes social media can be the best way to gently remind your customers about the upcoming festivities while keeping your company on track for the season.
Surplus sales, preemptive discounts, and coupons are great ways to encourage early participation in holiday purchasing. Moreover, products that are set to roll out around the holidays can greatly benefit from social media circulation. Introducing a product with an air of scarcity will create interest in customers and allow them to spread the excitement among their peers.
4) Utilize Creative Displays
Illustrations and videos allow you to communicate your message in an engaging and entertaining way. Christmas in July is a trend for a reason, and creative displays are a good way to capitalize on this attitude. A lighthearted, yet tempting, trailer or a funny graphic may be all it takes to remind your clients about the benefits your business can offer both during the holidays and throughout the year. Also, incorporating graphics into your pre-holiday promotional campaigns will make them more memorable and likely to be shared.
5) Conduct Some Early Bird Promotions
Getting in ahead of the competition can be a great thing, and a Christmas in July promotion is a good way to outdo your competitors. Additionally, an early bird promotion can be an element of holiday internet marketing that allows you to assess your client base and gather preliminary figures on interest during the holiday season. Keep a detailed account of each respondent, their level of interest, and their holiday history to assist you in determining how much preparation is necessary for when the holidays actually arrive.
6) Organize and Introduce Your Holiday Products or Services
If you operate an inventory-based business, the summer is a great time to get a preliminary idea of your wares. Organizing your products will ease your stress when the busy season rolls around, and an early introduction could seat your products in your clients’ minds for the holidays to come.
Introducing your product or service promotions early gives your clients time to prepare and provides wiggle room for your staff to drum up interest. A product that is introduced early is given more exposure, and if that product is not available until the holiday season begins this might be a great time to reveal it and give loyal customers the opportunity to preorder.
7) Plan a Shipping Campaign
A great way to get people to engage in early purchasing is to give them incentive to do so. Planning a campaign that will get products to your clients in plenty of time for the holidays with little to no cost for shipping may be just the push they need to make their decision.
In addition, working with shippers to establish general guidelines for activity and possibly partake in promotions will save your company stress and money during the rush. The winter holidays are some of the busiest shipping times, and preparation is extremely important when dealing with distributing your wares in a timely and effective manner.
8) Craft an Email Marketing Strategy
It may behoove your company to treat holiday internet marketing as more of a marathon than a sprint. Crafting a basic outline of steps you plan to take is a good idea early on in the year, and as time passes you can fill in the outline with content and advertisements.
For example, using the summer to plan and implement a fall campaign that focuses on the holidays to come is a good first step. During the fall, remind customers of the nearness of the holidays, their hectic nature, and the savings they could take advantage of by taking immediate action.
As the holidays come closer, begin sprinkling in relevant promotions, deals, and services available. Have your marketing strategy well laid out before the holiday arrives by having defined dates, content outlines, and promotional options for your holiday campaign. This can mitigate the rush and give you a decent game plan to work from.
9) Analyze Past Holiday Seasons
By referring to past holidays and their effects on your business, you can make general predictions about what future holidays might bring. Did your business see a sharp spike during the holidays? Maybe it’s time that you prepare yourself for the rush that the winter season will bring. Was business during the holidays in decline? Analyze why that could be and start implementing strategies to correct it in future seasons.
On a smaller level, it might be a good idea to check on your client base. Which ones fell off during the past holiday seasons? Could there be a reason for this? Keep a list of those clients and put them on your radar for holiday-focused promotions. It could be that they were unaware of the products or services your company offered around the holiday. It could also be that they don’t see a need for your products during that season. Your preliminary campaigns can change their mindset and open them up to entirely new facets of your business that they can utilize.
10) Pre-write Holiday Content
Some companies choose not to modify their content, website, or web design with the seasons. These companies, however, fail to capitalize on events that drive sales and purchases throughout the year. For this reason, it is a good idea to make sure your holiday content is in order well before the season arrives.
Prewriting website content is a good place to start. Examine what will be available during that season, what face you would like to present to customers or clients, and what offers you can provide that will set you apart from the competition. Once you have these elements in hand, craft your content accordingly and leave a little wiggle room for developments that could occur over the next six months.
Prewriting holiday internet marketing campaigns is also a great idea at this juncture. With the knowledge of your organization’s holiday trends and offerings in the forefront of your mind, draft your seasonal advertisements and informational packets. This way when the bustle of the holidays does arrive, you are ahead of the curve and not caught unaware by the busy nature of the season.
Intentionally promoting yourself and using preceding seasons to construct the bulk of your holiday internet marketing material is the smart way to stay prepared. When the busy season rolls around, you want to make sure that your organization is up to the challenge and doesn’t lose business to the competition!
Active pursuit of these tips will alleviate much of the stress associated with the holiday season and create satisfied customers. Before you know it, your competition will be knocking on your door to find out how you maximized revenue, customer service, and holiday season preparation.
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