It is the busiest time of the year for many small business owners. If you are a retail, restaurant or café, the fourth quarter of the year, is usually when you get a high percentage of your annual sales, so you have to prepare for it.
Shoppers have already started their Christmas shopping, it has gotten earlier since the pandemic hit, and that trend will stay with us now. People are hearing about container ships stuck at sea and shipments being very late, so they don’t want to wait until there is no availability of the items they want.
The competition is high to get their attention online so it is important that you create a strategic plan to reach your audience.
Think about last year or the previous years’ campaigns, what went well and what didn’t go well?
Last year saw a sharp increase in e-commerce sales, which will continue, but most consumers are seeking out in-person shopping experiences this year.
Optimize and Prepare your Website and Social Media Channels
Many businesses will change their hours during the holiday season. Make sure your business hours are current on Google my Business, your website, and social media channels.
Make sure all contact and store information is up to date and correct. I have seen many websites with links to social channels not working, or not there at all.
You may want to have autoresponders set up on your Facebook Messenger, which asks, what are your hours, where are you located, or do you have an online store? This will make it easier to automate some answers but also direct your visitors to your website. You are going to get a lot more social messages, so make sure you have a plan to respond quickly.
Having an FAQ section on your website is always a great idea, then also highlight the questions and answers on Instagram, for example, or pinning to the top of your Facebook feed.
Think about your Goals
You have to set goals to know if your campaign was successful or not.
- Do you want to get a set amount in sale? How much?
- Do you want to grow your email list? By how much?
- Do you want to grow your engagement on social? By how much?
It is hard to know what to expect in this year, but having some goals will help to keep you on track.
What tactics will you use to market your campaign?
Website…how about a new holiday landing page? Social media, of course, but which platforms? Email marketing, but what will be in your email?
Will you have partnerships with other businesses to expand your reach and help each other out?
Will you also support any social causes, charities?
What is your budget?
What is the timeline?
Are there products or services you want to focus on?
Will you be hosting a contest or giveaway? How will that look and work and how long will be? 12 Days of Christmas?
If you have an ecommerce website, make sure your website products, Facebook Catalog, and Pinterest pins are up to date. Then use “shoppable” posts or pins on social media to make the most of your sales.
What is your organic strategy?
Plan your organic content. Start posting more often.
Have a giveaway or contest, but be careful of scammers. Scammers have started targeting online contents, which use the words “win”, so you will have to keep on eye on them. Also add a statement to the bottom of your content post about how winners will be reached, and the only way they will be reached. Finally, Make sure the prize makes sense to your long-term goals.
Use more videos. The algorithm on almost every platform is prioritizing video. Make them as engaging and informative and entertaining as possible.
Share product and sale information. Remember followers don’t see every post you put out, so you need to share it multiple times, especially promotions and events.
Ads will probably cost more during the holidays.
If you have never advertised before on a platform, then just know it will be a little more difficult in the 4th Quarter, but it can still be worth it, if done strategically with clear goals, good images/video, clear messaging, and a Call to Action.
Focus on retargeting to website visitors and social media platform visitors is a great strategy to reach warm leads.
Also, you can target a “Look a like” audience. People that don’t follow you, but are the most likely to be close to your ideal customer. This is a custom audience that I recommend you create.
Try a paid ad for Video Views for your Video posts. For example, videos showing your products with some holiday music, and minimal overlay text about the product and how to purchase. Remember that Call to Action!
You can also target your email list if you have been working on building it. That, too, is a custom audience in Facebook Ads Manager.
Don’t increase your amount of email campaigns by too much, but do increase them. Subscribers have expectations now about how often they will hear from you, but increasing from twice a month to weekly is a good step. As long as they find value in the email.
If they unsubscribe, that is ok, they were not your ideal audience anyway.
Make sure to plan your campaigns. Sit down with a calendar to figure out shipping deadlines, for online sales, and events or promotions that you will have, and mark the dates when you will send email campaigns.
If you are having Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Promotions should start the first week of November.
If you are having a big in-store event, start promoting 6 weeks before the event. So people have a chance to put in their calendars as everyone gets busy. This also allows you to create a buzz about the upcoming event.
You may want to send a “Holiday Guide” email. You can experiment with how to group products and the layout of the guide.
You can also include a coupon for in-store or a discount code for online shopping.
Make sure to include all information about shipping. If you offer free shipping after a set purchase amount or if there are shipping deadlines to receive in time for Christmas.
If you are having sales or promotions online or in-store, make sure to send reminder emails the day before or a few hours before it ends. Whatever makes sense for your promotion.
Remind people that your offer gift cards, especially for the last-minute shoppers. So send them in December. You can also offer a gift card bonus if they purchase them earlier, like a bonus $10 card, or $100 for $85, etc.
Think about after the holidays too. Make sure to plan a campaign after the holidays to promote the items you need to be cleared or ask your audience if they didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas or have some gift money to spend.
Think about ways you can build your list over the holidays, so you can retarget them in the new year when sales tend to be lower.
Offer a 10% off with the first purchase online, or ask for email addresses in the store. Make is super easy for people to sign up and ask at the cash register after every transaction.
Pay attention to the data from your email provider to select the best days and times to send emails. If you don’t have that information yet, or not a lot of data. Try sending on Tuesdays, and not on Saturday or Sunday, studies have shown, they are the best and worst times to send. You may find your audience is different based on your email provider data, so do go with what is best for your audience.
The idea is to have a clear plan
I hope you found this useful tips to promote your holiday marketing campaigns. The idea is to plan them out, so you don’t become overwhelmed with getting the information out nor miss sales or promotions opportunities.
Your customers want to buy from you, especially during the holiday season. Most people want to support their favourite local businesses, to make sure they succeed and are there for the local community, so help them find you, and what you offer.
If you would like some help with your online marketing make sure to book a call to talk about your marketing needs and to get ready for the new year.