5 Tips to Prepare your Marketing for the Christmas Season

christmas_shoppingBelieve it or not your customers started thinking about Christmas a month ago and although that may seem early to a lot of people – it isn’t. Small businesses have a lot of competition during the Christmas season; and it is often a boom or bust time of year for many, so maximizing your Christmas marketing campaign is your best chance to end the year on a high note.

First things first, review previous years’ Christmas marketing and review what you need to change. Ask yourself:

  • What didn’t work?
  • What can be improved?
  • Was something missed or forgotten?

Answering these questions will enable you to work through the following five tips, each of which will prepare your marketing for the Christmas season:

  • Determine your holiday audience – If you have a women’s apparel store, your target audience may change a bit during the Christmas season to include men shopping for their significant others or mothers. It is important to not only research who your target audience is during the Christmas season, but to determine the best methods to reach them.
  • Optimise your mobile experience – Make sure your email marketing and online advertisements translate well onto mobile devices. More and more traffic is coming from smaller screens. You also want to make sure your website is mobile-friendly so if someone is out shopping they can easily find information regarding your business, such as hours and location, quickly and easily.
  • Target key days – Target and maximize your marketing during the key days such as the American Black Friday and Cyber Monday by creating a marketing campaign that includes offering special promotions that are only valid on these days. Run Facebook ads or other advertising leading up to these days. Promote the benefits supporting local and remind people that by shopping locally they save on shipping and duty.
  • Don’t always sell or promote yourself – When posting on social media or writing blog posts don’t always sell what it is you are trying to sell, be a resource! The Christmas season is stressful and overwhelming, so provide your customers with something they can actually use. For example, if you sell household products, share information on how to host a Christmas party successfully (and subtly promote some items you sell in-store) or if you are a restaurant share how hosting a party in a restaurant saves time during an already busy time of year.
  • Remember what works – Not everything about marketing changes during the Christmas season. Hold to your best practices and be consistent in your email and social media marketing. Continue to engage with customers online and lastly – remember to thank them! Christmas is all about meaningful connections and good will. Take the time to thank your customers for their support with a personal Christmas card or small gift. You can even slip a special offer into every greeting you send or shopping bag after a purchase. Another great option is having an email promotion, to thank those on your email marketing list. Gestures like these take little effort but make a big impact.

The Christmas season can be a stressful and busy one for small businesses, so plan ahead and get started on your Christmas marketing as soon as possible. Remember – your customers are thinking about Christmas months before the actual date! Don’t lose your customers to box stores by waiting until December to get them into the holiday spirit – start now and beat the competition.

 

 

 

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How to Create a Social Media Strategy

What’s the strategy behind your social media presence? Are you posting online with a purpose? Chances are, if you are posting without a clear strategy, your business will struggle to get customer engagement, acquire the right customers, and increase sales. Without a clear plan of what you want to accomplish online, you are unlikely to reach your business goals, including financial goals. Also, different social media goals require different sets of action. When planning social media content, you need to ask yourself – is your goal to convert a certain percentage of prospects to sales or is it to build your prospect list? Your social media plan should vary for both purposes. The key is to set realistic expectations, both in timeframe and results, so you are not left frustrated and disappointed by the results.

 

When done correctly, a social media strategy can build brand awareness, grow a mailing list, acquire prospects, retain customers, as well as increase sales.

 

To get the most out of your social media efforts, you need to develop a strategy that answers the following questions:

 

  1. What are your social media goals?

Increasing your followers or likes are not tactical social media goals. These should be considered reach-building efforts, and are important, but should not be the main focus of your social media. Your higher-level goals, such as converting prospects into customers and increasing sales, should be supported by smaller, measurable goals.

Firstly, describe your objectives specific to the results you want. The more specific you are with your goals, the better chance that you will achieve them. For example, instead of writing down, “increase brand awareness,” write down “increase website visitors by 30% in the next two months via a targeted Facebook ad campaign.”

By setting a specific number as an objective, you can then use this number to see if the Facebook ad campaign was successful or if it needs to be tweaked.

When setting an objective, make sure it is realistic. For example, increasing your traffic by 100% may not be realistic and will set you up for disappointment, however growing your website traffic by 30% may be more achievable.

Get specific with your objectives and incorporate a time frame. This makes your goals real and tangible. For example, when running a Facebook ad campaign, you may want to run it for two weeks, measure the results and see if your objectives are closer to (or further from) being reached.

Ensure you have the resources to meet your objectives or you’ll frustrate yourself. This could mean outsourcing someone to monitor your social media campaign. This person would be the one to manage and report on whether or not your social media efforts are meeting the objective.

It is vital to make your goals measurable so that you can track your business’ progress towards each goal. To test how measurable your goal is, ask yourself what it will look like when partially or entirely achieved.

 

  1. What is your content strategy?

Creating quality content to be used across various social media channels is the most important aspect of online marketing success. This may seem like a daunting task, but if you break it down, a blog post can be used as multiple pieces of content across various social media channels. It also helps to increase your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). For example, if you are a brick and mortar store that sells shoes, you can write a blog post on that season’s trends, then promote that post and content across various social media platforms through visual images, videos, links, etc.

When developing a content strategy, think about your brand’s story. There is usually a lot of content available in the story of why we started our businesses, why we are passionate about what we do, the history of our businesses as well as who we are as well as who our employees are.

Content should always be quality and on-brand. Your marketing messages should always be top of mind when posting to your social media channels – that means you should think twice about posting that funny cat video (unless you are a pet store and sell cat-related products).

To keep track of your social media content, create an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar lists the dates you intend to publish a blog post, Facebook posts as well as dates you intend to go Live on Instagram, as well as any other social media content you plan to publish.

 

  1. How do you plan on measuring your results?

It is important to regularly check your analytics to see how your social media campaign is performing. Many social networks have their own analytics tools, including, Facebook Insights that lets you dig more into your audience demographics as well as how many people are seeing your posts, as well actions taken on your posts. Instagram Insights, available for business accounts, let’s you find out when your fans are online, how many are seeing your posts, and post reach. Google Analytics can show you who’s viewing and engaging with your web pages and how they got to your website. 

When looking at the analytics, think about whether or not your posts are reaching the intended audience? If not, it may mean your messaging needs to be changed. Once you’ve analyzed your current campaign, plan to do more of what is working and change what is not working. Remember to make time regularly to measure and analyze your social media efforts.

 

A social media strategy will simplify your online social media presence with a clear and outlined plan. The key to an effective social media presence is creating a community and conversations within the community using on-brand content that is both relevant and interesting. Use social media effectively, and you’ll dramatically ramp up your online audience and with it your prospects and sales! For more information on how Crummy Media Solutions can help your business develop and implement an effective social media strategy, contact us!

 

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