With smart marketing, your business can ring in holiday sales

by Kent Middleton ([email protected]) 192 views 

It’s the decades-old marketing question: “When should I launch my seasonal ad campaign?” With the growth of e-commerce, it seems as if when Halloween ends, businesses are forced to ramp up for the holidays. Thanksgiving is put on the back burner as retailers compete fiercely for shoppers’ dollars, both in stores and online.

According to a recent KPMG study, 57% of U.S. consumers will begin their shopping before Black Friday. One in five has already made a holiday purchase. As businesses, we want to leverage customers’ willingness to spend to increase our profits. However, if our campaigns aren’t executed properly, we risk wearing shoppers out or, even worse, turning them off to our products or services entirely.

So, how can we ring in holiday sales while avoiding consumer fatigue? It doesn’t take a big budget. But it does take foresight, creativity and, like any effective marketing tactic, personalization. Here are the four components to set you up for success:

Social media: When it comes to swaying customers, social media is key. Studies show 20 percent of today’s shoppers cite Instagram as their holiday shopping inspiration. More than half say they plan to place orders on their mobile devices. Why not meet customers where they are with holiday-themed social media campaigns? With the expansion of affordable and easy-to-use tools, you can do advanced targeting, upload customer lists or offer discounts to reach and convert interested shoppers.

Greeting cards: Despite naysayers, postal mail is very much alive and well, particularly during the holiday season. In fact, NPR recently highlighted a growing interest in greeting cards, particularly among younger people and millennials. This holiday season, you can capitalize on this trend by sending personalized cards to customers, partners and vendors. You can further boost engagement and response rates by opting in to the U.S. Postal Service’s Informed Delivery. This free service allows businesses to deliver advance images of print collateral to customers’ email inboxes or, if interested, add interactive digital elements to appeals.

Email: ‘Tis the season for crowded inboxes. And for good reason. Sales Force reports 68 percent of shoppers pay more attention to companies’ emails during the holidays, with many mentioning promotional codes and sales as the main factor influencing their purchases. But this doesn’t give us permission to bombard customers with constant emails. Instead, you should focus on sending relevant and timely content (e.g., personalized landing pages) that is tailored to target customers.

Corporate gifts: Corporate holiday gifts are a simple way to show we value our customer relationships while laying the foundation for future sales and referrals. Studies state 83 percent of respondents were more likely to do business with a brand after receiving one of these gifts. 81 percent kept the items for more than a year—ensuring long-lasting and favorable impressions of the senders.

Want to bring peace, joy and sales to your business? By executing an effective marketing campaign with social media content, greeting cards, tailored emails and corporate gifts, you can spread cheer and ensure strong sales this holiday season and all year round.

Editor’s note: Kent Middleton is co-owner and CEO of Magna IV, a print and marketing business in Arkansas. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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