It’s that time again. The Christmas catalogues start jamming up your letterbox, there’s countdown messages hitting your inbox and you’ve already received your first Christmas party invite.
The silly season has officially begun with Halloween kicking off the show, then the “race that stops a nation” with Christmas and New Year following and a blur of events and busyness in between.
It’s time for celebrating, getting ready for a holiday and, for many, working like crazy to make the most of a peak selling period or to shore up new business for the coming year.
To maximise the silly season you need to start getting ready now, ideally you already have some plans in place. Going along with the 12 days of Christmas theme we’ve identified 12 ideas to get you started and inspired:
1. Make sure the buying process is easy!
If you offer products or services online make sure you get an independent review of the shopping/checkout process and make any changes to make it as seamless as possible before you start your promotions.
2. Do an audit of last year’s campaigns
Before you start planning your promotion for this year do a thorough audit of what delivered results last year. What were your highest selling products, which one’s delivered the most profits, what campaigns drove the highest response rate.
3. Start now
Start the countdown for any online orders and communicate shipping deadlines and stock numbers early.
4. Direct your traffic
Let people know when products will be available in-store or even expand your empire for a short season with temporary pop-up stores.
5. Get personal
Start segmenting your customer base now and align offers accordingly. If you have behavioural data use it. For example, if you use an email marketing platform that rates your best responders, perhaps send them an exclusive offer for VIPs only or an incentive to share any offers.
6. Say it then say it again, and again
Use repetition to your advantage. Repeat your offers and messages as often as possible. Keep the same theme to your creative to help with recall. Send multiple emails, direct mails, add it to point of sale or window displays on email signatures, across social media.
7. Make the most of the urgency
Time is your friend. Make the most of it. Consider offering incentives for those that get in early such as a deeper discount. As time gets closer you can afford to increase shipping rates and price points.
Create an incentive for multiple sales – e.g. free gift with purchase over a certain amount, free shipping, free gift wrapping, express shipping for the price of standard.
Partner with a charity to add a feel-good factor to any promotions. For example, purchase gift wrapping and have a percentage or all the proceeds go to a charity. Offer a donation to charity as a Christmas present for clients or alternatively have your team volunteer for a cause as part of your annual team Christmas event.
10. Build some buzz
Use what’s happening behind the scenes as content across social media to create a festive buzz. For example, take pictures of new stock arrivals, show your office decorations going up, show gift wrapping or gifts for clients going out in action. Show preparation for any Christmas events.
11. Don’t ignore your current customers
Make sure you don’t neglect to provide a gift, treat a lunch or simply send a handwritten card to your current customers. After all, they are the people who’ve kept you paid over the past year.
12. Theme any gifts with a reminder of your brand.
At Marketing Angels we give all our clients an ornamental angel they can hang on their tree. Meaning many of our clients now have a whole collection. Think of a way your “gift” could tie in with your brand.
The trick with effective seasonal marketing is to start early. So get the team together and the whiteboard out and start putting together your seasonal marketing plan now!
Since starting her outsourced national marketing consultancy Marketing Angels in 2000, Michelle Gamble has helped hundreds of SMEs get smarter marketing. Michelle helps businesses find more effective ways to grow their brands and businesses.