If you’re like most retailers, the holiday season will drive a significant portion of your revenue overall. The National Retail Federation reports holiday sales represent nearly 20 percent of total retail industry sales, and industries like jewelry stores get a major boost, with nearly one-third of total sales over the holidays. So it’s pretty apparent your holiday marketing efforts need to be on target this time of year.

holiday marketing efforts

As a B2C enterprise, it doesn’t matter what you sell. Now is the time to ramp up your holiday marketing efforts to take advantage of the buying spirit. Use these ideas to increase revenue, gain more new customers and boost your brand visibility during the holiday season.

Make Temporary Holiday-Themed Policy Adjustments

As you vie for the attention of holiday shoppers, consider how you can tweak your current policies to give customers more holiday shopping opportunities. Additionally, think about the holiday marketing efforts you already have in place that benefit holiday shoppers compared to competitors. Highlight those in your marketing materials to increase purchases. Some holiday-friendly policies include:

  • Extending the hours your store is open, so busy shoppers have more time to pop in
  • Offering free shipping on certain orders, to encourage more shopping in your e-commerce store or more orders in store because of the convenience of shipping
  • Offering gift wrapping or the inclusion of a gift card with each purchase
  • Providing a lenient return policy, since research from the University of Texas at Dallas shows these lead to increased purchases and fewer returns the longer the deadline is

Use data you may have from last year’s sales to see where most of your sales came from and when (in-store, late hours, etc.), and then focus your holiday marketing adjustments on those factors.

Create a Sense of Urgency in Your Holiday Marketing Efforts

Make over your holiday marketing messages by injecting a sense of urgency throughout copy. Research shows that a sense of urgency is one of the most powerful ways to spur an emotional reaction in people who feel compelled to act rashly. The holidays are already an emotional time for shoppers, with little kids tugging at parents to buy them things, with pressure to get the perfect gifts for new family members, friends and business associates, and with a perceived lack of time to get it all done perfectly.

Play on these emotions by offering specials within the holiday season, whether it’s 24-hour-only coupon codes for online purchases, the creation of limited-time-only gift basket availability or a limit on the number of buy-one-get-one-free deals you’ll offer on a certain product. Tease deals in email marketing and leave customers who purchase from you in store with a new offer to use next time.

Create Strong Digital Holiday Marketing Campaigns

Even if you don’t sell your products online yet, it’s important to be conscious of the shopping trend that finds more shoppers heading online to research brands and products, see what their friends are talking about, and also make purchases online. According to eMarketer, the 2017 e-commerce share of total retail sales for the holiday season is expected to reach a record 11.5 percent. Much of that is driven by the growth of mobile commerce, which will increase by nearly 60 percent in 2017.

More than 50 percent of shoppers looking for beauty and personal care products, consumer electronics and travel products or services look up product information online, according to the 2016 Nielsen Global Connected Commerce survey. Make sure your business pops up online when people are searching for the products you sell by investing in digital marketing. Considering the increased prevalence of mobile shopping, make sure all digital marketing initiatives load quickly and work perfectly on any device.

In addition to urgency-focused pay-per-click (PPC) ads on search engines or social networks, consider creating drip marketing campaigns based on actions users take with your brand. For example, you could run a PPC ad that sends visitors to a custom holiday-themed landing page promoting a limited-time offer. To get more information or a free sample, customers exchange their email address. They are then placed in an email marketing automation campaign, where they are sent targeted messages based on the product in the ad they clicked on, any pages they visited on your website, etc. Remarketing campaigns are created for shoppers who abandoned their carts or who need to take a look at their online wish list again. Those emails can also feature similar products for cross-promotion opportunities.

Host a Holiday Party — Or 5

In addition to adjusting opening hours during the holiday season, you could host special in-store events that give attendees exclusive access to or deals on products. In addition to providing family-friendly entertainment to keep all attendees engaged, make sure to highlight product interaction throughout the store during any event. Giving away samples can boost sales up to 2,000 percent, while hosting product demonstrations or giving guests the opportunity to interact with products can increase their connection to the product and likelihood to buy.

You can also host holiday parties online, where company representatives host a Facebook Live video or online chat where they answer questions about products or give out special deals.

It’s important for retailers to remember that there isn’t just one holiday worth celebrating in the season. Any retailer with a diverse customer base should aim to make marketing all-inclusive, and that extends to in-store events. You can create holiday-specific promotions or, in an effort to not accidentally neglect anyone, make holiday marketing as generic and frequent as possible during the season to make everyone feel included. Keep the holiday spirit going by creating a New Year’s-specific event celebration to create momentum for next year’s sales.

‘Tis the Season for Giving Back

The holidays are an excellent time to integrate philanthropic efforts into your brand, as well. More than 90 percent of global customers will switch to brands supporting worthy causes, and the same amount will boycott a company if the business operations are irresponsible or immoral. The 2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report found two-thirds of consumers will pay more for sustainable brands, with millennials leading the charge as the largest generation willing to do so. Keep these principles in mind when marketing over the holidays, so you can show customers how their holiday purchases with your business are giving back to nonprofit organizations or the environment, too.

Your business could sponsor an organization throughout the season by featuring something like an angel gift tree in your store. Or, you could commit to donating a percentage of your holiday season profits to a local charity. Or, strive to increase your recycling efforts in the store during the busy season and visibly show off your progress to shoppers with a graph displaying pounds recycled, etc.

From giving back to organizations in need, to giving back to customers in the form of deals, easy returns and holiday parties, celebrate the holiday season as a time your business can improve service to your customers while also increasing your sales and brand sentiment.

Looking for more tips on how to make the most of the holiday season? Check out “How to Prepare Your Business for the Holiday Season.”

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