The biggest shopping season of the year is upon us and on cue, retailers are revving up their marketing strategies in attempt to take advantage of the spending frenzy. Whether you sell to customers online, in the real world, or through a combination of both, the opportunities to cash in are huge. Following is a list of strategies you can employ to boost sales and increase your revenue this holiday season.
1. Bolster Your Email List Early
Email is one of the most effective mediums you can use to connect with your audience during the holidays, or any time of year, for that matter. But when it comes to holiday marketing, you want to start budding your list sooner than later. This way, you already have plenty of subscribers to target by the time Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday roll around.
2. Beef Up Your SEO Game
If the internet is a part of your marketing mix, you want to make sure your website is optimized to reel in traffic from the search engines. Linking to high-quality websites, maintaining an active social presence, and avoiding over-optimization can all help you boost your holiday search visibility. It also pays to keep mobile in mind with your SEO strategy as plenty of people will be conducting searches from smartphones and tablets this year.
3. Make Sure Your Strategy is Mobile-Friendly
Consumers use mobile devices to visit websites and aid in purchasing decisions when browsing items at retail stores. Be sure to accommodate them with a website or app that delivers a great mobile experience. If you’ve been holding off for one reason or another, let the holiday season be the factor that motivates you to mobilize your marketing strategy.
4. Offer Free Stuff
Want to stand out from the crowd amid the holiday rush? Help your customers save money or time by giving them something free. Free shipping, free gift wrapping, and free (inexpensive) gifts tend to work wonders around this time of year.
5. Pump Offers Through Social Channels
If you have a social media presence, you should definitely be using it to help drive your holiday marketing efforts. It is not uncommon for consumers to browse sites like Twitter and Facebook in search of gift ideas. Your offers could reach dozens, hundreds and possibly thousands when influencers get to sharing them amongst their social circles.
6. Invest in Holiday Ads
Advertising continues to be a highly effective form of marketing. There are plenty of options to choose from as well, including TV, radio, search, display, and a variety of social flavors. If you’ve got the budget to spare, a mix of contemporary and traditional outlets may be just what you need to not only increase traffic, but also bump up sales.
7. Prepare for the Rush
Many businesses experience a surge in traffic when the holiday season rolls around. Bricks-and-mortar store owners need to make sure they have enough inventory, staff, and other critical resources on hand to accommodate the rush. Online retailers must ensure that their websites are fine-tuned to handle visitors in order to avoid slow loading pages and crashes.
8. Adopt a Local Focus
Small businesses, especially, can improve sales by simply thinking local with their marketing efforts. This focus can be applied to a variety of areas, including your email messages, SEO strategy, and ad campaigns as many advertising platforms let you target audiences based on location. The local approach gives you an opportunity to save money and make more by focusing on a smaller segment that is most likely to buy.
9. Leverage Visual Content
These days, visual content speaks far louder than words alone. From images to videos, visual content has a way of commanding attention and engaging the eye into the material. Whether you’re using email, social media, mobile or a mixture, that visual element can add the touch needed to really drive your offer home.
10. Make Shopping a Breeze
Retailers can score major points by providing value that goes beyond a money-saving bargain. Customers would love to receive a comprehensive guide that either gives them some recommendations on gifts, or how they can easily navigate through your huge catalog of offerings. Prove yourself useful and make the hectic holiday shopping venture a bit less painless, and they just may reward you by spending even more money with your business.
Of course some people get an early start, but once Black Friday arrives, the frantic holiday shopping season will officially be under way. How will you make out? What strategies will you employ to make sure your business milks the holiday cash cow?
Francis Santos is the Marketing Manager for Benchmark Email. He graduated from Cal State Long Beach and holds a degree in Journalism. In addition, he is also the executive editor for separate popular news blogs. Follow him on Twitter: @emailfrancis