What happens when you are reminded that there is not much time left until the official start of the holiday season? A look of horror probably appears on your face when you realize that long hours and really big sales are just around the corner.
It could have been you last year, but this year could be different. Ideally, your holiday marketing strategy should start long before the first serving of turkey and the Black Friday rush – and even before the costumes, candy, and plastic pumpkins.
Even though the modern consumer has access to time-saving aids like Amazon Prime and its magical two-day shipping option, we as online marketers don’t have the luxury of waiting for the day to come. last minute to prepare for the holidays (except perhaps when it comes to our own purchases). In my experience, the earlier you start to prepare, the more likely you are to crush those sales targets, outperform your competition, and even enjoy your own holiday season.
But remember – the art of vacation marketing is not a one-size-fits-all tactic. Keep in mind, as you plan, that your marketing strategy needs to evolve as the holiday season does. You will need to continually adapt to keep pace with the different festivities and events that unfold in the last quarter of 2019.
So pull out your calendar and start planning. Here are some suggestions for optimizing your online marketing tactics throughout the holiday season.
Refresh your website
As fall approaches, consider revamping your website to signal the arrival of a new season. It’s still too early to give your site a complete holiday makeover, but consider featuring a palette that expresses the crisp, fresh vibes associated with this time of year.
You can start with your featured images – large banners that your visitors see immediately when they land on your site. Introducing some fall-inspired design elements, such as leaves and pumpkins, and appropriate seasonal colors (red, orange, and yellow) can help prospects get the urge to shop your pre-winter sale. . Remember to keep your brand guidelines in mind no matter how many scary or happy temporary changes you make. Yes, your site should be whispering, “Welcome to a new season,” but that shouldn’t cause a visitor to wonder if they are on the right site. Be seasonal, but stay marked.
Reach old customers
If your brand has been through at least one holiday season before, you probably already have a pool of satisfied customers keen to come back for another dip this year. October is a great time to start reaching out to your former clients to remind them of last year’s vacation and encourage them to come back. If you run a loyalty program, consider offering bundle sales to your repeat buyers or free giveaways with their purchases.
Remember, too, that not everyone waits until the last moment to start shopping – around 40% of consumers start their holiday shopping before Halloween. Be prepared to grab the attention of those first-time buyers with personalized promotions.
Update paid media for each upcoming holiday
Now is the time for your paid ads to look as good as your website. Plan your ad calendar to introduce updated designs as you move through the holiday season: harvest colors and themes in October and early November, stylish short-term announcements for Black Friday, and themes from winter break as you move into late November and December.
Make sure to leverage your new creation on platforms that rely on visuals: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. These ads can also be a great companion for your Google Pay Per Click campaigns.
Use retargeting for website and landing page visitors
Most people land on a landing page, maybe look a bit, and leave without making a purchase. If you’re struggling to turn your vacation site visitors into customers, you’re not alone. Setting up retargeting ads can help convert some of that 98% unengaged. Consider doing this from mid-October to the end of October.
Hold timely sales on special shopping days
It seems like we see new special shopping days pretty much every year. As it is, we have Gray Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and maybe a few more that I’m forgetting. It’s important to understand that each of these days has a specific audience that you may want to target. For example, Cyber Monday is aimed at online shoppers, who spent $ 7.9 billion on that day last year.
Don’t assume that all of these dates on the calendar are weird promotional stunts that can be ignored, like International Talk Like a Pirate Day or something like that. These are actually perfect opportunities for flash sales and online promotions.
Target last minute buyers and impulse buyers
Black Friday through New Year’s Day is the home stretch for holiday shoppers, and the sense of urgency is at an all time high. To attract impulse shoppers and last-minute shoppers, consider using the perfect impulse buying platform: Instagram. You can make your own holiday countdown by showcasing a new product – and using product labels and stickers – every day at the end of the year.
Instagram even offers integrated payment to some American brands. If all goes well, maybe more of us will have access to this feature in time for the 2020 holiday season.
Let the countdown begin
For the online marketer, the holiday season is starting now, if it isn’t already. Fill out your calendar to plan ahead and prepare for your most profitable vacation yet. Remember: this year will be different.