It’s December already?! How did that happen?!
So you planned to create a sparkling marketing strategy for the festive season back in October. Now all of a sudden the last eight weeks have flown by and you’ve got nothing.
Sure, in an ideal world you’d be sitting back scoffing mince pies whilst your well-planned and executed campaign is fully under way by now. But the world of good intentions rarely run smoothly. Happily, there’s still time to act. Whilst the Festive Season Express is about to leave the station, our last minute marketing ideas make sure you don’t end up missing the train altogether.
No strategy? No problem.
1. Create a 1st Class holiday incentive
Christmas is one of the most competitive times of the year to be in the business of selling consumer goods. Whether you are an e-commerce business, a bricks and mortar retailer, supplier or distributor, try standing out from the competition by incentivising (surprising and delighting) your customers and clients with something extra special.
- Get 25% off your next order with discount code XMAS25
- ‘Free gift wrapping service’ in store
- Free product samples in store for a limited time
- Refer a friend and we’ll give you both money off your next purchase
- Free £20 Gift Voucher when you spend over £50.
The secret is to extend an offer that’s so irresistible that people are compelled to act.
One extremely effective sales strategy is to use gift cards as a carrot to upsell your customers.
….No, Blitzen and Dancer, don’t worry, YOUR carrots are safe.
If you offer a free £20 gift card after people spend a certain amount, they’re more likely to grab a few extra items to meet that threshold. And if they end up giving the card to someone else, that’s a new customer for you.
Another incentive is to include a sense of urgency around your offer – a Christmas countdown. Nothing kills a sale more than a hesitant customer especially at Christmas when competition of sales is at their peak. Creating a sense of urgency will keep people on YOUR website or make a bee-line to YOUR store.
Your offer is important, but what’s essential is how you distribute that offer. How you get the word out. Even if your offer includes free back rubs for life (where do I sign up for that?), no one will take you up on your offer if they don’t know about it.
So think about your marketing channels. Email is a no brainer. But what about Twitter and Facebook? Or more visual media like Instagram and Pinterest? Use the channels that are right for you and your offer.
2. Build customer awareness with a compelling festive-themed story
Do your customers and prospects know about all the great stuff you sell? One idea that’s relatively quick and easy to produce is a ‘12 Days of Christmas’ themed campaign. Each day send an email to your subscribers and tell your social media followers focusing on one (and only one) of your products and offer a discount until February. It’s as simple as providing a product shot, a short description and a strong Call to Action (CTA) like a discount. Done!
Just be careful not to cross the line between getting your story out there and being spammy. We’ve seen some companies do an advent calendar of promotions – a whole month of email overload resulting in unsubscribers!
3. Run a competition for a festive giveaway
There’s nothing people love more than freebies. Competitions are a great way of drawing attention to your products. They are also a great opportunity to increase brand awareness. Suggesting that people give your competition a ‘like’ or ‘share’ as part of their competition entry on social media will expose your brand to a new audience.
4. Offer delivery in time for Christmas Day
Managing customer expectations is so important, especially at Christmas. There’s nothing worse than a customer hoping to receive their parcel in time for Christmas, only to find it arrives the following week – oops! “Order now for delivery in time for Christmas” is the message you need to make clear to customers. Post it on social media, create a banner for your website and send out targeted email marketing campaigns. But first check with your delivery provider for timescales before making promises you can’t deliver – it’s their busiest time of year too!
You could go a step further and offer free shipping for a limited time, a great incentive and something we’ve discussed at length in our recent blog. Giving the gift of free delivery is going to make your customers Christmas shopping experience more positive and less painful.
Not an e-tailer? Consider offering a free ‘carry to your car’ service in addition to your gift-wrapping service (especially important for bulky or heavy items). If you can literally help lighten the load of your customer by offering to carry their purchase to their car instead of lugging it around town with them (typically in the cold and rain) well wouldn’t that be a thoughtful and heartwarming gesture?!
5. Send a Christmas card. A proper one.
(Image source: http://thehandwrittenword.com.au/corporate-christmas-cards/)
Don’t underestimate the power of a hand-written Christmas card sent by good old-fashioned snail mail. You have the home addresses of your customers, right? Send a festive message to say thank you for sharing the year with you. Got the business addresses of your regular clients? Hand-write them a card thanking them for their business. It’s thoughtful and it’s unexpected and being unpredictable makes you memorable. Worth the negligible postage costs.
In a nutshell…
There are several small things you can do that will add up to a lot in the minds of your consumers that needn’t take weeks of planning and development. It’s better to do something ‘small’ than nothing at all.
There’s just one essential thing to consider. Don’t be a scrooge!
If you run a profitable business you have a lot to be thankful for. So use the Christmas season and your hard won assets to promote your spirit of thanks and generosity properly. Those attributes at this highly competitive time of year can really help pay dividends.
If you’re a start-up and can’t afford to promote offers like these, try investing a little of your time instead. We’d all like to think our time is valuable but the reality is, time spent doing hand-written Christmas cards in your living room one weekend could make the difference to your profit margins next year. Whilst everyone is overly concerned with email, your card WILL make an impression.
Finally, if you think your customers don’t need an incentive to buy from you, congratulations. However, don’t forget getting to be at the top of your game is the easy part. Staying at the top (especially top of mind), requires more creativity.
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