You can deny the truth. You can refuse to believe it. But it’s a fact: the holidays are right around the corner.
Between family and work get-togethers, gift-buying, decorating — just to name a few — the holiday season brings a mountain of to-dos for anyone. But for business owners and marketing teams, the mountain is even taller.
So start now! We’ve compiled a few things you can do today to jumpstart your holiday marketing. By checking off these items now, you’ll be well positioned for a profitable holiday season.
1. Implement a marketing automation tool.
Marketing automation is the use of software to automate marketing functions, like customer segmentation and email marketing. It tracks activity on your website and buying habits so you can set up targeted, personalized marketing campaigns based on individuals’ behavior.
There’s a good chance that your sales pick up around the holidays. Don’t miss this opportunity to capture valuable customer data.
Every business has different needs when it comes to marketing automation, and there is no shortage of options available to you. If you’re just getting started, you might want to check out newcomer Autopilot. It’s affordable (starts at $25 per month) yet flexible and powerful. Other options include Mailchimp, Marketo and Hubspot, with pricing and functionality running the gamut.
If you already have a marketing automation platform, I’d be willing to bet it could use a tune-up. Take time to clean things up now before the holiday rush hits. Purge outdated campaigns, take a fresh look at reports and analytics, and finish those campaigns you’ve been meaning to activate.
2. Make a video.
Videos sell better than any other medium. (In fact, a study shows that visitors who view product videos are 85% more likely to buy than visitors who do not.) Take advantage of the selling power of video on your website and social media. Some video ideas include:
- Product demo videos for your top holiday sellers.
- A holiday video message from your leadership.
- Customer testimonial videos to accompany your top products or services.
3. Audit your online presence and claim your online listings.
You may have hired a professional web designer to give you a well-crafted business website, but are you paying attention to the listings other websites are creating about your business?
Websites like yelp.com and yellowpages.com automatically generate listings for local businesses and anyone can add information and reviews. Many times these listings may even come up before your own website. If the information isn’t complete or is inaccurate, it could cost you customers.
As the holiday season begins, people are going to be searching for what you offer. First, make sure you can be found. If you aren’t listed on these sites, create your listing. Include your location, hours, website, contact information, etc.
Next, make sure your listings look good. Most websites that provide this service allow business owners or employees to “claim your listing” and add/edit information. You can also respond to user reviews. This is your chance to publicly thank supporters and rectify customer service issues.
4. Make your product gift-able.
People are always looking for unique, memorable gift ideas. Help them out!
Consider making product bundles that are only available this time of year. Get to work now on creating a holiday or gift section on your website where you can feature the products that work best as gifts.
Maybe your product or service isn’t typically in the running as a holiday gift. Can you change this by thinking outside of the box? Let your past or existing customers know you’re offering gift cards so they can give your product to friends. Create special “versions” of your product at different price points so you can appeal to different gift budgets.
5. Give away a freebie.
Start getting into customers’ heads now by offering a free bonus people want to get their hands on. The possibilities are endless, but you might consider these ideas:
- Write a free guide, white paper or ebook on a topic that is of interest to your customers. It showcases your expertise and gets your name top of mind as we enter the holiday season.
- Offer a discount code in exchange for signing up for your email list. This is a great way to grow your list before you start holiday promotions.
- Create an infographic on anything your audience would find interesting. Infographics are some of the most sharable, linkable and pinnable content there is, and your name and logo is front and center as it gets passed round online.
- Offer a free trial of your product or service.
6. Create a customer referral program.
Your satisfied customers can be your best holiday sales team. Reward them for sending business your way with a formal customer referral program. Let your customers know that every time they refer a customer to you, you will reward them in some way. It could be with a discount on their next purchase, or a gift card to their favorite restaurant.