With September wrapping up and October quickly approaching, the holiday season will soon kick into full gear. From cool weather to family gatherings to pumpkin-flavored everything, I look forward to it every year. I’m not afraid to admit that I started stocking up on pumpkin back in August, and I have already cooked up some delicious treats with it. Call me overly-zealous if you wish, but since Starbucks has already released their pumpkin spice latte, I know that I’m not the only one that’s excited.
While many welcome fall with open arms, I’ve found that some companies are fearful of promoting holiday sales prematurely. A recent Time Magazine article examined critical reviews of a K-Mart ad, which was labeled “unseasonable early.” Granted, the commercial aired shortly after labor day. Intended to be comical, a woman surrounded by holiday imagery sarcastically claimed not to be fostering the launch of holiday shopping. So what’s the deal with holiday commercials in September? I know it may seem a bit early, but here’s the surprising truth: as a business, it’s time to start preparing. The most wonderful time of the year goes hand-in-hand with peak sales for retailers.
According to a report released at the end of 2011, nearly 40% of people began holiday shopping before Halloween. By mid-November, that statistic rose to more than 51%. A 2012 Mashable report forecasted that nearly $1 in $6 spent on holiday shopping would be done online. So why is this so critical to know? The competition is fierce. As a business leader, you need to prepare an advertising strategy now, or prepare to be left behind.
Here’s a few tips to amp up your ad campaigns and increase holiday sales:
- Have a plan, and put it into action. The earlier you map out a plan, the more time you have to finetune it before implementing it. Waiting too long can leave you with a sloppy, thrown-together attempt, obviously rendering your efforts less appealing and effective to buyers. Don’t forget to set a baseline for measurement so that you can determine effectiveness later down the road.
- Amplify your retargeting campaigns. The holiday season brings many buyers to their computers in search of the perfect gift. Let’s say Lisa’s been searching for a snowboard for her son, and your company wants her business. This creates optimal timing for retargeting! Send her a personalized ad/offer that appeals to her. Boom! Conversion gained. Head over to Meteora’s website and check out our program geared to make unique ads!
- Emphasize why your product/service rocks. It’s important to know why you’re the best. Make sure buyers know, too! Convincing them that you’re awesome is an easy way to gain new customers, so be armed with a persuasive argument.
- Improve SEO across all communication platforms. Make sure that you’re taking the necessary steps to ensure that your search engine rankings are working for you. There are plenty of resources dedicated to offering advice about how to do this. It’s also beneficial to ask yourself this: Does my site answer the questions that people might be asking?
- Offer special deals. Since buyers have a large amount of shopping to do, they want to make sure that they’re getting the best value. Give them a bang for their buck by implementing BOGO sales, shipping deals and any other incentives that appeal to your target audience.
- Sponsor contests and giveaways. Have some fun with it! Build audience involvement with a short story contest, a photo competition or anything else that will get your fans excited to participate. You’ll have the opportunity to generate publicity and polish your brand personality.
- Don’t be afraid to hand out some freebies. People like free stuff, even if they don’t need it. Things as simple as including a free keychain with every jewelry purchase or distributing samples of your latest hand lotion could initiate or build relationships with buyers.
- Make them feel like you’re doing them a favor. Simplify their shopping experience as much as possible and avoid clutter on your website and social platforms. If people can’t quickly find the information they want to know, you might lose them. Make the purchasing process as uncomplicated as you can without sacrificing important details. Help them out by offering tips about products, suggesting supplemental items and including gift wrap options. Be a one-stop-shop and cut out additional work for the buyer whenever possible.
- Kick social media into full drive. Get your name out there often without over-posting. Share content that’s likely to be reposted, and your audience will spread the word for you. While you’re there, try attracting additional fans them with Meteora’s social ads. Consider offering influential bloggers freebies in exchange for a post about your products/services, and you could gain crowds of loyal followers.
- Analyze your tactics to prepare for next year. At the end of Q4, you should be able to determine what strategies worked and what didn’t. Discovering what works for your company will allow you to implement a better plan next year. On that note, get out there and kick some butt!
Need some help putting together your display plan? Reach out to one of our awesome media planners at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you get started today!