As the holidays approach, your online business has the potential to rake in tons of money.
Unfortunately, you also have lots of competition, meaning that your marketing budget may end up far more than what you see throughout the regular parts of the year. Increasing your marketing budget is common during the holidays, but what happens if your efforts don't pay off, and you're left paying all that money for sales that never came through?
What if you effectively boost your sales during the holiday season, but those marketing costs outweigh the returns, making you wonder about the whole point of marketing during the holidays.
Many online businesses, especially those in the early stages, need low cost marketing tactics to cut down on unnecessary spending, while also competing with those companies that are shelling out thousands of dollars to reach customers.
Therefore, let's learn about some successful marketing campaign ideas for the holidays, without breaking the bank.
Push Gift Cards and Certificates One or Two Weeks Before the Holidays
Gift cards are the last minute products people buy when they can't think of anything better. There's nothing wrong with selling gift cards, because people often don't use them and you basically just sell them a piece of plastic. Anyways, make sure you promote your gift cars and gift certificates at the appropriate time.
By sending out emails and social media posts, you should be able to keep these promotional costs to a minimum. Don't forget to create banners on your website for gift cards sales!
Think of Ways to Blow Away Your Top Customers
The holidays are a great time for you to show your best customers how much you appreciate them. It may not hurt that you don't send them some sort of thank you, but you can bet that they'll be more willing to spend money at your store during the holidays if they feel appreciated.
A classic way to show your support is to figure out your VIP customers and send them handwritten or online holiday cards. It depends on how many VIP customers you have, but the more personalized the better. I'm sure you can think of some other ways to make your best customers feel special besides a simple card. Consider surprise free and expedited shipping with a card, or even a quick discount for those VIPs who buy on a certain day.
Generate Purchasing Lists to Make it Easier for Stressed Out Customers
You'll see these lists on Amazon quite a bit, and they works absolute wonders for online business. We recommend completing these lists on your blog, but you can also create your own lists under categories on your website, as long as your online store platform has the functionality for this. (One of the main reasons it pays to get a solid ecommerce platform).
Anyways, lists may include titles like “Gifts for Kids,” “Gifts for the Love in Your Life” or “Gifts Under $20.” Not only do these lists assist customers make the best purchasing decisions, but they improve your SEO during the holiday season.
Create Urgency with Shipping Deadlines
Plaster this all over your site. A shipping deadline basically tells people when the last day rolls around that allows them to get an item delivered by a day like Christmas or New Years.
Although it may initially seem like a way to prevent people from buying after that date, it actually pushes users to make decisions faster. Urgency is one of the greatest motivators, so use this inexpensive marketing ploy to your advantage.
Participate in Online and Local Holiday Events
We all know about Black Friday, and it seems we always see new “special” days added to the calendar each year. There's no reason you shouldn't take advantage of these special sale days, since people are trained to look for deals, whether it be Black Friday, Cyber Monday or one of the many other days.
Also take a look at what local companies are doing for the holidays. There's a chance you could work with them for local events and cross promote. Although it costs a little more than marketing online, you generally only have to pay for some people to work for you.
Devise a Creative Daily Deal for a Certain Amount of Days in December
Whether you call it an Advent Calendar or something like “14 Days of Holiday Cheer,” daily deals are some of the more popular promotions run during the holiday season.
The point is to create a promotion for a certain amount of days. Some companies go all month, while others are more keen on sticking to seven or fourteen days. Regardless, choose products that people will actually buy so that they are willing to come to your store and maybe purchase more after getting there. It's not a bad idea to stick to value added promotions, such as buy one get one half off. This way you aren't constantly discounting products.
Remember to Use Benchmark Promotions
A benchmark promotion is one that requires very little upfront cost on your end. In fact, all you have to do is let your customers know that they can obtain a promotion after spending a certain amount of money.
For example, banner ads and email newsletters can mention that throughout the month of December people who buy more than $50 get free shipping. This is the standard benchmark promotion, but you can also give out free gifts, fast shipping or even straight forward discounts.
Don't Forget Trusty Email Marketing and Social Media
This is more of an inexpensive distribution outlet for you during the holidays, but it's essential to combine your holiday marketing plans with social media and email marketing. Unless advertising through social media, you really don't have to spend any money sending out emails or posting on Facebook or Twitter.
Besides sharing details about holiday promotions, get into the holiday spirit and think of ways to encourage user generated content. For example, you may consider building a list of customer holiday recipes, or ask people to send in pictures of their family enjoying the holiday season, with or without one of your products.
Over to You…
Now that you've had a chance to learn about some low cost ways to market your business during the holidays, let us know in the comments if you can think of any other cools methods for making it a successfully holiday season!
Featured image curtsey of Dan Cassaro