Holiday Season Marketing: How To Make The Rest Of The Year The Best Of The Year!

The holiday season is the most exciting time of the year - both for consumers and sellers. 

This is when most of your audience is in a cheery mood and also in the mood to spend - so you need to make the most of it. Year end means lots of sales opportunities. BFCM, Christmas, New Years - you name it! 

In 2020, these sales took a major leap with e-commerce sales rising by $27 billion, a 13.1% increase from 2019! These numbers are only expected to get bigger and better in 2021. You most definitely want to make the most of it, right?

The first step to do so is to get your holiday season marketing strategy in place. Only then, will you be able to capture your customer’s attention!

Important dates you need a holiday marketing strategy for

Halloween

Halloween marks the beginning of the holiday season. It falls on the 31st of October every year. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), “Consumer spending on Halloween-related items is expected to reach an all-time high of $10.14 billion, up from $8.05 billion in 2020”

Thanksgiving

The fourth Thursday of November is celebrated as Thanksgiving. According to Adobe Analytics data, in 2020, Thanksgiving day sales rose by 21.5% to a staggering $5.1 billion!

Black Friday

Undoubtedly, this is the most awaited shopping extravaganza of the year. It falls on the Friday immediately after Thanksgiving. Interestingly, 30% of all retail sales happen in the period between Black Friday and Christmas, with an average adult planning to spend close to $400 during these sales. 

black friday marketing statistics

Source - Finance Online

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is the Monday after Black Friday. This day is mainly dedicated to ecommerce sales. In 2021 alone, cyber monday online sales in the US hit a whopping $10.8 billion.

cyber monday shopping statistics

Source - Statista

Christmas

Christmas falls on the 25th of December every year. And well for all those playing Secret Santa with friends and family, you as a business need to tap into this season for gifting! 

christmas shopping statistics

Source - Finance Online

Holiday marketing strategies to put to work  

Social media

Social media has become the most powerful and influential marketing weapon out there today. 

These virtual spaces are no longer just a medium to share glimpses of your personal life with friends and family. It’s so much more than that now with brands making the most of it.

This is your opportunity to connect with your audience while keeping them informed about launches or sales. 

Make the most of these platforms to hype your customers up about all the exciting and irresistible discounts your store will be offering this holiday season. The idea is to use these platforms to drive traffic to your online store. 

 

Consider optimizing for the search engine 

Overlooking SEO is the most common mistake made by an e-commerce store. 

However you need to think of it this way - how many times have you googled something as simple as ‘Holiday gifts for xyz’ and bought something off the first page itself?

Simply put, when people are hunting for something, they first hop into Google and search it out! According to BrightEdge Research, 68% of website traffic actually comes from search engines alone. 

You need to prioritize and improve your search engine optimization to make the most of the holiday season. It's too easy to go unnoticed otherwise. There are a thousand other options out there anyway!

Here’s what you should be doing: 

  • Optimize your website for increased traffic during the holiday season
  • Add structured data to your products
  • Optimize product descriptions and photos
  • Create dedicated holiday-centric pages and tags
  • Prioritize UX

Analyse your previous holiday marketing performance

The very basis of any marketing tactic is to learn from the data available, improve and learn. So, take a moment and analyse your previous years’ holiday marketing performance and sketch out what worked and what didn’t.

Study what was the main medium that generated most traffic to your site last year along with what performed below expectations. Try and understand why the numbers are so and fill those gaps this year.

Look at your competitors as well. Closely analyse their marketing campaigns and the results. Learn from their wins as well as their failures. 

Diversify your holiday marketing tactics

Sticking to just one marketing technique would probably be the biggest mistake you could make in this domain. There are so many things that come into the picture that help create an audience for your audience, and then convert these leads into actual sales.

While planning your holiday season sales this year, try to diversify your marketing channels, promotions and offers. Leave no stone unturned to turn this into your biggest sales season ever! To do this, have an active social media presence, collect and post various social proofs on your website, try out email and Whatsapp marketing. 

The prime goal is to reach the right audience and entice and persuade them to buy from you. This helps improve your holiday marketing ROI.

Start preparing early

Trust us when we say, the sooner the better

If you wait till a week or two before the holidays begin to start planning, you miss out on most sales opportunities already. 

Planning is a crucial element to make the most of the holiday season. This is also necessary because most people start their shopping even before Halloween week. So, your sales need to start rolling out even before the 31st of October!

Make sure you’re prepared for the fiesta that is going to follow….and with the best! Early September is usually a safe bet to start with the preparations.

More resources for you: 

Holiday email marketing

With over 4 billion users everyday, e-mail is a medium that is  a direct line of communication between businesses and consumers for turning leads into sales. Additionally, this is an extremely pocket-friendly medium of communication and marketing!

There are many different types of emails you can roll out as part of your holiday email marketing strategy. These include: 

  • Subscriber-only flash sales
  • Holiday Gift guides
  • Giveaways
  • Segmented emails
black friday email marketing example

Offer free shipping

Online customers actually find free shipping more captivating than other mere % discounts.

According to Invespro, 93% buyers are persuaded to buy from an online store if free shipping is offered. Additionally, 9 out of 10 customers claim that free shipping is the top most incentive to shop more online.

So, this holiday season, let go of your standard delivery charges and offer absolutely free shipping. The sales numbers will speak for themselves.

In case, you cannot afford free shipping as such, consider adding minimum eligibility criteria. For instance, on a minimum purchase Rs. 5000 or more, customers get free shipping. 

This is a safe bet too because close to 58% of customers add additional items to their cart just to qualify for free shipping. This also means additional sales opportunities for you!

Get emotional!

Holiday marketing campaigns thrive on emotions

The holiday season is an emotional time of the year with importance being laid on family, friends and bonds in general.

According to Harvard Professor Gerald Zaltman, 95% of most purchase decisions are determined by unconscious factors. As sellers, you can use these very emotions to boost your sales. The audience connects more with a campaign on an emotional level than rationally. 

During the holiday season, this can be done by inducing the feeling of ‘home’ or nostalgia, for that matter. Appeal to these emotions and the sales will follow.

Give back to the community

This movement is popularly called brand activism- activism in which businesses play a key role in the processes and matters of social change. 

Applying brand activism, businesses show concern not for the profits but for the communities they serve, and their economic, social, and environmental problems, which allows businesses to establish value-based relationships with the customers and prospects. 

With consumers actively growing to become more informed, they assess the 'right' brands to rely on, not just for the products/services offered by these brands but also other factors like their work culture, ideologies, beliefs and so on.

As much as this helps you be seen as considerate and passionate about a cause, it also helps customers be less guilty about their indulgences and splurges.

An interesting example is the Operation Holiday Cheer Program by DHL. This program was initiated in 2004. Since then, they have delivered more than Christmas trees fully decorated with lights and ornaments to American troops stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Bahrain.

dhl holiday campaign

Decorate your store!

Apart from preparing your inventory and the discounts you would be offering, you also need to make a few adjustments to your store design to get them noticed

Great design is that secret sauce to attract customers to your brand that no one really considers that much. Along with helping establish a sense of trust and credibility, design can also smartly be used to upsell, cross-sell and increase sales overall.

Not sure how you can do this quickly? Well, we have some Shopify Design Best Practices for BFCM and the Holiday Season Sale ready for you

Conclusion

It is always a good idea to plan ahead. You should also consider tapping into all the channels that your brand has established over the years, to stay relevant as well as manage to persuade your audience to make the sales.

So, use all the tips, start preparing and get ready to make the most of the holiday season this year! 

And as always, whenever you need any help, reach out to our team of Shopify Experts