Marketing tips for the holiday periods
Online sales during the 2011 holiday season are expected to reach £38.5 billion. According to the forecast from eMarketer, this is up 14.3 percent from 2010, and it also marks the second straight year of double-digit ecommerce growth.
While research numbers differ slightly, forecasts by ComScore and Forrester also predict that holiday ecommerce sales will increase over last year.
Small business marketing tips to boost holiday sales
Higher eCommerce sales are good news for online retailers, but the question of the best way to cash in on holiday sales remains. The right small business marketing tactics used at the right time can help you gain a larger piece of the holiday pie.
To help you market your way through the holiday season we offer the following tips to help small business ecommerce sites create successful, sales-oriented ecommerce holiday marketing plans.
Put yourself in Santa’s shoes before clicking send
Melanie Attia, Campaigner’s product marketing manager suggests that small business owners put themselves into Santa's shoes by thinking about specific tasks you want to accomplish this holiday season.
"The best way to do this is to see things through your customers' eyes -- what’s on their list for Santa to place under the tree this year?"
She continued, "In your email marketing campaign, remind them what’s popular but needs to be purchased early before inventory across the Internet -- and your store -- runs out. Would they want coupons, special offers or promotions? Or, would they rather have valuable information and practical gift ideas for co-workers and long-lost relatives who added them to this year’s Christmas card list? Keep the ideas and the promotions fresh to keep your shoppers reading - and buying.”
Other holiday email marketing tips offered by Attia include:
Look at your calendar from your customer’s perspective and map out holiday promotions, topics and campaigns that will help you reach out to your customers at the right time with the right information.
Plan around key holiday triggers or events such as Black Friday, Hanukkah and the last day for shipping. Your customers will appreciate receiving relevant emails when they want it.
Watch what the trends are and make sure your program includes what’s hot both nationally and within your own store, including gift cards, popular items, direct shipping, coupons, free wrapping, discounts, two-for-one, impulse buys, gifts under £10, under £100. Promote these across your holiday email marketing program this year.
Holiday shopping doesn't change ecommerce fundamentals
Cathy Halligan, Director of sales and marketing of PowerReviews, said that ecommerce site owners need to remember that even with the holiday blitz, the fundamentals of ecommerce haven't changed.
During the holidays, the customer still wants to know that you've got the product she wants (easily found through search and browse), at the price she wants, that it’s in stock, checkout is fast and that she'll be able to get it in time for the holidays.
She also offered the following tips for including 'Featured Products' in your holiday emails:
- Feature products in your email. Most often, billboards announcing sales and programs do not perform as well
- Be sure to confirm featured items are in stock before pushing the send button
- Remember to integrate ratings and reviews into email marketing this holiday season
- Make sure featured products are 4 or 5 star products. These products convert on average 10-20 percent above 2 and 3 star products. Show a mix of 4 and 5 star products, as customers may doubt authenticity if they see only 5-star products across the board.Mixing Holiday Promotions with Social Media Marketing
Halligan also recommends that when you send a sales-based email that you also add a viral component with a "Give the gift of [Your Brand]" callout that incentivises recipients to share the deal with their Facebook and Twitter networks.
Businesses are conducting holiday marketing through social media networks more this year than ever before. Blake Hayward, VP of marketing at Extole said that research from ComScore indicates that 28 percent of consumers have said that social media has influenced holiday purchases.
To reach out to those social consumers, Hayward recommended that you rise above the noise. Because consumers are bombarded with offers, catalogues and other promotions during the holidays, retailers need to activate their customer base to deliver the message. Most often this can be done through social networking platforms.
He also suggested that brands give customers a reason to pass your holiday message along to their friends and peers on social media sites. This could be successful by offering an exclusive deal, a donation to charity, and other holiday incentives to ensure customers pass your marketing message along.