Ah, that magical season is upon us – that time of year when there are more holiday ads on television and the internet than there are snowflakes in a Minnesota blizzard.
It’s no secret that holiday marketing is essential for a merry bottom line. The holiday season can represent 30 percent of annual sales for some merchants, according to National Retail Federation (NRF). Overall, holiday sales represented nearly 20 percent of total retail industry sales in 2016. That is some serious jingle!
The disproportionate revenues gained during the holiday season require a disproportionate focus on marketing during the time between Halloween and New Year’s Day. This is especially true for marketers who advertise holiday-related goods or services. In other words, if you sell goods or services, it’s time to hang the stockings by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Return on Investment soon will be there.
Maximizing the ROI gifts under your organization’s tree takes a bit of time and planning. First, you have to decide when to start your advertising campaign. Then you need to figure out ways to maximize your marketing efforts. It’s sort of like in the movie A Christmas Story when Ralphie blurts out “I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!” at the wrong time, only to be shut down by Mrs. Parker, “No, you’ll shoot your eye out.” Timing is everything when getting what you want at the holidays.
Merry Christmas Creep!
The holidays are a great time to get together with friends and family, but it is also when the “Christmas Creep” comes to town.
No, Christmas Creep is not that weird uncle that always seems to show up whenever Mariah Carey belts out “All I Want for Christmas is You.” (We provided the link to Ms. Carey’s song on the off chance that you have not yet heard it this year.) Christmas Creep is the merchandising phenomenon in which retailers offer Xmas items before the traditional start of the yuletide season on Thanksgiving.
Many people complain about Christmas music in July, but do shoppers really hate Christmas Creep? As it turns out, no. In fact, a 2017 survey found that 54 percent of participants planned to start shopping before the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. Creeped out yet? Wait – it gets creepier – 25 percent of survey respondents said they would start their Xmas shopping before October. Starting your Christmas shopping a full month before Halloween? Now that is creepy!
Like your weird uncle, Christmas Creep can actually visit upon retailers during other holidays, offering Halloween candy before the first autumn leaf hits the ground. Early sales cycles are now creeping to other merchandising holidays, such as New Years, Thanksgiving and even Back to School.
Early buying for all of these shopping holidays can line a merchant’s pockets with silver and gold. Deloitte’s 2017 Back-to-school survey found that 71 percent of back to school spending happens in the 8-week period between early July and late August and that the early shoppers were likely to spend more than were late shoppers.
How to Receive the Gift of Marketing ROI Cheer this Holiday Season
Start planning for holiday marketing campaigns early
Begin your holiday marketing campaigns in the fall. Ramping up brand awareness tactics in September through mid-November helps to create a larger re-targeting pool from Thanksgiving to the New Year. Planning ahead can also help you secure advertising at more reasonable prices.
Start by reaching out to your established customer base via email. Branch out into social media, using relevant holiday hashtags to attract new customers. Ramp up blog production, and use seasonal keywords to boost your search engine page rank. Create a video to post on YouTube – be sure to add your website and contact information to the video description.
Give your customers gifts in the form of exclusive deals
Offer exclusive deals at the right time, when the deals give your company the return gift of high Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS). Amazon looked at ROAS during the holidays. The retail giant found that average return on ad spend was greatest on Cyber Monday, with $13 generated in sales revenue for every dollar a seller spent on Amazon’s Sponsored Products ads. Peak ROAS varied in both amount and timing for specific product categories, though, with televisions hitting peak ROAS in mid-December.
Set yourself apart with a few free services
Offer free shipping, discounts on special shipping, extended hours, and free layaway. Implement an easy and flexible returns policy. Match competitor prices. If you have a brick and mortar location, create events where customers can meet Santa, attend cooking demonstrations, or even enjoy free cookies and apple cider.
Do more than just sell your products – market your brand
The holidays are a great time to promote your brand. Some of the best holiday social media marketing campaigns include Starbuck’s iconic red cups, Budweiser’s classic Clydesdales, and Coca-Cola’s polar bear family. Even Folger’s somewhat creepy “Peter Comes Home” ad successfully markets the coffee maker as the stimulant of choice during family reunions during the holiday.
Unwrap the power of the hashtag
Leave Santa a big plate of hashtags and milk this year, and he will stuff your sales stockings with all sorts of cheer. Hashtags are those # signs that can get your posts found on social media. Use the hashtag #ChristmasFruitcake if you sell America’s favorite holiday treat, for example, or #NoMoreFruitcake if you are a weight loss company. You might even try the hashtag #NoChristmasCreep if you don’t want to start your marketing campaign early or if you don’t want that weird uncle at your holiday gathering this year.
To maximize your marketing efforts this holiday season, use a professional writer. Wordsmiths know how to craft content that brings out the warm-fuzzy nostalgia of holiday advertising that builds brand recognition, supports customer loyalty, and helps you reach out to a wider customer base.
Lynn H has been a professional writer, providing exceptional content online and offline, for nearly 20 years. In that time, she has penned thousands of articles for doctors, universities, researchers, small businesses, nursing organizations, sole proprietors and more. She writes everything from blogs to white papers; her specialty is putting complex scientific concepts in simple terms. She specializes in medical writing, creating informative and engaging content for professionals in medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, medical manufacturing, chiropractics, optometry, emergency care, plastic surgery and others.