ake your to-do list and check it twice -- or let us do the work for you! This easy-to-follow checklist shows how to shake the most conversions out of your holiday marketing stocking. And it’s downloadable, so go ahead and print and post it where your whole team can use it during the busy months ahead.
Create your holiday marketing plan
Keep your emails on track with the who, what, and when. Who will you target? What will you tell them? When will you send the emails? Review the emails you sent last holiday season to see what worked well, and what needed improvement in terms of conversions. Then use the Holiday Marketing Planning Worksheet to begin crafting your email marketing campaigns for this year.
Snag email signups
You’ve no doubt been collecting email addresses all year, but there’s nothing wrong with giving customers a few extra places to sign up now. These can include lightboxes and sign-up forms on your website, in-store tablets, and plain old pen and paper where customers can find it. Don’t forget to ask for email addresses while ringing up purchases, too! Here are some best practices for email collection.
Segment your email lists
Not all email subscribers are created equal. Your top customers probably won’t benefit from the same message you send to someone who’s only expressed interest in your business, and vice versa. Divide your subscribers into categories that allow you to market to them more effectively, with messages applicable to each category. Here are some common ways to segment customer lists:
- Geographic region
- Behavior patterns
- Level of interest
Email segmentation is important, but not necessary for every campaign. For an in-depth look at email segmentation, read our article on how and why to segment your lists.
Decide what content and creative you’ll need
Standing out from the crowd is important this time of year. Your marketing copy and images should capture attention and be authentic to you. Speak your customers’ language, and use clear calls-to-action. Eye-catching photos or imagery helps too, and videos are always attention-getters. We’ve provided astocking full of creative assets for you to use. As you plan your campaigns, determine what copy, photos, and graphics go with each one, so you can begin assembling them ahead of time.
Outline your holiday campaigns
Which holiday high points will you plan your marketing around? There are many to choose from, and these are just the biggies:
- Black Friday
- Small Business Saturday
- Cyber Monday
- New Year’s
- January Sales
Marketing for all of them is tough, if not impossible, so pick the handful that work for your business. Then begin creating campaigns that cover some or all of these channels:
- Social media
- Landing pages
- A holiday microsite
- Direct mail
- In-store signage and decor
Stay ahead of the stragglers
Plan to light a fire under less-motivated shoppers. Emails that feature “Ending soon,” “today only,” “only a few left,” and “act fast” can create urgency and entice hesitant customers to visit your store or click on your site. When used sparingly but smartly, these keywords build demand. You’ll still have last-minute shoppers, of course, but this brings in some of them earlier.
Plan to send thank you emails
Soften even the scroogiest customers by taking the time to thank them for shopping or dining with you. Thank you emails work wonders in building lasting relationships, particularly at this hectic time of year. Additionally, you can use the holidays to send special thank you promotions to your best customers, or even all of your customers. Show your appreciation and make them smile.
Stock up now on extra gift-wrapping supplies so you don’t run out of tape, paper, or tags in the middle of a wrapping blitz.
Don’t forget about January and February
A great fourth quarter can make your entire year, but many businesses see a severe drop-off come January 2. Plan to give customers a reason to return in the winter months by offering clearance sales, customer appreciation promotions, “give yourself a gift” messages, and even Valentine’s Day marketing. January will be here before we know it, so allow some time to plot your winter strategy.
Other Marketing Channels
Make your website mobile-friendly
A non-responsive site is a no-no this holiday season. Over 72 percent% of adults use smartphones, and especially during the holidays, when everyone’s on the go. If your website is responsive, meaning it looks great even on phones and tablets, you’re in good shape. If your site isn’t responsive, you risk turning off customers who simply can’t find what they’re looking for on a smaller screen. Here’s a simple way to test your website’s mobile-responsiveness.
Need help on making your site more mobile-friendly? If you have questions on mobile optimization, we have answers. Check out these five tips.
Launch a new home page or new landing pages on your website
Catchy, attention-getting emails and social media posts are only half the battle -- customers also want relevant website pages to click on. A redesigned home page and holiday-specific landing pages that feature gift guides, sales, promotions, coupons, and events are great places to start. We have more information on holiday landing pages here.
Add a holiday event calendar to your website
Build a one-stop resource for everything happening at your business this season by giving customers a calendar showing extended hours and in-store events. If you’re a restaurant or other space closed on certain days for private parties, go ahead and note those too.
Share fun facts and useful info over social media
Interesting holiday facts, free gift wrapping, a cup of mulled cider for every shopper -- spread the word and get people talking about your business on social media. Many promotions and events that you announce via email can, and should, be shared on social pages too. Customers also rely on social media pages for business addresses and hours. So if you’re open later for the holidays, or offering extra services, your social media listings are a perfect way to get the word out.
Send holiday cards
Email is easier, cheaper, and more trackable, of course. But direct mail is classic -- and classy. At this time of year, a holiday card can go the extra mile in creating the warm and fuzzies. Whether you offer a discount, just say “Season’s Greetings,” or handwrite each one yourself is up to you. The fact that you took the time to send them won’t go unnoticed by your fan base. There’s still time to design and print cards, too.
More than 1.6 billion holiday cards are sent every year, according to the Greeting Card Association. Valentine’s cards are the next most popular, with 145 million sent each year.
Decorate, decorate, decorate!
Now’s the time to bust out the turkey, tree, reindeer, and menorah decorations you’ve been saving all year long. Don’t forget to put holiday touches on your social media, your website, your printed materials, your signage, and all around your physical business -- anything that puts your customers in the holiday spirit. We have an entire guide to seasonalizing your business for the holidays.
Get listed in online directories
Your customers -- and future customers -- are looking for you! Make sure you can be found. Claim your listing in Yelp, Google+, and everywhere else your customers look. This free tool shows you which online directories feature your business, and which ones you might want to add your business to.
We made a list so you can check it twice!
- More helpful reminders
- Tips and fun facts to share on social media