Though the holiday shopping season officially kicks off with Black Friday and Cyber Monday in November, brands need to start preparing for their holiday marketing campaigns long before the sales actually start. Below, we’ve put together a list of the ultimate strategies that your ecommerce business can use to make this BFCM the best one yet:
1. Start Planning Holiday Marketing Campaigns Early!
Many ecommerce brands make the mistake of waiting until November to start planning and executing their holiday marketing campaigns. However, by this time, your competitors have already started launching campaigns and taking advantage of the opportunity to reach consumers who start their shopping early.
Though not all consumers will have the holiday shopping season on their minds quite yet, we recommend preparing for your holiday marketing campaigns in September or October. This gives you enough time to create brand awareness and generate leads before the shopping season really starts to pick up. By starting early, not only can you get more people in your marketing funnel, but you can also reach the 50% of holiday shoppers that have already started making holiday purchases in October.
Not only does starting early give you the chance to take advantage of more affordable advertisement pricing, but it can also benefit your search engine optimization. Holiday SEO takes time to work its magic. You will need to start planning and publishing content early if you want to rank well for holiday keywords that are relevant to your products.
As you start planning for your holiday campaigns, keep the following in mind:
- What are your marketing and sales goals?
- Which KPIs will you use to measure your progress?
- Which sales or promotional offers will you provide?
- Which tactics and channels will help you best reach your audience?
- What types of content do you need to produce?
- What are your holiday shipping policies?
These are just a few questions that will help you prepare for your holiday sales marketing. It’s important to know the basics before you start planning your campaigns to avoid any errors or issues later on.
2. Identify Holiday Marketing Tactics That Have Worked In The Past.
If you want to be successful this year, it’s important to identify which tactics have worked for your brand in the past and which were not so successful. Was there a particular holiday campaign that resonated with your audience? Is there a channel that’s helped you successfully reach consumers during the holiday season?
Taking a look at what has worked for your brand in the past will give you a starting point for planning your campaigns this season. You can start by looking at which channels brought in the most customers or most valuable customers. If many of your holiday customers are finding your brand through Facebook ad campaigns or coming in through email marketing campaigns, then these are tactics you will want to consider for this shopping season.
You can also look at promotions or sales tactics that have worked in the past. For instance, let’s say that last year you offered free 2-day shipping for consumers who spent at least $100. After doing this, you found that the average order total per customer has increased from previous years. This is a good indication that the free shipping offer helps get consumers to spend more, and it may be something you want to implement again.
Of course, you don’t have to do the same thing you did in previous years. You can experiment to see if different promotions or shipping offers yield better results this year. But looking at what has worked in the past gives you a good starting point for what types of promotions, tactics, and channels you can test this year.
3. Offer Exclusive BFCM Deals.
Consumers love shopping during Black Friday and Cyber Monday because it allows them to take advantage of the best deals of the holiday shopping season. And who doesn’t love a good deal? However, with so many ecommerce brands offering free shipping or a certain percentage of their total order, your brand is going to need to step up its game to attract consumers and get them to spend their money with you instead of your competitors.
If you want to attract more consumers during these big shopping days, you’re going to need to offer exclusive BFCM deals that are relevant and enticing to your target buyers. Go beyond just a typical sales promotion like free shipping to provide something of value that sets you apart from other ecommerce brands. This might be a free gift or access to special items that will only be available during this shopping season.
You can also take advantage of the power of exclusivity by sending out teaser marketing content. Build up excitement and anticipation for Black Friday and Cyber Monday by telling consumers what special promotions and products they can look forward to during these big shopping days. Keep them interested and engaged through social media content and email marketing. That way, when the big day comes, you’ll be on their list of places to visit.
4. Vary Your Holiday Marketing Promotions /Sales.
The last thing that you want is for consumers to get bored during the busiest shopping season of the year. If you want to keep them interested, you’ve got to add a little variety to holiday promotions. There are a variety of ways that you can vary both your promotions and your marketing content to keep consumers engaged during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other important sales events.
Start by deciding how many different types of sales or promotional events you want to offer during the holiday shopping season. While some brands stick to two or three significant sales opportunities, others have found success in varying their sales by the week or even by the day. This is a decision that you will have to make before you start launching campaigns.
Here are just a few ideas that you can use for different types of promotional offers during the holiday shopping season:
- Provide early access to those on your email list.
- Offer “VIP” shopping opportunities to your most loyal customers.
- Create a sale for a different product or category of products each week.
- Ramp up your sales percentages as it gets closer to the holidays.
- Offer free shipping on sales that meet a certain threshold.
- Launch new products to be sold for the first time during the holidays.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of promotional opportunities for holiday sales. Consider which types of promotions and deals your target buyers respond to best, and then work to provide a few different opportunities throughout the holiday season for consumers to take advantage of your sales. You don’t have to vary your sales each week, but it is best to offer more than one promotion if you want to capture the widest audience.
5. Introduce Spending Thresholds For Your Holiday Marketing.
If you want to have a successful holiday sales season, you need to go beyond just getting consumers to make a purchase. Your holiday marketing campaigns should also focus on finding ways to increase the number of products that each customer purchases. One of the best ways to do this is to introduce spending thresholds.
A spending threshold is an amount that a customer needs to spend in order to take advantage of a specific deal. Many ecommerce companies use this tactic for shipping during the holiday shopping season and beyond. For instance, a brand might offer free shipping on orders over $50, making $50 the spending threshold.
Though it may be a good idea to offer free shipping during the holiday season, this isn’t the only way that you can implement spending thresholds. Your brand can also use spending thresholds for discounts and other types of offers. For example, you might offer 10% off for orders over $100, 15% off for orders over $200, and 20% off for orders over $350. You might also try offering a free gift or access to exclusive products for customers that meet a certain spending threshold.
This type of tiered promotional offer may encourage consumers to spend a bit more than they originally intended in order to take advantage of the sale. It might also be the deciding factor that helps the consumer choose between you or a competitor.
To encourage participation, be sure to remind customers where they are in terms of the spending threshold. Messaging like “Spend only $50 more to receive a free gift,” that appears in the buyer’s shopping cart is a great reminder of how they can take advantage of the special deal. This may be all the encouragement they need to spend a bit more in order to benefit from the promotion.
6. Add a Sense of Urgency.
If you want to avoid the dreaded abandoned shopping cart, it’s important that you find ways to encourage buyers to complete their purchase in a timely manner before they leave your site. Adding a sense of urgency or scarcity is a great way to get consumers to act fast during the holidays. You need to remind consumers that there is a deadline for your holiday deals and a limited amount of products available in your inventory.
There are a few different ways that you can work to add urgency to the buying process:
- Add a countdown clock. If you have promotions that will only last for a limited time, you can add a countdown clock on the site, counting down the hours and minutes until the sale will end. This ever-present reminder will add a sense of urgency and encourage shoppers to convert sooner.
- Include product quantities. Another way to create a sense of urgency is by showing the scarcity of your most popular products. After your inventory reaches a certain point, you can let consumers know how many of the products are left. For example, putting “Only 25 left” next to the product will encourage the consumer to act fast if they want to buy.
- Introduce a checkout deadline. A checkout deadline works much like the countdown clock for deals, except it counts down the time that the buyer has left to make their purchase. Putting a deadline on the checkout process will get the buyer to act faster while also hinting at a sense of scarcity. Make sure that you give them enough time to get through the checkout process or offer the option for them to extend the time once the clock runs out.
- Use messaging that creates a sense of urgency. You can create a sense of urgency throughout your marketing messaging to encourage consumers to make a purchase. For example, you might send out “last chance” emails a day before the sale ends. When consumers know there is a defined time limit, they’ll be more inclined to make a purchasing decision quickly.
7. Personalize The Holiday Shopping Experience.
Consumers respond to personalization. The more specific and relevant you can make the offers and recommendations you send to customers, the more likely they will be to 1) make an initial purchase and 2) return to your site for more purchases in the future. That’s why it’s important to find ways to personalized the holiday shopping experience for your customers.
Use the data that you have on your customers to send strategic content and personalized recommendations that will appeal to them most. For instance, if you have certain contacts that you know have teenage children, you might send them a gift guide that will help them make the right purchasing decision. You could also send them personalized recommendations for the best gifts for teens.
It’s important to note that if you want to effectively create a personalized shopping experience for your leads and customers, you need to segment your customer lists. Consider which promotions and products would appeal to different segments of your contact list. Then, segment the lists based on these traits. When developing the messaging for these promotions, tailor your language and offers to the needs, preferences, and behaviors of these target buyers.
8. Take Advantage of Holiday Email Marketing For Lead Nurture.
When it comes to your holiday marketing campaigns, lead nurturing is an important part of getting those who have shown interest in your brand to make a purchase during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or other holiday shopping events. Email marketing is a great way to nurture these leads and ensure that your brand is top of mind when they are ready to shop for the holidays.
Email marketing is not just for getting the word out about your holiday promotions. You can work to nurture leads before the holiday shopping season even starts. By sending relevant messages and valuable content like buyer’s guides or other informational pieces, you work to build relationships and establish trust with your audience before its time to buy. That way, when they think about which ecommerce company they would like to shop with, they will already have your brand in their minds.
You can also use email marketing to send targeted messages based on your contacts’ behaviors. You can develop strategic messaging and automatically send an email to be triggered by specific actions. For example, if a consumer visits a certain product category page, you might send them an email with a special promotion for that product category or a strategic piece of content that was created to help them better understand the products you offer. Strategic email triggers help improve relevancy and encourage buyers to take action.
Get Started with Holiday Marketing Campaigns
If you haven’t already started thinking about your holiday marketing campaigns, you’re already behind. The tips above are a great starting point for taking your BFCM marketing campaigns to the next level. The sooner you start planning and launching your holiday campaigns, the better you’ll be able to take advantage of the excitement surrounding the holiday shopping season.