By Erika Jolly Brookes, Chief Marketing Officer, Springbot
Given that holiday shopping kicks off earlier every year and consumers are more technology enabled than ever to shop across multiple devices, marketers and eCommerce stores must get their message and products out both sooner and more efficiently. Whether a marketing plan is just in the initial stages or polished and ready to go, we recommend five key activities before the holiday rush to help ensure your holiday marketing strategy is on the right path.
- Look Back to Look Forward
Before creating a holiday marketing plan, take a step back and reflect on last year’s plan and results. Dig through reports and examine historical and customer data to understand what worked. As you examine your store’s data, ask yourself these simple questions:
- What were the successes? Failures?
- What information am I missing?
- Which marketing channels had the greatest impact?
- What messages, products and offers did consumers respond to favorably?
- Package, Personalize, and Prioritize
Targeted emails increase the success rate. Utilize segmented email lists to increase your email engagement rate and generate more sales by creating targeted emails to specific groups within your customer or prospect base. For example, ask yourself, “based on my customers’ demographic data and what they have previously purchased, what would they be most likely to buy this holiday season?” Then build email campaigns around your answers and include a clear call-to-action.
- Pull out all the stops
As you craft your plan, there are three simple things to consider:
- If there’s a trend this season your competition is adopting, it is mobile for many aspects of the shopping experience, i.e. product search, social sharing and purchasing. Studies show that 56 percent of American adults own a smartphone and 22 percent of those users report that they have made at least one purchase on their phone.
- Get creative! Equipped with data from last year, don’t be afraid to try something different. Try innovative marketing tactics, launch promotions, or experiment with new social channels.
- Arm yourself with the right tools. One of the keys to a comprehensive marketing plan is having the eCommerce marketing tools you need to succeed. Our favorites include Zoey (formerly Pixafy), Constant Contact, Hootsuite, and naturally the free holiday tips and email marketing templates from Springbot.
- A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Words…or Social Likes
According Erik Qualman’s Socialnomics, 93 percent of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media. The reason is simple: it’s the age of the consumer and 90 percent trust peer-to-peer recommendations. Encourage your fans and followers to share your content and make social a two-way conversation – nothing gets a consumer’s attention more than a business they like sharing their content.
Secondly, a social strategy needs original content. Consider creating the must-have holiday shopping guide for techies or creative DIY guide for collectors that provides ideas for your customers in unique ways.
Lastly, the content format is important. Liveclicker’s Video Commerce Report finds that online sites featuring video on the majority of their product pages saw an increased AOV to of 68 percent. Additionally, 88 percent of respondents saw increased conversions after adding video to product pages. By using social channels including Instagram and Vine, a big retailer budget is not required to create fun and engaging video.
- Reward Early Buyers
Flash sales are a great way to incentivize customers with all types of buying habits. Promote quick “preview” sales early to highly targeted customer segments. It doesn’t need to be a heavy discount – incentivize buyers just enough to purchase from your store or offer free shipping for a minimum order value.
Give holiday coupon codes a try. Just be sure to measure the success of your coupon with a different code for each channel. Simply distribute one code on all of your social media platforms and different codes in all of your email campaigns. Alternatively create a unique code for each social platform and email.
For the last minute shoppers, run a final promotion before your postal service provider’s holiday shipping cut-off date so purchases have time to reach your customers before Christmas.
Remember, marketers plan their content weeks, sometimes months, in advance, so get ahead of the competition by pitching your holiday offers and discounts earlier in the holiday season to make your sales merry and bright.
About the Author: Erika Jolly Brookes is chief marketing officer for Springbot, an eCommerce marketing platform, where she leads lead all aspects of marketing. Erika can be found actively engaging on a wide-range of topics including digital marketing, e-commerce, kale and college football on Twitter @ebrookes. A strategic technology marketing veteran, Erika has held numerous executive-level marketing positions with leading technology companies like Oracle, Vitrue, MindSpring, Earthlink and Rackspace. To learn more about Springbot, please visit twitter.com/springbot and https://www.springbot.com/