What are you waiting for?
Halloween is over. Thanksgiving is nigh. You need to start planning your Holiday 2015 marketing strategy right away.
You think you have time, but you don’t. In fact, you’re already behind. You should have started weeks ago.
A full 25 percent of U.S. holiday shoppers bought their first Christmas gift even before Halloween. The rush is already on, and you just don’t know it.
Here are some important statistics to help you figure out how to plan your marketing strategy this holiday season:
- Of annual sales, 20 percent occur in December alone
- Over 80 percent of all holiday shoppers look for gift ideas online
- Online sales growth is expected to hit double digits
- Mobile accounted for 22.6 percent of online sales last year, and it will increase
- Average sales from mobile devices were $16 greater than sales from desktops
- 90 percent of sales take place in stores, but online engagement impacts that figure
- 65 percent of holiday shoppers search social media for gift ideas
- 64 percent say they’ve made a purchase based on something they saw on Twitter
What does this mean for your business?
The sections below help you make sense of the numbers, and explain what you need to be doing to capitalize on current trends.
Start Your Marketing Efforts Early
Of average yearly sales, fully 20 percent take place in a single month. Can you guess which one?
That’s right. December accounts for a solid one-fifth of the average retailer’s annual revenue, so now is the time to ramp up your holiday promotions and Christmas tie-ins. If you wait any longer, you will miss the boat.
You don’t have to start blaring Jingle Bells from store speakers or hanging tinsel from your shelves, but you should start planning your holiday specials, sales prices, and promotional materials immediately, if you have not already done so.
The reason they call the day after Thanksgiving “Black Friday” is that it’s the first day many retailers pull themselves out of the red and into the black. You have one month to earn a profit.
Make the most of it.
Put Your Business Online
Online sales growth is likely going to hit double digits this year, and even shoppers who purchase from bricks-and-mortar stores say they browse for gifts online before they ever set foot inside a retail outlet.
This means you must be online to take advantage of the opportunities there.
If you run a small retail shop or provide a holiday-appropriate service, you absolutely must develop a smooth, seamless, and efficient online sales presence, or your competitors will eat you alive. They have the same information as you do, and you can bet they won’t ignore it.
Moreover, be aware that your online presence is more than just your website. You must also keep abreast of what others are saying about you. Review sites like Yelp and Foursquare are becoming increasingly important as more and more buyers seek out online reviews to guide their spending. Make sure your business doesn’t miss out on sales because of negative reviews of which you are unaware.
Find out what others are saying about you, and address any problems immediately. Respond in ways that show you care about your customers, and explain what you are doing to correct the problem. Readers who see you taking steps to address any negative issues are likely to respond favorably. In that way, you can thus turn a negative review into a positive PR opportunity.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile
Mobile sales accounted for nearly a quarter of all online sales last year, and with the exponential growth of the smart phone market, this figure will undoubtedly increase in 2015. Not only that, but average mobile sales per buyer was 117 percent greater than average desktop sales.
Mobile is clearly the heir apparent in the Kingdom of Sales.
If your site loads sluggishly on mobile devices—or is not optimized for mobile at all—you should take pains to improve the experience for your mobile device users. As mentioned above, even buyers who like to buy in stores often scout out the market online first. In fact, many buyers engage online even while they are inside the store.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Nearly two-thirds of holiday shoppers say they search for Christmas gifts on social media, and a similar number say they have purchased something they saw on Twitter.
This is a powerful indicator that you ought to be on social media. Unlike traditional advertising, a finely crafted social media post has an almost unlimited reach. If done right, your marketing message can be shared and retweeted innumerable times and find its way in front of literally millions of potential customers.
People love to share interesting images and moving stories. Take advantage of that fact, and reach your audience via social media with a solid plan for success. Create engaging, funny, or heartwarming content that encourages your followers to share your posts. Start conversations, and ask questions. Post pictures of your coolest products.
In other words, be social.
The holiday season is approaching, and if you are not yet developing your plan of attack, you are falling behind. Now is the time to start positioning your business to take advantage of the December buying spree.
Make sure your online operations are smooth, efficient, and unblemished. Address any bad reviews you might have received over the last year, and make sure you optimize your site for mobile. It is becoming more and more important.
Social media offers enormous opportunities if you take the time to learn best practices. A single tweet or Facebook post can reach as many people as a Super Bowl television ad.
So get busy! Start planning your holiday 2015 marketing strategy now.