How to Engage Your Customers with Holiday Marketing

By Maggie Wall

Can you believe the holiday season is almost here! Where did the year go?

When it comes to local and online marketing Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas can be a creative and fun time for you and your customers.

Smart businesses think about starting their marketing kick offs earlier and come up with creative ways to engage their customers and help them to celebrate the holidays.

Retailers from all walks have learned that holiday marketing (not just the traditional holidays) can be extremely beneficial to them.

Let’s look at Halloween as an example. When you are planning your Halloween campaign consider this, 71.5 percent of all adults plan to celebrate or participate in some kind of Halloween activity. There is no specific demographic that is more likely to participate than another.

This would indicate that no matter what demographic you serve you can benefit from running a marketing campaign through Halloween. This is one example of how knowing the stats for a particular holiday can be beneficial in helping you decide whether to run a campaign.

Generally speaking, if you ignore a holiday you will be missing out on a marketing opportunity and a way to engage your customers.

How to Engage Your Customers during the Coming Holidays

·         Create your own “holidays.”  How about a “Termination Dust” campaign to sell boots, snow tires and winter clothing. If you sell bulk foods or other “emergency” items, use the coming bad weather as an “excuse” to encourage people to stock up.

·         Have a super simple loyalty program. Think fun, not hassle.

Make it as simple as possible and as short a run time as possible. Complex is not good. How about “Buy 3 in 30 Days and Get Your 4th One 20% OFF,” or “9 in 90 Days for 20% OFF.”  Reward them for shopping, but don’t drag it out.

Always test the waters first. See how receptive your customers are to a loyalty program. Try to design a loyalty program specific to your brand and your customer needs. Your options truly are endless.

·         Offer special deals or “First Notice of New Arrivals” to your Facebook fans.  Use a headline like: “Friends are the First to Know,” or “Friends First.”  Let them know you appreciate their loyalty. Encourage them to share New Arrivals with their own followers and friends.

·         Offer free giveaways with purchases on holidays or create mystery packs that you sell on holidays. Think of catchy phrases to go with the holiday: For Halloween, “Do you have the guts to purchase this bag of goodies?”  Use “A Bag of Santa’s Extras for Sale” to sell odds and ends gift items you want to move.

How about a “White Elephant” package for those innumerable White Elephant Parties we have in Kodiak around the holidays? That’s a great way to get rid of all kinds of oddball, unsellable items collecting dust on your shelves.

·         If you have one, a holiday is an excellent time to give your web site a mini-facelift. Work with your website designer to make small holiday related changes to your pages. Be creative and have a lot of fun with this!

You might even be able to make the changes yourself depending on your skills. Making small updates to your website is easy when you have a WordPress site. That’s why I recommend WordPress for small businesses.

·         This is an excellent time to reach out to your customers and engage them. Include social media such as Facebook and email campaigns. Let your customers know that you love to celebrate these special times. Send a Holiday card to your best customers.

·         Have an Open House to celebrate the season. Give people a reason to stop by your shop! Let them see what you’ve got in stock. Spend time getting to know them and their needs. Ask how you can better serve them, what would they like to see stocked.

·         Ask them to join your email list or Like you on Facebook so they can learn of new arrivals—and you then have a way to keep them up on what your business is featuring during non-holiday periods.

·         And finally, get online and check out the cool things on Pinterest. Search for holiday display ideas and holiday marketing ideas. Works with any search engine, but Pinterest boards are created by people really into their subject—so you get an idea of what people like.

Warning:  Pinterest can be very addictive. I suggest you limit yourself to 20 minutes, or only go down 5 rabbit holes or you’ll be clicking on things forever! Been There. Done That.

Learning how to engage your customers by incorporating holiday celebrations is a skill that will bring you many rewards including more sales.

Plus, it can make shopping fun for your customers who’ll want to support you after the holidays.