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10 Key Dates for your 2018 Holiday Marketing Plan
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If you're a B2C business there's a good chance that the holidays are preeeetty important to your bottom line. I won't get into the numbers here, but shouldn't something that has a significant impact on your sales have a significant plan behind it?

 

The first thing you'll want to do when considering marketing during the holiday season is to determine which dates are going to be the most important. For instance, for many businesses, launching something on December 25th is going to be way too late.

Here are some key dates to consider:

November 1st - In my personal opinion, this is the earliest one should launch a holiday campaign. Many retailers will disagree with me of course, but really, nothing looks good with the orange and black of Halloween so trust me on this.

November 10th - Deadline to make sure all your ducks are in a row for Black Friday. If you haven't started your marketing plan by this date, it's crunch time baby!

November 14th - Start promoting your Black Friday promotion now. Use email, social media marketing, digital ads, influencers, etc. to tease your Black Friday offering.

November 15th - The trend over the past few years has been to offer various promotions leading up to Black Friday. Don't get lost in the crowd, get creative with any pre-Black Friday promos you can offer (but save the good stuff for Black Friday).

November 22nd - Thanksgiving Day. Optional, but nice. Send 1 (and I repeat 1) email to your list wishing them an abundant Thanksgiving (or something along those lines). 

November 23rd - Black Friday is here. The gloves come off. At 12:01 you may send your first Black Friday promotional email. Wait until a more respectable hour for any social media posts or ads. 

November 24th- Small Business Saturday is a great reason to celebrate... your business! Join in on this growing movement and promote that you'll be participating. It's also helpful to give a shoutout to your local community and other partner businesses in your area. 

November 26th - Cyber Monday is my favorite. This is usually when I'll wait to get the best deals online. With that being said, if you are a brick and mortar location, your best bet is to target your promotions for the weekend of Black Friday (Fri-Sun) and then take advantage of last minute deals in the final run up to Christmas Day. Which leads me to my next set of dates...

December 15th-23rd - Shipping Deadlines - If you are providing a product that requires shipping, it's crucial to know the timelines around 2017 Holiday Shipping Deadlines. Need too much lead time to be really effective in the month of December? Plan for that ahead of time and really focus on the month of November. Another great strategy is to offer digital gifts, such as gift cards that can be purchased last minute (for shoppers like me).

FedEx Holiday Shipping Deadlines

UPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines

December 26th - Your customers have shopped and now it's time for you to make it a December they will remember by sending a follow up email! Thank them for their purchase, ask them if everything was to their satisfaction, and provide them with easy access links to customer service. It's a little too early to ask them for a review just yet - but we've officially hit our 10 dates so I'll save that for another blog post! 

If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of planning that needs to happen before November, I totally get it! I can help you build your strategy and create an easy to execute plan with deadlines and creative needs. Learn more here.

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5 Promotion Ideas for the Holidays

Are you struggling to think of creative ideas to promote your business for the holidays? Here's a list of ideas you can use, along with a BONUS swipe file.

Holiday Marketing can make or break your business. Do you remember when I told you why it's called Black Friday? 

You need a creative promotion to grab the attention of both past and new customers in a very noisy marketplace.

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In my previous post, I talked about some different types of promotions:

  • Pricing: discounts, coupons, BOGO

  • Product: gift with purchase, limited edition, sets

  • Lead Generation: giveaways, contests, share with a friend

  • Engagement: Pinterest parties, Facebook Live, Twitter Chats

  • Events: In-store events

  • Partnerships: relevant brands, influencers

These are all great ways to achieve a number of marketing objectives. So which one(s) should you choose?

You're going to hate this answer. 

It depends. 

Ughhh of course it does. There's no magical formula I can select for your holiday marketing promotions with my magical wish granting wand. In fairness to you as a consumer, you wouldn't want that anyway. In the promotion ideas I'm going to list below I'm going to do my best to impart my wisdom, past experiences, successes and failures with you and tell you which applications the promotion will make the most sense for. It's up to you to know your business and customers and select the promotion that will be most relevant. If you still need help, I can do that too!

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Holiday Gift Giveaway

Good for: Lead Generation

If you have an email list, this will be an effective way to collect leads heading into the holiday season. The idea is simple: customers give you their email address in exchange for a chance to win one of your products. Use those emails and create a strong holiday email campaign.

Promote the giveaway to your email list, on social channels and website, and in your store (if you have one).

Pricing: Buy More Save More Discount

Good for: High-end/premium brands, higher priced items

I love discounts as a consumer. As a marketer, however, they make me a little nervous. Discounts can be complex, exhilarating, and (potentially) psychologically damaging. Are you scared yet? Don't be. Just understand that when you use discounts, you have the potential to train your customers to wait for them in the future. For a real life example, look no further than your inbox. If you have subscribed to the mailing lists of any fashion retailers you've seen the discount game. It becomes a drug that shoppers get hooked on and won't shop without it. Now, do I use discounts? Yes I do. I'm just careful to follow a strategy that will work for my business. 

One approach I've used is the idea of Buy More, Save More. It's kind of a win-win for you and your customer. Your customer buys higher priced or more items, and you reward them with a deeper discount the higher they go.  

Offer the percentage tiers that are right for you, but here's an example 10% off $100 or more, 15% off $250 or more, 20% off $500 or more.

In-Store Event: Expert Holiday Host

Good for: Brick and Mortar Retail Stores with space to entertain

If driving traffic to your store is on your holiday wish list, this is a great way to both attract new customers and delight current customers. Depending on your business offering, treat your guests to experience your brand. If you're a liquor store, this could be expert advice on wine pairing for the holidays. If you're a clothing boutique, perhaps you've invited a professional stylist to answer your customer's questions about what to wear to holiday parties. 

Engagement: Facebook Live

Good for: Anyone!

If you want to try something new and bold - for free - produce a Facebook Live segment that will draw in your customers. Think of what you'd like to see from your favorite retailers. An inside look at the hottest products for gifts this year? A new or interesting way to use one of your products? A chat with an expert on a topic that resonates with your audience? Whatever you do, be sure that you 1. promote the event ahead of time 2. Have a strong WIIFM (what's in it for me) answer 3. Follow up with guests who joined.

Gift Guide

Good for: Those with a wide range of giftable items

If you have a selection of holiday gifts that you want to show off, make it easy for your customers by arranging items into curated gift guide. This can exist in a digital format as well as in a physical display in your store. Just make sure that the items you are promoting are well stocked!