How to Start Preparing For the Holidays: Holiday Marketing Guideline 101

‘Tis the season to start preparing your holiday marketing! Before we know it, the holiday season will be in full swing. Whether your business sells products, services, or branding, the holidays are a great time to increase exposure, website traffic, and revenue. A sure fire way to help guarantee holiday success is by getting a head start on your holiday marketing strategy.

Don’t get behind like most businesses, and shoppers, by waiting until the last minute. Start preparing for the holidays now with these helpful holiday marketing tips.

Get Santa on Mobile

Mobile commerce is quickly taking over desktop. From browsing on mobile to using apps, eCommerce for mobile is the place to be this holiday season. According to Marketing Land, 71% of people browse through retail apps before actually making an in-store purchase, giving businesses an opportunity to really showcase their offer before meeting the customer in person.

DMA and 13-Ten created an infographic sharing the many successful statistics between mobile and eCommerce. In their findings, they discovered eCommerce revenues originating from a smartphone device increased by 123%, and mobile commerce is only growing larger.

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Therefore, not only does your website need to be mobile responsive, but your products and shopping cart experience needs to be seamless on mobile.

Once your eCommerce portion is mobile-friendly, let the whole world know. Inform customers how they can now easily and conveniently make their holiday purchases straight from their phones. You can also offer an exclusive discount for mobile orders to increase exposure and mobile sales.

Break Out the Data and the Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Pumpkin-latteHow has your business performed over the past few holiday seasons? Was there a certain holiday offer that helped increase sales more than others? Dig through previous year’s data to remind yourself what has worked in the past and what hasn’t. This will give you a starting point to help choose what type of offer to promote. Ask yourself these questions as you filter through analytics:

  • What were sales like during September-January? It’s important to look at the holidays as a season, and not just a month-long period. Increased traffic and sales can start as far back as September if being promoted correctly. Correlate those efforts to the right holiday to pinpoint your most effective time of the season.
  • If business was slow – why? Does your specific business slow down during the holidays? Industries that aren’t directly retail, like chiropractic and service-based businesses, can slow down during the holidays due to traveling plans, tight finances, and busy schedules. Incorporate these factors into your offer to create something that accommodates everyone, regardless of schedule and budget.

Research Spooky Keywords

Start doing keyword research data for holiday marketing now. This will save a tremendous amount of time when the holiday season arrives. Use tools like AuthorityLabs to decipher how you can incorporate your industry with the holidays through keyword research. Check rankings now and post-holiday season using AuthorityLabs’s ranking data to see how holiday promotions helped increase or decrease rankings.


Create an Exclusive Holiday Offer

A special offer during the holiday season can be the reason why a customer chooses to purchase a product with your business over another’s. Especially with so much shopping to be done, from holiday presents to holiday prep, consumers have an even larger appreciation for discounts during the holiday season.

After researching what offers have performed best in the past and the best keywords to use this season, decide what kind of package deal, shipping discount, or promo you can afford to promote during the holidays. Keep in mind the following factors when choosing your holiday offer:

  • Quantity and quality counts. Choose a product or service that you can mass produce, while maintaining it’s quality. If you’re offer is good enough to make products fly off of their virtual shelves, make sure you’re prepared to handle the shipping. Service-type businesses need to especially take note and avoid overbooking themselves. Nothing is worse than a late Santa.
  • Is your product already successful? Discounting something that is already in demand will guarantee extra sales during the holiday season. Try spicing things up and choose one of your less-purchased items or services to advertise a promotion with. Sometimes all a good product needs is a little more exposure and the right advertising.
  • Package gifts out of existing products. Recreate your ordinary products and services to offer them as “gifts” versus their usual product feel. Inspire customers to make your product someone’s next best Christmas gift by advertising it as a gift or custom gift package.

Design a Holiday-Themed Email Newsletter

Holiday-newsletterOnce your holiday offer/offers have been decided, you can start working on the promotional pieces. Email newsletters are a great way to spread the word about your new promotion to an exclusive list of customers. Use email marketing tools like Aweber, Mailchimp, and Constant Contact to organize your list of subscribers by shopping patterns and send exclusive holiday discounts to different subscriber lists.

New customers may need a larger offer to persuade them to purchase, whereas loyal customers who already love your brand can be satisfied with a free shipping code or exclusive offer made “just for them”. Creating holiday email campaigns to fit each type of subscriber list will help increase website traffic, sales, and exposure during the holidays. Try these tips for even more success:

  • Link each product/service photo to a corresponding page. Don’t include a photo of “Dad’s favorite mug” without linking the image to a product page where the subscriber can purchase Dad’s new mug.
  • Add a little mistletoe to the design of your newsletter. Holidays are a fun time for designers (and an extremely busy time, too). Take advantage of holiday themes and make the newsletter fun to open, read, and digest.
  • Include hints to the offer in the subject line. Tease subscribers with a piece of the offer right away by including info in the subject line. Make them want more by opening your newsletter and learning more about this exclusive, just-for-them offer.

Create Content Full of Pumpkins, Turkey, and Pies

Start working on your holiday-themed blog posts now. Using your data from keyword research, create optimized blog posts that fit right in with the holiday season. Prepare content for fall, winter, and each of the holidays to help your website pop up in search results as customers try to find the perfect gift for their loved ones.

Don’t forget to include your holiday promotions in blog posts, as well. Blog posts are easily shared on social media channels and act as both a rank improver and increased exposure for your offer and website. Make sure and space out your holiday content with regularly scheduled content about events, news, and upcoming promotions so your customers aren’t overwhelmed with pumpkin blog posts for the next three months.

Choose a Local Charity

The holidays are a great time to give back, especially for businesses. Increase your exposure by hosting a toy drive or charitable auction. Customers will think highly of your business and appreciate that your company gives back to the people.

Whichever route you choose for your holiday marketing strategy, keep track of analytics and conversions so you know how to better prepare for the coming years.

About Ashley Ward

Ashley Ward is the Founder of Madhouse Marketing, a digital marketing agency in San Diego, specializing in content and social media marketing. Speaking both internationally and throughout the US, Ashley regularly teaches workshops and speaks at conferences like Pubcon, BrightonSEO, SearchLove, Digital Summits, Retail Global, and the prestigious SMS Sydney. Ashley has also co-authored the best-selling book “The Better Business Book V.2” and is a contributing writer to industry blogs such as Search Engine Journal and AuthorityLabs.

Filed under: Strategy, Tips