The top seven tips for your holiday marketing.
Retailers, are you ready? The holiday gift-giving season is approaching fast. Do you have your marketing plan in place? While you’re enjoying the final days of summer, don’t forget to also plan for the holiday season.
Whether you have an Etsy store, sell products on Amazon, have your own ecommerce website, or brick and mortar stores, you’re going to want to make sure your marketing and PR strategy are in place.
Here are the top seven tips for getting ready for the holiday season when marketing your consumer goods:
Get More Product Reviews
Product reviews are one of your most powerful advertising tools. Shoppers often make purchases based on recommendations from reviews. Reading them, especially if they are honest, are like getting the inside scoop from a trusted friend.
Receiving positive, fresh reviews on retail sites, blogs, websites, and social media, is a crucial part of your product marketing strategy right before the holidays. You may already have reviews, but it’s a good idea to do a push for new ones this time of the year.
You can ask customers to write honest reviews for you, and you can also send products to influencers and bloggers who will give you an honest review in exchange for your product. I put together teams of reviewers and influencers for companies, and though building a team of influencers can be a daunting task, the organic buzz created can reap huge benefits.
Public Relations and Media Interviews
As a business owner or executive, you are a brand. Media interviews and articles about you and your company stimulate attention, and can open a world of opportunity. Often, the story behind the story—or the story of why you started your company, your personal journey, the research you put into your developing your product, and the expertise you offer on the subject, is what can really launch you.
I work with a lot of business executives who are also authors of non-fiction books. If you have a book, remember this is a tool that works as a portal to many other offerings. For example, you could receive paid speaking engagements or get clients for your company as a result of promoting your book. Your book may give you the ability to sell services like coaching or consulting, or you may even be able to sell additional products related to your brand.
You should be pitching now, as editorial calendars fill up fast prior to the holidays. Going to press in the 11th hour to pitch a story or interview could actually be perceived as unprofessional, and leave a bad taste in professional journalists’ mouths. Be respectful of editorial calendars and the time needed by producers and hosts to arrange interviews and stories.
Marketing Your Product as a Gift — Gift Guides and Online Advertising
Take advantage of the holiday spirit by putting your products in the mind of people who are gift shopping. A combination of branding and advertising is a great way to raise awareness. You can do this by submitting your product for gift guides which are published prior to the holidays by magazines and websites.
You could also develop an online advertising plan, such as social media campaigns on sites like Facebook and Instagram. Paid search on Google or Bing is another option which allows you to target people searching for your type of product using keywords and search terms.
Wherever you decide to advertise, remember to give yourself enough time to build your audience profile, create ad copy and art, and submit your ads for approval. If you are driving traffic to your website you may need a landing page created. Pixels from your advertising platforms will need to be embedded on your website. All these things need a bit of planning and strategy, which means your advertising should not be a last-minute decision if you want it to be successful.
Social Media Buzz for Your Company or Product
In addition to using social media as a paid platform, you should also take advantage of the buzz it can give you organically. Use it to engage with your audience and rally your fans and followers.
I always recommend an integrated approach which includes a combination of boosted and paid social media posts, alongside a creative and engaging content strategy.
If you are advertising on Facebook, share that link with those who will share your message. Facebook makes this easy now by providing you with a share link in a message right after your ad is approved. Another tip, whenever you are interviewed, or when your product is featured in an article, share it on social media.
Price Strategy and Sales
To encourage sales of your products during the holiday season, employ a calculated price strategy. Adjust your price during key shopping times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
In addition to reducing prices, you can also be creative with offers. Two for one deals, gift with purchase, and other incentivized promotions can stimulate sales without lowering the price. Do your math and make sure you have the profit margin you need to be successful.
Your price strategy, along with your other promotional strategies, can be the single most important part of your marketing mix during the holiday season.
Mark Your Holiday Marketing Calendar
Speaking of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, take a moment to create your marketing calendar and highlight important days. From September first until the beginning of January, you should be planning your strategy.
A few ideas for your marketing calendar for the holidays:
- Pitch media interviews in September and October so there is time to have them in place in time for the holidays. Journalists take time off at the end of the year, too. Plan now to avoid missing your opportunity.
- Do the research, and mark the deadlines for the gift guides you want to submit your products to on your calendar, so you don’t miss the dates. These vary, but for some national publications, they are already putting their gift guides together now.
- Start the ad ideation for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns at least two months in advance, especially if you are developing a landing page and need APIs installed.
- If you offer a digital product like a download, ebook, or subscription, consider offering it as a last-minute gift idea. Plan for this in early November so you can easily run it a week before Christmas.
- Plan your after-holiday promotion no later than the end of November for a December 26th campaign launch.
- New Year promotions, such as ones that offer clearance sales, should be planned no later than mid-December.
Bring in Extra Help Now if You Need it for Your Holiday Marketing
There are a lot of strategies that come into play when it comes to implementing a holiday marketing strategy. If you don’t have the people-power, and you need the assistance of an agency or freelancer, bring them onboard as soon as possible. Remember, online marketing involves a lot of disciplines, usually needing specialized expertise. The temporary help an advertising agency brings to the table is worth the extra investment, and it will free you up to concentrate on your business during the hectic holiday season.