The holidays are a wonderful time of the year, aren't they? The camaraderie, spending time with family members you may not be able to see regularly, and the gleam in a child's eye for all the amazing wonder surrounding them more than compensates for all the gifts of fruitcake. They are also a great time for retail establishments! The National Retail Foundation has predicted a rise in sales by nearly 4% for Holiday Season 2013 compared to 2012.
So what does that mean for you as a business? Well, if you were ahead of the curve, those '61 holiday days, counting back from December 24, would be well under way. If you're just getting started, though, and you want to get in on the buzz, you need to get ready now for a busy month ahead. With major retailers like Walmart, Target, and Toys 'R Us already sending out their Holiday 2013 catalogs, and Black Friday deals being leaked for weeks now, how do you make a splash?
Go social, by using the following six steps:
- Do some research into your competitors who are selling like-minded products (like the three above). What keywords are they using? Adopt them, with a twist, and begin your own campaign. If you are a small business, find appropriate hashtags that are in use for the 2013 holiday season. There are none? Make your own using an amalgamation of other 'in' tags driving the charts.
- Create lists of the 'hot items' in your market for people to reference and download. Activate your website link to that list, and add any social media page that you want to drive traffic to. If you have CTAs on your website, add these to the list and trade them for buyer info, such as email addresses for marketing campaigns. If not, upload them to all of your social media sites.
- It's all about content, content, content. Be the king of your field. Do a showcase piece every few days on one of the 'hot items' you are featuring for the next month. Not only will people enjoy learning something about the product they plan to do research on anyway, but it will increase your page rank and SEO value.
- Storm Google+ and join communities aimed at your target market. Nobody has time for shameless self-promotion. Still, by introducing yourself and by offering guidance and wisdom in your specialized field, the recognition will come. Make sure to provide a website link so that people can find you. Sell them on your product without shoving the Buy Me button in their faces.
- Use bit.ly, a link-tracking website, to create vanity links to a sales page; for example, bit.ly/xmastoys2013 or bit.ly/cybermondaytools. Remember to be creative, that each link must be unique, and that it is case sensitive. Share these links on Twitter and Facebook.
- Graphics are huge! You should not be creating a post on any site without a graphic to share with your text content or link. Create a one page sell sheet tailored to the holiday you are looking to be a part of with a great typographical scheme. Whether it is Valentine's Day, St. Paddy's Day, or Veteran's Day, there are graphics out there for you to use (like this free vector image site). Just make sure it looks professional to impress your audience with high quality imagery of what you want to sell. Not sure what to do? A great place for inspiration would be the splash ads in the newspaper.
While the holidays are geared more to a B2C marketing environment, B2B marketers should take part in the holiday treats as well. Perhaps run a Veteran's Discount for the month of November, in which veteran-run businesses get a percentage off their service; or team with your local food bank, donating a portion of profits toward keeping their pantry shelves stocked. Being a part of your community and giving back is not only a way to generate leads, but makes you feel good; which is a lesson Ebenezer Scrooge learned long ago.