Marketing Strategies to Help Your Business Drive Revenue During the 2020 Holiday Season

For businesses of all sizes in a variety of industries, the holiday season is the most powerful time of year for boosting sales and engaging both new and existing customers. While the season is short-lived—lasting for about a month, from Black Friday through Christmas—it’s crucial for businesses to make the most of it by ensuring that their marketing strategies are optimized to attract customers and drive conversions. As with many other areas of life, the events of 2020 have posed new challenges for holiday marketing and have made online efforts more important than ever.

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Online holiday shopping

The landscape of holiday shopping and marketing in 2020

With social distancing guidelines likely to remain in effect for the foreseeable future, many holiday shoppers may be hesitant to visit brick-and-mortar locations this year.

According to a survey by Google, nearly 75 percent of Americans who plan to shop for the upcoming holiday season said that they will get more of their shopping done online than they have in previous years, and a similar percentage said they were planning to browse for gift ideas online as opposed to in store. Therefore, businesses must ensure that they have an active, helpful, easy-to-use online presence that makes it convenient for potential buyers to shop from the comfort of their homes.

Another challenge that businesses will face this holiday season is the heightened stress—including that stemming from financial difficulties—that customers are experiencing in the wake of the pandemic. As a result, customers will be particularly receptive to discounts and special offers, as well as a simplified shopping experience that reaches them when and where they might be interested in making a purchase.

With these considerations in mind, businesses seeking to boost sales this holiday season should consider the following marketing strategies.

Spread the word about your products and services

One of the first steps to a profitable holiday season for your business is making sure that customers know about your products and services. While this may seem obvious, getting the word out about what you offer can be difficult—particularly at this time of year, when customers are inundated with communications from your competitors.

Here are a few ideas to help you cut through the noise and catch your customers’ attention:

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  • Promote seasonal specials and new or exciting products/services through email campaigns, social media posts, digital ads, and PR pitches. During the holiday season, spreading the word about what your business has to offer requires an aggressive multichannel approach that may include your social media accounts, email marketing, and paid digital advertising on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms. If you’ll be offering a particularly exciting holiday special or you’re unveiling a new product or service, consider promoting it through digital PR techniques, such as sending press releases to relevant media and contacting bloggers or social media influencers.
  • Craft blogs for your website that showcase your products and services while providing helpful content relevant to the holiday season. For example, you could compile a holiday gift guide, offer decorating or meal preparation tips, or provide guidance on how to alleviate the stress of the season.
  • Make sure that all elements of your online presence—including your website, social media pages, and Google My Business listing—have been updated with your current hours, contact information, and any seasonal specials that you are offering. Additionally, in order to help customers feel safe when they visit your business, provide information on any health and safety measures you are taking, and whether you offer delivery or contactless service.
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Ensure that it is easy for customers to buy from you

The holidays can be a hectic time—and stress levels will likely be running particularly high this year. But for many businesses, one advantage of the season is that customers tend to be more ready and willing to make purchases than at other times of the year. Ensure that your business is poised to meet customers’ needs by creating a convenient shopping experience that makes it easy for customers to buy from you.

Here are a few marketing strategies to help you achieve this goal:

  • Optimize your website for speed and user experience. If anything could drive an interested buyer away from your business and straight to your competitors, it’s a slow-loading, frustrating website. Stressed-out holiday shoppers crave simplicity and convenience, so consult a web development expert to ensure that your site is functioning optimally well in advance of the holiday rush.
  • Promote products with Google Shopping campaigns. Formerly known as Google Product Search, Google Shopping makes it easy for consumers to search for, compare, and purchase products from many different retailers. When someone searches for a specific product, Google Shopping results appear at the top of the page as thumbnail images with a picture of the product, the price, and the name of the retailer. If your business sells physical products and you have not yet used Google Shopping, now is the time to try it—as of April 2020, Google has made the service free for businesses in the U.S. and many countries around the world in an effort to support both retailers and consumers navigating the pandemic. However, there are still advantages to paying for your listing, as it will appear in ad slots in regular search results and above free listings under the Shopping tab.
  • Use ad extensions in your Google or Bing ads. If you run pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google or Bing, ad extensions offer a way to readily provide your prospective customers with helpful information about your business, such as your phone number, links to specific pages on your website, and your average customer rating (for example, 4.7 out of 5 stars). These ad extensions can help make it easier for customers to get in touch with you or find the pages on your site that are most relevant to their search, thereby maximizing the value that you get from your PPC ads.
  • Remarket to prospective customers who have previously interacted with your business online. It is very common for people in the early stages of the buying journey to visit your website, learn about and consider your products or services, and leave without making a purchase. Unfortunately, many of these people may then forget about your business by the time they are ready to make a buying decision. Remarketing helps reduce the risk of this happening by serving targeted ads across the internet and social media to people who have already visited your website. In addition to helping you extract more value from your digital advertising strategy, remarketing helps keep your business at the forefront of customers’ minds as they compare products and services from several different sellers—which they will probably be doing a lot as they shop for the holidays.

Use the rush of the season to your advantage

As the holidays draw closer, the pressure increases on shoppers to make purchases and, if ordering items online, ensure that everything is delivered in time. To help your business gain an edge over the competition, your marketing strategy should be centered on your customers’ needs and position your business as a solution for their holiday stress—while also channeling the sense of urgency that comes with the season. For example, consider using time-sensitive offers, such as free shipping for orders placed by a certain date, or limited-time discounts on gift cards. Features like countdown timers on your website and in emails that tell customers how long they have left to take advantage of these time-sensitive offers can serve as an effective way to nudge them closer to making a purchase.

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Tap into the emotions of the holiday season

While the holidays can be stressful, they also evoke a range of positive and complex emotions, including joy, nostalgia, sentimentality, and gratitude.

As you fine-tune your holiday marketing strategy, using content and imagery that tap into these emotions will elicit a warm, positive response to your brand. For example, you might incorporate content that is inspirational or focuses on themes like family and friendship. In addition, consider using video in your ads, emails, and social media posts, as it can be more effective at stirring emotion than words or pictures alone.

Nurture relationships to turn holiday buyers into lasting customers

With the help of a comprehensive marketing strategy, the holiday season can be a boon for your business. But by properly engaging your holiday buyers, you can enhance your success long after New Year.

The following techniques can help you turn one-time buyers into lasting customers:

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  • Add holiday buyers to your email list and send them personalized content. If a customer has consented to receiving communications from your business by giving you their email address, you have a powerful opportunity to drive future sales. Begin by thanking them if they’ve made a purchase, and keep them engaged by sending communications that are tailored to what they’ve already bought or other products or services they may be interested in based on the pages they’ve visited on your website. For example, you may consider sending the customer reminders to order refills of the product they’ve purchased, or news about other products/services that you offer to complement the ones that they bought. Keeping customers engaged through email marketing will require you to use email reporting and analytics tools, and apply the insights that they provide toward serving customers more valuable, relevant content.
  • Harness the power of remarketing. As discussed above, remarketing is an effective way to keep your business top of mind for previous and prospective buyers alike.
  • Engage with followers on social media. Social media platforms offer a variety of advantages in addition to helping boost your brand visibility. Customers who follow your accounts may use them to get the latest news about your products and services, contact you with questions, stay tuned for special offers, and connect with other customers. Use these platforms not just for posting updates, but also as a tool for delivering an outstanding customer experience and building a community around your brand.

With the 2020 holiday season just around the corner, now is the time to fine-tune your marketing strategy in order to boost your bottom line during this season and beyond. From email marketing to social media to paid digital advertising and more, SP Marketing is here to help! Contact us today to see how our team of experts can help develop a customized holiday marketing strategy for your business.

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