If visions of better conversion rates are dancing in your head, and your Christmas to-do list is full of calls-to-action, you know you’ve got holiday marketing on the brain. With the chill of an uncertain economy still in the air, more people than ever are looking for ways to stretch their dollar and get more gift for their money.
Here are five proven ways you can tap into the shopping spirit – whether you’re selling a tangible product or a digital service.
1 – Stress the Urgency of Holiday Delivery
If you’re selling products, your already know your customers want them under the tree by Christmas morning. That’s why smart retailers include an “Order by” date at the very least. Amazon breaks it down by day and hour, and L.L. Bean even has a full shipping schedule in a prominent place where its visitors can’t miss it.
Get it under the tree on time – L.L. Bean makes its shipping schedule hard to miss
2 – Get Social with Giveaways
Coupon codes seem to fly by on Twitter a mile a minute. Both well-known brands and small mom and pop stores host special events on Facebook. Even social “check in” sites like Foursquare are helping local businesses get in the act by making it easier to share deals over the web and phone.
Considering that mobile coupons are redeemed ten times as much as traditional paper coupons, being social with your discounts is a great way to get customers involved by spreading the word and sharing the deals. It’s also an excellent way to grow local business and get fresh leads.
Ocean City Deals in Maryland offers an excellent way for customers to support them on Facebook while getting deals for local attractions and events
3 – Include an Unobtrusive Reminder
Traditional popups and popunders can be annoying to visitors –even if they offer something as harmless as a coupon code or a sale announcement. One excellent alternative is the Hello Bar, an unobtrusive “alert” toolbar that sits at the top of your web page and can be customized with any message or color. Signing up is free and you pay based on the monthly number of clicks your bar gets.
You can also split-test different offers, so you can see precisely which one resonates with your holiday shoppers. And you can use the toolbar beyond the holidays too – here’s how Tim Ferriss of 4-Hour-Workweek fame uses his HelloBar to drive traffic to his Amazon book page:
4 – Bundle Your Products for Higher Sales and Larger Order Volume
This strategy works whether you’re selling a digital or real-life product.
Bundling lets you focus on creating a theme out of several items – like a fitness and wellness package for the new year including a cookbook, exercise video and workout journal.
Even if you sell a service, like website design, you can still take advantage of bundling. How many more clients could you reach if you were to bundle a basic site design with a year’s worth a of web hosting and a free domain name?
Consider what items you could combine for greater sales and easier shopping for your visitors. Or segment items into different price ranges or audience targets – such as “Gifts for Teens” or “Gifts Under $25”.
Surprise.com has unique, personalized gift recommendations down to a fine art – including categories like Movie Buff, Always Cold and Loves Their Pet
5 – Tis the Season – To Raise Your Prices?
If you’ve been listening to the news, you may not think this is the time to raise your prices, but some well-known retailers are taking a gamble.
Not just raising prices but also giving customers a little something “extra”.
Consider Sears’ Christmas Platinum Shoppe – with hand-painted ornaments and Swarovski crystal figurines. With old-fashioned designs and a bit of holiday luxury, I’m betting that Sears is looking to recapture the more affluent audience’s memories of past Christmas, where there was more of an emphasis on home-made versus store-bought.
It’s worth noting that you should always, always test your promotions.
What worked for last year’s holiday marketing may not apply this year – especially considering the changes in technology and connectivity. Knowing your audience is only the first step. Being able to tailor your marketing message to them in a way that gets them involved is going to be the real test for holiday marketing in 2011.