If your company is going about its marketing efforts this holiday season in the same manner as it does the rest of the year, you’re doing it wrong. Not only are shoppers in a frenzy searching for presents for loved ones, but there are several days during the season that are designed to encourage consumers to open up their wallets.
If you’re the owner of a business or at the helm of a marketing team, you’re about to receive several ideas on how to tap into the holiday spending craze and make your company’s products or services stand out. Before we get to those suggestions, let’s rewind a bit and take a look at just how big the holiday season is when it comes to how much money is being tossed around.
Looking Back at the 2014 and Previous Holiday Seasons
Marketing and retail experts now consider the holiday shopping season to stretch from before Halloween to after New Year’s Day. In fact, an estimated 30 percent of shoppers begin their search for holiday presents before Halloween. However, when it comes to measuring retail dollars during the holiday season, the standard window is from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31.
Analytics firm comScore has been keeping a very close eye on U.S. holiday spending in recent years. In 2014, comScore found the total amount in retail sales during November and December was $838.9 billion, about 3.5 percent growth over the previous holiday season. Shoppers are expected to drop $885.7 billion during 2015’s holiday season, which would be a jump of about 5.7 percent from the same time frame in 2014.
Holiday Transactions via Desktop
To the surprise of almost no one, online sales are on the rise during the holiday season – although transactions at brick-and-mortar stores are still significant. In 2014, consumers spent just under $70 billion online during the holiday season. That was up almost $10 billion over the holiday period in 2013.
Shoppers used their home or work desktop computers to spend $53.3 billion during the 2014 holiday season.
— comScore, Inc. (@comScore) January 9, 2015
The following chart illustrates the steady growth in desktop holiday transactions since 2010:
— comScore, Inc. (@comScore) January 7, 2015
When you look at the hottest days for holiday purchases via desktop in 2014, all but one of the top 10 days fell in December. Cyber Monday won the individual day battle for the fifth straight year, according to comScore. The day after Cyber Monday (sometimes called Cyber Tuesday) came in second. Black Friday finished in just fourth place, one spot behind Green Monday (a term coined by eBay for a day that is one week after Cyber Monday).
— comScore, Inc. (@comScore) January 13, 2015
The 2015 holiday season will have a bit of a wrinkle, however. As two of the hottest online shopping days should fall in November. Cyber Monday lands on Nov. 30 this year, with Black Friday coming on Nov. 27.
Mobile Holiday Season Sales
As you’re probably well aware, consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with making a purchase with just a couple of button presses on their mobile devices. According to an IBM report, mobiles sales constituted more than 22 percent of all online transactions during the holiday season in 2014. That was a jump of about 27 percent over the 2013 holiday period. Mobile holiday season sales are projected to surpass $36 billion in 2015 and skyrocket to more than $60 billion by 2019.
As you can see, it is ever so critical to make sure your business’s website is mobile-friendly. Every online asset that belongs to your company needs to be optimized for mobile. If some assets aren’t, you need to get somebody on the job, pronto. Don’t let your website sit with clunky mobile navigation and slow-loading pages this holiday season. That will ensure you miss out on your proper share of the billions of dollars that get poured into online purchases this time of the year.
Your Holiday Season Marketing Strategy
Now’s the time to bring your holiday-themed products to the forefront. If you don’t have any holiday-themed items, dig into your numbers and see which types of products or services tended to be more popular last holiday season. People are ready to spend money this time of the year, so you and your team have to prepare a consistent blitz on every channel available to you, including social media, email, digital ads and more.
Shoppers love specials, so now’s the time to mark down prices of your some of your products or services, and then you have to let online users know about it. At the very least, plan to slash some of your prices on the major spending days, such as Cyber Monday and Black Friday. You should have all promotions for those two days pinpointed at least the week before Black Friday, and be ready to send midnight emails on the day of those two shopping holidays. It’s also helpful to tease your promotions with an email or two starting exactly one week before Black Friday.
As for your website, you should benefit greatly from creating a dedicated landing page of holiday content, including the items that either pertain to the holidays or are going to be on discount during this time. You also might want to consider adding site-wide holiday design accents to show your celebration of the season, with sidebar or horizontal banners that take your visitors to either your holiday landing page or certain holiday-themed products or services. You may even want add holiday language to the meta data of certain pages on your site, specifically the ones of products or services that you’re really pushing during the season.
‘Tis the Season to not be Stingy
Shoppers are dropping some big bucks during the holiday season, so your business should too as you market during the holidays, especially if you’re trying to reel in some of those ready-to-spend consumers. Even if you’re not one to throw money at Facebook and Twitter ads, you’re definitely going to want to try it on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and perhaps a few of the other top shopping days listed above. Make it clear what good or service you have on special, and be sure to stress the urgency of the promotion.
If you want to go even further, set up pay-per-click campaigns through Google AdWords that lead to certain pages on your website (especially if you’ve created a holiday landing page). Banner display ads are also worth exploring, particularly if you have a talented graphic designer on staff who can deliver creatives that pertain to specific promotions you’re running during the season.
But What if I’m a Service Company?
If your company doesn’t offer tangible products and instead provides business-to-business and/or business-to-consumer services, it’s still possible to tap into the holiday shopping craze, even if you don’t have any offerings that directly apply to the season. If you’ve analyzed your sales over last year’s holiday season and even the ones before that, then you should arrive at a specific set of services that you want to feature and even mark down this time around.
Consider offering a gift card (even if it’s digital only) on your website. Even if a few of your website visitors during the holiday season decide they don’t need your services, they may have someone in mind that does. Thus, a gift card will come in handy. You may also want to look into going through an eCommerce marketplace like Groupon in order to offer one of your targeted services at an enticing rate to a large audience of consumers. On the days of the major shopping bursts, you obviously don’t have to promise your services on the same day, but you can lock in customers at a discounted rate for service you’ll provide later.
As a service provider, you might have to be a little more creative than retail stores and eCommerce sites are during the holiday season, but there’s no reason why your sales can’t spike during these two months in comparison to the rest of year. A focused marketing effort will put your company on the path to holiday success.
Don’t Stop at Christmas
As mentioned before, the holiday season doesn’t really stop once Christmas Day passes. Keep up your marketing push not only through New Year’s Day, which falls on a Friday in 2016, but through the weekend that follows. Use social media and email to stress that time is running out on select goods and services at special holiday rates.
You now know the hottest holiday shopping days, and hopefully you now have some ideas in mind on how you draw consumers to your business this season. Ultimately, your marketing plan will succeed if you understand, “What products or services do I have that will appeal to buyers this holiday season,” and “How can I best direct attention to these offerings.” It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, but hopefully you’ll figure out which tactics work best for your business. Best of luck to you and your team on making this holiday season shine brightest of all!
Do the suggested steps to succeed during holidays seem outside of your team’s capabilities internally? Eminent SEO can help your company excel this holiday season through our wide range of digital services, including custom email and social media campaigns, website improvements, mobile upgrades, landing page creation and more.
To find out more or get started today, just call: 800.871.4130.