Holiday Marketing Plan – NOW Is The Time

What You Can Do Today To Tap Into More Holiday Shopping Traffic This Year

Check these stats out:

  • Cyber Monday sales at online retail websites were 19.4% higher in 2010, compared to the online sales of Cyber Monday in 2009 – Coremetrics
  • $1.028 billion was spent online on Cyber Monday in 2010, the first day in U.S. retail history to surpass the billion-dollar sales level. – comScore
  • 9 million people made purchases online on Cyber Monday in 2010. – Comcast
  • The average online order on Cyber Monday 2010 was $194.89, which was 8.3% higher than the $180.03 average in 2009. – Coremetrics

Do you want your piece of that action this year? What are you willing to do to get it?

If you haven’t started a holiday campaign yet – now is the time. So what can you do to tap into it?

crowdsStart by forgetting about you and what you want. Forget your goals and sales objectives. The key is to think about what holiday shoppers want and to think about what problems they face. Then offer them a solution.

If you can solve their problems and get yourself found so they know you solve their problems – you’ve got them!

So while the list is endless, I’m going to start with just a few of the major problems they face:

• They don’t want to fight crowds, look for parking, carry heavy bags through the mall. They are looking for convenience.

• They are often looking for deals – especially in a tough economy.

• The are looking for ideas and gift suggestions.

• They have to get their hands on hard to find item.

• Want something unique/different – something that shows they really care and put a lot of thought into the gift.

• Logistics – sometimes gifts need to be transported/shipped to family and friends in other locations.

• They have very little time – there is so much to do around the holiday season and shopping can take up a big chunk of their time.

• The realization slowly hits them that anything they buy – they will have to wrap.

• They are concerned about the cost of shipping if they do shop online.

• They are concerned that they can’t really see the items well if they do shop online.

Take a look at that list. How many of those problems can you help them with? I would think most if not all.

But do they know that? Probably not.

So now is the time to start blogging (don’t forget to use social media & RSS feeds to promote your content).

Start by checking out all the queries people used last year:  example: gift ideas, gifts under $100, gifts for bosses etc etc etc.

Your site needs to come up when they search for these phrases this year. One you have a list of keywords you want to tap into start blogging (now is the time, don’t put this off)

Your posts should offer them solutions. They need to clearly see that you offer the solution to their holiday shopping woes.

Let’s take a look at that list again and look at some things you can do to show them you meet their needs.

This could be a whole series of posts you write (this is the best way to go), or it could be one long post that covers all the points.

• They don’t want to fight crowds, look for parking, carry heavy bags through the mall. They are looking for convenience. Share some stats about the cost of gas and crowds in malls and share stats about the numbers of people shopping online to specific avoid this chaos.

• They are often looking for deals – especially in a tough economy. Offer sales. Also consider adding “freebies” with purchase. You don’t always have to discount on pricing – you can bulk up the value of what they get. If a toy costs X at pretty much all the stores, you can still charge them X but instead of just getting the toy – they get the toy + some other “freebie” that has value but is reasonable for you to throw in. The funny thing is people will often pay more than regular price to get something for “free”.

• The are looking for ideas and gift suggestions. This one is easy and you can have fun and get creative with it. Create a gift guide that they can download from your site. Think of all the kinds of gifts someone could buy from you site – the more people they can buy for from one site, they more compelling you will look to them. It’s nice to have a little reminder – do you need to buy for your clients, for your boss, for your secretary, for your neighbor, for your best friends, for your hubby or wife, for your kids, for your parents etc? Great here is what we suggest….

• They have to get their hands on hard to find item. Have a hot item that is in demand – let everyone know you have it in stock.

• Want something unique/different – something that shows they really care and put a lot of thought into the gift. Talk about what is unique and special about your gifts. Share stories and testimonials from clients that have been thrilled with the item. You may have to get creative on this one depending on what you sell, but you can do it!

• Logistics – sometimes gifts need to be transported/shipped to family and friends in other locations. Remind them the benefits of you guys doing the shipping – then they don’t have to buy and then pack it up and then go to UPS. They just click and fill out a form and presto the gift is on its way. Be sure you assure them about shipping times – if they are concerned it won’t get there on time or safely, they may not buy. Remember your job here is to convince them you offer the solutions they are looking for.

• They have very little time – there is so much to do around the holiday season and shopping can take up a big chunk of their time. Easy peasy. Just write again about the conveniences of them shopping from home – paint a picture with your words. A read through your gift guide, a few clicks a form to fill out – all while they sip hot chocolate in their pajamas with Christmas carols in the background.

• The realization slowly hits them that anything they buy – they will have to wrap. If you offer wrapping, be sure you let them know. Also if you can include gift cards etc.

• They are concerned about the cost of shipping if they do shop online. While people may want to shop online, they may think it’ll end up costing more because of shipping. Can you offer free or discounted shipping? Maybe the more they buy, the more you discount the shipping. You have to look at your margins and see what you can afford but they will be thinking about this, so you may as well be up front about it. Even if you can’t discount, let them know shipping costs are reasonable and well worth it for the time and stress they will save.

• They are concerned that they can’t really see the items well if they do shop online. Be sure you offer big, clear photos and lots of product descriptions so they don’t feel such a disadvantage by not being able to touch and feel and really inspect the items.HolidayShopping

There may also be privacy and security concerns, so be sure you are very clear about the safety and security of shopping on your site and be sure to include a privacy policy.

You can also:

Encourage people to start shopping now – give them some kind of incentive to get that shopping done. Many people are afraid they’ll miss out on the late shopping season sales if they shop too soon, so offer some early season bonuses.

If you can make yourself not only a place to buy high quality items but also a resource with helpful information, they’ll be a whole lot more likely to think of you the next time they need to buy what you sell. Post checklists that may help them.

A free PDF shopping list template that they can print and fill out or a holiday greeting card list template. People love stuff that helps them get organized and people love stuff that is free. So think about what things people may need to keep track of at the holiday season (even if it’s not directly related to your product) and get some helpful checklists.

A few ideas: If you are in the food or cookware or dishes etc industry – create a holiday meal checklist. Offer them a 2012 resolutions and goals checklist if you are in accounting, or fitness/weight loss. Offer them a holiday party guide if you are in the entertainment industry. Offer a look your best and dazzle at holiday parties check list if you are in fashion/clothing/make up/accessories/hair care etc.

Write about any holiday traditions/recipes/events related to your product or service (ex: you sell dishes, write posts about holiday meal traditions, feature recipes and have various products and specials featured).

Once you’ve created all this content – and I can’t stress enough – have some fun with it. Show some personality – let them feel like you are right there personally sharing info with them. Position your content as their personal shopping concierge that guides them through what they need to get done. OK, so once you’ve done that, you can (and should):

• Be sure your post is optimized.

• Syndicate your RSS feed.

• Send out mailings to current customers and let them know about your Blog posts and any special offers.

• Promote all your new content and specials via social media. Maybe even announce a special holiday contest.

• Syndicate it to article directories (just be sure you post it to your site or Blog and the engines index it before you syndicate it)

• Look for people that want guest Bloggers and share your content with them (again only once it’s posted and indexed on your own site).

Whether you implement some or all of this, the time to get it done is now. You need to get that content created and get it circling out there.

Get creative. This article is just to get the ideas flowing and get you to take action. So run with it and see you can come up with. ?

As always, I welcome comments and questions.

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