Holiday marketing tips for busy retailers

7 min read
Emma Fletcher

From Valentine's Day right through to the busy lead-up to Christmas and the Boxing Day sales, Australia has a number of prime opportunities for savvy retailers to boost their sales. For eCommerce businesses, it’s also a chance to make money while you’re on holidays. Here are a few top holiday marketing tips to help you capture your share of the profits.

Start a buzz with these 5 ideas

Make the most of the festive buying season and drive those holiday sales with these easy ideas.

  1. Plan ahead.

  2. Get visible online.

  3. Extend your reach with social media.

  4. Holiday email marketing tips.

  5. Get festive in-store and online.

You don’t need a ton of money to boost holiday sales — all it takes is a little extra effort.

1. Plan ahead

Marketing Tips Planning Calendar
A little advance planning goes a long way toward reducing your stress during the rush.
Photo: Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash

Being prepared is key, so start early and do your research. Identify the holiday periods that are most relevant to your business, including annual sales and prime shopping dates, and consider developing a promotional calendar. This might include cutoff dates for shipping in time for Christmas if you are an online business, or extended hours in the lead-up if you are a service-based business.

Use Google search and Google Trends to identify what products are popular with consumers.

Once you’ve established where the opportunities are, look at your inventory and analyse previous years’ sales to determine how much stock to order. Remember that holiday promotions can also be an effective way to shift excess inventory.

2. Get visible online

With more and more people looking for gifts online first, creating an online presence for your business is essential — even for a brick-and-mortar store.

The good news is you can now whip up a professional-looking website in less than an hour with Websites + Marketing. This easy site builder includes:

  • A large selection of mobile-friendly designs.
  • Easy integration with Google My Business, social media and email.
  • An online scheduling feature so clients can set up their own appointments.
  • The ability to build and manage your site right from your phone.

Over 90% of people look online for local businesses so make sure customers in your local area can find you — via your website.

Get listed in local directories

Adding your business to online directories will make it easier for your business to be found in local search results. Here are just a few to get started:

Entice first-time buyers with attractive incentives such as free consultations, discounts and free gift-wrapping.

Ask for client feedback

Another good way to heighten your visibility online is by encouraging your customers to leave you reviews and feedback on Google. It’s as easy as adding your Google review link to your invoices.

Every review is an opportunity to show your customers you’re paying attention, so take the time to respond — even to the negative ones. Empathise and offer solutions or give a simple thank you if their experience was positive. It all helps to build trust and prove to prospective clients you’re worthy of their business.

3. Extend your reach with social media

With 15 million Australians active on both Facebook and YouTube, social media is a natural place to be during the busy holiday season. You don’t have to be everywhere on every platform either. Find the platform favored by your customers and start creating and posting content that’s in line with your business and is also relevant or interesting to your audience.

Make sure 4 out of every 5 posts are useful, interesting or entertaining to your clients.

Look for creative ways to spice up your social media campaign, such as:

  • Share special holiday offers and holiday-themed content to encourage interaction.
  • Use popular festive hashtags to help potential customers find you.
  • Giveaways and contests are another great way to generate buzz and attract attention.

You can quickly create eye-catching images that stand out on social media with free online tools such as Canva or Easil.

The important thing is to be consistent. Preparing content ahead of time and developing a routine posting schedule will help you to stay on top of your social media marketing, and keep your brand and products visible to your customers. Consider using a tool such as Hootsuite or Schedugram (for Instagram) to automate social posts — so you can go about your business.

4. Holiday email marketing tips

Marketing Tips Greeting Cards
Festive holiday emails are most successful when there’s an incentive to open them.
Photo: Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Despite the rise of social media, email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to connect directly with your customers all year round. So it makes sense to develop a holiday email marketing plan to maximise the seasonal spike in sales.

80 percent of retail pros say email marketing is their most effective customer retention tool.

Again it all comes down to planning. Holidays are always hectic times of the year so aim to have your holiday emails ready to go at least three months in advance. Avoid the hard sell and think about what your subscribers need and want from you. Then tailor your emails and gift suggestions to meet their needs. Need help sending your first email? Read this post.

Creating a one-on-one connection with your customers helps to build trust, so try including their first name in the Subject line, along with a teaser for the goodies you’re offering inside. This might be:

  • A free gift with purchase.
  • A discount coupon.
  • An exclusive advanced preview to holiday sales just for them.

The hook should be whatever might be most appealing to your audience. Keep the tone festive, fun and to the point, with holiday-themed templates, seasonal newsletters or end of year thank-you messages to your clients. The goal of holiday email marketing is to help relieve your customers’ stress by offering personalised solutions. But make sure your emails can be viewed on mobile devices, or 80 percent of users will delete them on opening.

Editor’s note: GoDaddy Email Marketing features mobile-friendly designs that look beautiful on any device. It’s easy to use with your business domain name, too! No more

5. Get festive in-store and online

During the holidays, retail brick-and-mortar stores still dominate online sales, thanks to the inevitable rush for last-minute purchases. Focus on winning over your customers by getting extra help rostered on during the busy periods and offering extra touches such as free gift-wrapping.

Get into the festive spirit and decorate your store using ideas you find on platforms such as Pinterest. A little creativity in the shop window can give passing shoppers the push they need to come in.

Use these marketing tips to make more sales

The holidays can be among the most profitable times of the year for a business, especially for retailers.

The key to making the most of the seasonal sales boom is being prepared so you’re not left scrambling at the last moment when other businesses are capitalizing on the season. Make sure you are visible online with a website and social media so your customers can easily find you, and spend some time crafting tailor-made offers and gift suggestions to send out to your email list.

With these holiday marketing tips as a starting point, you can hit the ground running and skyrocket your festive season sales.

UPDATE: This marketing tips post was originally published on 5 November 2018 and was updated on 4 February 2020.

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