Preparing for the Holiday rush

Each year, between Black Friday and Christmas, shoppers turn out in droves to buy anything and everything you can imagine. In 2016, retail e-commerce spending in the United States alone hit $63.1 billion.

One thing you’ll hear from almost all marketing experts is to start planning early for your holiday marketing strategies. Don’t worry if you haven’t started, though. It’s never too late to jump on board and take advantage of the holiday shopping season.

1. Social Media Ads

When marketing on social media during the holidays, be sure to focus on the giving spirit of the season and explain why your service or product makes the perfect gift. While it might be a bit more challenging to market B2B, this method works perfectly for B2C promotions.

Even if your company reaches out to other businesses rather than consumers, don’t overlook the powerful marketing potential of focusing on end-of-year planning and preparing for a fresh new year ahead.

2. In-Store Holiday Experience

For those shopping in-store, the experience is about a lot more than just a few online adjustments. Every element — from décor to friendly employees — represents an opportunity to pull in customers. Window displays are a must for brick-and-mortar stores.

One example of how to accomplish this is by putting customized images near the storefront or in windows. Colorful graphics can draw foot traffic to your store and help you take advantage of those last-minute, impulse purchases. Notice SpeedPro Imaging’s use of big, bold images for H&M’s display windows, which are certain to catch the eye of passersby.

3. Keywords & AdWords

Take the time to see what keywords in your niche people are searching for this year. These can change from season to season, so it’s important to do new research each year. This tactic can be as simple as searching for your niche words and then adding specific days, such as “Black Friday,” “Christmas” or “Hanukkah.”

Next, get specific and create ads that offer special incentives to holiday shoppers, such as shipping by Christmas, or a discount if they use the code “HoHoHo.” You can get as creative here as you’d like, but be sure the tone and graphics suit your typical target demographic.

4. Get Behind a Cause

Your marketing efforts don’t have to be 100 percent profit-oriented. It’s entirely possible to do good and create buzz for your brand at the same time. People love to help others, especially during the holidays.

Find a cause to get behind, then create a social media hashtag and ask others to support your cause as well. Your campaign could be as simple as asking people to buy free coffee for others at their local coffee place, or as complex as fundraising for a good cause.

Be certain to choose a charity, activity or group you truly believe in, because people will see right through you if you only work on such a campaign to gain traction. You should be motivated by a belief in helping others and in the cause you’re supporting. Online, the sky is the limit. You might even start a GoFundMe campaign for the cause.

The National Park Foundation is an excellent example of a successful hashtag movement around the holiday season. They created a campaign encouraging their social media followers to skip shopping and #optoutside instead. They wanted to promote the benefits of building memories in national parks over the holidays, which also happens to tie into their brand and what they do. It was an ideal campaign match because it promoted something they were passionate about.

In the Black

There’s a very good reason Black Friday earned its name. You see, many businesses operate in the red throughout the year, but the day after Thanksgiving marks a period of profit for them as shoppers step up their spending.

How are you going to reach those shoppers and take advantage of your most profitable time of year?