The calendar might say August, but in terms of marketing you should be over two months into your Christmas marketing according to Al Keck, Managing Director of toinfinity.
“Christmas planning should start in July,” he says. “You want to be at your best. If you don’t have a plan for Christmas yet, put time aside over the next couple of weeks and get it done!”
Over the last few years, it has become increasingly common for retailers to start their sales online on Christmas day. Here at Toinfinty we are already working with clients on their Online Marketing Campaigns, SEO Strategies, Email Marketing Campaigns and Pay Per Click Campaigns for the Christmas 2012 season.
Christmas is by far the busiest time of year for the retail sector – it’s often a make or break season, so how do you ensure this Christmas doesn’t break your business?
1. Give your website a health check
2. Know who you are targeting with your offers
- When was the last time you shopped your site like a customer? Is the buying process smooth and simple?
- Are your products easy to find?
- Do your products have enough information to help visitors make a buying decision?
- Is your product photography up to scratch? Can you zoom in and see the quality and detail of the products?
- Are you providing reviews? These provide great intel for both your business and customers as they provide real product feedback, build better descriptions, build credibility and trust.
- Are your upsells and cross-sells set up and do they make sense? Your analytics and CRM system are great sources of data to get this right.
Be sure to understand your target audience. If you haven’t recently taken stock of your customer base and looked at the demographics of people that are buying from you, how can you really understand who it is that will respond well to your marketing this festive season?
Don’t forget, this data can change overtime and seasonally. Look at age, gender, location, number of purchases, average spend – build up customer profiles, give these customer types names and make sure everyone in the business knows and understands them.
3. Plan your offers down to the last detail to give to your marketing team
Once you understand fully who it is that you are marketing to, putting together offers is the easy part.
4. Sort out your product gift packages and if you will be offering different, festive packaging
- Think about end of line products that need to be sold. Think about products that you have lots in stock of, or that your supplier on your drop-shipping contact has plenty to supply.
- If you operate on a drop-shipping method it is worth giving your supplier a call to say that you are planning this offer and check out with them the availability of getting more in if they sell out.
- If it will be difficult as a result of limited stock to put together good offer, make them scarce. Use phrases like “While Stocks Last” or “Limited Stock Available” in your marketing. Scarcity helps to sell.
Many retailers plan special festive season gift packaging. All of the guys reading this would no doubt have received the big name shaving brands shaving gel and aftershave combo in the display packaging covered in images of snowflakes; or the ladies having received the specially wrapped perfume in red tissue paper and twirly curly bits on the top. Are there ways that you can re-package your products for the festive season?
5. Plan every piece of communication that you may deliver
Once you know who you are going to communicate with, and what you are going to say in terms of your specific product offerings for Christmas – get a plan in place.
6. Make sure your team is prepared for the increase in orders
- What tactics are you going to employ to do the marketing, and when will each one go out?
- Weekly Email Marketing, Increased budgets on your PPC, Banner Advertising that changes every two weeks, Weekly Affiliate Marketing campaign updates… and the list goes on. A slap-dash approach may produce some good returns as Christmas is a bumper season for shopping online, but how much more revenue would a thought through strategic approach bring in?
- Think it all through, plan out every piece of communication… but above all, make sure you have some kind of tracking in place to measure it.
Last year some of our clients said that their campaigns left them dreading Monday mornings. Why? Because the campaigns sent over a weekend resulted in huge numbers of orders from 3pm Friday to 9am Monday, which proved to be a bottleneck. Make sure you have enough resources to deal with this issue – after all you’ve worked hard to get the order, don’t let the customer down by not delivering.
If you take on some of these points and plan a strategic approach to your Christmas Marketing Plan, or choose to employ the expert team at Toinfinty to help you deliver more sales… be prepared.