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The scent of cinnamon lattes starts to fill the air, fairy lights twinkle in the distance, and Mariah Carey can be heard from the distance — yes, the holiday season is upon us! For marketers, it’s go-time. The high season of the year, where you (usually) get the best results for your bucks.
Here are eight strategies for you to cash in on the holiday market.
1. Get to know your audience… really know them
Before you can surprise them with the most delightful offers, you’ve got to understand your audience. You have data from the past year and previous ones. Use it, analyze and create your target segments. Make sure your retargeting pixel is in place and that you updated all your tracking methods following the most recent privacy and OS updates.
If you are not able to track, you can’t market and engage. Then, dive deep into personas, break them down and create segments. Personalization is the key to warming up those winter hearts. Remember, a teenager shopping for festive makeup isn’t the same as a dad looking for the latest kitchen gadget.
2. Let the ghosts of past seasons guide you
Again, look back at your data from previous years. Which campaigns worked wonders, and which were more ‘coal in the stocking’ than ‘gift under the tree’? You might say that the past years are not a good example. It might be true, but data is data, and customers almost always act the same. For example, was there a spike in a specific product around mid-December last year? Maybe it’s time to shine a spotlight on it earlier this year. Learning from the past is your secret weapon to outshine the competition.
3. Think beyond Black Friday: Plan for the entire season
Black Friday is big, no doubt. But the holiday spirit lasts longer than a single day. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, every day is an opportunity. A huge mistake many marketers make is to focus too much only on black Friday, just to wake up the morning after Cyber Monday to figure out they need to pivot and push the holiday marketing harder now. Don’t be that marketer; create a calendar that encompasses the entire festive season, and plan unique offers, content and engagement strategies for each phase.
4. Sprinkle some affiliate magic
Your affiliates are like the reindeer powering Santa’s sleigh, leading your brand into countless homes. Provide them with irresistible perks and incentives (even the big ones you need to pay for top placements; take the chance!) Hand them shiny new ads. When your affiliates are happy and motivated, they’ll ensure your brand shines the brightest in the vast digital night sky. Consider increasing the commission rates for the season with specific terms, like a larger average basket or specific top categories, that will allow your affiliates to prioritize what to push on their end.
5. Revisit (and revamp) your email strategy
Inboxes during the holidays can look like a snowstorm – chaotic and overflowing. To stand out, you need a sprinkle of holiday spirit and a lot of creativity. Review your entire email strategy and setup. This is crucial. Your email engagement points need to be almost perfect: the time to send, the day of the week, how many times a week and most importantly, the content you promote. Craft catchy subject lines, incorporate vibrant visuals, and offer exclusive deals to your email subscribers. Remember, every click counts!
6. Get your cart abandonment strategy tight
The holiday shopping frenzy often means loads of carts filled to the brim, only to be abandoned at the last minute. Let’s be honest. This is a year-round problem that we all strive to improve. But this time of the year, we leave bags of revenue on the floor for our competition to pick up. Review and optimize the automatic emails, retargeting ads and any other channel you are running a cart abandonment campaign on. Make it fit the season and your creative spirit. Offer discounts when possible and consider adding touch points that you usually won’t.
7. Deck the halls with automation bells
Automating tasks during the busy holiday season is like having a team of elves working behind the scenes. Whether sending out timely emails, retargeting forgotten carts or getting shipping labels out and ready, automation will reduce your workload, letting you focus on the bigger picture (or maybe that eggnog).
The easiest place to start is your email marketing automation that includes both new user engagement, like welcome emails and newsletter sign-up, cart abandonment email sequences, and even cold email campaigns to try and color new potential customers. Then look into operational automation to help with order processing, customer service and even fulfillment service, internally or externally. You can even automate new campaign creation based on user engagement with advanced AI tools available today.
8. Embrace the AI wonderland: Turbocharge your holiday content
If you haven’t danced with AI yet, now’s the time to tango — harness AI tools to craft personalized content that resonates. You can use predictive analytics to predict what products a customer might fancy next or let chatbots be your brand’s elves to offer instant assistance and tailored product recommendations around the clock. It all comes with a lot of setup, so get started.
Also, it’s not just about selling. AI can help analyze sentiment, helping you craft messages that strike the right chord. With AI insights, you can tweak and optimize content for maximum emotional impact. Plus, if you’ve got massive amounts of data but little time to sift through, AI tools can be your Rudolph, guiding the way. They can identify patterns, giving you invaluable insights about where to focus your marketing energy.