Holidays are coming… holidays are coming… (Coca Cola, anyone?)
For many consumer businesses, Christmas can be a time of intense competition. Whilst we’re thinking about presents, food, decorations, trips abroad, even new furniture, big brands are ploughing millions of pounds into marketing their products so that they are at the forefront of the consumer’s mind.
With big money being spent at Christmas (in 2012, shoppers spent a total of around £70 billion in shops and online over the six weeks to the end of December*) even businesses for which Christmas is a quiet time are trying to jump on the marketing bandwagon to capitalise on the festive period. So why not join them?
Those who fail to plan, plan to fail
Firstly, it is wise to do a bit of prep work. Plan ahead. Make sure your databases are up to date, and you have clear call to actions on your website (follow us on Facebook, sign up to our newsletter) so that you have as much data as possible to work with. You’ll be thankful of having your data organised when you come to sending out communications to your customers. Bad quality data is worse than no data!
Do you sell online or through social media?
Christmas 2012 showed some interesting statistics for the online retail industry. UK Internet users made 2.8 billion visits to retail websites and spent 372 million hours shopping, with Boxing Day seeing 113 million visits, setting a new British retail record.
With high streets at their busiest at Christmas, more and more people are wanting to order from the comfort of their own home, so if you do sell online, focus your efforts here where you’re likely to see the majority of sales.
Alternatively, even if you don’t sell online, you may wish to step up your internet presence or make use of your website and social media to promote your business during the holidays. Utilise social media sites, such as Facebook or Twitter, share interesting Christmas news and pictures with your audience and they may just pass on your message or “share” with others.
It’s the giving that counts
Offering special Christmas discounts on your products, or putting together a gift set, are great ways of drumming up business around the festive period. These can be packaged in expensive wrapping or for a cost effective option you could use a gift set label!
Maximise these through a ’12 days of Christmas’ discount period, where you could run different discounts on different products. If you haven’t offered gift vouchers before, think about this as a potential Christmas gift idea. Make people aware of your discounts and offers through email campaigns, both to current customers and new ones. If you haven’t built up your own contact lists you can purchase them, however these tend to be expensive and you will be wise to check on the quality of email addresses.
C is for Charity
Instead of sending Christmas cards to your customers, why not use that money to give to a charity of your choice? Then, make people aware by sending them a pretty label (including the details of the donation) to add to their Christmas tree as a decoration.
Decorate your logo
A really simple but effective idea for the holiday season is to decorate your logo in a Christmas theme (think Google). This will involve using a graphics package such as Photoshop (if you’re not sure, you can pay a graphic designer) but once it is done, the image can be used year after year on websites, e-shots and other marketing materials.
Christmas yearly calendar
Yearly calendars make great customer gifts if you have a bit of spare cash to promote your products. The aim is that your customer will use the calendar and keep it on their desk, so your brand name is always in sight!
So finally, when is the best time to start your Christmas preparations? Well, it doesn’t hurt to start as early as possible! People go travelling at Christmas, school children break up for the holidays and people plan ahead. To put it into perspective in fact, shoppers spent 70% more from email campaigns that were sent in November compared to December so bear this in mind and make the most of the festive season!
*according to estimates by Professor Joshua Bamfield, a director at the Centre for Retail Research, a retail think-tank