Holiday Shopping CartWhoa, it’s the holidays already? How did that happen?

The holidays are in full swing, at least according to the retailers filling our inboxes and mailboxes and news feeds.  And it’s no wonder: some retailers make 25% to 40% of annual sales during the holidays, and 2010 holiday sales are expected to be up 2.3% to $447.1 billion this year (Source: National Retail Federation 2010 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey).

How do you keep up the energy for an eight-week holiday season? It’s all about timing. From when you send your offers to how many days between reminders to which offers work best at which times of the season… it’s all an art. Or rather, a science (meaning: test, test, test!). Here’s a suggestion on a holiday calendar with timely digital marketing offers:

Right now (Nov 1 – Nov 24)
Focus on Early Bird deals and offer your shoppers gift ideas while they’re thinking up presents and making their own Wish Lists.

Your channels for opportunity: Search marketing ads available to shoppers seeking more info on products you carry and email marketing to keep your current prospects and customers in the know on what you’ve got on the shelves or online.

Black Friday (November 26)
This is still a significant shopping day every year. Focus on fast deadlines and a high-urgency offer with your deepest discounts of the season in your brick-and-mortar locations.

Your channels for opportunity: email marketing leading up to the sale and reminder the day of the sale and social media to get the word out fast with a high potential for sharing.

Cyber Monday (Nov 29)
The first of the powerful Holiday Season Mondays, when your deepest online discounts or highest value adds should be offered. Again, focus on urgency with a fast 24- or 48-hour deadline.

Your channels for opportunity: your website is your store in this case and should act like your frontline sales team; email marketing and holiday-centric search terms are traffic builders.

Featured items/discounts (Nov 29 – Dec 15)
This two-week stretch is where you can focus on reminders of your most popular gift items, your best-priced items, gift ideas based on past purchase, and bounce-back offers to those who have already shopped with you (you can encourage them to come back again before the end of the holiday if they still have a few people left on their list). Plus, the big automated ROI-booster: abandoned shopping cart emails.

Your channels for opportunity: search marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, web ads on your own site and across the web. Pull out the stops and go for it.

Last Day for Shipping Offers (varies by holiday)
Customers watch for “Last Day to ship in order to arrive by…” and especially Free Shipping offers. See the bonus tips in the accompanying post for a note on the best date(s) to send these messages out. Hint: there will be more than one date to watch.

Your channels for opportunity: email marketing leading up to and on the day of the “last possible day” and invasive ads all over your site reminding customers of the deadline: rollovers, popouts. They will thank you for it.

Now that you’ve got your calendar, get started! And if you’re looking for content ideas, check out last month’s post on segmentation to get the biggest bang for your holiday buck. Need some expert help for the holidays? Give us a shout.


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