Now that the summer of 2010 is fast becoming a wistful memory, many of us turn to preparing for the upcoming holiday season. Of the many tasks that marketers have to start thinking about, planning your all-important multi-channel holiday marketing campaigns should be a significant priority.
Predictions or Educated Guesses?
We can’t predict exactly how the 2010 holiday season will go — some reports say the recession is over and we have avoided the dreaded “double-dip”, others are more pessimistic. But online retail sales are growing each quarter and even though the news media keeps saying that consumer credit card balances are disappearing faster than Lady Gaga Poker Face costumes flying off the shelves for Halloween, the signs point to a better holiday period than last year.
Here are five marketing strategies you’ll want to include in your 2010 holiday campaign:
Mobile Marketing Strategy
In 2010 consumers bought millions of web-enabled smartphones. Understanding the ways in which we are starting to shop through mobile phones is a new and critical learning for e-tailers preparing for the 2010 holiday season. Designing marketing campaigns that render well on smartphones and mobile devices will be crucial as more and more users are reading email while on the go. Coupons that can be read from smartphones also removes the hassle of printing these out, allowing your customers to take advantage of these when they are at the mall or driving by your store.
SMS Sales Strategy
The key to a successful SMS strategy is to build a list of prospects and customers who want to receive text messages from you. The opt-in list can be built through email messages and links on your website that allow for several points of sign up for mobile communications. It’s important to start building these lists immediately so that e-tailers can communicate with consumers using their mobile devices prior to the holidays. Building a messaging list (like any marketing preference list) takes time, so start now rather than wait for the official start of the holiday shopping period.
Social Media Strategy
Just as the popularity of mobile devices has taken off, Facebook and Twitter have also become fundamental to the lives of many consumers, including those over 30. With more and more retailers (and brands) creating their own Facebook fan pages and training their most loyal customers to check in daily for special promos, contests, and discounts, email is a natural complement to social networking as another way to drive people to your company or product’s pages.
Make Subject Lines Count
Of course, the best email messages in the world are useless if your customers never read these. First impressions really do matter, perhaps even more so with mobile devices, so pay close attention to your subject lines. Performing an A/B test on your subject lines before rolling out each campaign takes little effort and will provide you with greater returns. Given the success of Groupon to date, people are clearly interested in stretching their dollars so mentioning any promotions, free shipping or savings will attract people’s interest. With crowded inboxes on their way this holiday season, the last thing your customer will do is open an email with a bland or cryptic subject line.
After-Holiday Marketing Campaigns
And after all of your holiday prep work is done, don’t forget the after-holiday sales… as if you ever could. Email campaigns that promote special post-holiday sales starting on December 25th can help consumers use up those gift cards they just received or exchange items for things they really want.
Everyone knows the holidays are a make or break time for retail/e-tail sales. There’s a lot to do and time is fleeting but with the proper upfront planning, smart marketers can best leverage their marketing investment and turn the tables on an otherwise lackluster economy.