The holidays can be overwhelming. Between work and personal responsibilities, you probably feel pulled in a million directions.
But no matter how busy you’re feeling, this is the most important time of year to stay on top of your marketing. People spent over $687 billion during November and December alone last year and experts anticipate them spending even more this year.
For many businesses, the last couple of months of the year account for a significant portion of the entire year’s profits. You want to do everything you can to make sure the people ready to spend money this month think to spend it with you.
7 Last-Minute Holiday Marketing Tips to Try
As the holidays approach, here are a few extra last-minute ways you can use your website and social media accounts to get more holiday sales.
1. Check your analytics for a refresher on what worked last year.
Marketing always involves a lot of guessing about what will work best. But you can strengthen your holiday marketing strategy by checking your website analytics from this time last year to see what worked then.
What were the main sources of traffic? Which of the traffic sources brought the most visitors that made purchases? If your analytics show that your paid search advertising was a hit, then you know to do more of that. If they show that social media drove a lot of new leads, then you should put more of your focus there.
This simple step can ensure you put your money and time toward the methods that will be the most effective at getting you more sales this year.
2. Time your promotions for the standard shipping deadline.
Everyone buying gifts online for the holidays has a deadline: their items have to get to them before the holiday itself. For people celebrating Christmas—which, for businesses in the US, is probably a majority of your potential customers—orders must be made by December 14 to be delivered on time.
For the days leading up to December 14, you can use that to your advantage. Create a sense of urgency in your marketing. You can even add a countdown to your website to help people know how much time they have and urge them to make their purchases sooner rather than later.
While people know they can always pay more for faster shipping after that date, most people will prefer to save the money and try to get all their shopping done in time for standard rates. By reminding them of how long they have, you help them save money—while helping your business get more sales.
3. Offer faster shipping for a limited time.
Many folks who miss the December 14th deadline will still want to do some of their holiday shopping online if they can make sure the items will arrive in time. You can win some of these late shoppers by offering fast shipping, either for free or for an affordable flat rate.
One option is to use this offer as a way to increase order size. You could say all orders over $50 get free 2-day shipping, encouraging people to add a couple more items to their cart. Promote the offer all over your website so people know about it. Anytime someone starts the checkout process while under the threshold to receive free shipping, have a message show up telling them how much more they need to add to save.
Subsidizing fast shipping will cost you some money, but if you get more sales because of it, you can make that money back.
4. Throw in free (or cheap) gift wrapping.
Some people are great at wrapping gifts, but not everybody. For those who struggle to cut the wrapping paper the right size and can’t seem to tape things so that they don’t look sloppy no matter how hard they try, you can make their lives easier and incentivize a purchase by offering gift wrapping.
Consider either throwing it in for free as a special offer for customers, or making it especially affordable. Promote it on your website and make it easy for people to select it as an option during checkout.
For people that are feeling overwhelmed and just don’t have time to do one more thing, knowing you’ll take a task off their holiday to-do list can be an extra incentive to choose you over your competition.
5. Use social media advertising.
While you can promote your website and products on the various social media sites for free, there’s a real limit on who will see your posts. To reach a wider audience around the holidays, consider paying for social advertising.
Figure out which of the social media networks is the most valuable to you. Where does your audience spend the most time? Then analyze the posts and status updates that perform best for you on the site now so you can craft your ads to get the most benefit from them.
Most social media networks provide extensive targeting options, so you can get your ads in front of the audience most likely to buy from you this holiday season. Time your social campaigns based on when your audience is most likely to be online and thinking about their holiday shopping.
6. Promote your gift cards.
When you figure out the perfect gift idea for someone you care about, the feeling’s amazing. But what’s more common is struggling to figure out what your friends and family could possibly want. Buying a gift that they already have, or that they don’t particularly like, is just awkward and inconvenient for all involved. Sometimes the best option is to go with a gift card.
For businesses, that’s a great opportunity. When someone chooses your store for the gift card they buy for a loved one, you make money now for future potential purposes (and get to keep it, even if they never get around to using it). Make sure you have gift cards available on your website for the holiday season, and promote them heavily around the site and on your social media profiles.
Consider adding a festive design to your gift cards for the holidays. People might be more inclined to buy something that looks cool and is in theme for the holiday.
7. Create helpful holiday content.
If you’re doing content marketing, add some holiday content topics to your calendar to bring more visitors to your site and improve your holiday SEO. Think about the things your audience is struggling with this time of year. What can you help them with on your website?
You can provide tips for holiday shopping, ideas for recipes and activities to enhance holiday parties, or suggestions for de-stressing and saving time during the busiest time of year. If your content helps your audience solve their seasonal problems, it will earn you some goodwill right around the time they’re planning to make their holiday purchases.
Holiday Profits, Here You Come
The holidays can be stressful, but they’re also fun and profitable.
Do commit the time necessary to give your website a last push for more holiday profits, but remember to keep your marketing human. Think about the things your audience needs and cares about, and find ways to deliver. You don’t just win when you make a sale, you also want to make a happy customer.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.