November 11, 2011

7 Weeks and counting... Are you ready for the holiday craze?

by Steven DuBois, Bronto Marketing Strategist

HourglassWe are getting to the home stretch, 2011 is wrapping up and things are going to get hectic. There are less than 2 weeks to Thanksgiving, 5.5 weeks to Hanukkah, 6 weeks to Christmas and Kwanzaa, and 7 weeks until 2012!

Is your email marketing plan finalized?  Do you know what you are sending, when and why?  Or is your marketing plan laid out already, and you're looking for any possible missed opportunities?

Make sure that you’re not forgetting some of the most important and some overlooked dates in the holiday season. Below is a list of events to help you finalize your communication plan to leverage some of the biggest consumer spending times of the year!  Top historical and predicted consumer spend days noted with $$$.

November

IMPORTANT DATES:

For many retailers, November is the real kickstart of holiday marketing. We are already in the 3rd week of the month – what holiday messages are you already sending?

Have you put together a gift guide? Gift guide messaging is a great way to promote your products this holiday and help customers find what they need, as they often categorize gifts by price point, gender and even personality!

If you haven’t promoted a gift guide yet, think about sending this before Thanksgiving or in the week after (the first week of December). Beyond promoting a gift guide in email, consider posting the guide on Facebook and Twitter.

The most important days in November for many retailers are Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  For planning ideas refer to “Black Friday & Cyber Monday - How to Plan for the Unexpected."  This is an important time to stand out in the inbox as many retailers increase their frequency and dish out deep discounts. Get creative with your subject lines!

December

IMPORTANT DATES:

  • Saturday, 12/3 - $$$ - If you also have Brick and Mortar stores remember to tell your customers what you hours are for the holidays.
  • Saturday, 12/10 - $$$ - By now you should be promoting your gift guide. Be sure to post them on your social media pages.
  • Monday, 12/12 - Green Monday - Are you doing a holiday countdown? X days of deals... If so you can offer the daily deals only on your social media pages.  Advertise this in your email communications. This can help grow your social network. Also remember Hanukkah is 8 days = 8 gifts.
  • Friday, 12/16 - Free Shipping Friday - How are you going to stand out against everyone else? Maybe you can offer free shipping as a standard for your 2011 Holiday? If so tell people about it in the beginning of December and mention it in your communications.
  • Saturday, 12/17 - $$$ - Super Saturday - This is the time to promote your last minute gift ideas. Be sure to include your gift card messaging. You can even add this to your header or top navigation.
  • Sunday, 12/18 - $$$ - Generally around this time will end standard shipping and begin express shipping. Be sure to check with USPS, FedEx, and UPS or what ever delivery service you use for delivery by X day.
  • Monday, 12/19 - $$$
  • Tuesday, 12/20 through Wednesday, 12/28 - Hanukkah
  • Thursday, 12/22 - $$$
  •  Friday, 12/23 - Festivus
  • Friday, 12/23 - $$$ - "Father’s Day" AKA "procrastinators day" - This is when you will want to promote your last minute gift ideas like egift cards.
  • Saturday, 12/24 - Christmas Eve
  • Sunday, 12/25 - Christmas
  • Monday, 12/26 - $$$
  • Monday, 12/26 - Boxing Day
  • Monday, 12/26 through Sunday, 1/1/2012 - Kwanzaa
  • Saturday, 12/31 - New Years Eve

Some of these dates were listed from Ten days will make or break retailers during holidays from TechJournal.

Other promotional ideas to consider in November and December:

  • Run Friends-and-Family promotions. According to some studies, these campaigns can generate three times as much revenue as the same offer without the sharing “Friends-and-Family” spin.
  • Segment your audience by browsing behavior, demographics and past purchasers. Identify last year’s holiday shoppers and send them a special past-purchaser offer. Also consider suppressing some of your most inactive subscribers from some mailings to protect deliverability.
  • What does the shipping calendar look like? As soon as you find out what USPS, FedEx, and UPS are doing, and what those last minute shipping dates are, make sure you are publicizing this on your site, emails and social media pages.
  • Recycle. Don't be afraid to reuse a promotion or piece of content from last year that performed well. Just be sure that the products are still available and tweak any dates or deadlines.

What are you planning on doing that isn’t mentioned here?  What has worked well for you in the past?

Steve DuBois
Marketing Strategist at Bronto

 

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