At ShortStack.com we’ve been receiving queries about how to build holiday campaigns since the beginning of September.
It seems that the time to “get ready” for the holidays rolls around earlier and earlier every year. Every day my News Feed becomes more populated with pumpkin flavored foods and beverages while my friends go on the search for the perfect Halloween costume for their kids or dogs.
So like it or not, it’s time to start thinking and planning for the holidays.
Per usual, the holidays are expected to be the biggest selling time of year for many businesses.
In 2014, Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday set new (online) sales records with $ 1.33 billion and $ 2.4 billion spent. This number is only expected to rise for 2015.
Whether you sell a product online, in-store, or are simply looking to boost brand awareness, there are a few ways any business can start preparing for the holidays right now!
#1. Start Collecting Leads/Building Your Email List
Not sure what your holiday strategy is yet? That’s okay, you can still start building your email list so when your strategy is ready, you have a targeted audience to talk to.
What’s the benefit of building your list today?
Once the holidays hit, social networks will be flooded with promotions, holiday posts, ads, and status updates. It’s already quite a task for brands to be heard through all the noise, and this will be even more difficult during the holiday months.
By starting to build an email list now, once the holidays get closer you can create a strong email marketing campaign to those who have expressed interest in your holiday materials and offers. Combine this with your other holiday strategies and you have an even stronger marketing plan with a larger and more targeted reach.
Another way you can use your email list is by creating a Facebook custom audience for ads you’ll run during the holiday season.
Bonus tip: If you use ShortStack.com try one of our 29 templates for lead collection!
#2. Start Watching Trends
The fact that I’m writing this blog post at the end of September is a first-hand example of watching the trends. Last year, holiday shopping started around Halloween and it’s expected to be even earlier this year.
While trends are usually just assumptions, a lot of times they can be pretty spot on based on previous stats and research.
Here are some of Google’s 2015’s predicted holiday trends — take a look and see how you can use them to your advantage.
Trend #1: This will be the most connected holiday shopping season — ever
Every year more shoppers report spending more time online during the holidays. This means your business needs to have as much of your holiday marketing online as possible. If you’re a brick and mortar, consider highlighting your products online and encouraging fans to come into your store. For marketers that already have online market places, we recommend highlighting your holiday specials on your webpage, and creating promotion strategies with landing pages for your biggest promotions.
Trend #2: People will use their smartphones to search and purchase
It’s no surprise that mobile continues to creep to the top of things marketers need to keep in mind. For the purpose of not leaving your mobile customers behind, make sure you build marketing campaigns that are mobile friendly. If you’re a ShortStack.com user our campaigns are automatically mobile friendly.
Trend #3: Shopping will begin before Black Friday
The best thing businesses can do is start making their holiday marketing available as soon as possible. You may want to consider breaking out the holiday sales a little earlier than usual.
Trend #4: Consumers won’t care about their brand loyalties
That’s right, according to Google, shoppers are willing to throw their loyalties out the window for a better deal. For businesses this means that marketing, positioning and promoting are more essential than ever. If you can get your deals in front of shoppers first, you’re ahead of the game.
Trend #5: Reviews mean more to consumers than input from experts
Most consumers are more persuaded by peer reviews than professional reviews. As a business, we recommend beefing up your testimonials and influencers chatting about your products. For ShortStack.com users you can use our Reviews template to start collecting some customer feedback right away. Add that feedback to your website, emails, blog, and social networks to share happy customer experiences with your fans.
#3. Start Building Your Campaigns
Building a quality Campaign can take some time. If you haven’t already started your Campaigns, we recommend getting the ball rolling. We’re already seeing Halloween Campaigns pop up, such as this costume campaign from Tootsie Pops.
If you need some help getting started, ShortStack.com has more than 70 templates to choose from and a variety of holiday specific templates. We’re in the process of creating even more holiday templates that we’ll announce on this blog when they’re ready.
Holiday Campaign Design Tip: If you have a great idea for a holiday campaign but don’t have the resources to build what you’re wanting, check out ShortStack’s Custom Design Services. This new service connects you with one of our professional designers to help you create and execute your marketing campaign.
#4. Begin Testing Ads
The easiest way to stay in the spotlight during the holidays is to get top of mind to your fans before the holidays! That’s why it’s so important to start your holiday marketing campaigns long before the season hits. We’re always testing ads, but during the month of September we did an extra little push just to make sure that we can and will run the most effective ads possible during the holiday season.
There are a variety of advertising options and we recommend you do research on them all to determine which outlet will best fit your needs. However, Facebook ads notoriously rank in as the most cost-effective way to increase a brand’s visibility to a super targeted audience. Here are a few ways you can leverage your budget with Facebook ads.