Don’t Wait until The Frost is on the Pumpkins!  

Last week I found myself at a national retailer, where I was assaulted by everything Halloween. Orange, black and shiny gold “stuff” greeted me at every turn. I was still wearing sandals and sunscreen and had just come from a beach on Cape Cod. It was September – Labor Day Weekend. 

The typical retail calendar begins marketing for holidays two months in advance of the actual “holidates.” According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), “Each year, about 40 percent of consumers begin their December holiday shopping before Halloween.”

Today, the calendar may read September, but behind every cheerful yellow and orange autumn decoration, red and green ribbons and wreaths are just waiting to burst out onto the retail scene. 

This article will look at the two fundamental actions that need to be addressed sooner rather than later, to ensure that you capture your share of the annual holiday market. 

  • Number One: Timing – when to start planning, preparing, and promoting
  • Number Two: Optimizing mobile marketing – m-commerce (electronic commerce conducted on mobile phones)

When to start marketing for “The Holidays” 

Planning should start right now – this very minute. It’s not too soon to create a comprehensive marketing calendar to include actions that begin early October right up until December 24th. 

Your campaign should feature all standard social media platforms, including well-placed and strategically timed emails. Generating buzz and boosting brand recognition, creating anticipation, offering attractive, date-specific promotions to new customers while thanking loyal customers with segmented offers are strategies that need to be planned and prepared well in advance. 

Take heed of the proven “Rule of Seven” marketing formula. Consumers need to hear or see the same message seven times before they take action. Press releases, radio advertising, and underwriting are still relevant. Design and schedule your integrated advertising accordingly.

Here are a few important dates to include in your 2021 campaign:

  • Black Friday: November 26th, 2021
  • Small Business Saturday: November 27th, 2021
  • Cyber Monday: November 29th, 2021
  • Giving Tuesday: November 30th, 2021

Getting a jump on your competition is always a good strategy, and the sooner you begin boosting your brand identity, the better. Marketing expert, Wordstream, offers this “timely advice.” “Ads, landing pages, and social campaigns should all emphasize the ease with which consumers can get their holiday shopping taken care of if they act right now.

Learn From The Past

Now is the very best time to look back while looking ahead. If you are primarily dependent on eCommerce – as many businesses were during 2020 – it is a smart move to study your sales and activities from last year to help improve upon 2021. You don’t want to repeat your mistakes, AND you DO want to optimize your successes. Our earlier blog article, Small Business, Bigger Profits – A Post Holiday Review of Your eCommerce Site from January 2021, provides helpful and time-saving tips. 

m-Commerce – Mobile Optimization

As our January 2021 article clearly states, it is critical to ensure that you have optimization on all of your digital platforms, especially on mobile devices. Your online business needs to be as streamlined and user-friendly as possible. To that end, it is imperative that your website is updated, loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and does not have any broken links. 

According to Katie Wilson, founder, and CEO of TapOnIt, “Over 50% of searches start on mobile, so make sure it’s easy to view your inventory, click-to-call, and to click for directions.”  

The pandemic changed the way consumers conduct holiday shopping, speeding up a trend that was ultimately destined to become the most popular method for holiday sales. In 2020, Covid accelerated the use of mobile devices for shopping and payments. And you better believe it is here to stay, so make the most of it!

According to a recent Forbes article:  By 2024, m-commerce will be over $570 billion and represent 53% of total eCommerce sales.

The message is loud and clear – your mobile presentation must be clean, clear, and compelling as it is key to engaging potential customers and converting them to sales.

Next Steps

Once you have mapped out a detailed marketing calendar and checked and re-checked your mobile capabilities, you can move on to the next steps.  

Our upcoming blog article will look at some recommended methods for increasing holiday sales in this rapidly changing retail landscape. Among the topics to be discussed are the growing trends in collaborative marketing and online holiday markets. We will also look at targeting demographics and optimizing market segmentation. 

In the meantime, there is no time like the present to encourage your current and potential customers to start thinking about holiday presents!

IMC is a full-service website and digital marketing firm located in Saratoga Springs, NY. Services include website design and programming (including eCommerce database and custom software integrations), branding, content creation, print collateral materials, and hosting. IMC websites are fast, accessible, supported, and secure. We are experts in how people use the web.

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