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And let your biz get some real profit this winter.

The year's most active shopping period is almost here and millions of online shoppers start their holiday rush. That's a huge marketing opportunity, if only… you set clear objectives and plan wise to reach them.

But what are these objectives for your biz? And what's the effective way to reach them? This exclusive marketing insight is sure to help you choose the most effective holiday strategy, asking the right marketing questions and answering them the right way.

Don't let poor planning screw your holidays marketing - plan wise and get some real profit from holiday marketing this year!

So you've made up your mind to make the most of your holidays marketing…
But what would you start with?

Whenever you do any marketing, you do that "for" someone – someone you "target" and wish to "react" to your marketing message.

Not knowing who these people are is a sure way to ruin your efforts. And whether you sell stockings or offer SEO consultancy, for initial marketing planning, first of all, you need to understand that your target audience falls into 4 main "sales funnel" groups:

  • People who haven't yet heard about you and don't have interest in your products
  • People already interested in your products, who still research, try and compare you to competitors
  • People who decided to buy from you
  • People who've already bought from you
Desirable results Marketing objectives
Make unaware clients interested in your brand
Raise brand awareness and get new leads
Make undecided clients decide to purchase
Raise sales by converting leads into customers
Make clients who decided to purchase spend more cash for their purchases
Raise sales by raising check per customer
Make the clients who already purchased return for purchases and recommend your brand to others
Increase customer loyalty

However hard you try, there's no way to reach all these objectives "at one blow" - with a single marketing activity.

And you don't have to!

There are lots of marketing activities to use over different holiday occasions – just place them wisely on your holidays marketing calendar!

Now let's have a closer look at how the holiday spirit can help you on all levels of marketing.

Let more potential clients know about your brand and make them interested in what you offer.

There's hardly a better moment for brand awareness activities than winter holidays season. The universal spirit of giving, sharing and greeting is just what you need to make your marketing message spread across with a word of mouth.

Just give your audience a good occasion and an easy way to spread the word about you and get a handy tool for monitoring brand reputation to track the effectiveness of your efforts.

1. Useful, funny or unusual content that goes viral. One of the easiest and most effective ways to reach out to new public is providing funny or useful content. This is the stuff people are likely to share.

Make this content downloadable via email subscription to boost your email list, or make it available to social media followers to boost the social fan base.

Aweber: "We've got 12 gifts waiting for you – all fresh, never-been-published content to help you start the 2013 holiday season right"

2. A sweepstake. Great prizes make the event attractive, while "little-to-do" sweepstake conditions ensure a low barrier to entry. This means you've got a great chance to make more people aware of your brand and easily turn them into fan base on social media or email subscribers.

Remember to select a prize that is relevant to your target audience, to attract more of your potential clients.

The Oprah Magazine:: "Subscribe & enter for a chance to win $25,000 to spend on the ultimate vacation!"

3. A group offer. Come up with a very special holiday offer that works only when a certain minimum number of people subscribe to take part in it. This will encourage participants to spread the word to activate the deal, letting you reach out to new prospects.

4. Encourage customers to share their off-line purchases in social media. More than half of consumers use social media while in-store. 66% of them post to tell friends about purchases and 42% upload photos of holiday purchase to Facebook. Encourage these shoppers to share their offline interactions online – that will help you reach out to new potential clients.

5. Promote check-ins in Foursquare. Reward your customers for Foursquare check-ins while in your store, restaurant, office and so on - help them spread the word about your holiday offerings even further.

Trigger more purchases
Trigger more customers to purchase your goods over the holidays

Holidays shopping rush and the pressure to get all purchases in time stimulates your clients to make a buying decision quicker and easier. Urging the holiday rush with wise time-limited offers can help you get many more purchases this year.

1. Countdown to holidays - a new offer every day. Build more holiday excitement with a "count down to the holidays" offer. For a number of days, make users visit your site to see a new one-day-long giveaway and enter to win.

Spiegel: "We're getting into the spirit of giving with daily deals on 12 of the season's top styles."

2. Flash sale. Don't give your customers time to think over and over again - a time limited flash offer is another great way to urge "instant" purchases.

Office Max: "12 deals of Christmas for 12 hours only!"

3. Shipping reminder. As the days grow closer to the 25th, shipping dates become the decision maker for shoppers. Remind your clients they have little time left to get their purchases delivered in time for holidays.

Nasty Gal: "Holly shipping! Or how to get your order before X-mas."

4. Special Christmas catalogues. A holiday-spirited Christmas catalog is a great way to associate your brand and products with holidays and make it easier for customers to fit them into their holiday shopping lists.

Ikea: "This year the holidays are in your hands. Make them magical with Ikea."

5. Gift cards. Internet is a salvation for last minute holiday shoppers - and gift cards are often the top choice. Make sure your gift cards are prominently showcased on your home page, and use them in your last-days-before-Christmas email marketing.

Fab: "Forgot someone? Save the day. Email them a gift card!"

6. Free shipping day. Last year's Free Shipping Day accounted for the biggest boost in year over year sales. This trend is likely to continue this year on Free Shipping Day, Wednesday, December 18. So think of getting ready with some special deals for this day.

7. "Get what you really wanted" sale after Christmas. Fifty percent of consumers did at least some "self-gifting" over the 2012 holidays, so launching a self-giving promotion after Christmas might be a good idea to leverage extra holiday sales. "Didn't get what you really wanted? Build it yourself!"

Make each customer spend more when buying from you
Encourage customers to shop for more goods and spend a bigger sum of money

Besides attracting more customers over holiday season, another way to raise your profit is making each of your customers buy more and spend more.

1. "Buy more – save more" offers. One of the most effective ways to encourage shoppers to spend more is offering a bigger discount for a bigger sum they are willing to spend.

West Elm: "Spend $100+ - save 10%, spend $250+ - save 15%, spend $500+ - save 20%, spend $1000+ - save 25%."

2. Survey your customers about the offers they'd like to get. Don't make assumptions about what your clients are ready to spend money on. Survey your clients about the goods they're looking for this Christmas, and custom-tailor your offers to let them rely on you for the biggest part of their holidays shopping.

Still, use this method wisely, not to lose your profit offering discounts for goods people are likely to by even at full price.

3. Tweak your website:

  • Re-write your products descriptions with special emphases on gift-shopping and holidays
  • Guide your shoppers with a bestseller list
  • Conveniently categorize your goods for gift shoppers - consider "gifts for" sections to guide shoppers to find what they want fast.
  • Add some Christmas decoration to help your customers into warm, shopping-disposed holiday spirits.

Fab: "100 gifts for everyone on your list!"

Increase customer loyalty
Make customers attached to your brand and turn one-time shoppers into loyal clients

1. Free gifts. Remind your customers that you cherish and care about them – give a little Christmas something to build positive attitude to your brand.

2. "Christmas cheers" email, video, blog-post. A much easier way to show customers how you care is a holidays-spiried email with best wishes and greetings.

3. Personalize your brand and team. Give your brand a human face to become closer to your audience and establish personal relations.

GetResponse: "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2013 from Get Response team!"

4. Charity. Add a charitable element to your holiday campaign to build up reputation in your customers' eyes. Do some social good and help your customers do it.

Leverage social media
To get your marketing message noticed

With numerous emails stuffing inboxes over holidays, one of the great ways to cut through the noise is engagement on social media. So make sure all your email marketing activities are backed up with social media efforts.

Tools to use: BuzzBundle

  • Automatically publish updates to your social channels
  • Monitor if your holidays offers are mentioned on social network
  • Join discussions and answer your customers' questions
Build up your holidays marketing calendar!
To ensure the most well-rounded marketing approach over this holidays season

And here's a marketer's holidays calendar to help you:

November 2013
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
December 2013
01 02 03 04 05 06 07
08 09 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31 1 2 3 4

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