Marketers are in the throes of making the final act of the holiday shopping season a fruitful one. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are understandably a prime focus for holiday marketing campaigns. But the holiday spirit—and the holiday shopper—enjoys jolly, spendy moods well beyond Thanksgiving weekend and into the New Year.
The home stretch of the holiday season is a unique opportunity to retool digital strategies that carry you into January.
Data from the first half of holiday marketing campaigns, paired with the crunch time leading to Christmas, can and should re-energize the way retailers and marketers connect with consumers even after the wrapping paper is tossed out and leftovers are gone.
Here are five key considerations for this unique (and hectic) time.
1. Consult data from Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and previous holiday seasons
After the final push of holiday shopping, marketers are lucky to be able to refer to two data sets. First, there is your brand's data from the previous year. Second, data from this season's Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and December sales are an invaluable resource.
To plan for 2018, parse those stats for lessons on what is resonating with your audience. Link-level reporting, social media demographics, and your brand's best performing pages all point toward your consumers' needs. Now, plan to give them more of it.
2. Deepen your marketing strategy with online influencers
Amid the bombardment of holiday-themed advertisements, consumers are often drawn to a familiar voice. For many, that voice is a trusted website, blogger, vlogger, or other online influencer.
Because consumers are savvy, they understand that the influencers they follow post sponsored content and affiliate links; however, consumers also trust that influencers and websites create partnered content with brands that match their own pinpointed tastes.
Standard gift guides were likely published weeks ago, so post-holiday content can get creative. Now is the time to collaborate on that pinpointed content for which online influencers are hungry. Such content might take the form of a vlog or a splurge-vs.-steal rundown.
CNET's Holiday Gift Guide is a favorite example of a publisher that provides thoughtful and creative content after the holidays are over: CNET was savvy enough to end its gift guide series with a post about how to spend gift cards, something many of us enjoy in the post-holiday season.
In short, merchants have ample opportunity to partner with publishers and influencers on holiday posts well into December and beyond.
Moreover, influencers may share affiliate links via Instagram stories—an instantaneous way to translate an authentic recommendation into a conversion. Over the summer, Nordstrom activated a strong Instagram presence for its annual Anniversary Sale. The success of that campaign will surely parlay into future content from the same community of online influencers, and its marketers will use the results in designing 2018 strategies.
3. Keep the promo codes coming
Holiday seasons often feel like drawn-out games of Let's Make a Deal between retailers, marketers, and consumers. In email marketing, promotional codes are still expected. Luckily, promotional codes are still effective, too. Unsurprisingly, retailers across the board see an increase in conversion rates when email marketing includes a promotional code. Accessing promotional code data from previous holiday campaigns is one way to keep the shopping momentum live in the upcoming year.
While the big deals may have come and gone with the Black Friday frenzy, any promotional codes are still great incentives. Marketers should think about the reasons promotional codes are successful, and see how those scenarios can be materialized post-holidays. Harnessing that knowledge to engage consumers in a similar way all year long can help support ongoing interest in a brand.
4. Put the spotlight on shipping
Email marketing is an integral part of any marketing plan—especially true after the holiday season, when consumers are likely to turn back to brands they already know. Reward brand loyalists with not only promotional codes but also good shipping options. To further fine-tune the tone of messaging that works, refer to your data from the past year and the past weeks.
Though shipping considerations may come with less urgency the rest of the year after the holiday season, making note of other holidays or events that may warrant highlighting those options more clearly could be a good way to show consumers you pay attention to when they need what you're promoting.
5. Get ready for the New Year
It's wise to use data from previous holiday seasons to inform the next wave of marketing plans. In our case, taking a deep dive into previous years' data from over 2 million publishers, we saw that the holiday shopping season now extends past December 25. In 2015 and 2016, consumers spent increasingly more money during the after-holiday period. In addition to promotional codes and free shipping, consumers look for excuses to buy items they've been eyeing for months.
Whether it's the promise of a fresh start for the New Year or simply a good deal, every brand should give consumers a reason to buy now.
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