The countdown begins to the ultimate spend fest of the year – Christmas. Now as mindful as I am of the ridiculous excess and consumerism surrounding the silly season, it would be pretty irresponsible of me as a marketer not to advise you to capitalize on the forthcoming increased sales opportunity.
There is no denying it is the period when most of my clients will realise their biggest sales. So the period between now and mid-Jan is my busiest time too as I will design, implement, manage and monitor all of their promotional activities.
I feel very privileged to work with ethical and sustainable small businesses, most of whom don’t actually sell any unnecessary stuff that quickly becomes landfill or encourages excessive and unnecessary spending. Many are craft course providers or online course providers, which offer wonderful and unique experiences and opportunities to learn new skills. Those that do produce and sell products, do so responsibly with ethical and transparent processes that do not waste resources or use excessive or single-use packaging and this is often the only time of year that they sell products. So, it is also great fun to get these promotions ready, live and watch the sales roll in.
Have you got some festive promotions planned for your business? If not NOW is the time to start mapping them out. If you offer a product that would make a thoughtful gift, experience then Christmas gift sales are what you need to capture. If you offer a potentially life-changing benefit (such health, fitness and well-being) then people looking for new year/new start transformations are looking for you. Either way, you need to start a plan to capture this market NOW!
I am not a massive fan of discounts except for very specific and short periods (read promotional ideas below to see what I mean). I feel if used too often discounts reduce the value of a brand and cheapens the image.
To this end I feel quite passionately about not participating in Black Friday/Cyber Monday. They are excessively price driven promotions that are dominated by online retailers like Amazon. I have yet to see a small business manage to get any real lift in revenue because they are effectively buying additional sales with deep discounts. I personally leave it alone and advise my clients to do the same. Besides, we need to get ready for December sales!
What I do advocate is things that encourage additional sales and upsales, so that you add value to the produce or experience and drive more people to participate in it.
Encouraging people to purchase an experience to do WITH a friend or loved one is a much more meaningful gift and I think it more than doubles the perceived value. It certainly adds to the anticipation and excitement. So if you can find ways to explore this aspect then I feel like you can offer a thoughtful solution to the gift-giving conundrum.
Festive Promotional Ideas
Themes are a nice way to help you frame your promotions. Here are a couple that I have used and continue to use over the festive period for my clients:
The 12 Days of Christmas
This could be a daily (but limited number) promotional discount code for a product or experience. This is normally the only time I use discount codes for my clients and they are only available on that day for a limited and very specific product.
It doesn’t have to be a discount code – let’s think about adding value or sharing knowledge. It could be a tip or piece of valuable advice relating to your field of genius and linked to the festive season. If you are a nutritionist, for example, I’d love 12 daily ideas for festive feasts that won’t give me belly ache by 26th December!
How do you share these daily promotions or tips? On your website as a blog, send in a daily email to your mailing list or share on your facebook business page. Just make sure you tie it to something you offer and include the link to purchase. Don’t make people work too hard to give you their money!
I do love online advent calendars as a promotional concept. They are quite tough to set up yourself but if you have a little budget to get someone to help you create and implement then they are a whole lot of fun. The advantage is you keep your audience coming back each day to see what is revealed.
You can have people open doors or answer daily quiz questions to collect names for your mailing list, then follow up with offers per email.
You can change up the contents between free gifts, discounts, pearls of wisdom, festive ideas and all sorts of fun facts and shareable content.
Create some online gift guide ideas for very specific recipients using your own products and those of others that complement your offering. Please love to get ideas, including how to present gifts especially if they are actually experiences.
Create a blog for each themed guide including the where to buy links (don’t forget your own) and share these on social media. Don’t forget to tag everyone you include and hopefully you will get some reciprocal love!
What promotions have you got planned to capture the extra Christmas sales? How are you getting ready?