Guest post by Ivan Serrano

The quote from Yogi Berra, It Gets Late Early Out There, truly reflects the spirit of holiday marketing. During the brief time period from late November to December, retailers make about 20 percent of their entire yearly profits. So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that most companies spend a lot of their time and money for holiday marketing. Consumers are bombarded with ads and promotions on every possible channel so it’s important that your campaigns stand out from the crowd.

Start Your Holiday Marketing Plan Early

Retailers, large or small, plan their holiday campaigns and merchandising effort six to twelve months in advance. Retailers gear up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick off the holiday shopping season. However, some retailers start running holiday campaign as early as October. It’s absolutely vital to have everything ready before Thanksgiving, since 44 percent of consumers actually do most of their shopping at least a month before Christmas. So, an early start can make a hefty difference to your profit margin.

Holiday Marketing Plan: Update Your Owned Media

More and more, consumers are doing a majority of their shopping online, so it’s imperative your website showcases your sales with holiday promo images. You should also add a holiday tab to your site so visitors can easily locate all of the great deals you offer. Your blog is another great venue to talk about your deals and reinforce reasons why consumers should choose you over your competitors. Social media is another powerful weapon that must be wielded well to maximize the holiday season sales potential. After all, 66 percent of social media users who shopped on Black Friday or Cyber Monday did so as a direct result of social media interaction. So, instead of posting your promotions, work with your agencies or in-house creative teams to come up with creative ways to engage your audience. Tactics like holiday themed contests and giveaways are an excellent way to boost your visibility. For even better reach, you can utilize social ads to showcase your discounts and offer exclusive deals.

Holiday Marketing Plan: Leverage Your Email List

Reward your subscribers for their loyalty by offering exclusive discounts only to them. Let them know how special they are. A good holiday email is simple and to the point. You can’t possibly fit all of your deals in one email, so choose 3-10 with great visuals and personalize these choices as much as you can based upon the customer database. Make sure that these items are prominently displayed in the center of your email and have visible links. Don’t forget to add a bit of festive flair to your emails by using a subtle festive or wintery template to get people in the holiday mood. Let them know that this email is different from the others you’ve sent out.

Holiday Marketing Plan: Go Mobile

There are currently almost 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide and that number is expected to grow to 10 billion by 2017. More people are using their smartphones and tablets to either make purchases directly on their phone or run some price comparisons before buying. In fact, 66 percent of tablet and 76 percent of smartphone owners will make a holiday purchase. Optimizing your site for mobile is a must for retailers. Responsive design is essential, but some retailers go as far as building mobile-friendly and customized mobiles sites. Holiday marketing promotions and campaigns require extensive planning and massive coordination among marketing, PR, IT, supply chain management, merchandising, sales reps, factory, warehousing and even customer support. Although it’s about driving sales, the essence of holiday marketing is about creating a great customer experience, both on-line and off-line.

About Ivan: Ivan Serrano is a passionate web journalist living in the Bay Area of California. His areas of interest are in social media, business and technology. When Ivan isn’t inking a new article, he’ll likely be practicing his other passion, photography, or watching his favorite sports teams. Follow him on @IvanSerrano55

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