Holiday Marketing Series

17 posts categorized

December 08, 2014

6 Ways Retailers Can Reach Cyber Shoppers

Depositphotos_13950170_xs

With cyber deals nearly as prevalent on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday as they are on Cyber Monday, more and more retailers are implementing holiday mobile marketing tactics. Let’s check out a few options for engaging cyber shoppers this year:

 

1) Dynamic Ads

Some clothing retailers are creating campaigns where consumers can click through ads and gain access to their latest collections. This includes browsing the entire catalog, viewing prices and embedded videos, and more. Such dynamic catalogs also automatically update with new offers. An ideal way for consumers to learn more about and engage with a brand, it also provides an easy online shopping option.

 

2) Integrated Content-Driven Commerce

"The online environment is the perfect medium for brands to engage consumers and provide that highly-valued content, however it is often disjoined from the shopping experience,” says Amanda McCreary, senior product marketing manager of online content platform company, Acquia. “Many brands have fallen into what Forrester Research calls the 'Two-Site Syndrome', with one site containing the product catalog, and another containing the rich, engaging marketing content. When this happens, the exploration and shopping experiences become disjointed, and leaves revenue on the table.” 

Brands should therefore focus on creating “integrated content-driven commerce experiences online.” Options for such a mobile marketing strategy includes engaging Facebook or blog posts that link to specific deal or sale pages, or an entire product catalog.

 

3) Location-Based Technology

A retail location may opt to blend their online world with their physical location via location-based technology. This can include presenting shoppers with deals and suggestions through their mobile devices when they enter retail stores, or catering to customers who live within a certain area/geographic region.

 

4) Mobile Apps

Mobile apps are another excellent mobile marketing tactic, with retailers such as Kohl’s, Victoria’s Secret and H&M all doing a superb job of including features and offers in their apps that “keep customers coming back for more.” Kohl’s in particular highlights deals of the day, coupons and other special offers that give consumers great reasons to use and refer to their app.

 

5) Social Media Sweepstakes

Social media sweepstakes across channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are mobile tactics that keep consumers engaged, since people check these channels about as regularly as they do their text messages. People usually jump at the chance to win free stuff or deep discounts, so sweepstakes keeps a retail brand firmly in the minds of shoppers.

 

6) Online Holiday Gift Guides

Online holiday gift guides can work as supplements to online catalogs, as many use their mobile devices to browse products before they shop. A dazzling online gift guide is certainly a way to engage customers, and one way to do so is through QR codes. Think of adding a QR code to each print ad that sends customers directly to a gift guide. 

 

 

 

December 02, 2014

Crank Up Your Marketing Efforts for Christmas

Depositphotos_13615598_xs

As the holiday shopping season draws near, it’s important to “amp up” marketing efforts. Let’s check out a few holiday promotional tactics small businesses can implement and subsequently increase brand recognition while ensuring customer loyalty.

 

Email Marketing

A straightforward option, email assorted blasts to opted-in customers about deals, sales and other promotions, and create holiday messages discussing new promo codes or other exclusive, limited-time offers. Existing customer discounts and free gift cards with purchase are generally the most successful email blast options, as they build brand loyalty and referrals in addition to increasing sales. Find an appealing holiday template, add the right information, and go from there.

 

Content Marketing

Whatever you “put out there” for your customers should engage them--don’t simply go for the boring sales pitch. Place attention-grabbing content on social media channels, blogs, press releases, articles, videos...think funny holiday clips, last-minute tips, guides on using your products, fun and helpful newsletters, and more. Information on day-before-Christmas ordering is another great content marketing method.

 

Social Media

Social media is a viable option for promoting your brand and products. Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook all provide real-time access to customers and their online communities, with social media marketing even more essential during the holiday season. Upload holiday-themed images to your accounts, such as product shots in holiday settings or stores/offices decorated for the season. Provide regular updates on holiday promotions, sales, return policies and shipping cut-off dates, but don’t forget to add fun seasonal facts and similar information as well. Promoting gift card opportunities with links back to official websites is another option.

 

SMS Marketing

Text message marketing is becoming more and more prevalent, as it provides an easy, cost-effective method for reaching the vast majority of your customers instantly. Send holiday promo codes to opted-in customers, as well as exclusive holiday coupons and sales alerts. Advertise Christmas-themed discounts and specials to potential customers who opt-in, and enjoy a larger database you can utilize all year long.

 

Open House 

Another excellent Christmastime marketing idea is to host an open house at your place of business if applicable. Provide cookies and warm cider and or mulled wine, as well as free gift-wrapping for shoppers. Raffles, discounts and other special promos also work when advertising an open house, as do cross-promotional efforts, such as offering handmade chocolates from the confectionary across the street. If your business caters to children, have a friend or co-worker dress up as Santa and hand out candy canes or Christmas-themed coloring books while taking free photos with customers and their little ones.

These are just some of many marketing options to try this holiday season. Good luck, and Happy Holidays. 

November 25, 2014

How SMS Marketing Drives Black Friday Sales

Depositphotos_13866359_xs
 

SMS marketing impacts Black Friday sales in a big way. Since it’s the biggest shopping day of the year and the beginning of holiday shopping activities, marketing campaigns announcing Black Friday sales are everywhere...including on mobile devices. And really, what better way to advertise Black Friday deals and events than with SMS? The vast majority of consumers own mobile devices, which they have turned on (and carry on their person) at all times. Ninety-five percent of marketing messages sent via SMS and MMS are opened, so crafting marketing campaigns around mobile devices makes a whole lot of sense, as many retailers have discovered.

Businesses use SMS to deliver sales alerts to customers, as well as exclusive coupons, video clips, and much more. All help ensure customer loyalty and holiday business; and when the holidays are over, businesses have a whole new database of customers opted-in to loyalty programs. This means alerting customers to sales events and new products all year long.

 

Black Friday: 2012

According to IBM, mobile shopping increased considerably in 2012 compared to 2011, with 24% of customers using a mobile device to visit retailer sites. Some 16% of shoppers used a mobile device to shop in 2011. In 2012 the iPad was the main device utilized for online shopping, followed by the iPhone and the Android. And while shoppers used social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to express gratitude about great deals and sales in 2012, that number decreased from the previous year. Shoppers referred from social networks made up .34% of online sales in 2012, a decrease of over 35% from 2011.

 

Black Friday: 2013

Last year, the amount Black Friday shoppers spent over the two-day Thanksgiving holiday rose 2.3% compared to 2012. Online sales also increased--20% from the previous year on Thanksgiving and 19% on Black Friday. Amazon.com attracted consumers by offering deals and discounts every 10 minutes, while Walmart processed some 10 million register transactions from 6pm to 10pm on that shopping day.

 

Black Friday: This Year

Social media may not play as prevalent a role in consumer shopping this year, however SMS marketing is certainly aiding retailers in their efforts to increase holiday revenue. Whether retailers will choose to implement new SMS strategies during the holiday season has yet to be seen, but one thing’s for certain: mobile marketing allows businesses to alert customers to Black Friday deals quickly, easily, and earlier than ever before. And with a simple click-through of a hyperlink, SMS receivers can make fast and easy mobile purchases. That means bigger sales, satisfied customers, and happier business owners this holiday season with SMS marketing.

November 24, 2014

6 Thanskgiving Ideas for Restaurants

Depositphotos_11933561_xs
 

Thanksgiving is a tricky time for restaurateurs to negotiate. Many eating establishments simply close for the day, unwilling to compete with the home-cooked fare being prepared in homes across the country. 

For most restaurants, that’s probably a fairly sensible idea. But just because you’re closed doesn’t mean you can’t capitalize on the holiday. In fact, by giving your staff the day off and minimizing your overheads, and helping customers prepare for their family Thanksgiving meal, your business could turn a bigger profit closed than open. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some top tips for making the most out of this year’s Turkey Day.

Make Dessert

With so much food to prepare for the big day, the idea of outsourcing some of the culinary responsibility is very appealing. Why not use your expertise to sell desserts or side dishes to customers as a way of relieving the pressure? Take pre-orders so you know exactly how much you need to order, and ask customers to pick their dishes up on Wednesday before 2pm so you can close early, safe in the knowledge you’ve made some extra cash.

Provide Supplies

In the same vein, you can make the most of your unused assets when closed for Thanksgiving. Offer chairs, tables and utensils at knock-down rental prices. Even if you throw in the washing up, your costs will be minimal. 

Offer a Seasonal Incentive

Take a holly leaf out of Christmas’ book and run a promotional schedule that counts down to the big day. Starting the Sunday before Thanksgiving, offer customers a 20% on wine one day, a half-off coupon for entrees the next, and so on up until you close. It’s a good way to generate more business to see you through the Thanksgiving slump.

Christmas Meal Vouchers

With Christmas around the corner, why not tie in your Thanksgiving promotions to the upcoming holiday season? Unlike Thanksgiving, it’s not uncommon for people to eat out on Christmas Day, so offer a deal on the latter that only applies if they buy before the former. Use the opportunity to entice customers to sign up for text alerts – it’s one of the most effective mobile marketing tactics there is.

Takeout Deals the Night Before

Again, you are well-positioned to alleviate the pressure on Thanksgiving cooks by eliminating the need for themcto make dinner the night before. Offer mobile coupons for takeout boxes on Wednesday November 26. Even if you don’t usually offer a takeout service, it’s a winning mobile marketing strategy; you can make a selling point of the service being a one-off, never-to-be-repeated deal.

Close for the entire weekend

Here’s an interesting one. It might seem counter-intuitive to close shop for the days following Thanksgiving, but it can work wonders for staff morale, bringing them back to the restaurant with renewed energy. Remember, most people are thinking about retail - not restaurants - on Black Friday, and between shopping for deals they’re working their way through all the leftovers. Instead of risking a quiet couple of days, close on Friday and Saturday and return with a bang on Sunday for the start of the Christmas craziness.

 

 

 

 

November 23, 2014

The Weirdest Thanksgiving Marketing Ideas

Depositphotos_14876173_xs

 

If Halloween heralds the start of the Fall/Winter spending bonanza, and Christmas marks the climax, Thanksgiving is the comfortable middle age of the season; it’s not always easy for retailers to capitalize on Turkey Day. Unless you’re in the catering industry, there’s no guarantee of a healthy revenue increase. Halloween has costumes and candy. Christmas has gifts and decorations. Both require lashings of mulled cider and other boozy delights.

Thanksgiving is a comparatively quiet time for consumers, which means you have to get extra creative with your mobile marketing strategy. To help you out, we’ve come up with some truly weird and wonderful ideas to help your business through the holiday with a healthy profit, and set you up for the Yuletide madness that kicks in on Black Friday…

Break a Record

With so many bizarre world records out there, breaking one is not as hard as you might think. If you’re in the footwear retail business, why not try shattering the Guinness World Record for the longest line shoes, which currently stands at 10,513 (heel-to-toe)? After all, you have access to plenty of resources, and you can tie in a giveaway for people who attend the event. For more seasonal records, try plucking three turkeys in less than 11 minutes and 30 seconds, or persuading a willing employee to break the world record for the longest hug (currently standing at 24 hours and 33 minutes). The more relevant to your industry the better, but whatever record you attempt it’s a surefire way to generate free publicity.

Cranberry Bucket Challenge

Riding coat-tail on a wildly successful meme is one way to tap into the online zeitgeist. If you can give it your own twist, even better. Arguably the biggest viral success of 2014, the ice-bucket challenge is so simple it can easily be modified – as Charlie Sheen proved with his version in August. Give it a Thanksgiving spin by encouraging staff and social media followers to dump Cranberry sauce over themselves. It’s messier (and more expensive!) than ice, but it’s also a lot more colorful and crazy. 

Mobile Turkey Hunt

Incentivize your online followers to sign up for mobile alerts by offering a festive bundle of prizes to anyone who can find a stuffed turkey in a major city (stuffed with fabric, that is, not hazelnuts and sage!). Run a 48 hour turkey hunt, and send periodic clues via text message to participants. The first to send in a photo of the bird wins. Not only is it a slightly off-the-wall mobile marketing campaign, it will grow your contact list and set you up for future efforts.

December 18, 2013

How Best Buy Used the Holiday Season to Grow their Text Marketing List

Depositphotos_4115827_xs

Tis the season to rev up your mobile marketing. Black Friday, which heralds the start of the busy holiday shopping season, has passed. Brick-and-mortar retailers as well as digital entrepreneurs are searching for new ways to reach out to potential customers on the hunt for the perfect gift for their loved ones.

Savvy business owners understand the importance of engaging mobile customers to boost their profits during this lucrative time of gift giving. Entrepreneurs who neglect to join the digital revolution will not only miss out on the opportunity to increase their audience base, but they’ll also fail to take advantage of innovative technology that allows them to constantly engage with existing clients as well as new ones.

Best Buy, for instance, is demonstrating a great use of SMS marketing to build their mobile database during the holiday season. Customers who opt in with a holiday-specific keyword will be sent daily messages through the end of the year, linking to offers, with the hope that customers will remain in the database beyond the holidays to receive later marketing messages.

Additional mobile marketing strategies for retailers, such as Apple’s iBeacon technology, allow business owners to engage customers on the spot as they peruse the aisles of their store. By employing a groundbreaking indoor positioning system, the iBeacon can push notifications to a user’s mobile device, alerting him or her to an item on sale nearby or providing up-to-the-minute product information. Once customers download the app on their mobile device, they are also given an opportunity to pay for items via their cell phone, bypassing the traditional cash register.

This advanced location awareness technology is a brilliant new way of interacting with customers during the holiday season. As a business owner, text message marketing allows you to enhance your direct mail and social media campaigns and send timely holiday-based messaging to your customers to keep them engaged. Because subscribers opt-in to your digital alerts, this type of marketing is permission based and has a higher open rate than email marketing.

As the holiday shopping season shifts into high gear, SMS text marketing is a sure bet to drum up new clients and spread the word about your goods and services.

December 16, 2013

7 Projections for Mobile Marketing in 2014

Depositphotos_27809197_xs

As 2013 winds to a close, retailers are looking for the next big thing on the digital horizon to expand their business and reposition their company in 2014. Perhaps you didn’t hit all of your revenue goals and your company simply broke even this year. Maybe you didn’t experience the growth you’d hoped for you and you ran out of exciting new ways to engage existing customers and attract new ones. Don’t despair. The coming year can be your best year yet.

Leading online mobile marketing network mobileFUSED recently published their list of the “Top Seven Projections for Mobile Marketing in 2014” and the article is getting a lot of buzz. By incorporating these tips into your text marketing campaign, you can empower your small business to grow and succeed.

  • Taming big data. In a nutshell, “big data” is a complex system of data sets that exceed the processing capacity of conventional database systems. Some examples include analysis of web behavior and social network interactions. MobileFUSED predicts that big data must be tamed in 2014 for an optimized mobile marketing experience. As a small business owner, reposition your company in 2014 and generate more leads by incorporating more targeted local advertising.
  • Return to content-relevant advertising. Mobile users are often bombarded with random ads on their devices and consider this an intrusive experience, which won’t lead to click-throughs. MobileFUSED sees a return to native advertising, which means providing content in the context of the shopper’s experience. For example, if you own a beauty supply business, you could take advantage of Sponsored Tweets on Twitter or Sponsored Ads on Facebook that pop up organically when the user is searching for certain beauty products.
  • Take advantage of explosive growth in mobile sales. Experts are predicting explosive growth during the holiday season as shoppers turn to their cell phones and tablets to make purchases as opposed to traditional brick-and-mortar shops. Savvy entrepreneurs will do outreach to their customers via mobile marketing campaigns, whether you’re promoting new items or alerting consumers about seasonal products that are on sale.
  • Location-based mobile marketing is the next big thing. Apps like iBeacon allow business owners to engage with customers in-store by offering information about nearby products and alerting them to items on sale. Location-based marketing allows retailers to track the shopping habits of customers and hit them with deals on the spot.
  • Adopt digital wallets for ease of shopping. If you’ve never heard of a digital wallet, it’s time to beef up your tech vocabulary. Also known as an e-wallet, a digital wallet works through an app on your smartphone. For instance, if you’re at a clothing store, you might wave your smart phone on a compatible register to pay instantly. E-wallet technology gives your customers greater flexibility and allows them to pay for purchases quickly.
  • Optimize your website for mobile. There’s nothing more frustrating for a user than visiting a site on a mobile device or tablet only to wait eons for the page to load. Slow-loading websites that aren’t optimized for mobile will cause your company to lose out on potential business. Make sure your site is enhanced with HTML5 responsive features for fastest mobile browsing.
  • Stay abreast of changing smartphone technology. MobileFUSED believes that advances in technology and hot new features will change how we do business on tablets and smartphones. Since smartphones are transforming the retail landscape, your mobile marketing strategies should incorporate ways to engage users in-store on their mobile devices.

How do you plan to jumpstart your business in the New Year? Write it in a comment.

November 11, 2013

Estimated Increase in Mobile Purchases this Holiday Season

Depositphotos_7488120_xs

Mobile advertising solutions are expected to pay dividends this Christmas, as businesses latch on to the benefits of mobile phone advertising. New data from Hipcricket shows that 53% of shoppers plan to spend more money through their smartphone or tablet in 2013 than in 2012.

The survey also showed that 59% of smartphone users made at least one purchase on their device. The conclusion drawn was that mobile devices are expected to contribute to this season's holiday commerce as a driver of sakes and as a shopping research tool. The report also found that:

  • 41% said they will spend between $1 and $99 via a mobile device this year
  • 23% said they will spend between $100 and $249
 via a mobile device this year
  • 25% said they have made between two and four mobile purchases in the past six months

  • 83% said they intend to research products using a mobile device
  • 75% say they will be reading product reviews on a mobile device

The reasons are obvious. Smartphone usage has grown massively over the past few years, and shoppers point to the ease-of-transaction offered by devices, and the security of having an e-trail for every part of the purchase. The recent upsurge in complementary technology, from geo fencing to mobile apps, is helping the mobile advertising industry through a considerable boom. The handheld device is clearly the future of commerce, from product launch via mobile advertising to point of sale and beyond. 

Of course, it works more effectively for some businesses than others. Different industries are affected in different ways, with books, music, video and concert tickets picking up the bulk of business generated through mobile devices. Consumer electronics and health and beauty are also benefitting from the smartphone boom.

What is clear for all businesses is the fact that mobile advertising services work. They engage the customer directly, at a personal level, and can direct them straight towards an easy-to-use payment platform. Along the way, consumers can look at user reviews, company background – anything that might help them make a decision. Get your mobile advertising solutions up and running before December, and you can reap the same benefits as everyone else...

November 10, 2013

Combat Showrooming with Mobile Marketing

Depositphotos_4439608_xs

Showrooming, the practice of using bricks and mortar retail outlets to scope out products before searching online for a better deal, is becoming a real threat to businesses who rely on in-store sales. A report from Vibes surveyed 1000 smartphone owners, and the results were shocking, with 44% of respondents admitting to showrooming frequently. 

As with most internet trends, the effects are especially obvious among the younger demographic, with half of those under 35 claiming to showroom for 50% of their purchases. In the over 35 group, just 31% said they used the tactic. Over the past two years, there has been a 156% increase in consumers purchasing from a competitor on their smartphones while in-store.

It's a remarkable power-switch from the old days, when price-fixing was the white-collar crime of unscrupulous businesses, committed behind closed doors with nary a regard for the customers on the ground. The tables are now firmly turned, and retailers are taking the hits. 

But what, if anything, can you do to combat the effects of showrooming on your business? According to Jack Philbin, the CEO of Vibes, the key is developing "contextually relevant and personalized mobile experiences that motivate and influence consumers to take notice and make purchases." 

Building brand loyalty with mobile marketing campaigns requires retailers to up their game. In-store incentives, preference-based special offers – anything you can do to leverage attention away from competitors will help reduce the chances of customers using your outlet to window shop but not buy. Here are some top tips for counteracting showrooming:

Recognize the Advantages of Mobile Marketing

Instead of railing against some perceived digital tyranny, use the technology to your advantage. Launch an app that customers can use in-store to see all the product information they would get (including reviews) from Amazon. Prompt customers to download the app by giving them a small freebie for doing so, and ask them to opt in to mobile text marketing lists so you can send them offers that may appeal. Remember, 60% of consumers want mobile content that matches their interests, so harvest as much information from them as you can.

Provide Free Wi-Fi

This is a winning strategy, as it gets potential customers onside as soon as they walk into your store. Recent stats from JiWire indicate that free in-store wi-fi influences the shopping habits of 44% of people. 

Improve Customer Service

So you've won people over with free wi-fi and a useful app. They're already less-inclined to look elsewhere. Now you need to provide a personalized experience – it might just be the key differentiator between your outlet and the cheap-but-impersonal website.

Offer Unique Products

The best way to make your price unbeatable is by ensuring there is nothing to which your product can be compared. Increasingly, suppliers are being asked to create product lines that can only be sold in stores.

 

As the holiday season approaches, retailers have a fantastic opportunity to create memorable, personalized experiences for shoppers. A combination of targeted mobile SMS marketing campaigns, freebies, customer service and wifi-enabled locations can help retailers wrest control of their market away from smartphones, and back into the real world.

November 20, 2012

The Best Holiday Season Ever: Week 8

Entry By Jason Brick

We're in the final stretch, our last week of preparation for Black Friday...this Friday. Although you've missed most of the action if you're tuning in this week, take a look at the whole series to help you get ready for next year. If you've been with us the whole time, congratulations! With a bit of luck, your hard work is going to pay off with the best retail season of your business's life. 

Black-friday-profits

This week combines your final exam with graduation. You have just one thing to do this week: Your Big, Bad Black Friday Bonanza. But the action doesn't start on Friday. Although every business and situation demands its own schedule, you'll do well if you stick to these basic guidelines. Now is time to stage everything for the action later in the week. Find time to take care or all of the following little tasks:

  • Catch up on any cleaning that fell by the wayside in past weeks
  • Confirm with every member of your staff they they understand their schedule and duties, and can commit to fulfilling them. 
  • Do whatever is necessary to ensure that any items you've ordered from suppliers will arrive on time. 
  • Schedule text messages reminding winners of your contests and all elite team members of your early bird sale for Wednesday night. 
  • Schedule text messages each day this week, each of which includes a countdown reminder (just 76 hours until...) and a teaser for one of the great specials you'll be running on Black Friday.

Tuesday

Finalize your schedule for Wednesday night and Friday. Wednesday, you'll be running a one-to-two hour exclusive early bird event for your winners, elite team, and guests. Determine the best time according to your industry and area. For example, a retail shop might stay open an hour late, while a restaurant might hold an exclusive mean during the lunch rush. 

For Friday, you'll want to follow the lead of your competition. If the other sporting goods store in town opens at 5:00, open at 4:50. If the bar across the street runs happy hour until 8:00, run yours until 9:00.

Tuesday shouldn't be the first day you think about the schedule. Now is the time to confirm the final details, nothing more. 

Wednesday

Run your early-bird special, and support it with text and social media reminders before and during the event. Bonus points for door prizes, time-sensitive extra discounts and anything else to get people as excited as possible. If you run out of stock during this sale, feel free to sleep in on Friday. You've earned it. 

Thursday

Take the day off. Hug your family. Watch the game. 

Friday

Run your sale. By now, you and your staff should be mostly ready. You've planned your work...now work your plan. If business every starts to flag, send a text broadcast offering a limited deal for people who show up in the next hour. Use that instantaneous communication to keep people coming in all day long. 

But that's not all! Black Friday is the beginning of the holiday retail season. With such a powerful start, what plans do you have to ride the momentum all the way to 2013? Tell us about it in the comments.