12 experts provide 12 last-minute holiday marketing ideas to give your sales a boost before year’s end.
The holiday season is often the most profitable time of year for businesses across most verticals. In 2015, total sales during the holidays reached $626.1 billion and ecommerce sales specifically increased by 20 percent compared to the previous year.
Ecommerce sales this year are predicted to increase by 13.9 percent, while total sales for the shopping season will grow by approximately 3 percent.
If your organization doesn’t have a holiday-specific marketing campaign already planned at this point, it is time to quickly adapt your approach to generate sales online and offline this season.
Review and implement the following 12 last-minute holiday marketing ideas provided by leading marketing and business experts to increase sales for your organization in the eleventh hour.
1. Share Live Video on Social Media
Invest in live video on platforms like Facebook, Periscope, Instagram, and Snapchat, suggests Peg Fitzpatrick, co-author of “The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users” and popular social media speaker.
Peg Fitzpatrick Says:
Live video is a great way to reach people and showcase your holiday gifts and specials. Create a list of five great last-minute gifts or 10 ways to be a hero this holiday, and then solve people’s holiday problems by giving them solutions for their holiday stress.
Use Facebook Live video or Periscope to share things live from your stores or business and Snapchat or Instagram stories to create a 24-hour story with time being of the essence.
Take Action Tip
Live video builds a one-to-one connection with an audience over time as a brand representative talks face-to-face with customers, providing value by showcasing a product, sharing suggestions, giving a behind-the-scene preview, and more.
The best part about using live video on social media is it doesn’t require as much planning or resources as other marketing mediums; but still take the time to briefly outline what will be said to keep the format action-oriented.
2. Feature a Compelling Call-to-Action
According to Jeff Bullas, blogger and social media expert, driving last-minute sales comes down to what call-to-action a company chooses to feature most prominently.
Jeff Bullas Says:
The most important last-minute tactic is to ensure you have a compelling call-to-action that is put front and center to the biggest and best-targeted audience that your budget can afford.
Take Action Tip
Whether your brand is promoting a final sale, a popular item, or its best-selling products, spend the remainder of the marketing budget on advertising that will drive the biggest impact based on the spend and include an original CTA.
The CTA is essential to the performance of the ad, whether it is on Facebook, is a sponsored article, or is placed elsewhere. Add a strong command verb to illustrate the timeliness of the CTA within an offer, but also appeal to the emotions of the reader to convey the ad’s value.
3. Partner With Influencers
Jarrod Hunt Says:
Identify which influencers you’ve worked with in the past that would tie-in best with promoting your existing holiday sales or even a special promotion specifically for them to share.
It is best to collaborate with influencers that your brand already has a rapport with because the relationship is likely more genuine and your audience is already familiar with them.
If you don’t have existing influencer relationships established, then that’s okay too as long as you’re choosing the right individuals to work with and for the right reasons.
Identify influencers with both a relevant and engaged audience, then reach out to them about setting up a holiday campaign to promote your sales, top-selling products, and other offers with their followers.
Matching your brand with the right influencer is critical, otherwise their promotion of your products or services will not resonate with their audience.
Take Action Tip
4. Personalize the Message
Personalization works to drive results from your marketing at every step of the process, especially at the end of a campaign, says Shayla Price, a B2B content marketer.
Shayla Price Says:
Send a personalized holiday email campaign to a segmented customer list. Your messages should create urgency and offer shoppers an incentive to make a purchase.
Take Action Tip
Review any existing data on shopping behavior over the last 30 days of the holiday season from Google Analytics, MailChimp, or elsewhere to identify any relevant patterns in activity. Use this information to inform how to better personalize your messaging and offers over email to match the preferences and interests of your customers.
Personalization might inform what product or product category to feature, what copy to include, how much of a discount to offer, and more, depending on what your team has learned from analyzing your data.
5. Invest in Facebook Ads
Facebook ads work when planned with a specific strategy in mind ahead of time, but they can still be effective at driving significant sales when setup in the last minute, says Ian Cleary, a marketing technology enthusiast with a focus on social media and content marketing.
Ian Cleary Says:
Ideally you have plans in place well in advance, but if you don’t, you need to jump on Facebook ads. Even as close as a couple of days before the holiday season you could create a campaign that takes into account that a lot of shoppers are last-minute shoppers also.
For example, you could target men shopping for presents for their wives. These are often left until the last minute. In the space of a day you could set up a Facebook ad campaign that’s driving sales the very next day.
Take Action Tip
To make the most of Facebook ads in a short-period of time, focus on promoting a select group of products or services that have already performed well during the holidays, and target these ads to a specific segment of your audience.
With little time to A/B test which ad copy and products will perform best, an organization needs to make informed decisions based on existing historical data from past holiday seasons.
6. Target Relevant Customer Groups
Even towards the end of the holiday season there is time to connect with customers over shared interests and center the company’s messaging and offerings around these preferences, according to digital marketing strategist, Glen Gilmore.
Glen Gilmore Says:
- Begin with a quick look at what worked well last holiday season. Amplify your prior successes through social media, content marketing, and highly targeted social ads.
- Get some good deals out front and center. Everybody is looking for a bargain. Think about bundling items that would make a complete gift package to make shopping easier for consumers.
- Create content that makes the holidays FUN for consumers. Give consumers a reason to connect with you during the holidays, whether through easy recipes or DIY holiday party tips. Create a welcoming gateway to your business.
- Spark last-minute holiday cheer (and social sales) by inspiring holiday-specific user generated content. Be creative and consider how you might get your audience to share content that would be fun for them and your community.
- Do something for social good. Consumers like to buy from businesses they can connect with in personal ways. By being a conduit for holiday helpfulness you will create deeper ties with your consumers and differentiate yourself in a positive way from your competitors. Be of good cheer! It’s not too late!
Take Action Tip
To drive sales from a holiday campaign, understand what your customer’s interests are and what motivates them to take action.
First review your customer profiles to get specific insights into the demographics like education level, race, age, yearly income, and more that comprise your customer base.
Also review Google Analytics or another analytics tool to understand which segments of your audience are most engaged, purchase from a particular product category, and interact with certain types of content and content topics. Combining insights from your demographics and user behavior data, develop promotional offers paired with content catered to your audience.
7. Create Time-Sensitive Offers
According to Murray Newlands, founder of Influence People LTD, use the fact that holiday season has a beginning and an end to your advantage by focusing your messaging around the timing of an offer.
Murray Newlands Says:
Create time-limited offers to convince customers to purchase your products now rather than later.
Take Action Tip
Create demand for a product or service by setting a specific deadline around when it can be purchased or an offer can be redeemed. To develop a sense of urgency in all messaging and offers, focus on the language used in emails, ads, social media posts, and elsewhere.
Include phrases like “time is running out” or that an offer is a “one day only” opportunity, if the promotional angle aligns with your organization’s brand.
Do note, however, that being too promotional for a premium luxury brand, for example, can be more detrimental than helpful, so it is important to consider whether this approach is good for your products.
8. Simplify the Shopping Process
The holidays tend to be a stressful time for consumers, one important way to service them and stand out from competitors during this season is by simplifying the shopping process, says Donna Mortiz, the founder of the award-winning blog, Socially Sorted.
Donna Mortiz Says:
Last-minute shoppers don’t have much time to come up with gift ideas on their own. They tend to buy whatever catches their eye first and that which seems the easiest. Make your products the easiest of all by providing your audience with suggestions and last-minute gift-giving guides.
Create images showcasing products that complement each other or share lists of budget-friendly gift ideas for different demographics. The less work a shopper has to put into finding the perfect gift, the more likely he or she will be to buy.
Take Action Tip
Start by bundling top-selling products together on your company’s website and within a visually focused buyer’s guide that can be promoted across email and other marketing channels. Refer to your analytics to get a better understanding of what’s selling and who’s purchasing what products.
Create additional bundles of products based on holiday sales and specials, gifts for certain audience segments like presents for mom or dad, and ensure gifts that are most often purchased together are accessible such as pairing running shoes with exercise equipment.
9. Participate in Cyber Deal Days
Many holiday shoppers wait to purchase gifts or items for themselves until one of the designated days where every retailer offers sales and specials on their products, which your organization needs to be a part of says Vincenzo Landino, the creative director of Aftermarq.
Vincenzo Landino Says:
Pay attention to all of the “cyber deal days” and other deadline days that have become mainstream. Cyber Sunday, Green Monday, Small Business Saturday, and Free Shipping Day are all prime opportunities to tap into your audience’s fear of being left behind.
And it’s not always about buying other people’s gifts. If marketers can get after the individual selfishness that we all have, you could see a great uptick. In 2015, the National Retail Federation found that 56 percent of shoppers spent an average of $131 on themselves.
That means that of their total gift-giving budget, a shopper will spend 22 percent of that, on themselves. A perfect example of this in action is a salon or spa offering “retreat packages” for the weary shopper that needs to get away during the hectic season.
Take Action Tip
See what cyber deal days are ahead and plan promotions and specials to offer during these events to generate more sales and differentiate your offerings from competitors.
For context, review what companies have offered in terms of deals in previous years during these shopping holidays to inform your approach.
With specific deals in mind, update related product pages and landing pages to reflect these special offers and alert your audience of each deal over email, social media, and elsewhere.
10. Produce Round-Up Focused Content
Creating and promoting a round-up e-book featuring industry experts is what Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, suggests doing in the final moments of a holiday campaign.
Joe Pulizzi Says:
Something we’ve done at Content Marketing Institute every year before the holidays is a predictions e-book. We get input from all the experts in our industry and create a truly valuable resource for our target audience.
I believe this could be done in any industry and can serve your customers while at the same time creating a piece of content that can help drive interest and sales.
Take Action Tip
Survey leading influencers in your industry and collect their input on a specific topic that relates back to the organization’s offerings. Include this feedback in an article, e-book, email newsletter, or whatever format of content that performs best for your company.
The primary goal of creating this content is to drive sales since there is limited time to focus on any secondary benefits. Aim to connect this round-up with a sale, a related product category, or promotion, which can be included at the end of the content with a relevant CTA.
Here’s my step-by-step guide to creating an expert round-up blog post that drives results.
11. Analyze Keyword Search Trends
To better target social and pay-per-click ads on the fly during the holidays, conduct keyword research using Keyword Planner, and review trending searches using Google Trends, says Sasha Fedkevich, senior content marketing manager at Digital Current.
Sasha Fedkevich Says:
Similar to when you’re optimizing content and product pages for SEO, conduct research on what’s happening in the final stretch of the holiday season when it comes to what people are searching for.
Do your product offerings align with search trends and heavily searched keyword phrases in your industry? If the answer is yes, there isn’t enough time to incorporate these keywords into content to have any measurable impact of ranking in search, but instead, use this information to inform your ad spending on Google AdWords and Facebook ads.
Connecting your brand’s offerings to what people are interested in and excited about in the market can drive substantial sales, even towards the end of the shopping season.
Take Action Tip
The data provided by Keyword Planner and Google Trends should help prioritize which products and services should be featured in your ads as the holiday season ends. Cater the copy used within these ads on Facebook and/or Google to last-minute shoppers, consumers redeeming gift cards, and others.
12. Set up a Flash Sale
Surprising your customers and exceeding their expectations with a surprise holiday promotion can help generate last-minute sales and interest in your offerings says Aaron Lee, the founder of Short of Height.
Aaron Lee Says:
The holiday season is upon us! The season has a way of sneaking up on business owners, but it’s not too late to make an impression. The good news is, there’s always someone looking for a great bargain or last-minute gifts.
How do you reach out to them? One method is to host a holiday flash sale. Select your best influencers and customers and leak the news to them a few days before your flash sale.
The key is having a countdown and making the deals so hard to resist. Let your customers know that there’s only a small window of opportunity before the sale ends. People don’t want to miss a great deal.
Take Action Tip
To set up a successful flash sale with short notice, understand whether you’re trying to target new customers or existing customers, identify which products will be sold during the sale, choose a specific timeline for the sale, and determine how to make it profitable while offering in-demand merchandise at a deep discount.
Planning the key elements of a flash sale ahead of its launch will greatly increase the likelihood that it’ll succeed in increasing sales. Consider partnering with influencers in your industry to distribute the news of your flash sale online.
What Are Your Last-Minute Marketing Tactics?
Which of the above holiday marketing ideas aligns with your organization the most? What past holiday campaigns of your own or others do you reference for inspiration?
Tweet us your feedback about our holiday marketing ideas over on Twitter @DigitalCurrent.