The end of the year is jam-packed with holiday happenings. Is your business leveraging them to gain publicity? You should! From Halloween through Christmas, there are no shortage of ways to get in front of potential customers that are preparing for the holiday shopping season.
Let’s take a look at each month in the fourth quarter and give you some ideas for both online and in-store publicity ideas. Take what works for your business and incorporate the ideas into your holiday marketing strategy!
The fall season technically runs until almost Christmas, but October is the month that gets all the attention. Here’s how to get on board with the autumnal festivities to drum up some publicity for your business:
Host a contest and give away a pair of football tickets. Americans lovvvvve their fall football. If you can snag some tickets and get the word out about the contest, you will get a slew of entries. This works well for local businesses – real estate agents, insurance agents, attorneys, etc. – where there is a strong college football following or an NFL team that plays nearby. This works for online brands, too! As a prize, just change it up to be a football related item, like a season subscription to the NFL Ticket.
What you get: The contact information of everyone that entered. Add them to your email marketing, direct mail, and other strategies for the upcoming holiday shopping season.
Sponsor a fall festival. Whether a community event or a school’s fall festival, there is almost always an option to be a sponsor. Most festival committees offer various levels of sponsorship so that you can select one that fits your marketing budget.
What you get: Your name/logo appears on the festival’s website, brochure, signage, etc. Go a step further and host a booth at the festival with fun games where you give out branded prizes or coupons for your upcoming holiday promotions.
Host a trunk-or-treat. Today’s parents love the convenient new trunk-or-treat concept. Host an event in your business’s parking lot. In addition to candy for the kiddos, create a goodie bag for adults with coupons or an invitation to your holiday sale. For online brands, use offer pop-ups to give visitors a special “treat,” or even schedule a trick-or-treat weekend where visitors can find surprise offers throughout your site for X% off, free shipping, etc. Hype it up on social and email beforehand for a good turn out!
What you get: Face-to-face relationship building with parents and an opportunity to put marketing materials in their hands.
November is when shoppers really start thinking about holiday shopping. Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads and announcements start coming out at the beginning of the month, and consumers are on the lookout for them.
Black Friday pre-sale. This works for both in-store and online retailers. The idea is to entice shoppers in early to beat the rush. Of course, there needs to be a hook. You’ll need to make sure your pre-sale prices will be the same as your Black Friday prices. Or, offer a price match guarantee. If shoppers know they won’t be able to beat the price, they are more willing to start shopping early.
What you get: Sales instead of window shoppers. At a time when consumers are comparing pricing and preparing for the start of the season, you’ve convinced them to buy from you with a guarantee that they’re getting the best price.
Cyber Monday preview all month long. Shoppers have a love affair with Cyber Monday and the ability to avoid the crowds and shop in their PJs. Start promoting your Cyber Monday deals at the beginning of the month. Each day, post a deal to your social sites, update the banner on your website’s homepage, and even consider using popups on product pages letting shoppers know the item is going to be on sale.
What you get: Shoppers scheduling time on your website on Cyber Monday.
Show your customers you appreciate them. Thanksgiving is a time to count your blessings, and your paying customers deserve a heartfelt thank you. Take this opportunity for a softer approach – a true gift of gratitude like a free surprise gift (don’t promote it!) with every in-store purchase, chocolate or nuts in the mail, a virtual gift card to someplace other than your business (Starbucks, iTunes, etc).
What you get: Recognition as a brand doing right by their customers and increased loyalty. A true gift and note of appreciation will be more memorable than a coupon to spend more money in your store.
It’s crunch time! December is THE busiest shopping season of the month. The National Retail Foundation’s annual survey found that consumers planned to spend more than $1,000 during the 2018 holiday shopping season. How do you get a piece of that action?
Give stuff away. Yes, for free. ‘Tis the season! People are already shopping in December, so make the incentives good so that they buy from you and not your competitors. Think free gift card when a customer refers a friend, a free gift with $X purchase, etc.
What you get: The sale. Shoppers are constantly looking for the best deal in December. That’s not always the lowest price! Offset their cost with free stuff and they will perceive yours as the best deal.
Host another contest. Make this one fun, festive, and social! Create a branded holiday hashtag and have your social followers go on a themed photo scavenger hunt. The prize should obviously be a fabulous free item, gift card, or some other prize worth working for.
What you get: Social media engagement, contact information of contestants, and a holly jolly good time had by all!
Pictures with Santa. Same idea as your trunk-or-treat event. Get those families back out to your business, hire a (great) Santa, serve hot chocolate and cookies, and maybe even pump in some fake snow! This doesn’t need to be a hard sell – it could just be another customer appreciation event to keep your brand in mind. Of course, you could go a step further and hire a photographer with instant print capabilities. The parents’ free picture of their adorable kiddos would print with a tearaway coupon at the bottom… just sayin’!
Want to boost holiday sales? Start planning now and you could have more publicity than you know what to do with over the next three months!
What promotions do you do around the holidays to increase sales? Do you start in the fall, or wait until the December shopping season hits?