What Do Your Customers Have On Their Wishlist This Christmas?

Literally all we ever talk about is strategy. Post strategy, marketing strategy, holiday marketing strategy, blah blah blah. But we blabber on about it because it’s important.

Strategy is always based on your customers and clients. It’s focused on who you would like to speak to and what their needs are. Holiday marketing strategy is no different, it’s based on what your specific demographic has on their wishlist.

To figure out what you need to do for the holidays, you need to figure out what your customer would like to hear. Will they respond to advertisements? Do your past customers need to be treated differently than new potential customers? This is why you need to have a deep understanding of your followers and a strategy aimed specifically at speaking with them.

Figure out buying behaviour during the holidays.

Your first step this holiday season is to see how effective holiday marketing actually is for your business. Seems simple right? Take a look at last year’s sales during this time of year and figure out who is actually purchasing from you in November and December. Based on what you did last year, try and deduce what prompted them to make their purchase.

For example, a hair salon ran a holiday special last year to get in last minute bookings before the New Year. They have a list of people who had their hair cut, dyed and styled for various holiday parties and very likely have a similar schedule coming up again this year. The hair salon could consider running a strategic email campaign that informs clients from last year’s holiday season of the sale and program these messages to hit inboxes a month prior. This gives their previous clientele the opportunity to book well ahead of any last minute appointments and reminds them of the excellent work performed for them last year.

Hair salon clientele is generally made up of recurring customers, so activating past clientele is a very efficient way of booking up quickly during the holidays. They may book up before a need arises to actually perform any additional marketing to a new client base.

However a niche retail store, like a skateboard shop, would have a very different type of holiday clientele. Their clientele would likely be one-off purchases outside of their demographic fulfilling the holiday wishes of the child on their gift list. They will have less luck targeting previous clientele who made purchases during the holidays, because they may have no interest at all in purchasing anything skate related this year. In this case, the retail store would have better luck focusing their marketing efforts and budgets externally, forgoing the effort of reactivating previous customers.

Once you figure out what kind of buying behaviour is most popular for your business during the holiday season, you’ll know where to focus your efforts. Without knowing this specifically, you may find yourself splitting your attention and not making an impact anywhere.

Is a follow-up annoying a year later?

When a follow-up campaign is done properly, it can help to make your previous clientele feel appreciated and remembered. There is nothing worse than going somewhere every year, even if it’s just once a year and feeling like you’re not seen by the business.

Remember that you’re not reaching out to these customers because you’re desperate for business, you’re following up on last year’s purchase and letting them know that the same product is available again if they are interested. You want to show them that they are worth the effort. We talked about expressing gratitude during the holiday season, think of this email as an appreciation letter for the purchase last year.

This is something that you see often in the nonprofit world in order to continuously steward donors toward their cause. A nonprofit may select a group of holiday donors who gifted a certain amount of money and send them a targeted thank-you email the following year, letting them know the impact of their giving. This would, of course, be accompanied with this year’s ask and a convenient way to donate again this holiday season.

In the for-profit world, it could be a marketing agency emailing its dormant clientele an eBook based on previous work and encouraging them to reach out if they have any questions. Or, it could be an interior decorator contacting this year’s clients with tips on how to style their home for the holidays.

As long as you’re providing valuable and relevant content to your customers, they won’t mind seeing you in their inbox.

What about Black Friday?

It feels like we’ve brought it up in every blog post so far this month, but it is definitely the black cloud looming over the month of November. This year it’s taking place on November 29th and we are formally giving you permission to skip out on Black Friday if it doesn’t help your business.

If you’re thinking about a Black Friday sale consider these things first: 

  • Does your shopping demographic want to wait in a long line for deals?
  • Is your product or service something that you want to discount?
  • Is your product or service something that people will often purchase at full value (i.e. glasses, massage services, spa treatments)?
  • Would your target demographic find a Black Friday sale gratuitous and in poor taste?

Think carefully about the answers to these questions, because those answers will let you know quickly whether or not participating in Black Friday is helpful for you. If Black Friday goes against your values as a business or undermines your brand, consider skipping it.

Though Black Friday is still insanely popular, it is losing its popularity in North America as people become more unwilling to brave insane crowds for mediocre discounts, opting to shop online instead. Large stores like Walmart and Target have already begun discounting their products and Black Friday has almost turned into Black November. It gets harder every year to compete with large box stores. Our personal recommendation is to skip it altogether and find a different way to draw customers and provide value.

So how do you get to know your customers better?

If you’re not sure where to start, think about emailing some of your most loyal customers. See how they feel about common marketing ploys during the holiday season and determine how you can incorporate those things into your strategy. Then, take a look at last year’s sales during November and December and decide whether you want to maintain those sales numbers, or grow past them this year.

If you’re still unsure, you can contact us at any time. We are working right through to the holidays alongside you and are happy to answer any questions you may have at any point in November and December. We will also be publishing blogs twice a week focusing specifically on holiday marketing. Click here to see our full blog list

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