Crank Up Your SMS Marketing Efforts This Christmas
As the holiday shopping season draws near, it’s important to “amp up” your marketing efforts and take advantage of the big crowds. Small businesses can implement these 14 holiday promotional tactics to increase brand recognition and ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Holiday Marketing Strategies for Retail
If you're just starting to plan, here are six easy (emphasis on easy) marketing ideas and successful advertising campaign examples to inspire and guide you!
A straightforward option is email assorted blasts to opted-in customers about deals, sales, and other promotions and create holiday messages discussing new promo codes or 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 and increase sales. Find an appealing holiday template, add the right information, and go from there.
Whatever you “put out there” for your customers should be engaging — don’t simply go for a boring sales pitch. Place attention-grabbing content on social media channels, blogs, press releases, articles, and videos. Think funny holiday clips, last-minute tips, guides about how to use your products or fun newsletters. Information on last-minute ordering is another great content marketing method during the holidays.
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. Promoting gift card opportunities with links back to official websites is another option.
SMS marketing is becoming increasingly prevalent as it provides an easy, cost-effective method for instantly reaching the vast majority of your customers. Send holiday promo codes, exclusive coupons, and sales alerts to opted-in customers. Advertise Christmas-themed discounts and specials to potential customers who opt-in, and enjoy a larger database you can utilize all year.
Another excellent holiday marketing idea is to host an open house at your place of business. Provide cookies, warm cider, mulled wine, and 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 holiday-themed coloring books while taking free photos with customers and their little ones.
User-Generated Content (UGC) Campaigns
A UGC campaign is any campaign that encourages a consumer to create and share photos, videos, or other advertising content. It can be as straightforward as setting up a customer feedback area on a product page or asking followers to tweet a specific hashtag and a photo of themselves using your product.
Why Try a Holiday UGC Campaign?
- Build a brand reputation and create a sense of trust with your consumers during a busy shopping season.
- Build social credibility with potential followers.
- Requires minimal time or money to get started; you could send your first message in a minute.
- Interact and engage with your audience more effectively.
REI’S #OPTOUTSIDE Campaign
This campaign was simple, with a basic landing page, hashtag strategy, and social posts.
To spread the word, REI had followers share their reasons for opting to act and include the #OptOutside hashtag. Followers could choose to share the message on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, and with the click of a button, their website would automatically generate the phrase with the post to make it quick and easy to share.
Publish a Gift Guide Series
A gift guide is a collection of gifts you recommend to your customers to buy. It can be a blog post, SMS message, YouTube video, social media post, PDF download, or even a newsletter you email subscribers. Make the gifts you add to your guide relevant to your audience. If your followers are into cooking, recommend kitchen appliances, cookbooks, aprons, utensils, or popular kitchen decor.
PRO-TIP: Instead of offering one extensive guide full of several gift ideas, you could separate them into smaller messages and publish them over time. This can make it easier to send messages quickly while still creating a reasonably large, months-long campaign. Add a hashtag to create some continuity between guides and increase the findability of your posts.
Create a Holiday Countdown
A Holiday Countdown is a timed promotion that expires within “x” hours, days, or weeks before Christmas. No matter your business, a holiday countdown can encourage people to act now.
PRO-TIP: You can open a quick landing page and easily embed a free countdown timer within minutes.
Pastel Trail on Pinterest
Pastel Trail uses several hashtags to ensure that their promotion performs organically for Pinterest users who search on the hashtags including #pillowcase, #throwpillow, #posterprint, #Christmas Decoration, #christmas crafts, #saleposter, #salebanner, #walldecor, #wallart, and #livingroom.
Create a Holiday Contest
Contests are easy to get going and are an excellent way to interact with your customers. You can create a simple selfie contest or comment-and-win contest in less than an hour. Your contest can take place online or in physical locations.
Easy Holiday Contest Ideas
- Selfie Contest - Create a hashtag for your contest, and ask your followers to take a selfie with your product at one of your locations.
- Comment & Win Contest - Share a photo of the prize and tell people to comment on the photo to enter for a chance to win it.
- Be a Santa Contest - Give your followers a chance to be Santa for someone else by asking them to tag someone they feel is worthy of receiving a gift.
- Name My Gift Contest - If you are a retail business, ask customers to tell you what product you sell they would love to have most as a gift for Christmas. Choose one of the commenters to receive the product they wish for at no cost.
- Name Your Favorite Christmas Movie Contest - Ask followers to comment with the name of their favorite Christmas movie for a chance to win a gift.
Buy a Gift, Get a Gift Holiday Campaign
“Buy a gift, get a gift” campaigns are an easy way to boost your sales even after the holiday season ends and work exceptionally well in restaurants. Here’s an example: For every $25 you spend on gift cards, you get a $5 gift card for free. This would tempt your customers to buy more of the $25 gift cards to get the extra ones free for themselves or other people on their list.
Offer Shipping Deadline Updates
In the same way, you might offer a holiday countdown, you could count down until your shipping deadlines. This is important because if you have last-minute shoppers on your hands, they might be disappointed if their shipments don’t make it in time for the holiday.
To help ensure their gifts arrive on time, be vocal about your shipping deadlines. Place pop-ups on your landing pages and send SMS texts announcing your shipping timelines. This marketing strategy can help prevent disappointed customers, but it can also help create a sense of urgency for them to finalize their holiday shopping with your business.
If you need inspiration, consider sending an SMS text that says something like this, “(So Soaps) Beat the holiday rush! Place your orders by Dec. 17 to ensure your gifts arrive for Christmas morning.”
Support a Good Cause
The holidays are about gift-giving, making it the perfect time to give back to a local charity. Your customers are already purchasing gifts anyway, so why not encourage them to support a good cause while they’re at it?
There are several ways you can go about this.
For one, you could donate a percentage of every purchase to a community organization, such as a food bank or homeless shelter. To get the word out, you might send an SMS text to your customers that says, “(Jo’s Boutique) ‘Tis the season for giving back! Do your holiday shopping with us, and we’ll donate 10% of every purchase to SD Care now through Dec. 24.”
Another thoughtful holiday marketing strategy is encouraging your customers to donate to a clothing, food, or toy drive. To incentivize your customers to donate, you could offer them a special discount on their next purchase when they provide a donation. An example SMS message might say, “(CC Shoes) We’re hosting a food drive to support SF Food Pantry. Donate canned goods at our Main St. location, and we’ll give you 20% off your holiday purchase!”
Encourage In-Store Shopping
Sure, online shopping is convenient, but there’s something so magical about browsing the shops during the holidays. To make your in-store shopping experience a festive one, deck the halls with twinkly lights, garlands, and stockings. You can make it even more warm and inviting with special holiday promos, treats, and visits from Santa and elves.
Of course, you’ll want to spread the news about the wonderful winter wonderland you’ve created in your store, so be sure to share posts on social media and send invitations to your customers via email and SMS texts. For instance, your invitation might say, “(Shirt Shop) You’re invited to our holiday festivities! Shop in-store and enjoy special holiday sales and even a visit from Santa through Dec. 24.”
Promote e-Gift Cards
Holiday shopping can be a stressful time. Some shoppers might not know what to get their loved ones, while others simply don’t have the time to browse the shops all December. In this case, e-gift cards are the perfect solution! An e-gift card lets the recipient purchase whatever they want at your store, and the customer can conveniently buy them right from their home without leaving their couch—it’s a win-win!
For this marketing strategy, showcase your e-gift cards and the simplicity of purchasing them. After all, some of your customers might not realize purchasing an online gift card through your business is even an option. When providing details about your e-gift cards, include a link where your customers can easily buy them online.
For instance, you could send an SMS text announcing it this way: “(Outdoorsy) Not sure what to get the nature lover in your life? Our e-gift cards make the perfect gifts! Simply click the link to purchase one online today! https://eztxt.net/Vkd94H”
Explore SMS Marketing and Beyond This Holiday Season
As you can see, incorporating SMS campaigns into your marketing strategies is a great way to promote your brand and encourage holiday shopping. Follow along to learn more about SMS marketing and how it can help your business this holiday season.
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