holiday marketing strategy

We’re well into fall, which means snowmen, reindeer and candy canes are already appearing on shelves. It’s also the time to start thinking about your post-holiday marketing strategy.

The reason we have so much holiday creep is because businesses know customers are buying presents, booking trips and making holiday reservations earlier than ever. In fact, 41% of shoppers report they start holiday shopping in October. Holiday marketing starts early.

But once the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, so do sales numbers. If you start planning now, and think about post-holiday as an event like pre-holiday, you can lay a foundation that will allow you to build on your holiday success well into the new year. All you have to do is make sure you stay in contact with your most valuable customers.

Collect more contacts while you’re slammed

According to the National Retail Federation, as much as 40% of sales for U.S. businesses are made during the holidays. Since 90% of sales are made in brick-and-mortar locations, businesses will be up close and personal with more customers than at any other time of year. 

A large collection of email contacts means you can reach a wider audience with email campaigns. Email marketing is excellent because you always own your email list and it’s essentially free. And because they’re already customers, they are usually more engaged and receptive to your content. 

Holidays are an ideal time to collect contacts. But you’ll want to make sure you can do it without adding too much to your employees’ workload. After all, they should be busy making customers happy, not doing data entry. Automating collection is the way to go. Two excellent options are collecting contacts with your point of sale (POS) and guest WiFi

Amplify customer data using multiple sources

Point of sale (POS) companies, like Clover and Lightspeed, offer the ability for customers to receive an email receipt, or some other benefit, such as participating in a loyalty program as part of the checkout process. Having this set up will add contacts. However, it won’t catch everyone. For example, if only one person is paying for a group, a common occurrence at holiday parties, you won’t get any of the other guests’ emails. 

Guest WiFi is a good complement. While not everyone will sign on to your network, we’ve observed our merchants who use Zenreach collect, on average, 7x more contacts than those who collect email using POS alone. And customers who want to use WiFi are more than willing to exchange an email address for access.

Segment your lists and identify new customers 

After you’ve collected contacts, the next thing you’ll want to do with them is segment them in useful ways. For example, anyone new to your business might warrant a new customer email. With this you can invite them back with a special offer or let them know about your loyalty programs. 

This is a strong opportunity to turn first-time visitors into loyal customers. In fact, some companies acquire up to 59% more new customers during the holidays

It’s also possible to segment customers by visit. So if they were attending a big event, you can send messages and offers to anyone who might have been there with a targeted subject line like, “How was the Dunder Mifflin holiday bash?” Meaningfully personalized messages like this can achieve 50% increases in open rates.

By using WiFi marketing to monitor when people are visiting you can even get clever with the visit behavior of people who haven’t been in for a while. If you have customers who didn’t visit during the holidays, it’s time to get in touch. If you want to know more about the kinds of offers that bring people back after a lapse, check out our webinar, Customer ghosting: What to do when customers disappear.  

Get creative with your offers

Once you have your audiences segmented, you’ll have to decide what messaging and offers to send. This will depend a lot on what sort of business you have, but use timing to your advantage. For example, if you have a restaurant with healthy options on the menu, take advantage of a practice that’s been going on since Ancient Rome, starting a diet on January 1st

Lots of people will feel a bit of a financial hangover once the post-holiday credit card bills arrive. This is a great time to clear out inventory and make people happy with deeper discounts. But don’t give the house away. Too much discounting can actually hurt your brand.

If you have corporate clients, January is a perfect time to remind them of what your space offers. Corporations need training spaces, offsite locations, and other events all year round. These can dramatically boost your bottom line. 

Target ads to real customers 

Collecting first-party, in-store data from your customers during the holidays will improve your ability to create high-performing audiences for your digital ads. That’s because the audience lists are based on real people who have visited your store. 

Even better, if you’re using Zenreach, you’ll have access to a network of not only those who have visited your store, but also those who have visited other locations in your area or businesses similar to yours. This means you’re optimizing your ads for the people most likely to come in and spend money.

Zenreach can also tell you what percentage of your customer base is a first-time visitor, repeat, or loyal, and when they’ve lapsed. Using this data, you can focus your ad spend on bringing back first-time and lapsed customers by specifically targeting that group with relevant ads.

Often times, holiday shopping attracts a lot of first-time customers. But businesses see repeat customers spend 67% more than first-time customers. You don’t want to miss out on that business opportunity. And to do that, you need to know who they are and what stage of the customer lifecycle they’re at in order to effectively market to them. 

Many businesses put off trying new marketing initiatives until after the holidays. With WiFi marketing, the smart strategy is to start now so you can take advantage of the holiday foot traffic and keep your business busy long after the holidays are over.

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