A new study from Shop.org shows that not only are consumers looking to save money this Christmas, but retailers are starting marketing efforts early. Most are offering free shipping along with getting an early start by promoting their products on social sites (and so should you).
“Of those intending to run free shipping offers almost 80 percent will make them conditional, which usually means a customer must purchase a specific item or spend a set dollar amount to qualify.”
They are also getting their social networking sites ready for the holidays – especially their Facebook fan pages (60.3 percent).
Here’s what else retailers are doing to make this holiday brighter and improve profits.
Discounts and Coupons
Discounting isn’t exactly a small business’s favorite marketing method right now, but this year coupons are king. Online shoppers are hunting for deals. The second annual Benchmark Survey on Consumer Coupon Behavior said 30 percent of shoppers go for the retailer who offers coupons. More than 20 percent will leave one store for another if the second store offers a coupon.
A positive part of offering coupons is they’re an easy sell to bloggers and coupon sites. Announce it in a press release and blog about it yourself. Then send short pitches to bloggers, people who tweet about deals on Twitter and coupon sites. That will get the word out quickly.
Focus on a DIY Christmas
I consulted my favorite tool to identify trends online – Google Insights for Search. If this isn’t telling about people’s moodGoogle searches for “homemade Christmas Gifts” – are up 80 percent. That means if you can offer guides, tips or directions for the DIY crowd, you’ll be a hit. Martha Stewart is especially well-positioned to help with this, and searches for her ideas are up too.
Here’s what else is hot this year:
Here’s another telling sign. Christmas hasn’t come yet and people are already searching for after Christmas sales (+70 percent).
Other rising searches:
It’s not too late for SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (paid search ads) Campaigns
You can create content to help you come up higher in search engines for searches that have to do with the holidays. Write blog posts and articles that tie into the holidays and use holiday keywords. There are also online directories you can submit to that have holiday categories. And if you’re running ads on search engines, consider making new ad groups geared towards the holidays and bargains.
Consider Cause Related Marketing (Giving Back)
There’s nothing like giving to get you in a holiday mood. Your customers will see your human side and you’ll give to your community. It’s a winning marketing strategy.
Lisa Williams from MEDIA forte marketing told me about Oregon Growers in Hood River. Here’s what they are doing. They will donate a jar of marionberry jam to the Oregon Food Bank for every order they get through December 31st. They are also donating jam to anyone who becomes a fan of their Facebook page. Additionally they are coordinating gift baskets from Hood River farmers and producers of local food to go to the food bank. Then they will leverage social media by getting bloggers involved by giving them recipes that use Oregon products.
Lisa is working with the association she belongs to, the local board of SEMpdx (search engine marketing professionals of Portland). They want to collect food or cash donations for the Oregon Food Bank.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me excited for the holidays.
So if you haven’t already, start preparing those gift guides, offering tips for holiday savings and sending out press releases about holiday sales and promotions. Then leverage social media and hopefully the song you’ll be singing this holiday season is more “Holly Jolly” than Elvis’s “Blue Christmas.”
Editor’s note: this article was originally published at the American Express OPEN Forum and is republished here with permission.
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About the Author: Janet Meiners Thaeler is an Evangelist for OrangeSoda Inc. and the principal blogger for their corporate blog and Twitter account. She regularly advises clients on blogging and social media strategies. Her own blog is Newspapergrl.com (and Twitter account @newspapergrl). She is passionate about online marketing and is always looking for new insights, resources and trends to help her clients.