The holidays are wonderful times for retailers and e-commerce merchants. Even during down years, sales are always up in the run-up to the holidays. And since Santa moved away from manufacturing and towards outsourcing over the last few decades, there are millions of people out there awaiting presents. The holidays truly are a joyous time for merchants – but the post-holiday hangover is real.
Come January, many people are “shopped out” and sales decline across the board. Just because the post-holiday period is a slow time for retailers, it doesn’t mean all is lost. Merchants who put some time and effort into marketing after the holidays can reap the benefits that others ignore. Not every consumer is finished shopping come the new year, and people’s needs don’t simply go away because the holiday parties have drawn to a close. With a little effort and a smart approach, you can keep sales rolling for 12 months a year.
The following e-commerce marketing tips will help you continue to make sales in the post-holiday period:
Keep The Momentum Going!
If your marketing tactics worked well during the holidays, continue to deliver that great customer experience after the holidays. Learn from these successes, and continue to utilize them, and monitor them to see how well they perform across different periods of time. If your “special offer” worked well before, continue to offer it and see if you get the same results.
Success in sales and marketing requires an excellent, year-round customer experience. This means not only deliver a great product at a fair price but continuing to cultivate an audience by offering relevant content about what your customers want and need. Through this content development, you will become a trusted source of information to your customers and potential customers – and the option they turn to when it’s time to buy.
Keep in mind, however, that consumers are often short on cash after the holidays, so you may need to adjust your offers to fit what they are willing to spend. Of course, this can be difficult to ascertain, so you should employ a mix of content and special offers to see what works, and what doesn’t. Email campaigns are a great way to deliver content and keep in touch with your customers, but you should utilize a mix of email, social media and online advertising to drive more touch points with customers – and more sales.
Capture And Analyze Data From Previous Campaigns
For online merchants, the era of Big Data has been a boon to business. What was previously based on guesswork and past sales reports can now be proven or disproven based on data. When it comes to post-holiday tactics, look at your campaigns during the same time frame for as many years back as you can.
What worked then? What didn’t? These answers will help you develop a new campaign for the new year. Also look at your campaign data from your holiday marketing push. Are there campaigns that you can extend or restart? Which emails nudged customers to buy? Which discounts or specials were most successful? Identify what worked well and what did not work and learn from it.
Use the data to make decisions on your strategy after the holidays. Of course, you may need to adjust your strategy slightly. You don’t want to feature Santa Claus in January. But the tactics and the specials themselves can remain the same. Additionally, study your data to learn additional tactics you can use – like the opportunity to use a new channel. For example, you are getting large volumes of traffic but not utilizing it in different channels.
If this is the case, there may be a great opportunity to re-engage customers that did not convert through remarketing. If you were getting high bounce rates on certain pages, determine if there are changes you can make to help reduce abandonments – like changing images and prices, adding product reviews, etc. Data is important. Data is powerful. And data can be the difference between winning and losing in the post-holiday marketplace.
Produce New Content
Content is king. That’s true when it comes to both engaging your customers and maximizing your SEO. As every online merchant knows, SEO is a riddle wrapped inside a mystery wrapped inside an enigma. The powers that be (Google) are constantly updating algorithms updates, but the one thing we know is that Google loves fresh content.
Ads can help push consumers to your site, but improving your organic channel is a more cost-effective solution that helps create repeat customers for your brand. Continue to produce blogs related topics about your industry, products and services – but offer a fresh take instead of rehashing old blogs from years past.
Offer your customers insights they wouldn’t get anywhere else. Use your own industry knowledge to offer a fresh perspective. Content marketing is continuing to thrive and is arguably one of the most important marketing tactics today. Master the art of content, and your SEO – and sales – will thrive.
Plan For The Next Holiday
Christmas and other winter holidays are undoubtedly the best time for online merchants, both online and off. But there are holidays throughout the year that you can market around. For instance, Valentine’s day is only 6 weeks into the new year. Once your holiday season campaign ends, start gearing up for the next holiday!
And it doesn’t end after Valentine’s Day. There are major to semi-major holidays almost every month of the year: St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and Passover, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving – the list goes on. And thanks to the internet, there’s a “day” for almost everything you can think of – national donut day, national puppy day, teacher’s day, nurses’ day, coffee day. Pretty much everything you can think of. While these might not be “official” holidays, they are a marketer’s dream. Check out this calendar for ideas!
Once your customers have unwrapped their presents, they may be less likely to jump back online and order more goods – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have success during the holiday hangover period. There are various strategies you can deploy to mitigate the loss in sales this January – and even capitalize on your competitors’ apathy for January marketing. Post-holiday marketing is all about staying in front of your customers.
If you’ve built up a solid base of customers, don’t stop reaching out to them just because the holidays are over. Engage them regularly – but don’t tell them the same old story. Come up with new content, new specials, new ideas and new reasons for your customers to keep coming back, regardless of the month on the calendar.
Use your data – you’re paying for it for a reason. Dig deeper than the surface level insights most companies rely on. The better you can understand your customers, the better you’ll be able to create content that engages them, moves them through the funnel and drives them towards a purchase. And remember – the holidays are great for merchants, but don’t get too wrapped up in thinking you can’t sell in January. You can. You just need a smart strategy and a little hustle.