Quick Tips, Timing and Communication Strategies for Holiday Businesses
Holiday sales account for a great percentage of annual revenue for many small businesses. For some, such as those that sell ugly Christmas sweaters – silly clothing that caters to a peculiar need, holiday sales make up nearly all annual sales. This type of business focuses on the curious trend that provides social reward for appearing at holiday gatherings or during the holiday season in tacky or silly sweaters. Some even have parties and events to reward the ugliest or tackiest Christmas sweater. For these types of businesses, pushing sales into a couple months of the year creates unique timing challenges. Any mis-steps can severely impact revenue for the entire year.
So what are some of the unique marketing challenges faced by holiday businesses? Many of these surround communication strategies and timing and tend to fall into a couple major areas including:
SEO and Internet Strategies
Social Media Outreach
Understanding consumer stress during the holiday shopping season is important to creating memorable messaging. The most obvious but underused cure for this is inserting a bit of humor into the message. Using humor doesn’t require a great effort, but may involve simply re-sharing good content from other sources and then applying one’s own message to create either a social media update or discussion via a blog post. Blog posts, social media interaction and quick page inclusions that lighten the holiday mood can create memorable messaging as well as sharable content.
SEO and Internet Strategies:
Generating website traffic can help an organization increase sales – sometimes dramatically. The challenge to holiday businesses is that link building and social outreach that impacts search engine placement is a long term effort. So coming up with creative strategies to achieve good placement by the time the holiday shopping season rolls around can present some real challenges. Unfortunately, just going dormant over the non-holiday season will only get the website banished to relative obscurity on the search results. Search engine placement strategies have to pre-date the holiday shopping season significantly so that when h0liday shopping traffic does appear, the organization will be in a position to capture it.
Building search engine strength during the holiday rush is very difficult. Cracking the top tier is made even more difficult by the fact that top sites on the results pages become more entrenched as the holiday search traffic ramps up. Additional visitors to a site creates a stronger search engine ranking. The search engines observe that the traffic going to these sites is increasing, and are likely to conclude that those sites are appropriately placed in their rankings. For the challenger site, getting an opportunity to prove that they have a better product and a more functional website just won’t happen if they can’t crack the top tier before the annual increase in holiday traffic appears.
Of course the organization can engage in other types of marketing strategies if they are not well placed on the search engine rankings. SEM, paid search and social media marketing can help the challenger business generate the traffic its needs to generate revenues.
Social Media Outreach:
One of the ways to overcome poor search engine placement during the holiday traffic season is to reach out via social media. Innovative and humorous messaging can drive visitors to the website and create that traffic buzz needed to improve poor ranking placement. Regular posting of good, valuable and hopefully compelling or humorous material can get content reshared. In this fashion, the organization can use the personal social networks managed by others to help distribute its messaging.
Timing is particularly important in this type of outreach. Just like SEO strategies, a social media outreach strategy should be an ongoing effort throughout the year. Building one’s social networks via Facebook, Twitter and Google+ can attract the traffic needed to prove to the search engines that the company’s website content is worthy of top placement.
An Ongoing Effort:
In the end, Holiday or Christmas marketing is a year-round effort. Building the communication networks necessary to distribute marketing information and content has to be an ongoing effort. After all, competitors are probably doing this as well, so in order to capture traffic when the holiday season rolls around, the networks have to be in place by which messaging may be distributed. Arranging a good messaging strategy for use during the holiday traffic season can be made much more effective through ongoing message channel development through SEO and social media engagement.
Matthew Stone is an accomplished SEO expert, digital marketer and is experienced in Social Media Management. Since 2008, Matthew has helped clients attract build online relationships, expand sales and increase revenues. He also works in Denver Public Relations with GroundFloor Media.
You can find him on Google+