Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com
Feature Article: How to Make Sales Before the Holidays
If you’re eager to capture some holiday sales but feel like you may have missed your window, take heart. There’s still time!
We see a lot of folks coming to us right after Thanksgiving wanting to grab those holiday shoppers. In the past this has been a tough climb and generally if you’re just starting out (meaning you just launched your website and product) then trying to make your first impression around the holiday season can be tough. But if you’re established, or somewhat established, then keying in on holiday shoppers and all of that end-of-the year revenue that comes with it can be a great thing. More and more we’re seeing shoppers waiting until the last minute; many in fact realize that the best deals are often found days before Christmas so if you haven’t planned your holiday sales strategy, it’s not too late. Here are a few points to consider:
Start with your current buyers: It’s always easier to sell to current customers first so start there. If your service, book, or product is just a one-time buy, then offer your customers a discount if they return to do their holiday shopping with you. If your primary sales tool is Amazon, it can be tough to pull together a list of current customers since Amazon won’t release sales data. You can, however, offer specials in social media that could pull in buyers you may not be aware of. We’ll cover that in a minute.
Social Media Sales: While many of us often feel the burden of social media overload which involves keeping up with the various accounts and adding fresh content, studies show that all of this effort is definitely worth it. Both Shop.org and BIGinsight found more than one-third of shoppers visit Facebook when researching products so pushing your message, specials, sales, and holiday extras on social media sites is a great way to gain attention for your service, book, or product.
Tracking Keywords: It’s fairly easy to track keywords, especially on Twitter. I would suggest identifying your keywords and hashtags and start following them. Many times you’ll find consumers looking for help in a particular area, perhaps something that you can solve. Dig in and respond. That’s the beauty of keywords and hashtags. You can identify these, follow them, and then respond to consumer posts, questions, and challenges. It’s a great way to get top of mind with your (future) customer.
Email campaigns: If you have an email list, now is a great time to push more content through there. Ideally you’ll want to offer holiday specials, but you can also post discounts for current customers if, as I mentioned above, you don’t have that data from Amazon.
Online one more time: Nearly 90 percent of shoppers go online to research products and prices before they head out to stores. What does this mean for you? It means that online promotion could be your ticket to higher sales.
Free shipping: This is sort of a given, everyone loves free shipping so offer it, even if it’s just a small window. So, for example, offer free shipping the week prior to Christmas.
Offering specials: Unique promotions can be a really fun way to engage your audience and rack up some sales during the holiday season. Consider some of these ideas to help spark sales:
* Daily deals & Daily Gifts or Gift of the Day are always fun. It’s also easy to plan these out well in advance, too. If you do Daily Deals have fun with this, using terms like The 12 Days of Deals or Santa’s List of Daily Deals, etc.
* Save now & save later: This is another fun one. Offer discounts at time of purchase and then coupons for January promotions, too.
* Gifts by price point: This is something that really took off on Pinterest. You can identify the amount of money you want to spend and segment your items accordingly. This makes it really easy for shoppers to find what they want; be sure to use Pinterest for this since you’ll get some extra buzz just being on that website.
After Christmas Sales: Didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas? Many shoppers love these after Christmas sales and stores are spending a lot of time and effort pushing out inventory that didn’t sell during the main holiday shopping season. Post-holiday sales are a great way to drive more people to your store and more revenue to your pocket!
Keep in mind that the things I’ve mentioned here aren’t necessarily isolated to holiday sales, you can certainly use them anytime but deciding to key into the holiday market is never a bad idea. In fact, if you’ve never done a holiday push, this could help you create a strategy that you implement each year, updating product, verbiage, and social media strategy as you go. If you didn’t capture the Black Friday or Cyber Monday market, take heart, there are still a lot of shopping days left to get your service or product out there!