Holiday marketing starts earlier because more consumers are doing holiday shopping year round.

6 Ways to Start Holiday Marketing Now – Without Turning Off Your Customers

If it seems like retailers are setting up holiday displays earlier and earlier every year, there’s a good reason for that: They are. Here are six ways you can start talking about holiday promotions now, without turning off those customers who would prefer to wait.

6 Holiday Marketing Ideas to Put Into Action Now

Many small business retailers rely on holiday sale revenues for up to 40% of their total annual take*. With so much riding on having a strong holiday season, retailers who want to attract early holiday shoppers without offending those who don’t begin shopping until later in the year can put these six holiday marketing ideas into action.

Mae West once quipped, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” While that may be true for those who love to start holiday shopping early or simply love the end of year holiday season, for others, too much holiday marketing done too early is not nearly as welcome.

Here are 6 Ways to Start Holiday Marketing Now Without Turning Off Customers Who Aren’t Ready

Talk Stats (Like These)

More than 50% of consumers will do research for holiday shopping before Thanksgiving:

  • 60% will be buying over the Thanksgiving weekend
  • 21% will make holiday purchases before Halloween
  • 9% will start their holiday shopping before Labor Day
How early to shoppers start holiday shopping?

Prefacing a social post or email with a statistic noting that a good number of consumers have already started research for the upcoming holiday season could let you introduce the topic with some justification. Conversely, sharing statistics about the number of consumers who always leave shopping until the last minute could also provide you with a “Don’t wait until the last minute…” marketing opportunity.

Be Helpful

Make it less about holiday marketing and more about giving your customers a helpful head’s up. Tell customers what they can expect to find changing at your business in the coming months in anticipation of the holidays, and why. This approach should give you an opportunity to work in some of your best holiday shopping options organically; for instance, you might reference:

  • Where holiday gift cards will be displayed and what dollar increments they should consider
  • Where holiday displays will be located on your website or in your store
  • Which items you expect to sell through quickly, and when they will be available for sale
  • How you plan to stock up on customer favorites to ensure supply
  • Whether you will hire seasonal staff to offset potential customer inconvenience
  • Where to park to get in and out the easiest during holiday shopping months or where overflow parking can be found should the area in front of your store be full
  • Whether you will be extending free shipping for the holidays, and/or last day free shipping (or any shipping) will be available

Acknowledge the Holiday Marketing Elephant in the Room

Execute a two-pronged appeal by inviting early shoppers to read on while also acknowledging that you understand that for others, it’s too soon to start thinking about holiday shopping. Sometimes simply pointing out the obvious may prevent a negative response.

Think Holiday Shopping Year-Round

Since most consumers now research purchases online prior to visiting stores (or ordering from a retailer’s website), you need not limit holiday marketing for Christmas – or any other holiday – to a specific season of the year. Create a digital gift guide that can reside year-round on your website and plan to update it throughout the year.

Include gift suggestions that would be perfect for Christmas and other end-of-year holidays as well as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Boss’s Day and other dates when people often look for gifts for special people in their lives. For instance, rather than classifying a gift as a Father’s Day gift, it could reside on your website as a perfect gift for “Dad and the important men in your life” with on-page content speaking to Christmas, Father’s Day, anniversaries and other dates when someone might be looking for a great gift for their father.

Don’t Talk, Listen.

Introduce the topic of holiday shopping by asking questions on your website, social networks, email and at the point of sale; such as, inquiring about when customers plan to start shopping, how many gifts they think they’ll buy, and who will be the most difficult person to shop for. Use their answers to help collect contact information and follow up with appropriate suggestions when the time is right!

Provide Social Proof

Give your audience an opportunity to tell you what they want, and act on it! Use customer feedback, questions and suggestions gathered during previous holiday seasons and throughout the year to tell your audience what is coming in for the holiday season as a result.

*, 10 Surprising Stats about the 2013 Holiday Shopping Season

You might also like: 5 Ways to Attract Holiday Shoppers to Your Small Business

Holiday marketing starts earlier because more consumers are doing holiday shopping year round.

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