Holidays Sales Tips – Make More Sales Online This Year

It’s that time of year again!

It’s all about planning for the upcoming holiday season. Make sure that you have done your planning and set up in advance to make the most out of the holiday sales season.

Don’t let the general “busyness” of your online business mean that you miss out on what can be for many, the highlight of their sales calendar. All you need to do is make some plans and schedule ahead to grab those marketing opportunities. Use them not just to sell to those who know your business already, but to reach out to potential new customers too.

Here are some dates for your 2012 Marketing diary:

1.    Monday, November 26 (Cyber Monday)
2.    Monday, December 3
3.    Monday, December 10 (Green Monday)
4.    Tuesday, November 27
5.    Tuesday, December 4
6.    Monday, December 17 (Free Shipping Day)
7.    Tuesday, December 11
8.    Friday, November 30
9.    Thursday, December 6
10.    Thursday, December 13

These are the dates that are expected to be the biggest online shopping opportunities of the 2012 holiday season (these have been ranked by total revenue from 2011)

Most people have heard of Black Friday (which is the Friday after US Thanksgiving) and Cyber Monday (which is the following Monday). Green Monday takes place two Mondays before Christmas and was named by Ebay back in 2007 – worth marking in your diary, especially if Ebay is another sales channel for your business. Free Shipping Day is a less well known date, but is the last day that retailers guarantee shipping in time for Christmas Day.

So, how can you make the most of these seasonal sales opportunities?

The first step is to select some key dates to focus on for your sales and marketing efforts. The dates above are extracted from general sales data, so I recommend you take a look at your sales last year and rank which days were the best for you. This will give you some idea of when your busy times were and when your customers were buying. If this is your first Holiday season, you might want to focus on just Cyber Monday, Green Monday and Free Shipping Day. I don’t see any reason however, why you can’t target all of the dates above in some way.

Next, plug the dates into a spreadsheet and decide on your marketing tactics for each date. Here are some ideas:

Newsletters – A newsletter or ezine is your main way to communicate with your customer base. Dust off those holiday graphics and theme those banners! Offer ezine-only discount codes. Make gift suggestions. You know the drill!

Social Media – Use Twitter and Facebook not just to promote your products [in a suggested gift way] but to provide customers with up to date info such as lower stocks, delivery issues etc. If you’re providing customer services via social media though, do make sure you can manage any response in a timely manner. Create gift wish lists on Pinterest.

Competitions – On your website and through social media [make sure you comply with any 3rd party rules or legalities]. Give discount codes to the losers and promote the winners everywhere! Advent competitions are very popular and are heavily promoted on competition websites such as loquax.co.uk [uk] and contesthound.com [US].

Joint Ventures – Do you have business colleagues with complementary products you can pair up with? For example, if you sell baby slings you could partner with baby clothes sellers, etc You could provide articles for each other’s newsletters, swop leaflets in your customer parcels and promote each other on social media. This way you are widening your marketing opportunities to a new audience without adding greatly to your workload.

Last-minute buys – after last shipping dates pass, consider promoting gift certificates or “virtual gifts” such as apps or subscriptions. These are ideal for bringing in a few extra sales and solving a customer problem!

Finally, plan the marketing for your post-holiday sales! The top dates are December 26-28 and January 1-2 – if you do this in advance, you can relax as your website makes you money while you celebrate the festive season :)

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