Believe it or not, many big-name companies have their holiday promotions planned and ready to launch. And while Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be the furthest thing from your mind right now, planning ahead like the “biggies” may help you snatch some of their business when the time comes. Here are two ways to get a jump on your competitors – big and small – and the holidays.
Use social media to gear up quickly
The beauty of social media is that it allows you to engage customers instantly and provides immediate feedback. For instance, let’s say you run a candle shop and decide to offer a limited-time fragrance for the holidays. Using Facebook, you can start a conversation that guides your efforts.
A sample dialogue thread might look something like this:
Your Business: Excited about offering a special holiday fragrance for 2014! Any suggestions?
Candlelover: Ooh, fun! My earliest holiday memories are of making sugar cookies.
Fragrance Freak: Wow, I can almost smell them baking! I vote for sugar cookies, too!
Your Business: Sugar cookies over pumpkin pie or cinnamon cider?
Sweetooth: Cookie all the way – and you could put it in a mini cookie jar!
As the conversation plays out, be an active part of it. And if it ends with consensus on a sugar cookie scented candle in a mini cookie jar, you can offer it with confidence this holiday season.
Create emails that beg to be opened
The typical consumer can receive thousands of emails during the holidays. To increase the likelihood that yours get noticed and opened, use the time leading up to the holidays to test the effectiveness of different subject lines. Here are some tips on crafting good ones:
• Leave them hanging with open-ended questions or a piece of the puzzle.
• Keep word counts to a minimum. Shoot for five to seven.
• Be creative, but not too clever.
• If it’s a fantastic offer, make it the subject line.
When testing subject lines, split your list and send the same email using different subject lines. This way you can see which performs better. The key is to continually tweak until you know what works, and if you send out an email a week, minimum, you’ll know a lot by the time you start your holiday email blasts.
With a shrinking number of shopping days left, now is the time to start planning for the holidays. Social media and email can help you make up for lost time.