According to the National Retail Federation, between 20 and 40 percent of annual sales (for small and mid-sized retailers) are made during the months of November and December.
This year, analysts predict that more than 100 million consumers will hit the stores on Black Friday alone.
They’ll spend billions with local brick-and-mortar sellers, which have an edge over ecommerce websites, due to the benefit of in-stock products which deliver instant gratification (and bypass the inherent challenges of shipping).
But for every Holiday business success story, there are dozens of failures.
This tremendous, seasonal sales pressure is why you need the right plan to make it through the end of the year on top.
The Importance of Timing
In the marketing industry, many Holiday consumers are referred to as last-minute shoppers, who despite their lack of planning, are driven into a collective purchasing frenzy through aggressive sales events and promotions.
That’s why, as a business owner or advertiser, the worst thing you can do is wait too long to plan and execute a seasonal marketing campaign.
Simply stated, timing is everything.
Well-timed marketing is the foundation of a seasonal boost in sales, and the frenzy-inducing offers that drive consumer purchases are typically the result of weeks, or even months, of strategy sessions and planning.
In fact, for some big box retailers, work on the next year’s Holiday campaign starts as soon as the current year ends.
It’s like the never-ending job of painting the Golden Gate Bridge.
But smaller businesses are much more nimble. For small and mid-sized retailers, Holiday campaigns should be planned in September or October, and be ready for deployment in November.
Avoid Marketing Traps, Invest Where It Counts
Ideally, SMBs should focus on direct-to-consumer marketing channels, such as direct mail, which force interaction and immediate decision-making on the consumer end.
While digital channels can be effective, especially when used as part of a larger marketing mix, SMBs are at a disadvantage on the web during the weeks leading to Black Friday and the Holidays, due to the massive SEM budgets of national brands and sophisticated ecommerce platforms.
Instead, SMBs should invest in alternatives, such as direct mail ads, which effectively level the playing field with the competition. No matter the aggressiveness of big-budget competitors, a solo direct mail offer delivers a one-to-one experience to the recipient.
And for SMBs, seasonal marketing is about reaching the right prospect, at the right time, with the right offer, using the right channel.
You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
To minimize costs ― and generate the best returns ― many SMBs turn to experienced direct mail service providers, such as EveryDoorDirectMail.com, which offer turnkey support in the planning, production, and deployment of seasonal campaigns.
Let’s face it ― direct mail can be hard. Mailing lists, labels, permits, printing ― there’s a lot to manage. If you’re a hard-working business owner or someone in charge of daily operations, the one thing that you don’t have is time to spare. Partnering with an experience vendor can change everything.
Additionally, vendors offer perks such as the FREE Black Friday Marketing Kit to help busy small business owners stay on track and eliminate costly errors.
The Bottom Line
Don’t wait until the last week in November to start planning your holiday advertising campaign. By then, it’s game over. Take the time now to explore options, talk to vendors, and plan your strategy. This way, you can build and implement a cohesive strategy that will appeal to the right consumers.
While customer acquisition for the Holiday season is the near term goal, you’ll find that the massive exposure to your local market can drive sales for week, months, and years to come.