7 Tips To Get Your Christmas Promotion Right
Remember The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs? As one of Aesop’s fables, the story has been told and retold for over 2000 years to warn people about the likely consequences of getting too greedy.
Quick recap: a guy has a magic goose that lays a golden egg every day. Despite this regular income, the guy wants more gold, faster. So he cuts the goose open to get at the gold but comes up empty-handed. Plus the goose is now dead. (Duh!)
Relevance? Christmas may seem like a golden opportunity to make some extra sales, but make sure whatever sales activities you do during the holiday season fit snugly within your overall marketing strategy – or all you’ll have to show for it might be some dead poultry. (Mind you, roast goose is a Christmas favourite, so there’s always that.)
Basically you’ve done the hard yards, you’ve got your marketing strategy in place, and you’ve spent all year building trust with your customers – now is not the time to throw all that hard work in the bin for the sake of some quick Christmas sales.
On the other hand, it is Christmas, people are out there looking for gifts, and the clock is ticking. Australian retail sales get a 23% boost between the beginning of November and the middle of January (according to the Australian Retailers Association) so it makes sense to take advantage of that.
At Bobux we rarely do Christmas promotions. Here’s a quick wrap-up of some things we are considering in our decision process for this year.
- Define what you want to achieve
The first thing to do, as it is with pretty much anything, is to define the problem you want to solve or goal you want to achieve with your as-yet-undefined Christmas activity. Do you want to increase online sales or drive customers in-store? Do you want to grab a share of the gifting market or prompt customers to buy something for themselves? Do you want to increase brand awareness? How about using the season to highlight your brand values? Do you have to do anything?
- Think about customer behaviour
What do you know about your customers’ buying behaviours? For instance, when is the best time to offer them a special deal? Christmas Eve? Christmas lunchtime? Boxing Day morning? Should we start our ‘Boxing Day Sale’ at 2pm on Christmas Day? Or will that feel intrusive? Do you want to sell to existing customers or reach out to new ones? If, for instance, you want to expand your database through a ‘send to a friend’ promotion, think very carefully about how your existing customers are going to feel about that. Is it worth jeopardising the trust you’ve established with them so you can go after their friends?
- Choose activities that fit with your strategy
Review your overall marketing strategy and figure out what kind of activities will fit best within it. Choose carefully because there are pitfalls for the unwary. For instance, if your messaging focuses on prompting customers to buy for themselves all year, then suggesting they buy your products as gifts at Christmastime could seem a bit mercenary. If your brand is about the health benefits of your products, changing gear to a frivolous Christmas promotion could feel inauthentic. And while there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with offering a 20% Christmas discount, if your model involves retail partners you may risk undermining your relationships with them. Develop campaign ideas that complement your normal marketing strategies and build on what you’ve done before.
- Don’t push the ‘sale’ button too often
Doing a Christmas sale is fine – so long as it lines up with the strategy you’ve established during the previous 11 months. It could boost short-term sales figures, help clear inventory, and provide some much-needed revenue. But if you push the ‘sale’ button too often, your customers may start playing the waiting game and refuse to pay full price for your products again.
- Go small and play it smart
Christmas is the time when big players with deep pockets traditionally roll out extensive campaigns through multiple channels and create a lot of noise in the marketplace. Without their resources your messages will most likely get swamped if you try to compete with them head-on. It may be smarter to go small and target just your most affluent customers with carefully tailored messages. Is there a way you can make their lives easier this Christmas? Perhaps a guide on how to buy your products as a gift for someone special? How about cutting down the amount of choice they’re faced with through a set of ‘staff picks’?
- Ensure outstanding delivery and returns
Revisit your website and your collateral to ensure all your delivery and returns info is up-to-date, easy to find, and crystal clear. Check with your delivery suppliers and provide your customers with the most accurate delivery timeframes available. Offer a seasonal discount on deliveries to help clinch sales. Review your returns process and overhaul if necessary, well ahead of the holiday season, to make it as fast and easy as possible to get the right size, colour, etc. straight after the big day. That’s a great way to welcome new customers on board and build loyalty.
- Plan for January
Once the tinsel comes down and the fake trees have been packed away, what then? A Christmas promotion that leads to a big slump in post-Christmas sales won’t do you any favours. Think ahead and build into your Christmas activities a ‘part two’ component you can draw on during the traditional January downturn. If you’ve introduced your customers to something new before Christmas, January would be a good time to check in with them, ask how it went, gain feedback, and suggest other products they may like to try.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that Christmas is just one event in one month of the year – you’ve got the whole rest of the year to build trust, gather customer insights, fine-tune your marketing strategy, and make sales. Even though there are opportunities to pick up some good sales this Christmas, if you chase them too hard you could end up with egg on your face.
Words by: Andrew Sharp, CEO, Bobux International