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It’s the holiday season; a time of year when most people are happier and buying is at an all-time high. But, sadly, many businesses do not know how to capitalize on the opportunity, and as a result, they run the same promotions year after year, crossing their fingers instead of racking in the profits.

If you run a business that participates in any type of online marketing, the coming season can mean increased traffic, more sales, and higher profits!

The holidays represent a time of generosity and giving. How does this help you? Consumers are more apt to buy during this season because they are in gift-giving mode and you can take advantage of this.

Here’s some more good news…

Holiday spending is up 11 percent from last year (Experian) and online sales will rise by 15.1 percent this year compared to 2012 (eMarketer).

Take Advantage of the Opportunity!

This year, you can be like every other business and launch the “same old” holiday marketing strategy…OR…you can think outside of the box and come up with something a little different.

  • The “token small percentage off” sales are losing their power as more and more companies are advertising new ways to capture their customers’ attention.
  • The 10% or 20% off sale may land you a few extra dollars, but it may not be enough to outperform your competition and make a real, positive impact on your business. Creativity is essential, especially if you do not add new products to your inventory regularly OR you are a B2B company that offers more services than products.

Here are some holiday discount/sale ideas that will get the attention of your audience:

Introduce New Products

Introducing new products is a great strategy to increase sales and traffic. Just look at how many retailers wait to launch their products (Playstation 4 and Xbox 1) until a few weeks before the shopping frenzy begins on Black Friday.

  • If you don’t have any new products to offer, consider re-packaging your current inventory so it appears to the customer as new (bundling sales).

Bundle Sales

sale

If you sell physical products, consider offering a holiday bundle. Sell two to three related products together in a bundle for a discounted price.

For example, if you sell purses, offer a holiday bundle consisting of a purse, matching wallet and clutch for a lower price than the full price of all three.

 

  • Another idea is to offer free shipping or reduced shipping on bundle purchases. Have you ever watched HSN or QVC? Aside from the fact that I am an HSN/QVC-aholic, I also watch the networks for hints on marketing strategies (honest, I do!). These home shopping channels reduce shipping for additional purchased items, making it more attractive for buyers to purchase more than one of a specific product. The holiday season is an ideal time to bundle like this because buyers need multiple items for gifts.
  • For B2B establishments, bundling services can work the same way. If you normally offer one hour of service for a specific price, bundle three hours together for a discount. For subscription-based services, advertise a special holiday offer bundling two months for the price of one. This is also a valuable strategy to snag same undecided potential customers who need a little extra incentive to pull the trigger on the sale.

Create Urgency

Urgency can make a good sale great, especially during the holiday season when buyers are in fanatic gift-giving mode.

  • Consider several sales that end at different times throughout the season. The sales can last a few hours, to a few days, to a few weeks. Use different products for the sales and utilize all of your marketing channels to advertise.

Here are two examples of limited-time sales:

  • Maidenform launched a 2-day event with special savings off a minimum purchase along with free shipping. To consumers, this is like a “2 for 1” deal. This sale should perform well for Maidenform.

Maidenform_1

  • Here is a 3-hour sale from Nomorerack:

nomorerack_1

  • Tip: Free shipping offers have been proven to perform better than discounts for online sales. This has more to do with psychology than the monetary discount. Consumers hate paying shipping; they see shipping as an unnecessary evil added on to the price as a penalty for shopping online. Give consumers a reason to shop online instead of visit a physical store by offering a free shipping deal.

Buy One, Get One Free

The “Buy One, Get One” sales are popular for the holidays because shoppers are buying multiple products as gifts. In buyers’ minds, they are getting two gifts for the price of one, so they will feel compelled to pull the trigger. If you can manage to offer this discount without cutting into your profits, it could be a winner.

  • A 50% off sale is similar to “buy one get one.” To offset some of the profit loss, set a minimum dollar limit.

elf_1

Clever Ideas

The holidays are a perfect time of the year to boost traffic to your website. Think outside of the box and get creative with your ideas. Give away something of value your audience will like and lead people back to your website.

  • Real Simple magazine catered to its audience by giving away free recipes potential subscribers can use for their holiday meals. They sent the following message via email:

Real_Simple_1

  • Once clicked, the email takes users directly to the website.

Real_Simple_2

  • Notice the “Subscribe Now” call to action button below the recipes. This call to action is cleverly located between the recipes and thumbnails of the images below it which include mouthwatering plates of what the completed recipes look like.
  • Readers who click the “Subscribe Now” button will be directed to this offer:

Real_Simple_3

  • Real Simple is offering a special discount for the holiday season. By offering free recipes tailored to the season before displaying the discount, the magazine will increase visibility to its website and the number of active subscribers as well.

Give a Gift!

This strategy is also beneficial for B2B establishments. Consider giving away free content, designs, reports, consulting, videos, or any type of content your audience will value. For an extra added bonus, add the free gift download to your website to increase traffic.

  • Get strategic about your free download. Create a free gift that relates to a product or service you offer on your website. If you direct people to your website to access the free gift, think about devising a strategy similar to Real Simple and place a clever call to action to a related product close to the free offer.

It’s Your Turn!

Don’t let the holidays pass you by without capitalizing on the opportunity to increases sales, profits and traffic to your website. Supercharge your sales by trying some of these strategies.

Happy holidays to you and your family!

Have you launched any holiday sales/promos with success? Have any questions or advice? Post in the comments below!

 

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