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The Holidays are Over, Now What for Retail?

Empty_supermarket_shelves_before_Hurricane_Sandy_Montgomery_NYNovember and December are big months for retail businesses with purchases made for the holiday season.  It’s the season when a significant amount of revenue is earned for the calendar year.  Once the push to buy for the holidays is past and we move into the new year, here are some steps retailers can take to not lose momentum.

Send email based on customer actions

Create a series of emails to stay connected with customers based on their past actions rather than a general message for everyone on an email list.  Customization is important as recipients want to know what’s in it specifically for them.  For example, first-time buyers probably need to know more about your company and what you have to offer before they become a repeat customer.  With your return shoppers, you definitely need to say thanks and provide shareable content since they are probably a fan of yours.  Personalizing your message based on different segments of your audience will yield a better ROI than one general message.

Demonstrate value

Send out some messages to your audience that demonstrate the value of the product or service purchased.  It could be a demo or perhaps a tip to better use the purchase.   You are reinforcing the reason for owning an item and keeping your company in mind without doing a hard sell.

Focus on the new year

Some common things people resolve to do on January 1st every year is to lose weight, be more organized, get a new job, declutter, etc.  Do your products and services fit at all into the “new year” mentality?  Clearly, if you are selling diet books or meal plans, you can easily tie that into the new year.  If it makes sense, present your service or product as a helpful tool for people who want to make a change.  Remember that the new year is a season and not simply one day that happens on January 1st.  The focus on resolutions continues into February as people look for ways to stay on course with whatever it is they have decided to change.

Diversify your paid campaigns

Is your strategy all-things-Google?  If so, this may be a good time to explore advertising on Bing.  There’s a big potential audience on this network which is why marketers should explore a campaign on there.  If you cannot afford to add more money to your pay-per-click budget, reallocate some of your AdWords money to Bing to see if this is a good network for you.

Encourage people to treat themselves

The hostess who wore herself out taking care of everyone else at the end of the calendar year may be ready for a treat.  Focus on the idea of self-gifting where people have the opportunity to treat themselves.  And no, this is not just a marketing gimmick.  There are probably hostesses – and hosts – out there who deserve to focus on themselves for a change.

Offer ‘come-back’ coupons

Provide a coupon with a percentage off on a purchase to people who bought from you in those last couple months.  Since they are a recent customer, you are still top of mind so it is a good time to remind them you are here and give them a reason to purchase again.

Check your paid campaigns

Are you still running holiday ads?  Change those quickly!  It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of the holidays and forget about pay-per-click ads running with holiday promotions.  Make sure those are turned off or paused and create new ads with new offers.  With remarketing, you can reach people who have visited your site previously so it’s a way to stay connected.

Consider daily deals

There are mixed reviews on whether a daily deal is something businesses should use.  The challenge, of course, is bringing in customers who only want a deal and have no intention of coming back.  It’s a debate about whether this is a useful strategy for long-term customers.  However, they can be helpful for driving website traffic or unloading some excess merchandise after the holiday season.

Show it on social

Share pictures of happy customers on your social channels.  People want to see other people who are like them using products and services.  This could also be a time to run a contest where customers use a hashtag in conjunction with a picture of the product and as a result, spark a grassroots effort as fans show how much they love what you do.

With these tips, you can sell all year long instead of waiting only until the holiday season.   Although your marketing efforts may change based on the season, there are still things you can do to stay in touch with customers during the off-seasons.

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