Christmas in August – why You Need to Start Planning Your Winter Holiday Marketing Campaigns Now.

It’s August. That means barbecues, back to school shopping, last minute summer vacations and, if you are as forward thinking as most experts say you should be, for retailers it’s time to take the sunglasses off, pack the swimwear away and start preparing for the busy, busy winter retail season, especially when it comes to marketing.

The winter retail season is about more than just Christmas and Hannukah. It also encompasses Thanksgiving in the US and, the increasingly lucrative Halloween shopping season. And now is the time to start planning, not only in terms of what you are going to sell but how you are going to promote your goods.

According to a number of recent reports up to 75% of small retailers found that in 2016 social media provided them with their most effective organic marketing for the winter holidays. Facebook led the way – despite changing algorithms and decreased organic reach – but Instagram and Pinterest were very effective as well. However, to get the most out of any social media marketing campaign users can’t just be ‘sold to’, they have to be engaged and entertained. And that can be increasingly hard to do.

However, with some careful planning it will pay off to create winter marketing campaigns right now and almost any retailer can make social media work for them and, to get you started, here are a few tried and tested ideas for doing just that.

Photo Contests – Visuals and images are more prominent than ever on social media, meaning that what is essentially now an old idea in social media marketing – the photo contest – can, when done right, be more effective than ever. All of the winter holidays see people everywhere taking a slew of great pictures and so most people have plenty to share.

This year however start your themed contests early, so that the prizes on offer can correlate with the occasion too. For example, a Halloween photo contest run in September could reward winners with Halloween goodies in time for them to have lots of fun with this year, something that consumers will find far more useful.

September Holiday Surveys – Social media platforms are still great places to conduct surveys and offer questionnaires that can not only help you engage with customers but also learn a lot about them, and their spending habits, without having to resort to ‘the hard sell’. These insights however will be of more use to you if gathered early, allowing you to make use of them in Q4 this year, rather than waiting for the next.

To be most effective, these questionnaires should be brief and engaging. Rather than posting a five question post, try asking a single question a day over the course of a week or so. People are far more likely to take the time to respond and it will be easier for you to digest the results and put them to good use too.

Catch Those Early Birds – 75% of consumers start researching their holiday purchases in August, with 89% of those consumers starting their shopping online. And they are very open to the idea of early bird purchases, both to save money and help streamline their busy lives. So even if your competition is still promoting their end of summer sales on their social media channels go ahead and start posting some of those winter shopping deals right now to catch the interest of those bargain hunters now, before the real slew of holiday marketing begins.

Koehler Home Decor is a wholesaler of home decor accessories and unique gifts. Source quality wholesale merchandise at KoehlerHomeDecor.com and find tips for promoting your business on our blog.
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