Before we jump into holiday marketing trends for 2016, let’s first talk about what’s not changing.
- Video and images will play a huge role in holiday marketing once again, as they are the best way to engage an audience and drive sales.
- Shoppers will eagerly await and take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
- People will continue to shop online in droves, and they’ll be looking for easy, seamless shopping experiences.
- Last-minute shoppers will buy gift cards (so start promoting those in mid-December).
- People will do their research online before making a purchase.
And now let’s look at what’s new in holiday marketing this year:
Start holiday promotions NOW
Consider these numbers:
- By the end of September 2015, 36 percent of Americans had already started their holiday shopping (Nielsen).
- 25 percent start shopping a few months ahead of time.
- Of the 79 percent of people who search online for gifts, more than a third start a few months ahead of time.
- 17 percent search all year long (Ipsos and Magnetic).
Instead of waiting til mid-November, start promoting your top sellers now!
Advertise on podcasts
The audience for podcasts is huge – and it shows no signs of slowing down. When you consider that 46 million people listen to podcasts monthly, it’s time to sit up and take notice.
Even if you don’t have the time or inclination to create a podcast, you now have the option to advertise on podcasts. To get started, check out these podcast ad platform options: Midroll, Triton, and Panoply.
Merge the online and offline experience
Because we are always on our mobile phones – even when shopping in a store – there really is no difference between digital marketing, online customer support, in-store marketing, and the in-store experience anymore. They’re one entity now, and they need to be treated as such.
For your small business, that means providing an extraordinary, consistent experience on your ecommerce site, on social media, and in person. It also means running promotions that can be used in-store or online. You can also give customers the option to buy online and pick up in-store – another big trend.
Highlight customer/product reviews
It might not come as a surprise to hear this: One report found that 90 percent of shoppers rely on online reviews over a sales pitch when making a purchase. Luckily, this information is easy for a small business to act on. Push your customer and product reviews to the forefront during the holiday season (and if you can capture the reviews in quick video testimonials, all the better).
How will your small business handle holiday marketing differently this year compared to last? What other trends have you noticed?