It’s the last week of September. And it felt like we were a little late getting in on the holiday strategy discussions. Until…we started talking to business owners. And found out that MOST of them haven’t given the holidays a single thought. And many of them don’t plan to take part in holiday promos.
To which we say…what?!
Did you know that most businesses make ⅔ of their revenue goals between August and December?
Did you also know that major corporations plan their holiday strategy in August? Maybe that’s because 40% of consumers start their holiday shopping before Halloween.
We love the holidays. Because the barriers to purchase are almost magically removed. Even…if you’re a service-based business or a BtoB company.
But too many business owners fail to use the holidays as a platform from which to sell more of their offerings.
Well, let’s fix that error in judgment right now, shall we?
Is there a lot of noise around the holidays? Yes. Is EVERYONE trying to close more sales? Yes. But don’t think, even for one minute, that you’re taking the high road by not participating in the holiday fanfare.
No one is going to thank you for not offering a special discount or free shipping. You’ve got to jump (with both feet) into the middle of this crazy, profitable madness. Just make sure you do it better than your competitors.
Over the next few posts, we’re going to explore the many ways you can close more sales during the holidays.
Putting Your Contacts in a Buying Mood
Isn’t it amazing how much power a single word has? For example, when most of us think of the words tinsel, mistletoe, hot chocolate, or fireplace, we feel warm and cozy. We feel safe. We feel happy.
And we’re ready to buy anything that will make us physically feel what we’ve emotionally connected to. So while decorations, food, gifts, and parties are all an important part of the holidays, so are the words you choose to use.
eCommerce businesses have to be experts at this. They’ve got a single paragraph in which to create an emotional response to a physical product. Check out this product description from Think Geek:
There is a person who is the hero of every BBQ or family cookout and that is the Grill Master. We always looked up to our Mom or Dad as they tended the grill and looked forward to the day when we could be in charge of charring the meatstuff and searing delicious slices of fresh pineapple. Now that we’re adults, it’s finally our turn and technology has smiled upon us, giving us a tool that is destined to impress.
Do you see which words (or phrases) produced an emotional response? Hero. Smiled upon us. Impress. And those words are being used on top of some really great imagery: searing delicious slices of fresh pineapple.
So how do you incorporate those emotion-based words into your copy over the holidays?
- Start with holiday greetings. Unless you’re the grinch, holiday greetings tend to put us in a better mood. One where we’re more inclined to make purchases.
- Use holiday trigger words throughout your copy. These include: magic, love, family, tradition, blessing, gratitude, joy, peace, health, season, wishes, twinkle, delight, delicious, unique, surprise, excitement, fantasy. And for Halloween, you might try: cackle, blood-curdling, horrifying, frightening, tasty, and mysterious.
- Paint a picture with great descriptions. While individual words and phrases can trigger emotional responses, so can our imaginations. If we can visualize the family, squished together around the table, watching dad carve the turkey while mom uncovers the steaming bowl of creamy mashed potatoes then we’re more inclined to buy the life insurance that protects this imaginary scene. (Note: using physical images instead of writing imagery works well, too.)
- Match your tone to the spirit of the holiday. Halloween should be fun, exciting, edgy. Thanksgiving is more reverent. It’s snuggly and grateful. And Christmas is full of wonder and excitement. That is what your contacts want for the holidays, so make your message match. (Note: using the right trigger words helps the tone of your copy.)
One last thing to remember…you’re putting your contact in the right mood so they’ll be willing to buy. Make sure you have a STRONG call to action included in your copy. Because what good is that emotional connection if you don’t ask for the sale?
Getting Unspoken Permission to Sell More
Let’s talk about promotions next.
The only difference between a regular promotion and a holiday promotion is the reason for the sale. You’re running a special because it’s Black Friday. Or…because you’re grateful for your customers, you’re offering a 20% discount this month only.
See how that works? The same selling psychology applies to purchases made in these months as it does in other months. But instead of making up reasons to run a special offer, you use the holidays as your reason.
We’ll discuss the actual sales strategies in subsequent posts. But don’t be afraid to run numerous promotions during this month. If you give the promotion a special, holiday specific name or reason, you can run sales for the entire 4th quarter is you want to.
What terminology gives you a “free pass” to run a promotion?
- Black Friday
- Cyber Monday
- Gratitude Anything
- Small Business Saturday
- 12 Days of Christmas
- New Years
- End of Year
Use the right phrase, and the options are limitless.
In fact, you don’t actually have to run a sale to get more traction during the holidays. Sometimes, you can offer a new lead magnet as a “Christmas gift”. Or you can sell more by giving a percentage of the profits to a charity. (Holidays and charities go hand in hand.) You could send greeting cards with a subtle call to action.
Because promos, special offers, or content marketing is done during the holidays, it seems natural. And that instantly increases your selling effectiveness. So take advantage of it.
Grabbing Your Contact’s Attention
As mentioned earlier, there is a lot of noise around the holidays. But you can still stand out from the crowd. How? By being more “over the top” with your content.
For example…what happens when a real estate agent puts up a blog post titled: 10 Home-Buying Horror Stories? We might think it’s a little dramatic and possibly believe we’re being tricked into reading it. But what if that same blog post goes up in the month of October? Now, it’s no longer clickbait. Now it’s just fun. And there’s a better chance your audience will read it.
Speaking of clickbait…do you ever shy away from “teaser” subject lines because you don’t want your email marked as SPAM?
Guess what? The holidays are the absolute best time to test out those cute and clever subject lines you wouldn’t have used before.
Email Monks has a great blog post with Top 75 Holiday Email Subject Lines. Some of the ones they shared include:
- Better than candy
- We’re so pump(kin)ed about this
- No need to thank us for these exclusive deals
- Our surprise offer is WRAPPING up
These are subject lines we would never let our clients use. Unless, of course, it’s the holidays.
You know, there’s a reason retail stores decorate for the holidays. Because they want to grab and keep the attention of their customers.
Chances are, you don’t need to decorate your office. But what you can do is give your contacts something to “look” at. Something to pay attention to.
So use those cute and clever subject lines. Write over-the-top blog posts. Upload pictures of you, in appropriate costumes, on social media. Show up to your service appointments wearing a Santa hat. Share a video where you squeeze in as many holiday play-on-words phrases that you can.
This is your chance to be loud without seeming obnoxious.
Building Better Relationships With Your Holiday Spirit
Finally, the last one. And this section will be it’s on blog post as well. But a lot of holiday terminology lends itself well to relationship-building opportunities.
For example, what does everyone focus on during the month of November?
How many people post something they’re grateful for every day of the month? It’s a trend. And one you can use to your advantage.
What if you were to post the things you’re grateful for? Like your customers (highlight some cool testimonials). Your employees (highlight some of the great people you have on your team). Your chance to serve your target market (highlight some of your offerings). Etc.
And all of that gratitude could culminate into a Thanksgiving Gratitude promotion.
Need another example? Holiday cards.
Did you know, only 23% of small businesses send direct mail? Yet the statistics say 80-90% of direct mail gets opened. (Compared to 20-30% of emails.)
Why aren’t more businesses using direct mail?
Because it’s expensive. Sure. But more than that, they don’t know how to use it to their advantage.
The holidays magically set the whole thing up for you. Send a holiday card. You know what these look like because you’ve likely received hundreds over the course of your life. You know what they sound like. And you know what they mean to the person receiving them.
All it takes is 2 words: Happy Holidays. And you’ve just done more to build your relationship with that person than all the educational content you sent out over the last year.
Once again, if you don’t have a plan for using the holidays to sell more…you absolutely need to get one in place. And you can start by using some exciting, scary, jolly, cozy, thankful words.