Do you hear bells? We do.
Yes, it’s almost that time of year—the most wonderful time of the year. And while it may seem a bit early to be talking about spooky season or holiday lights, the market is about to get crazy.
This year, approximately two million more customers than last year are projected to shop from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. Online spending is projected to hit a whopping $910 billion this holiday season. Almost a third of customers plan to spend more than they did last year. And the best way to reach them all is through text.
So, how do you capitalize on text message marketing campaigns this holiday season? We’re here to tell you. Read on to learn this year’s hottest holiday marketing tips to run your most successful holiday campaigns to date.
Start Planning Early
As you know, holiday marketing starts early. Really. Early. And good marketing campaigns take a lot of work. According to Forbes, businesses should start planning three to four months ahead of the holiday season in order to prepare and execute successful holiday marketing campaigns. This window gives you enough time to make sure nothing is rushed so that you can think everything through thoroughly and plan thoughtful messaging that will represent your brand well and appeal to your target audience.
As you begin planning, make sure to include all relevant employees in the early brainstorming sessions to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Like we said, while it may seem early to be thinking about decking the halls, now is actually the perfect time to start planning for this holiday season.
Timing is Everything
On that note, when you’re planning your holiday marketing campaigns, make sure you focus on the when.
Customers want to hear from you more often than you might think—over 60% want to hear from you at least once a week. However, going above this once per week limit can lead to unsubscribes. It’s a delicate balance.
The day and time a message is sent can significantly impact your SMS marketing performance. And timing best practices vary across industries. Generally speaking, message revenue is usually higher for texts sent in the afternoon (after 1 PM) than for those sent in the morning (before 9 AM). Campaign messages also have significantly higher click-through rates in the evening and afternoon.
Because each business is different, it’s important to test what works best for your specific audiences. Your younger, higher-earning customers are likely working and might prefer to receive texts during their lunch hour when they have time to take a break, or at the end of the workday. Your older customers could be early birds and might want to see your offers before they make plans for the day.
When scheduling your holiday marketing campaigns, it’s also important to think about different locations and relevant time zone differences. It might seem simple, but carefully accounting for locations and time zones can make all the difference in the success of your text marketing campaign.
The specific intentions of your holiday campaign should also have an impact on when you send. For best results for an event like a holiday party, the best time to send a promotion is the day of said event. Reminders and promotions for flash sales are also most effective when sent the day of.
Whatever you’re promoting, remember that your texts should always contain start and end dates. For sales, end dates are deal drivers because they instill a sense of urgency. For events, clearly designated dates and times (especially if the event is going to occur multiple times) are a must.
Create Seasonal Materials
Holiday shopping should be fun. You want your seasonal campaigns to feel festive—that means new photos, videos, and—depending on your industry—products that fit the theme. You should include holiday gift guides, festive quizzes (think, “The best gift for my boomer mother,” “Which TikTok product does my teen want this year?” or “Which Christmas color suits me best?”), and pop-ups on your website that say something like “Wear this to [seasonal event]”
As always, you should make your campaigns fun and relatable enough, perhaps even specifically designed, to be shareable on social media. You might try:
- Posting a picture with a fun sign in your store
- Creating a holiday-appropriate meme with a hashtag for your business
- Running or participating in an online scavenger hunt or 12 Days of Christmas campaign
And remember: people sharing your messaging means free marketing for you. To encourage sharing, consider offering an extra discount or reward as an incentive for customers to tag your business, repost, or tag a family member or friend in your campaign.
Connect on a Personal Level
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, but at the heart of it, the holidays should be about connection.
Local businesses have a remarkable opportunity to reach their consumers’ text message inboxes more often than major chains and eCommerce players. Consumers report being 21% more likely to opt-in to local businesses’ SMS marketing lists than major chain or big-box businesses and 45% more likely than online or eCommerce businesses. And 74% of consumers report that they would be more likely to text with a local business if they knew a real person was going to receive and respond to their message.
You can make your customers feel like silver and gold by handling concerns in a timely and personalized manner with a one-on-one text conversation. This will nurture the relationship and make them more likely to visit your store.
Furthermore, make sure your messages include the local touch that customers love. Don’t be afraid to reference employee names, current local events, or past conversations in your messaging.
Tracking and segmentation can help you translate that same personalization to larger SMS marketing campaigns. If you track previous purchases, you can send targeted campaigns offering promotions of items that are relevant to customers’ history with you. Perhaps you’ve noticed that customers who’ve purchased from you in the past year are more likely to come into your jewelry store for a Christmas gift. Or that customers who come in on Labor Day are likely to make repeat purchases on Black Friday.
This kind of data can be used to your advantage in planning your campaigns. Other key behaviors to track include website history, customer journey, frequent actions, and product use.
Some common, high-impact examples of segmentation in campaigns might include using:
- Purchase or review recency as an indicator of positive engagement with your brand
- Response to past holiday sales as an indicator of interest in similar holiday sales
- Type of item or service purchased as an indicator of interest in similar offerings
In segmenting your audience, you will be able to create top-notch, personalized experiences all season long.
The bottom line? When crafting holiday messages, make sure they feel intimate and personal, like they’re coming from a friend. 😉👌
Bring Your Customers In-Store
Of course, it shouldn’t all be online or limited to online shopping. Along with promoting your online stores, bringing people in-store can be a big step in expanding your brand, nurturing relationships with existing customers, and establishing new, life-long customers.
Consider getting into the holiday spirit and spreading that holiday cheer by throwing a holiday event in one of your physical stores. This can look like a family movie night, a night with Santa, or you could even partner with a local organization to throw a fundraiser event. Post about these events on social media and send a message to your opt-in list as well to stir up lots of interest.
If an event isn’t quite your style, you could offer a coupon or discount that can only be redeemed in-store. Getting more people to come into your physical location is a great way to boost sales and build brand awareness this holiday season.
Take Advantage of Text
Text messages have an open rate of up to 98%. On average, 95% of messages are opened within 3 min. Approximately 75% of consumers are okay with receiving SMS messages from brands (after they’ve opted in), and consumers redeem SMS-delivered coupons 10x more than other types of coupons.
Text makes it easy to stay organized amidst the holiday craziness, so you can run campaigns about every holiday from Labor Day to New Year’s Day. With automations and the right marketing software, you can schedule personalized, perfectly timed messages ahead of time that will almost always get opened.
However, not all messaging platforms are created equally. How do you decide which to use for your next marketing campaign?
Choose a Top-Tier SMS provider
An SMS provider can make or break your holiday marketing season. Not sure what to look for? Here are a few elements to consider when choosing the platform for your next holiday campaign:
- Opt-ins. Your platform should provide you the ability to maximize the number of opt-ins you collect throughout the holiday season. This includes offering a number of touchpoints through which you can quickly and easily collect opt-ins—and the tools to manage them well.
- Revenue. Your platform should help you drive more revenue by increasing efficiency, communication, and visibility. It should increase convenience for you and your customers by allowing you to process payments through text links. This specific feature significantly increases sales and decreases collection time.
- Customer Experience. Ultimately, your messaging platform should offer an elevated customer experience. It should help your customers feel like they are getting one-on-one attention from you and like they are on the showroom floor, despite the fact that they’re interacting with you from a screen.
How Podium Can Help
Ready to take your holiday efforts to the next level and create captivating, inspiring holiday marketing campaigns? Podium helps local businesses optimize their customer communications and text market successfully by bringing everything into one place.
Let us help you get in the holiday spirit and take advantage of this holiday shopping season. Start building your holiday marketing campaigns free here.
And let us be the first to wish you a very happy holiday season.