This time of year, I often hear from many businesses trying to salvage their fiscal year with big holiday seasons. The problem is that they’re too late.
Smart marketers know that the makings of a great holiday season start way before the season actually commences. But what exactly does that mean, and how can you leverage this knowledge for next year?
Build Your Audience Throughout the Year
You may have heard this advice before, but do you really understand why it’s so important?
The reality is that most sales—especially those from big events during the holiday season—come from what we call your “warm” audiences. Warm audiences are your past clients, email lists, social followers, and website visitors.
We recently ran a Black Friday ad for a client we work with. They sold around $20k in product on an ad spend of $2500. It seems like great numbers, right? But if you break this data down, you’ll find that nearly $17k of the sales came from their warm audiences. Only $3k came from non-connected customers. This is typical of many campaigns we run.
Lesson learned: If you want the gaudy return on ad spending, build your audience throughout the year.
Train Your Warm Audiences
As much as people crave surprises, customers like to know what to expect.
If your brand has an annual sale or event like Black Friday, keep things consistent, and your customers will likely buy every year.
On the flip side, I can say without a doubt that sales and discounts are not required to have a big holiday season. Our best clients never run sales. However, throughout the year, they do train their warm audiences not to expect or wait for a sale.
Then, during peak times around the holidays, they offer other things like new merchandise or customized shopping experiences. These other offers have big value to their warm audiences and are much more valuable than a discount.
But since people who follow their brand aren’t expecting a discount, it doesn’t influence their buying decision. And the client protects their profit margins by not discounting in the first place.
Don’t Get Overly Focused on Channel Attribution
While everyone wants to know what their best performing marketing channels are, I caution you from getting hung up on the ROI from any one channel. Instead, keep a close eye on the bottom line.
Today’s marketing attribution models are flawed despite all the advances in technology. Plus, IOS and privacy laws have made direct channel attribution even trickier.
But more importantly, today’s busy consumer is hard-pressed to tell you exactly where or when they became a fan or follower of your business or why they bought in the first place.
Take, for example, the client I mentioned in bullet point #1. The $2,500 was spent on social media ads. The direct, attributable sales of $20,000 were from Facebook and Instagram. However, the client recorded $120,000 in total sales over the weekend.
The client used a mix of tactics, including organic social media, posting the special offer on their website, and doing email marketing. But are you 100 percent sure that only $20k of their $120k haul came from the social ads? Don’t bet on it.
Watch the bottom-line numbers to evaluate how your campaigns are performing. You’ll be glad you did.
Even experienced marketers watch their competitors run campaigns during the holidays and can’t help but wonder if those campaigns are working better than theirs.
Don’t take the bait.
Focus on building your list throughout the year, train your audience on what they can expect, and deliver value to them throughout the year. In following these lessons, you’ll be ready for the big times of the year. And when the time comes, don’t get too focused on which reports show the best numbers.
Author Bio: André Savoie is the owner of High Level Thinkers, a digital marketing agency specializing in digital marketing for upscale brands including Facebook, Instagram, Google Advertising, local SEO, email marketing, and more. For more information, contact André Savoie via email at [email protected], telephone 504-669-3207 or visit www.HighLevelThinkers.com.