4th quarter can be the make or break season for many e-commerce businesses. We now have roughly 10 WEEKS until the holidays, which means the time to start your holiday marketing and advertising plans, was yesterday! Ideally, the best time to plan your holiday marketing campaigns is in January, right after the end of the season you just completed. “Now why would I plan that far ahead” you might be asking yourself? Well, the idea behind this strategy is that you’re able to clearly remember everything that worked, things that didn’t work, and identify solutions that will make your upcoming holiday marketing plans smoother and more successful. 

Now, when it comes to holiday marketing plans, the reality is that most businesses don’t start to plan until the end of the third quarter. Even more common, businesses end up waiting until the beginning of the 4th quarter, only to repeat elements of the things that didn’t work well the previous year. The truth is, time is running out!! You are going to have to start thinking fast and figuring out how you want to maximize your holiday sales ASAP. So, if you have yet to get your holiday marketing plans together, here are 5 ways you can boost your holiday marketing campaigns, even if you still haven’t started.   

Start with your Email List

If you have an email list (located in the back end of your orders dashboard in Shopify) then you should start emailing them about your holiday plans. Let them know that you will be having a Black Friday Sale, what your plans are for cyber Monday and what kinds of sales/offers they can get during the month of December. Don’t forget to offer incentives for January as well to get rid of product to make way for the new Spring items you plan to carry. One idea for a sale is an exclusive product, or your best seller product(s), to offer them during the holidays. Even better, make it an offer exclusive to your email list, especially if it’s an exclusive product, item or service. 

SummitTip: If you plan on running ads, make an audience with your email list, then create a lookalike audience based off that list to funnel in new customers during your holiday sales. This will help you build your list while simultaneously getting you new customers and increase your bottom line once the sale hits. 

Use Pop-Ups (yes, on your website)

Subscription pop-ups are a great way to get more people on your list, and also let people know you will be having holiday sales! You can put a pop-up on the front page of your website that literally ‘pops-up’ when users land on your homepage or scroll to a certain section of that page. Another way to engage people with a holiday sales offer is to use a messenger bot on your website (more on that at the bottom of this page) which is similar to a pop-up and can be used to get customer email addresses, deliver coupons, discount codes and a peek at your product listings. Remember to always give value, and communicate to them by letting them know that as a subscriber, they will be the first to know about sales, when deals are live, new product releases, events happening at your place of business, and so on. 

SummitTip: You can acquire new customers with a messenger bot. Ask for their email in exchange for a coupon. Or, you can deliver a coupon inside your messenger app (you know, the little chat bubble that lives on your website?) and then follow up with an email about your holiday sales. Remember, always deliver what you promise. You can also utilize the top bar area of your website (shown below) for holiday marketing messages with a link into messenger to capture that email in exchange for a free gift or discount code to use on your website. If you aren’t sure what messenger is or how to get started I have created a quick and easy guide below. I also have a FREE bot template at the end of this article to help you get started!

If you aren’t familiar with Messenger Marketing, get started with my FREE Guide “How to Install Messenger on your Website in 3 Steps!” by clicking the button below!

Start Planning your Black Friday Inventory 

While I can’t advise you on what to sell, I will say that this will be your starting point in developing your marketing materials, copy, creative, audience segmentation, etc. Once you have decided what your Black Friday offer will be, you will need to start marketing it to your list. You’ll also want to market it to social media, in messenger, or anywhere else you’ve had success previously marketing your products. If you provide a service, sell it a premium discount. Maybe offer something that showcases the best of what you have to offer, like a product or service bundle, so people can try a few things (like a spa booklet of different services) or if its a product, sell your bestsellers with add-on items for free or at a discount, or best sellers at a discount for 24 hours. Once you have the product or service idea down, everything else will fall into place. The point is that your offer has to be attractive enough to get people to buy it without hesitation. Here are a few ideas below:

  • BOGO – Buy a scarf get one FREE
    Spa Package ½ off regular price
  • Buy 3 Get 1 Free
  • Offer Gift Cards
  • Bundle Products Together
  • Team up with other Small Businesses
  • Reward your Social Media Fans

SummitTip: While planning your Black Friday sales and inventory, it would be a good idea to plan your Christmas promotions and sales, as well as clearance sales for January. If you get new items in around Spring then it’s a good idea to plan sales post-holidays to make room for new inventory. 

Run Ads 

This should be the last step in your holiday planning journey. If you don’t have an email list or have a small email list, and want to build hype around your holiday sales, I would start advertising and collecting emails now! Be creative and start by offering a discount for some items in your shop. Get people to your email list so you can pop into their inbox and say hello, letting them know what your holiday plans are. You should also be thinking about building a bigger audience for the day you run your black friday and cyber monday ads. To do this create custom audiences in business manager to retarget when the holiday sales go live. And ALWAYS build your list by giving away something of value! 

SummitTip: Build custom audiences based off page engagement, your email list and website visits in the last 30 days. This will give you a few broad audience work with when you go to run campaigns. Once you have built these up enough, create lookalikes to attract more customers that are similar to the ones you have, so you can expand your audience. 

Install Messenger on your Website

This is SUPER easy and provides your business with another way to communicate with your customers. You can install messenger and offer discount codes, showcase your best sellers by creating a shoppable catalog inside, and get them onto your website to shop more. You can even offer things like customer support, order tracking and updates, FAQ’s and my FAVORITE, recover your abandon carts. Businesses with abandon cart recall are 20 times more likely to recover a potential lost sale than without it. For your messenger platform I recommend ManyChat. It pairs easily with Shopify, Paypal, Email, and now offers text messaging. It truly is an all in one platform geared to help you get the best return, and give your customers the best value, when doing business with YOU.

SummitTip: Install Messenger on your website and build your first flow. This doesn’t have to be too crazy. In fact, there are some TOTALLY FREE TOTALLY AWESOME TEMPLATES for you to integrate and play around with that are included in ManyChat! Click the button below to get started. 

It’s not too late to get your holiday plans up and running. All you need to do is start with the products or services you want to sell, figure out what makes them a good deal and what the price point should be, then start your marketing efforts following the steps above. As always we are here to help you with questions or assist you with anything you read here today. You can get more help from us by email or contacting us in messenger. Two things I hope you take away from this are: start building your list and build out your custom audiences in ads manager ASAP. These two things are KEY to implementing a successful holiday marketing strategy. So go on and get started. We’d love to hear what your plans are!