By Larry Alton
Your small business is probably buried under more data than snow in the days that follow big holiday sales, but have you figured out what to do with all of it yet? Now that it's time to get your post-holiday marketing strategy in gear, business analytics comes in very handy.
Here are a few ways that analyzing all that business data can give you the sales advantage you need to avoid the winter slowdown.
5 Post-Holiday Small Business Marketing Tips
1. Spread Out Your Advertising Budget
Small business owners know that sales spike significantly around the holidays; especially on the really big retail days such as Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. The same can't be said, however, about the days at the beginning of the year. The first few days immediately after Christmas may be marked by big sales, but that doesn't mean you should concentrate your advertising budget on big-spending days. You'll spend a lot more to advertise on those days, and that can cause a budget shortfall at the beginning of the year.
Rather than emphasizing the few big sales days when customers will be out shopping and bargain hunting anyway, spread out your advertising budget by offering unique sales when other businesses hold a smaller square of spotlight. This can be a far more effective way to create meaningful business and return customers, as well.
2. Mobile Marketing with Social Media
Facebook did its own data work over the last year, and it discovered a lot of important information about how people shop. In particular, Facebook's numbers show that it's not only online shopping that has dramatically increased in recent years, but that mobile shopping is on the rise. It's time to examine this new data source and find new ways you can apply it to your marketing strategy in the post-holiday season.
Mobile shoppers are especially interested in convenience, so bring your ads to them by focusing on social media. This can be a great place to engage your customers by talking about their holiday highlights, polling them about their favorite gifts, and advertising the accessories for those products.
Another possibility: use basic data visualization to report on the holiday's top-selling items. It creates a sense of desire in customers who feel they missed out on something great. According to Data Pine blogger Jac Reid, clear and simple visualizations help to enhance audience engagement. It's just one of many ways to put data at your customers' fingertips.
3. The Influence of Email
In the days after Christmas email marketing tends to slow down, keeping customers from feeling overwhelmed by a landslide of content. However, customers may be looking for deals on items that sold out during the holidays—make those items your email headlines when you get them back in stock.
Even though customers receive post-holiday season emails more readily, don't send them too early, because many people are still busy visiting with family in those first post-Christmas days.
Instead, wait until closer to New Year's and emphasize online shopping deals. Since online shopping doesn't require planning excursions, customers can continue to spend time with their families while snapping up hot items. Keep your email messages current and brief, and base your advertising choices on your holiday sales data.
4. Join In Resolutions
Data shows that plenty of self-gifting and household purchasing happens during the post-holiday season. This is your opportunity to market items that people don’t typically give as gifts, from appliances to exercise equipment. Position these products as things they'll need in the New Year—to help them achieve their New Year's resolutions, for example.
Framing purchases for the coming year can also help ease the consumer guilt and second thoughts that can plague self-gifters.
5. A Year in Review
Customers enjoy jumping on the new product bandwagon in the post-holiday season as prices come down, but what about all the big-ticket items from earlier this year? Consider reviewing your data from the last year and send a "popular products in review" message to customers.
This message highlights products that have fallen out of the spotlight, but that many people may not own yet. In addition, since these products have been out for a few months and the price may have dropped, it's an opportunity for budget-savvy buyers.
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