12/12/12: 12 Last-Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas

There’s another ’12′ that’s relevant to today’s date of 12/12/12: just 12 full shopping days remain before Christmas. Things are about to get  busy.

Thirty-six percent of gift givers (about 66 million Americans) had yet to start shopping as of December 6, according to ConsumerReports.org. That means much of those shoppers’ holiday budgets is still up for grabs.

Here are a dozen last-minute holiday marketing ideas to help you generate more interest, drive more clicks, and get a bigger share.

1. Reiterate shipping cut-off dates

Leaving shipping cut-off dates to the end of the buying process can lead to a bad customer experience. Over-communicating shipping deadlines is better than not being clear up front.

2. Upgrade your shipping

Last-minute shoppers are likely to be more interested in getting what they want on time than getting the best deal. Instead a percentage off, consider offering free or reduced-rate expedited shipping.

3. Build urgency

As the buying season ticks down, encourage immediate action. Whether in email or social media marketing, use phrases like “There’s still time…” and “It’s not too late…”.

4. Send coupons to previous customers

Dig through your list of former customers’ email addresses and send them a special holiday-themed coupon. This idea is a good one if you have excessive inventory.

5. Promote social media efforts

Encouraging people to share their shopping experiences on Facebook and Twitter is something you should do continuously, but it’s especially important during the holidays. Customers who share positive experiences will encourage last-minute shoppers who don’t have time for a bad experience.

6. Use photos

Just like your customers, you probably don’t have much time during the holiday season to write emails and blog posts and continuously update social media. Instead, snap photos of products, customers, and events and let the pictures do the work.

E-gift cards appear in an inbox instantly. That makes them the go-to present for last-minute shoppers.

7. Appeal to extreme procrastinators

Even web-only stores can make sales after shipping deadlines have passed by offering downloadable gift cards. Brick-and-mortar businesses can also offer the gift cards but have the added benefit of offering a selection of products in its stores.

8. Create triggered emails

Continue sales momentum by sending buyers an email immediately after they purchase something. The email can feature popular or similar products and could entice the last-minute shopper to do even more buying.

9. Promote convenience

If people haven’t started their holiday shopping by now, chances are they’ll put off other things, too. Promote pre-wrapped gifts that are ready to go straight from delivery to under the tree.

10. Keep your staff up to date

Businesses often have several sales during the holiday shopping season. Ensure that customer service representatives know what promotions your store has concluded, is currently using, and will have for the rest of the buying season and beyond. This reduces the chance that a customer will have a complaint.

11. Stop selling gifts

Once shipping deadlines have passed, don’t give up. Start clearance sales that encourage shoppers to buy for themselves. Shoppers buying for themselves will consider delivery time less important than bargains. 

12. Don’t push too hard

There’s a lot of marketing noise during the holidays. Don’t try to shout over it with excessive emails, social media posts, and other marketing efforts. Grasping for short-term success can turn a customer off. Focus on building a long-term relationship that will create profits throughout the year.

Want more holiday marketing help? Download our free holiday marketing guides here!

Image: daniandgeorge, dklimke (Creative Commons)



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