While the holidays are just about over and people are now moving from purchasing to trying to figure out how they can possibly pay off the enormous credit card debt, now is the time to begin preparing for next year. Considering the holiday season is the best time to generate revenue for your business, it is very important to have your plans in order so that you can execute properly when the holiday buying season starts next year.
Many companies, such as Finish Line and 6PM, began preparing for next year’s holiday season almost immediately after this one ended. They began to figure out what sort of coupons they were going to offer, if their discounts were going to be exclusive to people with a store credit card or to everyone, and when exactly they were going to release it.
The thing about planning for the next holiday season is not that they are just picking out what coupons they are going to offer, but also in what way they are going to get those discounts dispersed to the people. Despite some people’s misconception of coupons, companies do want them to get spread around. If the coupon is getting spread around, that means that more people are coming in and purchasing things which increases their overall revenue.
With this in mind, it is important to appreciate the different ways in which you can spread the fact that you have discounts out to the hungry customers. The first, and probably the simplest way, is to just post it on your website in big letters. Make sure the customer knows, the second they arrive on your website, that they are going to get 25% off their order and free shipping, for example. I would argue that every website should do this technique no matter what. If someone you’ve never interacted with before comes to the website for the first time, you want them to know there’s a deal. That’s just a fact.
Another way that every business should implement is email marketing. I don’t condone buying people’s email addresses and then spamming the heck out of them. That wouldn’t do you any good and, more likely, it’d just piss people off and make it so that they see your business as a negative, spammy group. What I do mean, when I discuss email marketing, is enticing people into subscribing to your email list so you can get your message out to them.
Let’s say, for example, that you have a new coupon every single month. One month it might be 25% off the whole purchase and the next month it is free shipping. You could let people know about these coupons by emailing them. Therefore, on your website, make a big call to action to your email list. Say something along the lines of: “Get All of Our Coupons and Discounts Straight to your Inbox” and then have them fill in their email address. They’ll be getting something and you’ll be getting something. Then, each time you have a new coupon, you could email them.
The problem with both of these methods is that they don’t really create a viral response. Sure, some people might click the forward button and send your coupon to all of their friends. But, ask yourself: when was the last time you forwarded any email other than at work? Therefore, you want to develop some sort of a way that you can get the coupons out to people and then have them go viral.
The way to do that is to utilize social media. If you’re new to building your Twitter and Facebook accounts, this might seem like a daunting task. But, the truth is, utilizing social media to propagate your discounts is actually a very easy task. On your website, even underneath the email box, put a “Follow Us” section and have a link to your Twitter and your Facebook pages. By nature, people will begin to click on these. But, to up the interaction, put something that says “follow us to get the latest coupons that we off exclusively to our Twitter and Facebook followers.” They can be different than the email ones, but that’ll get people to subscribe. And that’s where the fun begins.
When you start to tweet out that you have coupons, you can do it in a way that’ll go viral and help increase both your followers, but also increase your business. First, create an original tweet that says something like:
“Save 25% off #yourcompanyname products if you act fast. #Coupons (URL)”
The first hashtag is your company name. You can use this as a way of tracking the amount of retweets, but it’s also useful to have that hashtag in mind to see if anyone complains. The second hashtag is coupons because people follow the coupon hashtag to see what new offers there are. The best way to get people interested in your coupon is to let the world know it is a coupon. And that’s what the hashtag does.
With all three of these techniques—the website announcing it, the email marketing, and social media—you’ll be able to connect with customers and really get them to start using your coupons. And, as you build brand loyalty, they will continue to come back to you even if you aren’t offering some sort of a coupon. And that’s when you are really getting the business you want.
So, to prepare for next year’s holiday season—and the mad rush that comes with it—start collecting emails and getting people following you on the social networks. It will be infinitely easier to market your holiday offerings next October, November and December. Good luck getting started. It does get off to a slow start, but once you’ve got that viral effect, it will all balloon nicely.
Jay is an online marketer who helps small businesses build their ecommerce presence online. In a day where big sites such as 6PM (read more) and Finish Line (find more) are getting so much of the business, small businesses need to find their way. One of the best ways, as described in the above article, is to use coupons and discounts. On top of being a consultant, Jay also runs a coupon website where he has offers such as finishline promotion codes and the 6pm promotion code.