It’s Time to Start Planning Holiday Marketing Efforts

ack-to-school season is just about over, with parents finishing up purchases of new clothes and supplies for their classroom-bound kids. While consumers are looking at the present, smart marketers know that success comes from planning ahead. If SMBs’ main selling season is back-to-school, then unfortunately they missed it. Now marketers of all sizes, from the small business level up to the Fortune 500, should be thinking about their holiday marketing plans.

One important way that marketers may choose to engage with their audience this holiday season is through email, which is a powerful tool for sharing special offers and enticing consumers into brick-and-mortar stores. But email is a very popular tactic, which creates a lot of competition in consumers’ inboxes. As a result, this drives down open rates, according to research from Yes Lifecycle Marketing. That’s all the more reason for businesses to work closely with their advertising and creative partners to develop messaging in advance, allowing them to capture users’ interest early in the holiday shopping season and deliver content and offers that they’ll continue to engage with as the season goes on.

The other big factor to remember for the holidays is that mobile is the predominant shopping research tool at this time of the year. Consumers still prefer in-store purchases, but those phones and tablets are always at the ready. According to Oracle, 49% of holiday shoppers are primarily looking for pricing information when they use their smartphones for research.

With that in mind, it’s incredibly important for SMB retailers to have mobile-optimized websites where the prices and current offers are displayed clearly. In fact, it makes sense to develop special holiday offer landing pages, so that when consumers arrive at retailers’ websites via mobile ads, they are immediately taken to relevant pages with sale and pricing info.

The combination of mobile advertising and strong mobile presences amplify the power of promotions that either drive online sales or draw customers into physical retail locations. Essentially, it boils down to the need for SMBs to be where consumers are most likely to spend their time researching holiday shopping. By plotting out these campaigns now – including the creative, the messaging and the offers – SMB retailers lay the groundwork to attract customers throughout the holiday season.

Of course, the opportunity for SMBs to get ahead is an opportunity for the marketing partners they work with as well. Agencies, local media companies and telcos should be talking to their small business customers about the holiday shopping season, helping these companies understand the tools available to connect with consumers during one the busiest times of the year.