Fall Season Marketing to Influence Holiday Sales

For many small businesses, the fall season is critical for driving demand among customers for the holiday season. This means special attention to the marketing strategy is needed to ensure minimal stress and maximum visibility and sales.

Use outdoor events to connect with customers

Fall is an ideal season for outdoor events where businesses can showcase their wares and engage with shoppers. Farmers’ markets are one example of experiential marketing for farmers, bakers and other producers of natural products.

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Design ads that capture the season

Many retailers are looking to catch consumers’ attention early this year. According to a just-released survey by Experian Marketing Services of 212 marketing executives, 49% of retailers will launch their holiday campaigns before Halloween. Furthermore, 70% plan to use some sort of promotional offer this holiday shopping season: 39% will offer free shipping, 28% will offer a deal of the day, 21% will offer online coupons and 3% will offer layaway.

In this design, the warm earthy colors and the decorated dinner table are a perfect setting for a family get-together. This ad portrays fall season but at the same time sets the tone for the upcoming winter holidays to capture attention of party planners and event hosts well before the season begins.

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Build social media channels

Social media is a great way for brands to share their stories any time of the year but, with the holidays approaching, they are on overdrive. According to Hubspot, Consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. Sites like Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter have become ideal platforms for friends and families to connect online and share referrals on everything from gift ideas to restaurants to favorite stores. Businesses with highly interactive profiles, large fan bases and engaged audiences have a huge advantage over those who have not yet explored the potential of this media. SproutSocial found that 74% of consumers rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions.

Research from Offerpop (“Social Media and Holiday Shopping: An Analysis of Consumer Attitudes) revealed how consumers use social media outlets and tools when planning their holiday shopping.

  • Following a brand on social media makes 90% of respondents either somewhat likely or very likely to consider that brand when planning their holiday shopping list.
  • Nearly all respondents across all demographic categories replied they were either somewhat likely (61%) or very likely (36%) to turn to social media before buying something.
  • Discovering new gift ideas is the most effective use of social media for holiday shopping, according to 32% of respondents. Only 7% cited sharing product purchases.

Use social media promotions

  • Start your Facebook promotions during fall, publicizing offers as early as September and focusing on people planning their holiday lists.

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  • Post promotions to align with important events, sales or days with new product launches.
  • Offer exclusive holiday discounts and special previews for your followers.
  • Host tweet chats for your target audience. For example, local restaurants or bakers could invite their local followers to tweet about their favorite night hang-outs, discuss trending party dresses and share cocktail recipes.
  • Boutiques can set up trending boards with fall collections. Hotels can share photo galleries of nearby excursion locations. Don’t forget to add prices.

Design email campaigns to lure shoppers in advance

Emails are a direct and effective marketing tool. The fall season is the right time get started on your email messaging. Small businesses should review their email lists from last year and make revisions. A mailing schedule that starts before the holiday season is likely to produce better results, as audience awareness of your brand and offers builds over time.

This email campaign for men’s winter clothing starts early in fall and continues until mid-December.

Fall email

Partner with local businesses

Small businesses can reach out to their local Chambers of Commerce and local business associations to participate in their collective approach to seasonal marketing. You can also find other companies that target your same audience and complement what you offer. Design a referral proposal on how to steer clients to each other. Or offer bundled promotions using a combination of products/services to boost interest in both companies. Another option is to pool your marketing dollars and create a campaign that leverages the bigger budget. Many companies in the wedding industry, such as florists, hair salons, dress makers, cake bakers and printers, work together to help refer and market each other.

Plan for additional expenses

While your business gears up for the coming holiday season, fall is the right time to anticipate additional staffing needed and budget for it. In addition, you might also want to do some in-house events, decorate your store and run promotions for walk-in customers. Think about all the extra expenses involved in these activities, including designing and printing marketing materials, posters and pamphlets, etc. It is better to be prepared in advance to avoid any last minute running around.

As shoppers increase the ways they interact with brands online—sharing opinions, asking for reviews and shopping—businesses need to catch up and plan their activities in ways to get the best possible returns on their marketing dollars.

Have you started planning your marketing approach for the holidays? What activities do you believe are most critical to success?

About Kriti Adlakha
I have been working in the field of marketing and brand development for more than eight years. My experience ranges from hospitality to media and IT products to outsourced services. During my journey, I have worked with print and new-age media and have enjoyed developing content. I have also learnt and worked on marketing tools like adwords marketing, analytics, CRM and the list is steadily growing. Having acquired post-graduate diploma in business management from IIM, Calcutta, I love new challenges and learn from each experience. In my blog, I share marketing strategies that enable small and medium businesses to market in a small budget. I also discuss how to use different online tools that can help businesses to monitor returns of their marketing investments. Above all, I love to hear back from my readers!

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