How to Boost Holiday Sales | Create Hype (image via Simply C Boutique)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for businesses big and small! Here are some holiday marketing ideas to attract new customers and keep them coming back for more:

Keep the gift recipient in mind

This is always square one. Typically at this time of year, your customers aren’t buying for themselves. They’re buying for friends, family, hostesses, etc., and they’re looking for unique gifts. Encouraging customers to gift your product is a great strategy during the holidays because when your customer gives your items to friends and family, the gift introduces you to a new customer. It’s the best possible form of a word-of-mouth recommendation!

As you head into the holiday shopping season, try and imagine who your customers might be buying for:

  • Female Friends
  • Men
  • Parents
  • In-laws
  • Grandparents
  • Teenagers
  • Children
  • Babies
  • Hostesses
  • Coworkers and managers
  • White elephant gift exchanges
What items in your shop can be presented as gifts for any or all of the above recipients?

Cross-promote with other artists

One of my favorite Etsy sellers did this last year, and I thought it was simply brilliant. She emailed her customer list the handmade gifts she was giving to her friends and family. Even I was surprised + delighted by the new makers she introduced! Now imagine if you collected a handful of your favorite sellers and introduced your favorite shops. What if they agreed to return the favor? How many new customers might you share and gain?!

Market like the big guns

I love a Target circular. I know I say this often, but hear me out one more time! 🙂 They’re doing something right with that print advertisement, because not only can I NOT resist looking through it, it brings me into the store on a weekly basis.

In my first year of business, I started watching their holiday advertisements. I asked: How do they advertise for the major shopping holidays of the year (Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and Christmas)? What makes those advertisements so stinking irresistible? And when were they coming out (how far in advance of the holiday)? I paid attention to when the spring, summer, fall, and winter themes hit the stores, and when the weather-related merchandising seemed to change in the circulars.

Target has an entire marketing department. Heck, they probably have several marketing departments. And they’re doing a great job; me and every other woman I know are head over heels in love with that department store. What’s more is that they’re leaving all of their fabulous marketing strategy right on the table in front of you, tucked neatly inside your Sunday newspaper.

Decode it! Take it apart! Why is the holiday ad so appealing? What colors are you drawn to? What images are commanding your attention and influencing your shopping list? What sales are irresistible to you and why? What is compelling you to put down your morning cup of coffee, get dressed, and drive directly to Target?

There’s marketing gold in the answers to those questions! Mine it accordingly ;)

Host a private sale

In four weeks and two days (but, who’s counting?), I will host my fourth annual Friday before Black Friday sale. It is, by far, my biggest sales weekend of the year. I build stock for it, and customers have come to anticipate it. For this sale, I offer a 40% discount–which is wholesale pricing for the Energy Shop. At that rate, I’m still able to get paid for my time and turn a business profit.

This is how I run the sale:

Thursday Night: The customers on my email list get an exclusive invitation. Since stock is limited, my list gets first dibs. I make sure to let them know that they’re getting the coupon code early and a  jump on the crowd.

Friday before Black Friday: I publicly announce the sale via social media. Last year, I promoted the sale announcement on Facebook for $20. It was seen by approximately 9,000 people.

Sunday before Black Friday: I make a “Last Chance!” announcement on Facebook and Twitter.

The results: Approximately 60 sales and $800 profit (after cost of materials and fees) last year. This was actually my least profitable Friday before Black Friday sale. I was focused on other projects at the time, and I wasn’t able to create new designs or list as much variety as I would have liked going into the annual event.

This sale allows me to clear out old inventory and prep for the New Year, where I’ll ring in new designs and replenish my storefront. The Friday before Black Friday is a special event in my shop, it’s a weekend I look forward to all business-year long.

Follow the shopping trends

In addition to my Friday before Black Friday sale, I also follow the shopping trends on the handmade marketplace. I’ll participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales … they just won’t be so special.

If you’re on Etsy, the tags to use this year are: “Black Friday Etsy” and “Cyber Monday Etsy.” Boxing Day is December 26, and it’s also known for sales. On Etsy, use the tag “BoxingDaySale” and “Boxing Day.”

Offer free shipping

Free shipping has tested as one of the very best sales you can offer your customers. People simply don’t like the added amount at check-out; it’s not a fun surprise! I always offer free U.S. shipping in December, and my products already come gift-wrapped. If you want to ship 5 bracelets to 5 of your friends, I’m happy to eat the shipping costs!

Calculate what this would really cost your business, and see if you can swing it. Because of the price of my products, free shipping only equals a 10% discount off every order … that’s completely doable for me. How much would free shipping cost you?

Give them a reason to come back

Offer them a discount, upgrade their packaging, or include a postcard about something that’s happening in January! Think of ways you could surprise your customer and go the extra mile. Have a marketing plan in place to ensure the holiday season will boost next year’s business.

Here’s wishing you a fabulous holiday season! Until next time and all the best~