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24. Holiday Campaign Series: Promotion

24. Holiday Campaign Series: Promotion

This week’s episode is all about how to get those dollar bills this holiday season. Now that you’ve planned and prepped, it’s time to get the word out there with promotion. We’re covering everything from the actual sales and promotions you should run for the best results and the best ways to get those deals in front of your customers. We’re talking promotions, email marketing, paid advertising, graphics, and marketing.

Learn how to grow and prime your email list for Q4, how to decide what sales and promotions to run, how to adjust your advertising for the holiday season, and where to show up for the biggest impact.


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Need a deeper dive into all things Q4 planning for your eCommerce business? Get your hands on my Holiday Planning Mini-Course and the Holiday Content Bundle with 90 content prompts and 75 email subject lines. It's the ultimate toolkit for eCommerce biz owners who want to rock their holiday sales while still enjoying their pumpkin pie and time with their family.

Learn more at eCommerceBadassery.com/holiday

What sales should you run? 

First things, first — go back to the campaign recap you did. Which promos have performed the best and is there anything worth repeating?

Ultimately the simpler, the better — especially this year. There will be a lot of competition and consumers will be bombarded with sales messages so make it super simple for them, and for you. 

Different types of discount

Generally, a straight percentage discount off a purchase is the biggest revenue driver. However, there are always other options like a discount off a specific collection or specific items you’re trying to move. Buy-one-get-one deals are a good way to increase your Average Order Value (AOV).

There is a delicate balance between what your margins can afford and making it enticing enough for people to take advantage. 

If you resell other people’s products see if your vendors have any special deals. Better wholesale prices will allow you to offer discounts without eating into your margin. 

If you’re using different discount codes for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I suggest having both codes active for the entire time to limit customer service issues. Time zones still confuse people. 

Map out your promotions ahead of time

It’s important to map out all your promos out ahead of time but it’s equally important that you leave yourself space to react. Especially if you have seasonal merchandise that doesn’t move as quickly as you expect or a promo doesn’t drive as much revenue as you hope. 

By leaving yourself space to react, you have the option to increase your discount, increase your marketing, or even just extend it a day or two to get your customer’s attention. 

Email Marketing 

To get the most out of all these promotions, your customers need to know they’re happening. My favorite way to do that is with email marketing. 

During the holiday season it’s important to increase your email frequency so you don’t get lost in your customer’s inbox. If you’re not already emailing your people on a regular basis, start doing this by the beginning of October. This allows them time to get used to receiving emails from you. 

You don’t want to show up in your customer’s inbox on Black Friday weekend if they haven’t heard from you in months. Commit to sending at least one email a week between now and Black Friday weekend. 

Create email list exclusivity 

As you edge closer to the holiday season sale you can start teasing your promotions. Exclusive deals are a great incentive to mention as you grow your list between now and the holiday season. 

Studies show that the majority of holiday sales come from customers who engaged with the brand before the holiday season. People LOVE exclusivity  so if you haven’t focused on growing your list, now is a great time to start. 

Create excitement through product sneak peaks

Don’t be afraid to give sneak peeks to your best customers or your entire list to create excitement. You want them to be so excited that they’re refreshing their inbox and waiting for the signal that it’s time to buy. 

A common worry is that if you tell them about your sales too early, they will wait to buy. The truth is they’re probably waiting anyway so don’t get too caught up in that.

If you have limited stock in popular items, give your email list early access to the sale before you advertise it on your website or social media. 

Keep your brand top of mind without hard selling

Email doesn’t always have to be a hard sell. Sending newsletters and information related to the holiday provides you with the opportunity to keep your brand at the top of the customer’s mind without always asking for the sale. 

Not everyone is going to take action right away. On big sale days, resend emails to people who didn’t open them the first time and always send last chance emails. Klaviyo allows you to set up all those resends in advance so you can have your email working for you while you enjoy your pumpkin pie. 

My Holiday Planning Mini-Course gives you a video walk-through of how to set up exactly that along with more video-walkthroughs and epic worksheets to help you plan out your best holiday season yet. The best part? For only $47 you get lifetime access and yearly updates — grab your copy!

Paid Advertising  

I’ll preface this by suggesting that you probably don’t want to start running paid ads during the holiday season on your own. If you’re hell-bent on doing it yourself either start with remarketing ads only or hire an expert. Learning during your busiest season is likely to waste both your time and money. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re already doing advertising: 

Update your bids

Some ads experts suggest your Cost Per Action (CPA) can go down during the holidays but it doesn’t hurt to prepare for increased competition and increase your bids a smidge. 

Adjust your ads

Adjust your ads during the season based on your product availability. There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than seeing an ad for something that is sold out. 

Optimize your Google Ads

Update your site links with seasonal collections like your gift guides. Experiment with adding seasonal keywords to your campaigns like the “best gifts for mom under $100”. 

Show up in front of your customer 

In addition to email and paid advertising, make sure you’re getting in front of your potential customers as much as possible throughout the season. Consider where they’re already hanging out and go ALL IN on these channels. 

Think hard about who your customer is and what matters to them. Tell your own relatable stories and share your plans for the holidays. Don’t overthink this, just speak human to human. 

Be strategic with your content

You don’t necessarily have to be in all the places but it’s important to be strategic with your content. Show up where your customers are already hanging out and double down on what has worked for you in the past. 

  • Create content around your gift guides and seasonal items 
  • Create content specifically related to your product 
  • Create content around the holiday season in general 
  • Create FOMO and urgency in your marketing as much as possible

For instance, health and fitness brands can talk about how to stay on track during the holiday season or how to get back on track after it. No matter your brand you can speak to finding time for yourself in the craziness of the holiday. 

Connect with complementary businesses

The holiday season is a great time for a giveaway or just to shout each other out in emails and gift guides. Tap into your network and start looking for people you can potentially partner with now. Start engaging with them on social because you want to make sure you already have a relationship with them before you hit them up with an ask. 

Save graphic design until last

Graphics are last on the list for a reason. Why? Because this is what will keep you stuck. People get caught up in the design of things because it’s easy to hide behind. I get it, I’ve been guilty of doing this too but I promise it’s not worth it. 

Yes, design matters, but everything else matters more. That being said, your graphics should reflect the season. It keeps people in the holiday spirit! 

Only once all your promos and emails are mapped out you can start thinking through the graphics you’ll need to support this. Infuse some holiday cheer into all of your emails and social media posts. If you have the bandwidth update your home page images on your website to match the season as well. 

I use Trello to organize all my graphic needs. Card templates help me organize everything I need for each promotion. For example, I know I need an email graphic, an Instagram post, an Instagram story, and a Facebook post for each promotion and I can store the final graphic on the card so I can access them from anywhere on the go. 

Keep your designs simple

If you’re not super talented with design and don’t have access to a graphic designer, keep things simple! It’s very easy to go over the top with your designs. Don’t get too fancy with fonts and colors to the point where the customer doesn’t even know what it says. Make sure you include all the necessary information that the customer needs such as the exact date, time and time zone that your deal expires. 

Online design website Canva is a great place to start. The free version is easy to use and comes with a bunch of built-in templates. The pro version is totally worth it as well. For only $12.95/mo so you can save all your brand colors, upload custom fonts, get unlimited access to their stock photos and create animations. 

Check out Canva here (affiliate link)

Do what’s right for your business right now

Now, here’s the deal. We talked about A LOT of things throughout this series. And it might feel overwhelming. But remember, you don’t necessarily have to do ALL THE THINGS. Do what’s right for your business right now. 

NEed More Support to Plan for Q4?

Get your hands on the Badass Holiday Planning Guide, Seriously, for $97 you’ll make that investment back in one email to your list. It’s such a steal and it’s only going to get better year after year as I update and add to it! Plus, you can get a copy of the content bundle for a deal too!

Learn more at eCommerceBadassery.com/holiday

Listen to the Episode

Episodes Mentioned 

EP. 22: Holiday Campaign Series #1: Planning

EP 23: Holiday Campaign Series #2: Preparation

Tools Mentioned:

Canva Pro: Easy online design Software (affiliate link)

Trello: Task Management Software – I use this for graphic needs

Hey, I'm Jessica

I support scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale the traffic, sales & profit in their eCommerce businesses. 

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