For the most part, there are only two reasons customers arrive at a retail store during the last week of the year -- to exchange gifts or take advantage of clearance sales.
While it’s great they’re at your doorstep, the reality is they’re less likely to engage beyond their primary reasons for coming in. And who can blame them? For weeks on end, they’ve been bombarded with marketing campaigns in anticipation of the holidays and are now being hit with post-holiday promotions.
Still, whenever a customer comes into your business, it’s always an opportunity to engage.
It might seem crazy to be thinking “end of year” while you are still knee-deep in the busiest portion of the shopping season, but if you start planning now, you can shift your engagement marketing strategy so that your business is a destination as opposed to one of the stops on a list of to do’s.
Here are recommendations for connecting with your two post-holiday audiences – end of season deal seekers and customers returning merchandise.
End-of-season deal-seekers: Create a deal that’s presented only to your email contacts and features popular items, not just clearance specials. Be sure to extend the timing of the deal and structure it so customers will share it with friends. This way, you avoid one-time deal seekers and can engage customers during a traditionally slower time.
Customers returning merchandise: These customers are typically less inclined to engage beyond the transaction at the register. While some may already know your business, a fair amount of them will be new. Given these factors, consider the following three suggestions.
• When customers are buying a holiday gift, combine information about your return policy on the receipt along with a special offer for new email subscribers or social media fans and followers. This will lead them to an online destination that allows you to engage them on their terms.
• Extend the return policy so customers have more flexibility and you have more opportunities to connect with them when they arrive.
• When new customers are at the register, present a compelling reason to join your mailing list. It should highlight a special offer and call out your valuable content while guaranteeing the email address won’t be abused.
Once you’ve earned the right to email them, send a personalized thank you along with a great offer and content specific to their interests.
Adopt these marketing tactics and you’ll differentiate your business and establish genuine connections throughout the year.
Steve Robinson is Constant Contact’s small business expert in Illinois and Wisconsin. A knowledgeable marketing expert with 30 years of experience, Steve has helped thousands of small businesses, associations, and nonprofits develop and implement effective email marketing, social media and online survey strategies. A popular speaker and educator, Steve gives small businesses and nonprofits the tools, techniques, and strategies they need to grow and expand their business and to maximize the power of relationship marketing. Steve’s experience in small business ownership, business development, sales, and fundraising help associations, small businesses and nonprofits achieve success.