Will Blunt is the founder of Sidekick Digital by Will Blunt - B2B Marketing Expert - Sidekick Digital, a publishing business that launches, manages, and grows brands with content marketing.
The sharp decline of revenue after the holiday season is one that all businesses are trying to avoid.Naturally, things will take a bit of a dip. After all, consumers are tightening the purse strings after a lavish end to the previous year.It’s easy to let things slip. Before you know it, February has arrived and you are behind on your 2020 targets, scrambling to recover.Instead of falling into the January canyon of nothingness, here are 13 things you can do to ensure your sales don’t fall off a cliff after the holidays.
#1. Run a January giveaway
A smart way of connecting with your customers after the holidays is to run a contest or giveaway. Giveaways create a buzz about your brand and spark idle consumers into action with the hope of winning something special. Run a giveaway that taps into your customers’ New Year’s resolutions and you will kickstart the year with a positive and memorable relationship.The New Year Giveaway below from Bloom Daily Planner is a great example of this:
New Year Giveaway on Instagram.
#2. Launch a new product or service
The concept of the January giveaway is designed to create excitement and re-engage your customers at a time when they are going through inertia. Launching a new product or service can have a similar effect. We naturally desire new things because they provide immediate satisfaction and make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Use this psychological phenomenon to ignite a fire in your customer group after the holiday season comes to an end.
#3. Release a product variation
Not in a position to launch an entirely new product? No worries. You can achieve a similar outcome by applying a variation to a current product. It may be as simple as a new color or an extra feature, anything “new” will excite your customers and encourage them to take action. This strategy can create a similar level of interest and excitement as the release of a new product.
#4. Spice up your packaging
Even if you are restricted in the variations you can add to a product, you could develop a “new car smell” by spicing up your packaging. Product packaging plays a key role in the buying process by influencing a consumer’s perception of your offer and its quality.Good product packaging will capture someone’s intrigue and entice them to look more closely at a product. Ineffective product packaging will have the opposite effect, whereby a consumer will subconsciously filter your product out of their vision and move onto the next thing.This isn’t just something to be considered in physical retail. eCommerce brands need to take into account how their product photos, packaging, and marketing designs are being perceived. Even services and software companies portray meaning with the “packaging” of their brand.An interesting example of redesigned packaging, which had great success, is when Skittles created a limited edition packet to support Pride:
#5. Discontinue a product
Perhaps you have a new product launch planned for later in the year or one of your current products is coming to the end of its profitable lifecycle. This presents an opportunity to discontinue the product and generate a lift in sales in the process. If your customers know that a certain product is going to “disappear forever” on a set date, it creates a sense of urgency and the fear of missing out (FOMO) - leading to action.
#6. Upsell holiday customers
Tap into the data you collect during the holiday season to upsell customers with complementary or parallel product lines. The holiday season not only comes with an increase in sales but also a significant increase in data collection - buyer behavior, customer interactions, and product preferences.You can use this new information to deliver highly personalized offers or recommendations for your customers. And it is well-documented how important personalization is becoming in marketing. A whopping 43% of consumers in the USA are more likely to stay loyal to a brand if the brand personalizes the experience.
#7. Reconnect with old customers
Do you have data and information related to your customers from the post-holiday period last year? What a perfect opportunity to reconnect with them. After all, you know for a fact that these customers are open to making purchases at this time of year, so what’s to say they won’t do so again? The beauty is you can even automate this to happen on a recurring basis, for example, one year after a customer has purchased something from you and not returned.Look at this smart re-engagement email I received from Edible Blooms:
An example of a company reconnecting with old customers.
#8. Set short-term targets
We tend to spend the beginning of the year crafting long-term sales targets and planning the year ahead. While this is important, it can also distract you from the present. Why not set some shorter-term targets for increasing your January sales numbers from last year?The process of setting targets doesn’t need to be complicated. Conduct a simple audit on the numbers you achieved last year and the tactics you used. Then, identify a few small tweaks you can make to improve them this time around. It’s simple but extremely effective.
#9. Design a customer feedback campaign
It’s one thing to ask your customers for feedback about your products but how well do you use the information you collect?An interesting take on customer feedback is to turn the process into a campaign. You could dedicate the month of January to the customer. Week one is about collecting feedback, week two is for analyzing the feedback, week three is applying that feedback to your business, and week four is when you re-launch your product/business/website with the makeover your customers have asked for. A campaign like this is not only a great way to make your customers feel appreciated, but it’s also the perfect way to reinvigorate sales numbers in the New Year.
#10. Hijack (or create) events
Which iconic events can you hijack in the New Year as a way of re-engaging your customer base? There are any number of public events - locally, nationally, and globally - that you can leverage for a timebound promotion or strategic collaboration.Even better, you may decide to create your own event! This doesn’t need to be a physical event that requires extensive resources, it could be something as simple as a hashtag campaign on social media that aims to generate buzz for your business. Get creative and you’ll find a way to stand out.
#11. Leverage new trends
Every year there are new marketing trends that pose an exciting opportunity for the brands ready to capitalize on them. Last year it was all about Messenger Marketing and Instagram Shopping, what promotional opportunity will 2020 present for your business? Stay abreast of new trends by reading marketing blogs, listening to podcasts, and observing what other industries are doing on social media. Take note and be ready to move quickly when you spot an opportunity - the first movers always get the best return from a new trend.
#12. Go offline with your marketing
It may sound crazy for an online marketing software company to be recommending an offline strategy, but it’s an opportunity that too many businesses are missing out on. The right mix of online and offline marketing can accelerate the proliferation of your brand and increase your return on investment.Essentially, the more that people are exposed to your messaging, the more likely they are to remember it, trust your brand, and buy from your company. In 2020, look to better integrate your online and offline marketing efforts. Go to local events, attend community markets, and talk with your customers in a physical location. All of these activities represent the essence of a successful business to its core - relationships - but it’s something that many online-first businesses neglect.QR codes are the perfect technology for syncing your online and offline marketing:
Connecting online and offline marketing with QR codes.
#13. Create strategic partnerships for fast growth
Strategic partnerships are one of the fastest ways to grow the reach of a business. Whether you are looking to expand your database, increase sales, or tap into a new niche, the right partner could accelerate that journey significantly.Document the complementary businesses, associations, communities, and other potential partners that your customer base associate with. Then, get to know the reach and influence of each of these parties so you can establish a mutually beneficial partnership that will accelerate your goals.
There are lots of things to consider when trying to revitalize your customer engagement after the highs of the holiday season.
But the truth of the matter is, most businesses simply accept their fate and do very little.If you want to outperform your competitors in 2020, then January is an integral month.
Identify the two or three things you will commit to doing differently this time around. Whether you’re releasing a new product, establishing a strategic partnership, acting on feedback from your customers, or any other number of tactics you can think of. Make it happen.
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