The holidays will undoubtedly look different this year, but consumers are nevertheless projected to spend nearly $1,000 per household on gifts, decorations, food, and other festive items for their 2020 celebrations.
And as happy as we may be to say goodbye to this challenging year and start anew, the end of the holiday season traditionally means a slump for brands and retailers as consumers hunker down in the cold winter months.
But that doesn’t mean brands and retailers have to hibernate, too. In fact, sleepy Q1 may be the perfect time to set the stage for the year to come by stepping back, figuring out what worked well in 2020, reviewing your top audiences, and establishing goals for the year ahead.
Here are five other ways to avoid the post-holiday slump by staying proactive in Q1 and connecting with customers, targets, and lookalikes.
Give Them Another Sale
One way to pique consumer interest is with a new sale. Yes, we know you just wrapped up your holiday promotions, but consider this: Consumers shop during the holidays not only because they’re buying gifts but also because they can find the goods they want on sale.
By extending your promotional offers even further, you can potentially retain these customers while attracting the shoppers who didn’t get everything they wanted for the holidays or who haven’t finished their shopping because of extended celebrations. And then there are the consumers who have returns to make and/or who have gift cards to spend — you don’t want to miss them either.
Holidays like Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January and Presidents’ Day in February are perfect excuses for Q1 sales if you need them. Or, simply call your Q1 promotion a winter clearance sale to make room for new inventory. Another savvy tactic is to include a promo code valid in January with items bought in December. That’s an easy and effective way to encourage repeat visits among existing clientele.
Trust us: Consumers may grow wary of repetitive brand messaging, but they will virtually never tire of sales.
For more tips on driving holiday sales:
Tap Into the New Year
A new year means a fresh start — and resolutions. So what if only 8% of Americans actually keep their resolutions? The mindset is a perfect marketing opportunity — particularly for brands focused on resolution-friendly products and services in categories like health and wellness, financial empowerment, and productivity.
Even if your brand doesn’t directly align with traditional resolutions like losing weight or saving money, you may still find an opportunity to tweak your messaging to align with these limited-time consumer goals.
This is also an ideal moment to encourage consumers to try something new, so tweak your messaging for new customers accordingly. In addition, focus your digital marketing efforts on keywords tied to self-improvement to potentially expand your target audience even further during this magical time. But remember: Authenticity matters, so don’t make promises you can’t keep.
Celebrate the New Year With a New Product
Speaking of new products — 2021 is a great time to schedule the big reveal of a new product or a product enhancement. Think about it: Most of your competitors will be sleeping off their holiday hangovers while you’re busy cutting through the noise and capturing consumer attention. A new product also aligns with the “new” mindset we just talked about. Shoppers are especially willing to try new things now — why not your new widget?
Of course, this means missing out on holiday sales for your new product, so it’s not always an ideal strategy. But brands with goods that have a tendency to sell well during the holidays may find waiting for a January release only extends their hot sales streaks even further.
Keep Your Foot on the Digital Marketing Gas Pedal
Holiday sales are great for revenue — and customer intel (email addresses!). Brands have a unique opportunity to position themselves as not just the source of a one-time holiday purchase but also a brand worth repeat business. This requires just the right post-holiday outreach, although another sale or a new product is a great excuse to reach out again. (And if you’re looking for help with email marketing, you’ve come to the right place.)
As our calendar shows, CPMs are at their peak from November 24 to December 31, but January to July is another story. By waiting until after holiday distractions pass and competitors go quiet, the stage is yours to target consumers who are ready to spend — such as those with gift cards or who have made returns.
With CPMs at their lowest point all year, this is the perfect opportunity to cost-effectively engage your target audience. Even if you don’t have anything new to offer up per se, take advantage of these low CPMs to build brand awareness, which will pay dividends throughout the year — and beyond.
For the record, the inexpensive summer months from August to October are also a terrific time to run brand awareness campaigns to amp up pre-holiday traffic, email subscribers, and consumers for your retargeting lists.
For more information on running ads during this holiday season:
Retarget, Retarget, Retarget
Another wise Q1 tactic is remarketing. This is a smart strategy year-round. However, in Q1 in particular, it’s especially helpful to recover sales from customers who put items in their carts when they were in the frenzy of holiday shopping but never actually converted. Maybe they bought the product elsewhere — or perhaps they simply forgot about it. Remarketing campaigns, which generally see high click-through rates (CTR) and conversions, are the solution if it’s the latter.
The post-holiday period is also the most wonderful time of the year to tap into retargeting because of the uptick in site traffic during the holidays. Pixels collect data on site behavior, such as products viewed, which you can then turn into relevant ads on the sites they visit as friendly reminders to return.
And remember: More consumers than ever before are shopping online. That makes this relatively quiet moment in Q1 an excellent time to harness the potential of retargeting to close sales and build long-term relationships. Another advantage of remarketing is personalizing messaging based on consumer behavior, which your future customers will surely appreciate.
Holiday marketing is — no doubt — a necessity. But the end of the holiday season shouldn’t equate to the end of your sales ambitions for 11 months. Instead, use the quarter to consider what your brand needs to be successful year-round. You’re certainly not limited to the strategies included above — maybe test out a new measurement solution or get new videos to showcase your products while you’re at it.
At the end of the day, the goal is to take advantage of low CPMs to drive brand awareness and sales after the busy holiday sales period when shoppers are easily distracted. And when you’re ready to do just that, AdRoll is here for you.
Megan is AdRoll’s Principal Product Marketing Manager who helps uncover and tell important stories to audiences inside and outside of the company. She pulls inspiration and expertise from her experience in marketing for a variety of different organizations, including agencies, technology, education and more. In her free time, she enjoys running (preferably in the beautiful Utah mountains), chasing her two kids and reading anything and everything.