How To Promote Your Indie Business This Christmas
By Kayte Ferris
December is nearly upon us, and that means one thing – Christmas! No doubt you’re already making sales of Christmas cards and gifts but now is the time to really ramp up your marketing to have a successful Christmas period. As the major brands start to release their Christmas campaigns and more of the TV schedule is given over to seasonal ads, the urge to shop for gifts is beginning to grow in your potential customers.
But it can feel a little disheartening when your budget is 0.001% of what John Lewis spent on their Christmas advert. How can you get your products in front of consumers at this time of year without paying big bucks for it? In this blog, I’m going to tell you some low-cost/high-return methods to boost your sales this season and get your products in front of a bigger audience.
Black Friday is the scourge of the festive season – great for deals but not exactly dripping with the spirit of Christmas! And as independent businesses it’s more or less impossible to compete; both on pricing, and for the attention of your customers.
So this year Just A Card is painting Black Friday indie! On 24th November we’re summoning you to join our #JACIndieFriday campaign, a celebration of all things colourful, passionate and independent. And the best thing is that all you have to do is make as much noise about your product and business as possible!
#JACIndieFriday is your opportunity to unashamedly sell. To tell the world about your beautiful products and the stories behind them and to post as many links as humanly possible. By using the hashtag you’ll be tapping in to the amazing Just A Card community who, as passionate believers in all things indie, will be tweeting and sharing alongside you all day. We’ve also supplied special graphics for you to download and add your product images to, so participating in #JACIndie Friday is as easy as can be.
So download your graphics here, schedule a load of tweets for next Friday and come back on 24th November to fight back against the black!
You may remember in my first blog post the amazing stat that Tweets with images receive 150% more Retweets than those without. We are increasingly visual consumers, and particularly in the frenzy of the Christmas period shoppers need to be shown things that will catch their eye.
So rather than tweeting out links or product descriptions, use large, distinct images that will stand out while your customer is scrolling, and use our #IndieFriday graphics to grab attention. This rule goes across all channels too, not just Twitter. Instagram users are looking for inspiration, so ensure you’re posting aspirational, lifestyle content there regularly to be found by customers who are not quite sure what they want yet. To catch shoppers who have a product in mind, spend time making images for Pinterest and creating Christmas boards – users of Pinterest are in a curatorial mind-set and are much more likely to be searching for things to buy than users on other platforms.
And while you’ve got your social channels bursting with images, make sure that translates to your website and shop. Do you have enough good quality images online to enable a customer to make a buying decision? Have you shot the product from different angles, have you shown your beautiful wrapping, have you provided close ups of the detail? Cram your sales process full of images to make sure people are reassured at every stage.
Many bloggers and influencers will be putting together Christmas gift guides and blog posts right now and will be looking for brands to collaborate with. Working with bloggers is an excellent way to increase your reach into an audience you’re struggling to get in front of and to get traffic to your site or social channels. Even a mention an influencer’s Instagram Stories can be enough to give your following a boost.
However, it is vital to make sure that the influencers you work with are absolutely right for you. You need to know that their audience is your target customer, and, crucially, that those people are engaged with them. You may see someone who has lots of followers, but actually none of them comment or like their posts – this demonstrates that the followers may not even be seeing the posts full stop.
If you want to work with an influencer, make sure you know exactly the sort of customer you want to target: think about the kind of aesthetic they like, the content they like to read, what they do online. With that knowledge you can look for influencers that tick those boxes – do they create content your ideal customer would be interested in, do they promote their content in the places your customer spends time online?
Then look at their engagement: for Instagram a good engagement rate is when their average number of likes is around 10% of their follower number. Don’t go for huge followings; people with small followings tend to have better relationships with their followers and are more trusted. They’ll also be cheaper to work with – or may even create content just for a product in exchange!
Activate your fans
So often we forget about the extra value we can get out of our existing customers. Once the sale is made and the product posted it’s easy to mentally tick them off and put them away in a box. But these people still have so much value to give – in more ways than one.
Firstly, having bought from you before they’re statistically more likely to buy from you again. The great marketing stat is that 80% of value comes from 20% of customers – the people that are already invested in you are the ones who will continue to do so. And the other great news is that it is much cheaper, both in terms of money and energy, to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one. Dust off your email list and start putting it to work with enticing imagery and offers for your loyal customers, or if you have the budget create retargeting ads via Google or Facebook to encourage them back to your site.
Secondly, you can also use these people to advocate for you. Trust is a real issue with online selling, and the more social proof you can show that you are good person to buy from the better. More than that, these customers can do part of the selling work for you if you encourage them to share and talk about your product online. Perhaps you could hold a competition where customers share an image of your product to win, or maybe just collect testimonials and put them on your product pages.
I hope this post has given you a boost and some ideas for your festive marketing. You certainly don’t need the big bucks to sell at Christmas, you just need to play to your strengths, be visible and visual and make sure you’re putting your products and investment into channels that are going to get you the biggest return. I can’t wait to see you all on #JACIndieFriday!
Join me next month for more marketing and social media guidance – in the mean time you can find more content on my blog simpleandseason.com. If you have any more questions about this post, or would like to suggest a topic for a future post, you can get me on Twitter (@simple_season) or Instagram (@simpleandseason).