What You Need to Do NOW For a Great Christmas Shopping Season For Your Video Sales

29% of people will be holiday shopping WAY BEFORE Halloween…Will you be ready?

Have you seen them yet? They are out there. I just came across them yesterday when I was shopping for a summer top.

I’m talking about Christmas decorations and merchandise in the stores!

Wait, wasn’t Labor Day just a few weeks ago? Halloween is more than a month away too! Doesn’t it seem that retailers start earlier and earlier to set up for Christmas sales? Why do they do that?

Because it’s never to early to start planning for the holidays because people do it too!

Case in point, about a week and a half ago I had an order for an entire collection of books and DVDs we sell on one of our websites! Christmas is a more than 3  months away but she noted on the order form she wanted to get started early – and take advantage of the deal I was offering. (Smart woman!)

On that website we begin our holiday email campaigns the beginning of September. We have created a well thought out and organized holiday marketing campaign we’ve been working on since July. This year it was even more important that we do so early because for the bulk of the shopping season (Mid-October-November) we’ll be on an extended speaking tour, out of state. And we can’t afford to miss those sales!

One key to success in email marketing is the same as advertising – repetition, repetition, repetition. You need to get in front of your customers at least 6 to 7 times before you may make a purchase. In the world of email, that number has probably increased to 20 or so. You have to realize that many of your email recipients won’t open your first email, or your second or third, but somewhere along the line they’ll open it and perhaps respond. Others will either respond, delete it or unsubscribe.

So if your video or other products would be perfect for Christmas gifts, then what are you waiting for? Your competitors have had their plans in the works for weeks now. Need a few ideas to help get you started with your planning?

  • Sit down today with your calendar and plan out your email content and the frequency of your emails to your list. Start emailing your list at least once a week starting NOW. I use Excel to keep track of the dates I plan on sending and the topic. To come up with topic ideas, be creative and look at what is happening in your industry. These emails shouldn’t just be selling your video, they should be giving value too. For example, do you sell Yoga videos? Come up with emails that give  tips for dealing with holiday stress. We sell a video called Those Captivating Cacti and send out emails not only on cactus care but also on Christmas cacti, giving cacti as presents, tools for cacti gardening…you get the picture.
  • Sign up with an email marketing service such as the one we use, Constant Contact or AWeber. Or if you use a shopping cart like MarketersChoice, the one we use, you are able to email your list and customers from within that. DO NOT use your personal email account for mass emails or will likely get banned. Not only do these services deal with larger lists, they also make it easier to import and organize your prospect and customer lists, set up all your emails at one time and give you statistics or reports.
  • Send your email consistently but keep an eye out for list fatigue. There is a lot of extra competition at this time of year, and a lot more clutter in the in-box, so you may have to make multiple efforts just to get noticed. Notice which subject lines are getting the most opens and which email topics are getting the best responses. Using a service like your shopping cart or Constant Contact will give you reports on those rates.
  • As your holiday sales start picking up, you’re going to be too busy to craft enticing email messages. So do that now and use the autoresponder system in AWeber, Constant Contact or your shopping cart that allows you to upload all of your messages now and set them for later delivery dates. As you find which emails perform better, you can go back in and make changes to future emails to improve response rates and deliver what your list is wanting.
  • Invest in a toll-free customer service phone number. (We use and recommend RingCentral.) Some shoppers are leery of purchasing online and during the holiday rush they are concerned that their gifts won’t arrive on time. Phone service has gotten incredibly cheap, but I still recommend a toll-free number. A toll-free number is inexpensive and it sends the message that you are a large company and are willing to spend the extra dime to support your customers. An added advantage is that if you work out of your home, a service like RingCentral can be set to only ring through during the hours you wish…if there is a call, you’ll get an email. That way you have more control and won’t get woken up in the wee hours in the morning. It also will forward to my cell phone which is perfect when I’m on my speaking tours.
  • Look at your shipping service and be sure to let your list knows about holiday mailing deadlines. Make sure you give yourself a few days buffer. We usually include holiday shipping deadlines in all of our emails throughout the holiday season. This is also an incentive for customers to make a buying decision early and not put it off. Shipping deadline reminders are also good topics for emails.
  • If you can, segment your mailing list based on what your customers purchased last year so you can personalize holiday gift suggestions. We segment ours into past customers and new prospects and you may segment yours further. Here’s where having more than one product or title is a good thing. If you only have one title, consider complementary items you can offer to your list and sign up to be affiliates of retail outlets that offer those. For example, if you are an Amazon Associate, there are many items you can promote that would interest your customer who buys your DVD. We do this with our car detailing DVD…customers who buy that will also need car wash supplies.
  • Include a “count down” in each and every email so shoppers know the shipping deadline for their holiday purchases.
  • Add tracking codes in your emails (done through services such as Constant Contact or your shopping cart) and take excellent notes of all the activities and outcomes of your holiday campaign to make it that much easier next year. Do this while it is fresh in your mind. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of each email’s response rate and effectiveness. Constant Contact and Marketer’s Choice saves all my old emails with these statistics so now all I have to do is go back to a similar one, copy and tweak it, then resend this year.

Creating a holiday email campaign requires some planning – so get started now! Expect to spend at least several hours designing your plan, crafting and testing each individual message. Once the holidays are in full swing, you’ll be glad you did!