Two Magic Words that Boost Holiday Sales

We’ve barely entered November, but the holiday season is already shaping up to be a tremendous growth opportunity for retailers and businesses.

According to a report by the National Retail Federation, American families are expected to put more presents under the Christmas tree this year. Major brands and suppliers are ramping up to prepare for the demand. UPS announced they’ll be making deliveries 7 days a week from November 17 – December 25th and hiring of seasonal workers is hitting pre-recession levels.

And that’s just retail. As businesses seek to close the year on a high note or invest the remaining dollars in their budgets before the close of another fiscal year, there’s going to be a lot of money changing hands in the coming months.

The shadow side of all this spending is increased competition. Business owners can’t just expect the revenue to flow their way. You need to compete for the attention of customers who are stressed over their shopping lists, distracted by holiday parties and juggling the demands of work and home — all while being bombarded with marketing messages.

The holiday season isn’t business as usual, and your positioning shouldn’t be either.

Businesses that thrive this holiday season will have a clear and concise position on the question, “Why now?”

Why now does more than sell your product, it communicates that you know your customers are under increased pressure this time of year. You’re on their team.

Fail to answer why now, and you risk alienating the very people you seek to serve.

To demonstrate the difference, imagine your two favorite yoga studios are offering workshops in December.

Studio A’s workshops are focused on the benefits of creating a regular practice. You’ll get support and practices that you can use daily to be more present in your daily life.

Studio B’s workshops offer tools to help you deal with holiday stress. You’ll learn breathing techniques and simple postures to bring back calm — and even joy — into the holiday.

Which workshop would you be more likely to buy in that hectic time between Thanksgiving and Christmas?

Studio B thought through Why now? and positioned their workshop around the particular pressures people feel this time of year. You might not be a yogi, but if you were, you’d be much more likely to go with Studio B.

Studio A is doing all the right things…at the wrong time. You might want to dedicate yourself to a regular yoga practice, but with a booked schedule, you know you can’t commit right now.

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Why now doesn’t have to be complicated.

In fact, it shouldn’t be.

For a retail business, why now can be as simple as, “I need a gift for ____.”

Have you ever noticed how gift guides are organized by recipient type instead of product category? That’s because magazine editors recognize that the priorities of their readers shift during the holiday season.

Instead of shopping to solve a personal problem  (my blender broke) or create a solution (I want to create a warm and inviting home), your customers are hoping the purchase will communicate something about their relationship with the giftee (I see and appreciate you).

You’re not selling a beautiful blender or handwoven dish towels, you’re selling the perfect gift for the holiday hostess or creative cook.

A financial services business can identify an equally clear and concise why now: “I want to be sure I’m taking advantage of all possible tax incentives before the year ends.”

There are a number of seasonally driven needs to fulfill at the end of the year, and by taking the time to understand the desires of your customers and fine-tune your messaging, you will be better positioned to connect and convert.

Why now drives buy now.

I don’t have a why now offer for the end of the year (that I want to run, anyway). So you’ll see that I’m not going to demand your attention with an aggressive posting schedule, and that all the content I do send out is designed to be timely and responsive to the questions that are likely to be on your mind right now.

I’m sending this particular message out now, because there’s still time to identify your why now (we’re still a bit ahead of the official season, after all!) — and design a marketing plan that boosts your holiday sales.

You might use your why now to:

  • Run a list building initiative organized around a clear seasonal need.
  • Create a content strategy that showcases various seasonal uses for your product.
  • Write a blog post positioning your product as the gift your customer has been searching for.
  • Curate a holiday collection in your shop.
  • Market a service or course that appeals to your customer’s unique desires and fears this time of year.
  • Pitch your product for inclusion in a holiday gift guide.

So what are you waiting for? Unlock the potential of the season with your why now positioning.