by Rose Lugo
November rolls in and holiday shoppers are compiling their wish lists, researching brands and deals. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, this year, 63% of consumers plan their holiday shopping around Black Friday.
Cyber Monday is now integral part of the holiday shopping tradition as well. According to Adobe Insights, in the United States, Cyber Monday sales in 2017 reached a record high, $6.59 billion dollars, a 16.8% increase from the previous year. While, online sales during the whole 2017 holidays reached $108.2 billion, a 14.7% year-over-year increase.
Traditions are certain to move the economy, from Black Friday all the way to New Year’s Eve and everything in between, consumers are compelled to spend more during the holidays. Therefore, ‘tis the season to make consumers fall in love with your brand, and help you convince others why they should too.
Savvy marketers take advantage of greater sales volume during the holidays to grow their brand ambassadors, who will advocate for them all year round. Here are four of their best tactics.
Offer amazing deals. There are no two ways about it, consumers wait for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas’ week half-off sales because they are looking for amazing holiday deals. When designing your deals follow best practices: make it big and keep it simple. In sum, the best is to offer big discounts and make it easy for consumers to take advantage of them. When it comes to generating brand ambassadors, price appeal helps very little, the goal here is really to get new consumers to try your brand. The relationship-building and consumer education phases will follow later, during the holiday season you want to cast a wide net to catch new consumers.
Provide memorable brand experience. Think of creative ways to insert your brand through fun brand experiences at the point of sale. It might be at brick-and-mortar stores, or in a digital destination created for online shoppers. Build upon sampling, gamification, challenges, and so on. Add social media to the mix to create interaction. Remember to have engaged brand ambassadors, you will need to build a relationship with them, a fun brand experience during their holiday shopping is just the first date.
Strategic post-sale engagement. It is now time to get your consumer’s relationship with your brand to the next level. You need to be proactive in engaging while keeping yourself relevant, which is a nice way of saying “Don’t be pushy.” Nobody likes a pestering brand. Rather, show your consumers that you value them. Start by asking their opinion about your brand—allow at least two weeks after purchase, giving them a chance to try the product a couple of times. From there, think of exciting ways of engaging, invite your consumers to join your tribe online, offer exclusive deals, host contests. You are now in the thick of the relationship, and you will need to give in order to receive.
Cultivate. It is not enough to be able to reach consumers with offer deals. If you want to turn them into persuasive brand ambassadors, consistent engagement must be punctuated with education about your brand befits, strong arguments to break even the toughest purchase barriers, and compelling reasons for them to engage others with purchase recommendations. It seems like a lot because it is, most successful brands enlist vendors specialized in shopper influencer marketing to carry on ambassador cultivation. Keeping ambassadors engaged and educated all year round will make them ready to vouch for your brand when it matters and where it matters. They will be ready and eager to offer face-to-face recommendations, create engaging UGC, and post trusted consumer reviews at a moment’s notice.
Different studies attest that peer-to-peer recommendations are the main driver of purchase. Consumer trust in brands is at its lowest. Ever more, shoppers are turning to social proof, seeking recommendations from the people they know and fellow shoppers to try new products and brands. Consumers are already talking about your product. Your ambassadors will be able to join the conversation with the right information, at the right time, to help you move sales and build brand equity. In order to reap these benefits, you will need to have a robust brand ambassador program in place all year long, and the holiday season is a great time to get it started.
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