Webinar Recap: Holiday Messaging + Facebook = A Perfect Combo

Winter is coming.

Game of Thrones clichés aside, the winter season is approaching and along with it, the most important part of a retail business’ year — the holidays. The holiday season gives your business an opportunity to capitalize on purchase-ready shoppers who have a lot of spending planned for family and friends. Outside of the shopping holidays, like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, how will you get people into your store and actually purchase? The key to winning with holiday season marketing is being top of mind prior to the holidays and pushing your holiday messaging, come November and December. In our latest webinar, we chatted with Jerilyn Soncrant, Social Media Product Manager at G/O Digital, and Krupa Patel, SMB Advocacy Manager at Facebook, about consumer holiday shopping habits and how you can use Facebook to power your messages before and after the holidays. Below, we share some of the highlights and insights, but you can download the recording and webinar slides for the full experience. October image

Consideration Starts Before November

When you think about the holiday season, November and December are usually the months that come to mind. While it’s true that customers do the majority of their purchasing in November and December, 47 percent start thinking about what they will buy in October or earlier. That’s almost half of consumers who consider businesses, products and services for holiday purchases before the “holiday season” actually arrives. As a local business owner, how can you take advantage of this knowledge? Look to market online during those pre-holiday months to consumers that you’d like to bring in for an actual purchase when November or December arrives. Facebook is a great platform to leverage during that period because people aren’t actively shopping; they’re checking in on friends and family and might notice a product that is perfect for their sister or friend in the process. And the best way to reach them is through discounts. “The majority of shoppers, over 55 percent, prefer a discount of 15 percent off or more,” Soncrant says. “If you have any special deals or discounts, you want to make sure that you’re using those in your online advertising prior to the holidays and during the holidays.” Facebook Ads image

Primary Rules of Facebook Ads

Discounts are great, but how do you decide what kind of photos and messaging you should send out to your audience? Patel has great insights into how to craft Facebook ads that will reach your best audience. The first step is to understand your business goal when making your ad. Are you looking to drive traffic, generate leads or build brand awareness? “There’s something that you want people to do as a result of seeing your ad,” Patel says. “The best advice I can give is to tell them what you want them to do.” Here’s how it actually works:

  • Drive traffic: tell customers to stop by and give them the specific location, and then give them a compelling reason to do so, like a special sale or promotion.
  • Generate leads: express why shoppers should choose you over competitors. While purchases might not be immediate, you can use Facebook ads to educate potential customers about your business’ differentiating characteristics.
  • Build brand awareness: share your business’ backstory, share a story about the owner or highlight an exemplary employee that customers will see in the store. These posts should help customers form a connection with your place of business.

Determining when to use these posts depends on how close to the holiday season it is. “With people making purchasing decisions in the coming months and using September and October as an opportunity to build awareness, those brand awareness posts might be something you want to incorporate into your strategy,” Patel says. Then, come November and December, you can switch to lead generation and driving actual foot traffic to your business. With a holiday strategy that takes consumer purchasing habits into account, you’ll drive consideration and awareness for your business before the holiday season, then be the first business people think about when they’re ready to buy.

For all the insights from our webinar, Holiday Consumer Habits to Guide Your Small Business Marketing, download the replay here!

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