Financially there’s a lot at stake for retailers during the holidays. It’s no surprise retailers are asking, “At what point do I begin my holiday promotions? How do I avoid pushing the limits of good taste and try shoppers’ patience?”
It is common to think that the moment Halloween ends is the unofficial start of the holiday season, but that is not what the shopper is telling us.
So, when is the right time to start marketing? Just like it is best to purchase plane tickets 47 days in advance, there’s also an optimal time to start your holiday marketing.
Here are the best times to promote holiday focused marketing for social media, email, and search marketing.
The best time to start holiday Marketing: The second week of November. This way by the week of Black Friday, consumers won’t be seeing your deals for the first time.
Every year, social media analytics, Union Metrics, analyzes holiday related Twitter activity. The company has noticed that the conversation always tends to spike around the same time of the year ~ about 3 weeks before Thanksgiving.
This is when the Twitter activity tends to start picking up momentum, increasing in volume each day. Last year there were 6.8 million holiday related Tweets the week of Thanksgiving; 43 percent were on Black Friday.
Twitter is very much viewed as the pulse of the planet, because it’s where people go to talk about everything. People are already talking about their holiday deals on Instagram and on Facebook too.
With so much noise on social media, you can run the risk of not being seen if you post too early. You want to avoid your marketing falling on deaf ears because your audience is not ready for it.
Just as with social media, holiday search ads shouldn’t go up too early, yet they do have a longer planning stage.
The best time to start: You should have worked on your promotions through the fall so they are ready by early November. This ensures that they’re all aligned and categorized for when people are searching during the peak of holiday shopping insanity.
Update your website during the first two weeks of November to reflect your holiday deals. By then the search engines will have had a chance to index them by the week of Thanksgiving. Also, deploy your search ads during the week of Thanksgiving.
After Labor Day and back-to-school shopping closes, you’re basically at the point to put in motion the holiday deals.
When it comes to actually deploying your search ads, it’s better to wait until closer to the actual days of the deals This is to avoid “Banner Blindness.” If customers are seeing the promotions everyday, it can eliminate any sense of urgency and they become “blind” to your ads. This is the same concept as “message burnout.”
If you are going to fulfill the demand for those Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, there’s probably a two week window to really capture it. The week of Black Friday through the next one. That’s the sweet spot! You don’t want to be in-market the whole time,
It is still a little early to deploy your holiday search ads. But do make sure your deals are reflected on your website to ensure they’re indexed by search engines in time.
The best time to start: You should start putting holiday emails into the mix by the 2nd week of September. Steadily ratchet up the number of holiday messages as time goes on. Focus heavily on the third and fourth weeks of November. As Thanksgiving draws closer, it becomes harder to stand out within increasingly crowded inboxes.
You should start thinking about your holiday emails a little earlier than you do social, the key is mixing it up.
Start with a low percentage of holiday marketing. Gradually increase as the date approaches. You should have your holiday marketing in full swing in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
When you post too early on social media, you risk your messages being missed because people aren’t ready to think about the holidays yet. The opposite is true for email.
However, as the email volume increased, open rates decreased.
I believe that soon – marketers will send less emails and put more effort into making the ones they do send count.
September: Start building your audiences and segmenting for your search ads.
October: Begin sending a mix of holiday and non-holiday emails.
First week of November: Make holiday-focused emails a bigger part of the percentage.
Second and third weeks of November: Post about your holiday deals on social media. Make sure they’re also reflected on your website. This gives you a better chance of ranking on Google. Send your best emails because interest will start waning during the last week of November.
The week of Thanksgiving: Deploy search ads.
The holiday season has always been a catalyst for many businesses. For most small to mid-size retailers, the holiday season accounts for 20 to 40 percent of their total yearly sales.
It is just good business to plan and market, but you need to remember that it’s all about balance. You want to make the most of the holiday season’s sales potential, but you don’t want to push too hard and turn turn off customers.