October '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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26 | Printwear O ctO b e r 20 1 4 Internet Strategies by Kelly "Rags" Ragland Kelly "Rags" Ragland is owner and operator of Rags to Stitches Productions, a holistic advertising-specialty company providing a range of services from Web design and development to customized apparel. Read his blog at | | | | F or many people, the holiday season begins when a school break arrives and twinkling lights start pop- ping up in strip malls and living room windows. For business owners, the season kicks off immediately after Thanksgiving dinner (if not earlier). Brick and mortar retail- ers promote Black Friday blowout sales with full force, some of which begin Thursday evening before the turkey and cran- berries have been cleared from the table. Online marketers (and crowd-avoiding shoppers) prefer Cyber Monday as an alternative to the hustle and bustle of physical purchasing. Making its debut in November 2005, Cyber Monday falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving in the United States, arriving Dec. 1 this year. This virtual event was born out of a variety of marketing companies to persuade people to shop online and accommodate those who can't leave work and don't want to miss out on the season's best bargains. The concept and execution of Cyber Monday marketing strategies have grown in strength and show no sign of slowing in the holiday quest for online consumers. A solid marketing plan is essential in order to reach the vast range of consumers around the country and tailor that plan to the many purchasing habits displayed by shoppers. For instance, some people shop at a slow pace, comparing products and taking quality time in making purchasing decisions. Others wait until the last minute and plan a one-day shopping spree with a credit card, or wait for a holiday bonus to arrive first. In order to reach that diverse audience, a marketing plan should run from the end of November through the last day items can be shipped for a Christmas delivery. Here is a suggested marketing calendar on which to base your holiday marketing plans. Consider the target market and audience, research their interests that align with this calendar period, and execute busi- ness promotions with a focused objective. Nov. 17: Start Holiday Email CampaigN With Black Friday and Cyber Monday approaching, beat your competition to the front lines and swing holiday marketing into full promotional mode. Be sure to double check email blasts for spelling and grammar mistakes and verify that they are spam-compliant, so they don't land directly in a junk folder. Focus on holiday-friendly subject lines: More than 28 percent of all emails in the U.S. are sent during the winter holiday season. This means consumers will likely hear from every company they have ever dealt with, so your note needs to stand out and deliver the message successfully. Nov. 24: Holiday gift guidE Send your holiday gift guide in an email newsletter and post it to your blog, social media, and other Internet properties. Thanksgiving is near, Black Friday follows and Cyber Mon- day falls right after that weekend. Don't bury the key messages. One of the most common mistakes email marketers make is sending an email campaign that focuses on a gazillion different products or services. Bear in mind that recipients have a very short attention span and sending them an entire catalog will just cause them to close or delete your email faster. It is important to fight the desire to promote every product offered and pick just a few select or featured items to showcase, and then pro- vide a link to view more products. Grabbing a contact's attention on a few specific products with a call to action will result in a much better response rate. dEC. 1: CybEr moNday Take advantage of this popular online shop- ping trend by creating a discount offer, cou- pon incentive, or free gift with purchase. When posting on social media, be sure to use the hashtag #CyberMonday, as users may be narrowing their online searches through these navigation channels. dEC. 8: SENd 2Nd Holiday markEtiNg CampaigN Send a reminder email newsletter to recipients about the holiday shopping timeline and shipping cutoffs, includ- ing last-day-to-order dates. To follow up on that deadline, one week before Christmas Day is an ideal time to blast a final "last day to order" announcement with a firm breakdown of last minute options. Be creative and festive. Try to make your campaigns fun and concise to keep your au- dience engaged over the holiday marketing season, and success will be the gift you give yourself. All the best for a great holiday sea- son. Holiday Marketing reach customers with targeted e-media pw

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