Last Minute Marketing Strategies

    December 22, 2003

Oh yeah, the holidays… It came to my attention that the holidays are upon us. If you’re like me you may have procrastinated some on your gift shopping. If you went and bought gifts you may still have some marketing to do.

If you’d like to share some last minute strategies, or learn what other readers are doing, click here.

Today I called Joanna Krotz, the Marketing Intelligence Editor for Microsoft’s bCentral and owner of muse2muse productions, a marketing firm in New York. I asked her what she’d suggest to businesses who wanted to get out a last minute marketing message.

The email blast. Her first suggestion was to send out an email blast, (be sure to read the post about keeping email legal) but don’t send the same message to everyone.

Segment your list into three categories, and focus your attentions on your very best customers. Save your best deals for these customers, as they’re the most likely to buy.

“Presumably,” said Joannam, “you’ll already have a database and many kinds of software can do this for you.”

For your top-tier customers you can “send an email offering an official deal or private shopping afterhours or something your customers can print out, such as a coupon for an extra 15% off, or a free service, or a sample, and so on.”

“Depending on your customers, mid-level could get about 8-10 percent off, a smaller amount, and your mass customers could get an even smaller amount off.”

Her main point though was that you should “make your best customers feel special.” She puts extra emphasis on this. “Say, ‘Thank you so much! Here’s your reward…’ The power of thank you is enormous.”

What about services? “There are many things that professional services can do. It’s about acknowledging your business, not getting people to buy at the last minute. It would be smart for your business.”

She recommended that “any business service where everyone tends to fade away from December 19th through January 1st. Trying to build business over that period would be a good idea…”

Last Minute Offline Strategies. Another suggestion was cause marketing — such as helping with a charity event. “Invite customers and clients to spend Monday at your place packing up boxes of soup for the homeless shelter. Nowadays, people are very receptive to that kind of marketing. Start a community service program. Send a card. It doesn’t have to be fancy.”

Some other suggestions:

  • Invite customers in and invite local kids from the YMCA or another organization and have a party.
  • Ask your customers to do volunteer work with you at a homeless shelter
  • “I think free samples are always dynamite idea. It’s not very expensive. It could be just a little giveaway. People are enormously tickled by getting something for free.”
  • “Search engine optimization is becoming more and more effective, but it’s tricky. It’s sophisticated. You need testing. I would not suggest starting it at the last minute.”

    Read Joanna’s marketing articles here.

    Questions? Comments? Send them in!

    Happy Holidays!
    Garrett + WebProNews Team

    Garrett French is the editor of iEntry’s eBusiness channel. You can talk to him directly at WebProWorld, the eBusiness Community Forum.