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Tis the Season for Holiday Text Marketing

Posted by Sam Schrup | November 15, 2021

Holiday shopping season is a traditional boon for retailers, with many making more sales over the holiday period than over the rest of the year combined.

2020’s holiday shopping data showed over 30% growth in online shopping compared to the previous year, while overall, sales from holiday shopping were up over 8%. That growth is expected to continue, so retailers need to put themselves out there to get a piece of the pie!

Text marketing can be a great asset for promoting your business during the holidays, or even making it easier for customers to shop. If you want to have a successful holiday season with the help of text marketing, here are some of our tips to make it happen:

Be prepared for the holidays

One of the first things to do, before embarking on any sort of marketing campaign, is to prepare your business ahead of the holidays. If you are to receive an influx of orders - more than you are used to handling - can your business cope?

Some things to consider when preparing for the holidays include:

Inventory management

There’s nothing worse than having the orders flowing in with an inventory management system that can’t handle it. Some common pitfalls at the holidays include:

  • Running out of inventory. There can be a lot of reasons for this, but often underestimating what you will need, or ordering new inventory too late to have it on time play a role.
  • Having an inefficient inventory setup. If you do your own fulfillment, you need a simple system for picking and packing orders quickly.
  • Following the last point - do you have enough people to fulfill extra holiday orders?
  • Inaccurate numbers of stock recorded. Unless you prepare customers to wait to have their order fulfilled and you definitely know more stock is on the way, you ideally want your products to show that they’re sold out as soon as there are none left. If numbers are inaccurate, you can run into issues with overselling stock and having to disappoint customers.

If you don’t have reliable inventory management software in place, before the holidays is a good time to upgrade!

Website performance

Another important thing to check before an influx of holiday traffic is your website performance. Can it cope with a surge of traffic? Will the customer experience be a good one without any slowdowns in performance.

Consider things like the timing of any text marketing messages you send out. If you have a large list and everyone clicked through to your website at once, would it keep running well? Or, would you do better to split your list up and stagger the timing of messages?

Check your website to make sure all updates have been completed and that it is optimized to encourage the customer to browse and make purchases. That customer experience is critical for holiday sale success!

It’s also worth noting, if you’re worried about strain on your website, this may be a great time to try “reply to buy” text marketing. This means customers don’t have to click through to a website - they just reply via text if they’d like to order the product you texted them about.

Customer service

You can expect that if you have increased customer traffic over the holidays, you’ll also have increased customer service requests. Consider how you will manage customer queries and what systems you can put in place to make it easier.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Hire temporary staff to help cover the holidays.
  • Use text messaging as a prompt form of communication.
  • Make sure you have FAQs available where customers can find them.
  • Look at your most frequent customer queries and try to make boilerplate answers. These are easy to copy and paste into email responses, too.
  • Let customers know what to expect. When you give customers a timeframe for responding to them, they tend to be more forgiving, compared to getting no timeframe at all.

Holiday text marketing campaign best practices

Here are a few best practices for your holiday text marketing campaigns:

1. Have a timing strategy. Timing is something that is usually improved via trial and error. It’s about both when you send texts, and how frequently.

If you send too many texts, people will tune you out and ignore messages. Send too few and they might forget they signed up and opt out. Experiment to find the right balance, but at a minimum, you should send one text per week.

As for when to send the text, if at all possible, consider the time zones of subscribers and send appropriately. A blast to the whole list at 8AM EST may get you some disgruntled Pacific time zone subscribers! Either segment your list by time zone, or figure out a time that works for all.

2. Give people what they expect (as well as pleasant surprises!). If they’ve signed up to receive your text messages, what were they expecting to get by signing up? Make sure you deliver.

3. Be prepared to respond to any replies. Texting is not a “set and forget” activity - customers might reply with questions. Make sure you have availability to respond.

4. Test your strategy. Test timing and the different sorts of messages you can send to see which get a better response.

Holiday text marketing ideas

Here are a few ideas for holiday text marketing:

1. Make messages time sensitive. For example, when you send out a message saying “for today only,” it communicates a sense of urgency to take advantage of the deal. Try including some bold colors in your message to make it stand out and make sure it truly is “for today only.” People will become jaded if they see the same deal come up again soon.

2. Promote a holiday hashtag. Get your text subscribers to help spread the word on social media by using a special holiday hashtag. For example, you might say something like: “Get 20% off your next order by posting #TextRetailer on Instagram or Facebook.”

3. Have “reply to buy” flash sales. Put products on sale for a limited time, one at a time. Send the deal out to your text subscribers and have them reply to claim the deal.

4. Create a holiday gift guide and share the link via text.

5. Give text subscribers a “first look” advantage for sales. For example, give them the opportunity to shop the sale the day before it’s available for everyone else.

6. Use text marketing to spread holiday cheer. For example, you might send a coupon code via text to get a certain amount off their next purchase.

Final thoughts

Get ready now to have a successful holiday season! Text marketing can play a key role in promoting your products and services, and getting customers excited to shop for the holidays.

Support text marketing (and any other marketing efforts) by ensuring you have the infrastructure to support a holiday rush. Keep customer experience at the forefront of your holiday campaigns.

Finally, don’t forget to promote joining your text list! The holidays can be an ideal time, especially if there are more eyes on your products. Get people signed up so you can reach them easily in the future.

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