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Run-Up Planning for the 2015 Holiday Season

Run-Up Planning for the 2015 Holiday Season daily-golden-nugget-1347-81
Another summer has come to a close and the holiday season is almost here. No matter what the financial forecasts say, I want to give you some current ideas to improve your marketing methods, and hopefully your sales, through the end of this year.

Create a Uniform Branding With Your Ads

I'd like to start with a suggestion for you to review the ads you are already planning for this season. Instead of running standalone ads this year, you can use all the potential advertising methods at your disposal to unify your branded message. If you don't have a budget for a large campaign across multiple mediums, you can focus on creating a micro campaign with your website and social accounts to promote specific product lines and designers. Planning ahead will be the key to successful implementation of a micro ad campaign.

Photography: When More is Not Just More

Staging the perfect photo shoot takes time so you might as well try to plan ahead for all your potential ad needs and take photos for everything. Decide what products you will heavily promote this year and take plenty of photos of them. You will need to have jewelry photos on a white background, but that won't be enough, you'll need several intriguing photos for your campaigns. Consider shooting photos on a black background, on a model, next to a gift box, and even next to this season's fashion outfits.

With the assistance of a professional photographer you should be able to maximize your photo shoot time as they provide ideas on how to stage photos for specific use. If you're taking on the photo shoot on your own, then take more photos than you think you'll need, but concentrate on image focus and lighting. The point here is that you will never know when you'll need a last minute photo for a social network post, email promotion, or your website.

Choose Your Target

This year it's easier to evaluate your target audience more in depth than you ever have before. While you might know the typical demographics of your customers as a whole, you can improve your marketing tactics by identifying a specific target audience for each style or designer line of jewelry you plan to promote. For non-designer lines of jewelry you will have to rely on your own experience to select that specific audience. For specific designers you can simply call that designer and ask them for the demographics of the people who usually buy their jewelry.

Narrowing down those target audiences will allow you to promote ads on Facebook specifically to those people. Facebook calls that targeting a "custom audience." Use this collected target audience information to set up and save a custom audience in your Facebook account. You can do this using the Facebook Audience Insights feature here:

Planning Your Product Content

It's time to think about the products you will promote for the season. Don't simply shoot photos, run ads and hope for the best. You have to support your ads with online content for every product in your ads. Specifically, this means you need to have the products in your online catalog, product reviews, and editorial content like a blog write-up.

The internet world we now live in gives us all the power to fully research a product and make a purchasing decision long before ever setting foot in a retail store. Retail stores who spend the time to add a lot of product content online might start to realize that their website visitor duration is increasing as their in-store shopper duration is decreasing. This is the paradigm shift that retail is experiencing.

Product Content and Social Media

Using your product photography is not as simply as point-shoot-post. Your posts to social media should be designed to fit the dimensions of each network. Facebook status updates have a different image size than the Facebook cover photo. The same applies to Google+ post photos and the cover photo. Twitter will accept several size images, and Instagram now allows different image sizes other than a perfect square.

Don't simply crop your photos to make them fit into the various sizes. The micro campaigns will work a lot better if you plan out how you will use the photo and take the original photo with appropriate orientation and framing in mind.

Socially share product photos to different networks, but don't worry about telling the whole story of the product in every post. As a branded micro campaign, you can use every social post to tell part of the story for that particular product. All the parts of the story come together when the person eventually navigates their way back to your website.

Domain Names

Domain names are inexpensive enough that you should register a bunch of them for marketing and tracking. You can use alternative domain names to track the response to those ads in Google Analytics. The tracked results will show you how many people take action online after seeing your print ads, which won't be very many. This is an easy way to track your offline ads. Choose memorable domain names that have something to do with each ad rather than your store name.

Scheduling Your Campaigns

During the holiday season, you'll want to coordinate your social media posts around the print and direct mail schedule. You can use a program like Hootsuite to schedule your social ads to appear after the expected in home delivery date of the print media. Facebook has a built-in scheduling feature that you should use instead of Hootsuite. When scheduling the Facebook posts, you will take the extra step to "boost" the post to the appropriate target audience you saved in your Facebook account.

Charity Contributions

You should expect that charities will call upon you this year like they do every year. Consider donating a $50 to $100 gift card to every charity you stand behind or with, that's holding a fundraiser dinner and or auction event. Although a $50 or more gift card might seem a little excessive, it's probably less than the average advertising cost to acquire every new customer. Most retail jewelers have a customer acquisition cost of more than $100, so why not just put that value into a gift cart to help a local charity?

The Run-Up Begins

What I've explained here is a small blueprint of a potential marketing method for 2015. Over the next several days, I'll expand upon every one of the above points to help you create an actionable set of tasks you can accomplish just in time for the holiday season.

AT: 09/22/2015 11:04:07 AM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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