It’s almost here. As we enter into the homestretch of the hectic holiday season, things can feel more like inching towards the finish line, rather than taking a victory lap. But, if you’re thinking about starting your holiday festivities early, it could be costing you a lot of business. According to recent studies, 30% of shoppers wait until Christmas week to do a majority of their shopping. With this in mind, it remains more important than ever to ramp up your marketing campaigns during this final week. Fear not, with these simple marketing tips, you can have your fruitcake, and eat it too!

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1. Promote exclusive holiday hours to your email subscribers

holiday marketing campaignsDespite online shopping trends continuing to rise during the holiday season this year, consumers worry about placing ecommerce orders at this late stage. The costs of expedited shipping can become prohibitive and even when forced to splurge on it, there’s no guarantee that customers’ gifts will arrive in time. With limited options, some customers feel resigned to battle the masses at retail locations. However, with the right email communication you can bring the holiday spirit to customers in this position, and make them feel less like a Scrooge.

Why not send an exclusive VIP shopping hour promotion to customers on your email list? Whether an hour before your business normally opens, peak lunch hours, or an extra hour later in the evening prior to close, this will make the trip more palatable to customers worried about long lines and crowded stores. Better yet, you can add an exclusive discount, or advertise the donation of a percentage of proceeds to charity, and make customers feel good about helping you give back this holiday season. Extended hours provide flexibility to add a quick trip to your business to their packed schedules. By having them RSVP, you solidify their VIP treatment and are able to better track the results of the campaign so that you can refine and optimize this approach in the future.

 2. Create holiday bundles or gift sets and advertise via email

Take some of the stress of gift-giving off your customers’ plates by arranging gift sets or bundling existing, complementary products. Offer special holiday packaging to eliminate the hassle of gift wrapping to make this offering even more enticing. Structuring these sets around pricing tiers is especially helpful when people are looking for a last-minute White Elephant gift. You can also incentivize further by discounting the sets slightly to represent popular price points ($25, $50, $100, etc.). This is a great option for salons and other services, who can include a bundle of often-paired treatments, or combine a certificate for services with products that you recommend pre or post-visit.

3. Partner with an on-demand delivery service in metro areas

Like traditional couriers, companies such as Postmates, deliver from one point in a city to another, in under an hour. This solution might add up, but it will also provide more options and flexibility to those desperate to check off the remaining names on their lists. Here the added service of holiday gift wrapping gives customers a chance to send the gifts directly to their recipients. These may seem like small gestures, but during such a busy time, everyone appreciates the gift of time saved.

4. Holiday Newsletter/Holiday E-Card

Send out a special holiday edition of your newsletter. These can be simple expressions of gratitude for their patronage and best wishes for a happy New Year that will keep your business top of mind for any last minute gift solutions your customers are trying to come up with. Or, these can offer more value by including a schedule of holiday events for families in your community, or any other pertinent information to help them organize and streamline this hectic time of year. This is also a great time to give them a sneak peek of what’s in store for the new year, and what they can look forward to once the holidays are over. These newsletters are now easier to create than ever with tools like Signpost’s Custom Campaigns.

5. When all else fails….gift cards

Don’t forget about the saving grace of procrastinators everywhere: gift cards. Remind your email subscribers of this option, and offer customers an easy way to buy an electronic gift card on your site to help them spread holiday cheer to their friends and family – and drive new customers to  your business in the new year. Send an email to your customers an option to send these gift cards to their recipients’ email addresses, directly, to once again save them some valuable time. Or, these can act as referral programs, and you can offer a small credit to anyone who purchases a gift card for their loved one and help them secure a gift that keeps giving.

The holiday season is always a frenzied time for consumers and businesses, alike. The best way to save some time is to automate your local marketing with tools like Signpost.