Ah, the consumer holidays. They tend to sneak up quickly and when they arrive, it’s in full force. Especially in the age of e-commerce, where Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become more accessible than ever, the excitement surrounding the consumer holidays is growing.
The fervor around the weekend presents a huge opportunity for businesses in the tour and activity space. Customers new and old are both more engaged and more likely to try out a new brand when it comes with a lower cost.
So how do you make the most of the weekend? We have a few ideas up our sleeve.
1. Start prepping your marketing strategy now.
We know this one comes as no surprise, but it’s true! The sooner you start preparing for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, the better your campaign will go. Put time and energy into the process and the outcome will naturally follow suit.
So where to start? Grab a box of donuts, get your team together and spend a few hours figuring out exactly what your marketing strategy will be over the Black Friday weekend. Here’s a few questions to get the brainstorm started:
- What do we want to push customers towards? Seasonal items? Gift cards? Best-sellers? Package deals?
- Will we offer a discount? Buy-one-get-one-free? A branded item with purchase?
- How do we want to advertise our promotions?
- Do we want to send out an email? Should we segment our email list?
- Which social sites should we market on? What hashtags could we use?
2. Don’t underestimate the power of gift cards.
Although gift cards make an important addition to any Black Friday marketing campaign, this is especially true in the tour and activity industry. Gift cards are a user-friendly way for customers to gift an experience to friends or family, or to purchase an activity for a future trip.
Because they eliminate the need for tricky details like dates, times and even group size, gift cards are an easy sell in your off-season, especially as people begin buying gifts for the holidays.
- If you use FareHarbor as your online booking system, you can sell gift cards just as easily as you sell any other item. Link directly to gift cards from a button on your site, or add them to your reservation page alongside other bookable items.
- Remember, gift cards sold through FareHarbor are digital gift cards that can be redeemed online, in-person or over-the-phone, all through FareHarbor.
- Don’t hesitate to promote gift cards on your homepage and in your email marketing campaigns. They’re an easy purchase for your customers, help boost off-season sales, plus 75% of gift card holders end up spending more than the original value.
3. Get serious about social sharing.
In a world where shoppers are exposed to dozens of brands on a daily basis, it’s no wonder consumers are growing fatigued with digital marketing. As a result, consumers are learning to look for user-generated content—such as photos, reviews, tweets and blog posts—that is created by unpaid contributors.
Considered to be 85% more persuasive than content that comes directly from your brand, user-generated content is just as effective as a personal recommendation from family or friends.
User-generated content is considered to be authentic and honest, which makes it gold for your business. If you collected user content last year, such as customer reviews and photos, now is the time to put it to use. If you didn’t, focus on collecting it this year and then use it to boost Black Friday sales in both 2018 and 2019.
Encourage social sharing from your customers by:
- Featuring your customers’ content on your own social pages or blog whenever they tag your business or use your hashtag.
- Offering a discount, stickers or t-shirt to customers who @mention your business, check-in on Facebook, or use your hashtag.
- Running a contest on social media. Sounds daunting? Here’s a guide that’ll help you get it right.
4. Go big on email marketing.
With so many sales and deals to choose from, it’s easy for your business to get lost in the noise. An email marketing campaign can put your offerings directly under the nose of your customer base, whether they be local or from afar. After all, what’s the point of running an epic Black Friday promotion if nobody knows about it? Here are a few tips to ensure email success:
- Create anticipation. Sending your first email out before the promotion begins helps overwhelmed consumers prioritize their shopping strategy, as well as create anticipation for what’s to come.
- Give extra love to past customers. The best way to create loyal customers that return time and time again is to show them just how much you appreciate them. An additional discount or early bird access helps build the kind of relationship that can transform a past customer into a full-on brand advocate.
- Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly. Big, bold, image-heavy designs can be tempting—just make sure it’s all mobile-friendly. There’s nothing worse than getting your email in front of the right person, then losing the sale because your call-to-action button is wonky on mobile.
- Include CTAs that link directly to the promotion. If you’re marketing a specific tour or activity, don’t forget to link your call-to-action directly to the item that you’re promoting. This prevents the user from having to click around your site, thus increasing your chances of converting the customer.
5. Create balance with #OptOutside or Giving Tuesday.
Even if consumer holidays aren’t quite your cup of tea, you don’t have to sit this weekend out. While consumers are hyper-engaged, watching for deals and promotions from their favorite brands, take the opportunity to build brand awareness around your values rather than your products.
It’s an approach that’s been gaining in popularity after REI, a major outdoor retailer, launched #OptOutside four years ago. Acting against the mass consumerism that’s come to characterize Thanksgiving weekend, #OptOutside encourages people to spend the Friday following Thanksgiving away from the computer, instead opting to spend the day outdoors with friends and family. And much to our benefit, we operate in an industry that centers on experiencing life beyond material goods!
Since launching, the campaign has been adopted by hundreds of businesses that agree with the sentiment. Yours can be one of them!
- Share why your business is choosing to #OptOutside on your social media pages, making sure to use the hashtag in your post. Increase impact by sharing photos of your employees outdoors, and be sure to invite your customers to do the same.
Similarly, Giving Tuesday takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and is meant to turn the rush of the consumer weekend outwards. Created to foster charity and community during the holiday season, this perfectly complements the spirit of #OptOutside.
- Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to give back to your community and sponsor local events, charities or organizations that your business aligns with.
Whether you opt for all of these strategies or just one, take advantage of the increased engagement that comes with Black Friday weekend. Or, alternatively, keep these strategies in your pocket for another important holiday or event.