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Smart Marketing Tactics for the 2010 Holiday Season

October 11th, 2010 :: Rieva_L

By Rieva Lesonsky

The holiday season is upon us, and for small business owners, this time of year can be make-or-break when it comes to your sales. The good news: The National Retail Federation is predicting that retail sales will climb 2.3 percent this holiday season. How can you grab your share of those purchases?

This year, more than ever, consumers will be researching, comparing prices and purchasing online. According to the 2010 Consumer Shopping Habits Survey by ChannelAdvisor, 58 percent of consumers are “very likely” to purchase gifts online this year, while just 41 percent said they are very likely to buy at brick-and-mortar retail locations. That means even if you own a physical store, you also need to be selling—and marketing—online.

What marketing tactics will work this holiday season? Here’s a closer look.


According to Experian’s 2010 Holiday Marketer report, e-mail marketing is projected to rise by 15 to 20 percent over the 2009 holiday season. Some of the best strategies to try include:

  • Offering free shipping, rewards points, discounts or free gifts;
  • Refer-a-friend e-mails that include a link;
  • Reactivating inactive customers on your email list;
  • A call to action with a time-limited offer or a countdown to shipping deadlines.


With growing numbers of consumers going online to read other people’s reviews and ratings before they buy, online reviews can be critical to small business success.

  • Make sure your business is listed on local search sites like and CitySearch, as well as shopping comparison sites.
  • Monitor reviews of your product or service and respond quickly to poor reviews.
  • Be sure you link to reviews from your website, or even post them on your site.


The percentage of consumers who actually make purchases with mobile phones is still small (13 percent, according to ChannelAdvisor) but it’s growing, especially among younger users (18-34). If your business targets this age group, consider:

  • Getting involved in location-based services like Gowalla, Foursquare, or Facebook Places;
  • Sending targeted e-mails or text messages to customers’ smartphones;
  • Offering limited-time discounts or special deals to mobile users only


Experian’s report says the busiest day for online retailing will be Thanksgiving Day; the day after Christmas will come in second. However, the report notes that consumers have been shopping for deals earlier this year, and are still very price-conscious—so continuing sales and Black Friday deals after that actual date could pay off.

Image by Flickr user Steven Depolo (Creative Commons)

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Posted in Marketing | View Comments

View Comments to “Smart Marketing Tactics for the 2010 Holiday Season”

  1. Awesome and Timely Post!

    Thank You very much for sharing this very relevant information.

    Looking forward to Cyber Monday! :-)

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