While integrating lessons learned during each holiday selling period is a year-round process to optimize sales, getting the most out of the holiday countdown requires additional focus. Whether you are raking in end-of-year profits or scrambling for ways to increase last-minute sales, eToys Direct Inc. Vice President of Marketing Gary Lindsey offers ideas for maximizing the last three weeks of holiday buying. The Denver-based online retailer owns eToys.com and MyTwinn.com, and operates KBtoys.com.
Target Marketing: What is your company doing to boost last-minute holiday sales?
Gary Lindsey: We have been optimizing our online and e-mail marketing throughout the year in preparation for the holiday season. This includes substantially growing our keyword coverage for paid search programs, using optimization tools to weed out inefficient paid search spending, building stronger relationships with affiliate partners and adding more technology behind our e-mail platform to ensure better inbox deliverability to our best customers. Our sales initiatives include site-wide promotion, more frequent short-term offers than usual, free shipping offers, more aggressive short-term promotions, prominent features of hot holiday toys and early-bird specials.
In addition, our marketing efforts include e-mail campaigns and weekly e-mail frequency increases. In order to boost SEM efforts, we customized ad copy to reach holiday-focused shoppers, wrote time-sensitive ad copy for holiday promotions and created specific product keywords based on top-selling products for the holiday. We are also working on an affiliate program using LinkShare network to develop quarter four marketing plans and initiatives for affiliates. In that vein, we plan to distribute weekly promotions as text links and create weekly affiliate newsletters with affiliate marketing tips and top products.
TM: What channels have you found effective when sending last-minute promotions?
GL: E-mail marketing via newsletter is our primary customer retention vehicle. We’ve found that the right message combined with a unique promotion or value proposition can be a powerful retention strategy.