Most of us love holiday rituals and traditions like gift-giving, so it’s no wonder that 40% of consumers begin shopping before Halloween.
For brands, this means that the holiday shopping season is already here. To satisfy holiday shoppers, most brands start working on their holiday sales campaigns in advance and brands get ready for the season earlier than ever before.
Case in point: In 2019, Dunkin’ launched its new lineup of fall foods and beverages in stores across the United States on August 21, six days ahead of its major competitor, Starbucks, and its Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL).
The bottom line? It’s never too early to plan your holiday marketing. And if you want to stay ahead of your competitors who hope for the attention of the same audience, you need to promote your holiday sales campaign on Instagram.
Why Instagram for holiday sales?
Why? Firstly, almost 40% of all ecommerce purchases were made on a smartphone during the previous holiday season. Secondly, as one of the fastest-growing visual platforms, Instagram has become a perfect marketplace for online shopping: 80% of users follow at least one brand on the platform, 60% of Instagrammers discover products in-app, and one-third of the most viewed stories come from businesses.
Simply put, it’s more likely your target audience is ready to discover and buy holiday gifts on Instagram. What is more, it is easy for brands to sell on the platform: The company has introduced product tags, shopping Instagram Stories stickers, and in-app checkout.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could boost seasonal sales on Instagram? To make the most out of the holiday shopping season, see what worked the previous season for top brands and learn from them. Here are seven tested tactics to boost seasonal Instagram sales.
How to increase your Instagram sales this holiday season
Modern customers are savvy: It doesn’t take much time or effort to do research before making purchase decisions, so the deal-seeking is on its rise. And when it comes to closing seasonal sales, customer hesitation is your biggest enemy. Thus, it’s important to know how to create encourage your holiday shoppers to take the desired action immediately.
Let’s talk about seven ways to drive Instagram sales this holiday season.
1. Use limited-time offers and deals
Believe it or not, time-limited offers and deals still work: Although people know this marketing tactic well, the fear of missing out (FOMO) effect has a great impact on them, so customers hasten to buy from you during a certain period of time to get a reward. Many brands get great results when they include scarcity.
Let’s take Starbucks, for example. In honor of the red cup season, the company created holiday-themed reusable cups and launched the time-limited offer for seasonal shoppers which solved two problems at once: The company supported its sustainability initiative and created a sense of urgency.
Another great example comes from Lancome. The company knew that holiday shoppers want to personalize their gifts, so Lancome made it easier for its customers to add a human touch:
Time-limited offers and deals work well when they are done right, so marketers have to set a clear timeline. During the holiday season, ecommerce companies are super busy, so it’s easier for them to miss important dates. Using a social media publishing platform helps to plan your content in advance and make sure your time-sensitive offers and deals go live on time.
Here’s what you can learn: Promoting your time-limited offer, keep in mind that holiday shoppers don’t have much time, so keep your offer simple and brief—your followers what benefits they can get from you and when.
2. Run a seasonal sale
For most customers, shopping during the holiday season is a great opportunity to find unique discounts and offers. Do you know that 88% of impulse buys are prompted by a sale? Since the number of mobile shoppers is growing fast, promoting your seasonal sales on Instagram is a great idea. Any proof needed? According to eMarketer, 38% of US holiday shoppers planning to use a smartphone to find deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the biggest sale days of the year.
If you want to entice your followers to become your customers, announce your seasonal sale and offer an attractive discount. Here’s a great example of this strategy in action from JCrew:
Offering 50% off most full-price items caused a buzz around the company and its products: The above-mentioned post got almost 16,000 likes and over 370 comments from customers.
To run a similar seasonal sale successfully on Instagram, use social media monitoring tools to understand what your customers expect from your brand before launching your seasonal sale. By analyzing customer feedback, reviews, questions, and complaints, you can satisfy customer needs, and, therefore, give them a solid reason to choose your brand over hundreds of your competitors.
Here’s what you can learn: When you promote your seasonal sale on Instagram, make it easy for interested users to explore your offer, whether you choose to use product tags or post shoppable Instagram stories or add a link in your bio.
3. Share last-minute gift ideas
More and more customers wait until the last minute to buy holiday gifts: One study has found that 52% of holiday shoppers do some of their holiday shopping on Super Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas. These shoppers don’t have much time to discover various products from different Instagram ecommerce companies, so they buy from the brand that helps them get what they want. Thus, brands can create last-minute gift ideas to make the lives of late shoppers easier.
Here’s how the Gap did it. The company showed off great gift options and promised to deliver them before Christmas:
Madewell is another great example of a company that offers last-minute gift ideas. Last year, the company create an eye-catching stop motion Instagram post to promote its holiday products. Not only did Madewell share the list of perfect gifts with its customers, but the company also offered a 25% discount to last-minute shoppers.
Most shoppers find holiday shopping overwhelming, so they seek out brand assistance when it comes to making purchase decisions. If you want to create urgency in seasonal sales, you need to take care of late shoppers and sharing last-minute gift ideas is a proven way to provide efficient assistance that increases brand trust and sales.
Here’s what you can learn: With a great number of business profiles on Instagram, keep up with the trends to know what type of posts work best for modern customers. Whether you’re a big or small company, it’s a great idea to create animated Instagram posts that grab attention and help you stand out from the crowd.
4. Run a giveaway or contest
The festive season is a perfect period to reward your customers for being with you. While it can be daunting to send personalized holiday cards to every customer, Instagram giveaways are another great way to reward loyal customers.
It’s psychologically proven that free stuff is hard to resist, so running Instagram giveaways helps to improve engagement, increase brand awareness, and boost seasonal sales. When you give away branded freebies or gift certificates, you highlight your holiday products and services, which means you’ve promoted them without being too salesy.
Take an example from Lulus. Giving away a gift certificate is a great way to attract more contest participants as the winner can choose the right product for his or her needs and wants:
If you want to make your contest go viral, increase the gift card amount and give your Instagram followers a solid reason to become contest participants. Let’s take a look at a give away from ASOS:
When you give Instagrammers a chance to get something for free, you grab their attention, which means another cost-effective way to promote your seasonal products. The more potential customers you reach on Instagram, the more products you can sell.
Here’s what you can learn: To make the most out of your seasonal giveaway, you need to understand how it performs. If you want to gauge participation, use in-built Instagram analytics or find the best social media marketing tools to get advanced insights.
5. Offer free shipping and gift wrapping
Free shipping and gift wrapping go hand in hand during the holiday season. Here comes the ugly truth: 75% of shoppers expect free delivery on their online orders. For brands, this means that free shipping is an important element in your holiday marketing campaigns, according to holiday shopping statistics. If you can’t afford to offer free shipping, you can reduce the shipping minimum for a limited time.
When it comes to gift wrapping, many people believe that it improves mood and attitude towards the gift and 28% of Americans say that it puts them more in the “holiday spirit.” However, 52% of holiday shoppers dislike wrapping gifts as it takes much time. Wouldn’t it be great if you could make your customers’ lives easier?
Target knows the importance of gift-wrapping, so the company offers to add gift wrap to the order during checkout. To make sure customers know about the service, the company promotes it on Instagram:
Holiday shoppers are hunting for deals, and it’s no secret that they want to get their perfect gifts on time. And if you offer both free shipping and gift wrapping, it’s more likely your company will get more customers who seek out both benefits from brands.
Here’s what you can learn: Since most companies don’t offer a gift wrapping service, combining free shipping with gift wrapping is a perfect chance to satisfy customers’ needs and stay ahead of your competitors.
6. Appeal to emotions
The festive season often inspires feelings of warmth, joy, and belonging. It’s the perfect time to use emotional writing tactics that can impact consumer behavior the way brands need it. If your brand messages appeal to consumers’ emotions, you’re more likely to get more customers. Why? People are more likely to act on feelings. In fact, one study by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio claims that decisions are largely emotional, not logical. Thus, people who are unable to generate emotions due to medical conditions have trouble making decisions.
Writing posts for holiday shoppers, you can tie these following emotional triggers into your holiday marketing campaign:
- Instant gratification
Using emotional appeal in your messages, you evoke feelings among your potential customers and encourage them to act faster.
Here’s how MyBrightJournal did it:
Many people believe that holidays are a meaningful time spent with family and friends, so the holiday season is a perfect time to leverage the power of nostalgia.
Check how Chupi did it:
At first blush, it seems that applying emotional marketing to holiday campaign doesn’t create urgency. However, using emotional triggers is a proven way to create a relationship with your audience through content and affect their decision-making.
Here’s what you can learn: People claim that they feel more uplifted and excited in the lead up to the holidays, so using emotional triggers in your holiday marketing campaign will encourage people to buy from your brand. To get better results, you can plan a series of emotional Instagram posts.
7. Publish short-lived content
In just three years, Instagram Stories have gained in popularity and 500 million accounts use this short-lived content daily. With a lifespan of 24 hours, Instagram Stories create a sense of urgency, as users are afraid of missing out something important. For brands, this means another proven way to reach their audience and deliver the brand message fast.
Any proof needed? To promote its big holiday sale, Young and Reckless ran Instagram Stories ads that resulted in a 6x return on ad spend.
And here’s another successful example of using Instagram Stories ads from Made.com.
To promote its winter sale, the company ran a campaign in Instagram Stories that helped to increase return on ad spend by 69%, website traffic by 44%, and the number of new visitors by 28%. Not bad, huh?
If you don’t have time or money to run Instagram Stories ads, you should publish ephemeral content to get great results. Instagram rolls out business-specific features that help brands achieve their goals faster. For example, you can create a sense of urgency with the countdown sticker. This feature reminds your audience about the important events, so you can post a story with the countdown sticker once your seasonal sale begins and set the date when it ends so that your followers will never miss out something important.
Here’s what you can learn: With a limited lifespan, Instagram Stories encourage people to purchase quickly, as they are afraid of missing out something important. That’s why using this short-lived content is a perfect choice when you want to create a sense of urgency and encourage users to take action faster.
Make boosting Instagram sales a part of your holiday plan
With the growing popularity of Instagram among customers, this platform has become an important marketplace for ecommerce brands that want to increase sales during the holiday shopping season. However, there are over 25 million businesses on the platform, so posting Instagram content that creates urgency in seasonal sales is a proven way to help your followers make purchase decisions faster.
About the author
Val Razo is a freelance SMM consultant with 5+ years of experience who helps small and medium businesses. With a great sales potential of Instagram, Val recommends both big and small brands to use this platform for business growth. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest articles on Instagram marketing.