Cyber Monday is right around the corner and as the world’s biggest day of e-commerce volume all year, it’s a marketing opportunity not to be lost. Now is the time to start your preparation.
Cyber Monday is a cultural phenomenon you should jump into whether you sell online or not. It might be easy to dismiss if you are not the likes of Amazon or Walmart, but the largest e-commerce shopping day of the year can be leveraged for any brand, big or small. This is a chance to connect with your customers in a different kind of way. That's why it's important to have a strategy.
Give your customers something of value, even if you don't sell online. Since all the big brands are promoting their super deals, Cyber Monday is a great chance to offer new value to your customers at the same time. Give them a “gift” for being loyal, or an extra incentive to purchase just a little more. Use caution in your offers. You don’t necessarily want to attract one-timers. Instead, try to build loyalty amongst your best customers or bring in new regulars with something of unique value.
If you own a restaurant or bar, for example, offer your customers a place to rest from their online shopping fatigue and connect with other people in real time. Salons, massage therapists and personal trainers can also offer specials to look and feel good on the biggest e-commerce day of the year. The irony of looking good while shopping online just might connect with your customers.
Don't be afraid to experiment. If you are in a retail business, you absolutely need to get into the Cyber game somehow. And if you’re new to the game, this is your year as experts predict record sales year over year. It’s the perfect time to experiment with new activity and try something different. Run your very first promotion or provide a surprising offer to attract attention to your brand. Stretch your mind and put your brand out there in the frenzy of activity. This just might open up a whole new revenue stream. Create an exciting new hook that you’ve always wanted to offer, but were afraid to do in ordinary times. This is no ordinary day to put your brand out there and see what happens.
Watch and observe. If you are not up for taking part this year, at least make sure you check out the activity. Marketing is a spectator sport and we can all learn from each other. You may see something that will spark an idea for the New Year or discover a new way to evolve your brand. That’s what marketing is all about.
Stay within your brand character. Don’t jump into Cyber Monday as a completely different brand. Branding is all about being consistent from interaction to interaction, so be conscious of your activity and stay true to your brand, even when it’s “on sale” or when experimenting with new offers.
If your brand is at a premium price, don’t suddenly and drastically mark down all of your products and services just because it’s Cyber Monday. Be more creative in the kind of value you are offering. Make sure it’s appropriate and in-keeping with your brand. A sudden fire sale might signal the wrong kind of message.
Best of luck to you as we begin the holiday season.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Jim Joseph is the North American president of New York-based communications agency Cohn & Wolfe, part of the media company WPP Group PLC. He is the author of three books, including the latest, The Personal Experience Effect (Happy About 2013). Joseph also teaches marketing at New York University and blogs at JimJosephExp.com.