Memorial Day weekend is upon us. Time for travel and get-togethers with friends and family, which can mean new customers and increased sales.
According to projections by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider, "nearly 43 million Americans will start their summer on a high note with a Memorial Day weekend getaway."
"Memorial Day weekend is the official kick-off of the summer season, and with that comes the first round of summer travel and prep for the changing season," says Jared Weitz, CEO and founder of United Capital Source Inc., which provides business funding.
"The holiday weekend means consumers will be looking for summer supplies, like grills, sports gear and water toys," Weitz continues. "Taking advantage of holiday sales is something consumers want, which gives you a good opportunity to attract new customers."
Increased Spending and New Customers
Anytime there's a holiday where people are traveling, they're spending money, notes Chris Mechanic, CEO of digital marketing agency WebMechanix.
"This advice obviously applies to businesses in the travel or leisure space, but even if you're not, there's loads of opportunities to increase sales during Memorial Day weekend," says Mechanic. "Partner with other companies that have related products and services, or simply incorporate Memorial Day weekend into your messaging strategy."
According to Bernard May, CEO of internet marketing company National Positions, Memorial Day weekend gives both online and brick-and-mortar retailers the opportunity to attract new customers.
"Holidays such as Memorial Day weekend usually result in two sets of consumers: travelers and staycationers," says May. He suggests a marketing plan for both markets.
"If your brand has tangible travel products like camping gear, holding a 72-hour sale of such products works well," he says.
For those staying in town, May suggests running specials on home goods and services.
"People who stay home often decide to update their house," says May. "Offering free delivery for heavy, bulky items or discounts for online purchases with in-store pickup are great ways to drive holiday sales and attract new customers."
Because Memorial Day is a prime travel weekend, keep your offers available from Friday to the following Sunday, so eager travelers don't miss out.
—Charles Gaudet, CEO, Predictable Profits
"Memorial Day weekend is a huge opportunity for retailers to use a cohesive marketing plan to win new customers by creating urgency and excitement about their brand or offerings," says Chase Williams, managing partner of Market My Market, which helps law firms, medical practices and professional services scale their firms with PPC and SEO.
To lure new customers this Memorial Day weekend, keep the following tips in mind.
1. Go hyper-local.
"A great way to offer promotions for a brick-and-mortar location and still keep costs in check is to geo-target your advertising," says May. "Advertise to customers within a 2 to 5-mile radius with a holiday promotion, and you may attract new customers."
2. Focus on the reason for the holiday.
When a holiday marketing campaign shows genuine appreciation for the sacrifices of military personnel, this can generate positive PR and attract new customers, according to Paul Gian, founder of Beyond 4Cs, which offers consumer education on buying jewelry.
"We suggest organizing giveaways on social media platforms for veterans and active duty military members, which will generate a buzz and show appreciation," Gian says.
"This is a holiday for remembering and honoring those who served in the military," adds Charles Gaudet, CEO of Predictable Profits and author of The Predictable Profits Playbook.
Gaudet suggests holding promotions for military personnel and their families, such as:
- offering a discount or special package,
- hosting an event (in person or online) to honor service members,
- donating a certain percentage of proceeds to a charitable cause for veterans and
- creating a deal on any product that is red, white or blue.
That said, avoid being heavy handed with the marketing, advises May.
"Memorial Day is meant to honor fallen soldiers," he says. "Avoid overdoing and causing your company to sound like it's simply trying to capitalize on what some may consider a period of grief. Be cautious with your wording and your message."
3. Increase ad spend.
"Memorial Day Weekend is a great time to increase advertising spend on platforms such as social media and Google ads. Focus the campaigns on increased travel and families coming together," says Joe Lawlor, co-founder and CEO of digital marketing agency Digital Dynasty.
4. Extend the sale.
"Because Memorial Day is a prime travel weekend, keep your offers available from Friday to the following Sunday, so eager travelers don't miss out," suggests Gaudet. “Let the special run for just over a week, or while supplies last."
5. Run a promotion to benefit a nonprofit.
"A great way for a brick-and-mortar business to ramp up sales and foot traffic over Memorial Day weekend is to partner with a local nonprofit or charitable organizationand earmark a portion of sales as a donation to the organization," suggests Rafe Gomez, co-owner of VC Inc. Marketing. (The company provides business strategy services.)
"In addition to delivering new customers, such a promotion also positions your business as a valuable and contributing member of the community," says Gomez.
6. Partner with resellers, manufacturers and/or vendors.
"Always ask yourself how you can best leverage other people's assets, whether that's time, money, readership or email lists," says Mechanic. "Some of the most powerful promotional sales that I've ever seen happened as a result of co-marketing relationships where both parties made out wonderfully."
7. Staff for the holiday rush.
Be sure to manage staffing accordingly so that you capture new customers, suggests Weitz.
"With an influx in travel, brick-and-mortar stores should prepare for additional headcount during peak hours. If you're an online store, keep customer services reps available for support or to answer consumer inquiries."
8. Offer steep discounts and free items.
Provide existing and new customers with discounts and specials over the Memorial Day weekend, suggests Williams. "Free shipping, free items, or a percentage discount on purchases are a few examples that work very well," he says.
9. Get attention with a giveaway.
If you're a luxury brand, Williams advises against discounting.
"You don't want to train your customers to be reliant on discounts to purchase your products," he says. "Instead, create excitement and gain notice by giving away items."
10. Be innovative.
"Don't just flat out copy what your competitors are doing," advises Williams. "Being innovative will surprise and excite existing and new customers."
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