Memorial Day means many things to many people. At its heart, it’s a day to commemorate the brave American soldiers who died fighting for this country. For many, the Memorial Day weekend also marks the start of summer and a chance to grab a deal in the annual holiday shopping event.
The shopping event is no longer the preserve of brick-and-mortar stores. Research by Namogoo shows e-commerce fashion sales soared over Memorial Day 2020, up 380 percent compared to the year before. Conversions increased by 335 percent, too.
These kinds of figures don’t happen by magic, however. Marketing plays a crucial role in your store’s success.
That’s why I’m going to show seven strategies to send your Memorial Day sales soaring.
7 Tips for E-Commerce Memorial Day Sales
A record-breaking Memorial Day doesn’t happen by luck. By using one or several of the following tips, you give your store a better chance of getting noticed, winning new customers, and having a great weekend.
1. Run a Paid Ad Campaign Showcasing Your Sales
Succeeding over the Memorial Day weekend is all about standing out. Big brands may do this with television commercials or billboards. Smaller brands often stick to social media. I recommend combining the two via a paid ad campaign on social media.
While few brands can afford to go all out on a TV ad, many e-commerce brands can afford a short paid ad campaign, especially if it’s optimized for conversions.
There are two crucial factors you need to get right: The channel you advertise on and the creative you use.
I recommend sticking to Facebook or Google for your paid ads. These platforms offer the greatest reach and the best targeting tools to help make sure your paid media budget goes the furthest.
When it comes to ad creative, it’s all about standing out. Using red, white, and blue, and an American flag are a given. But also consider including summer-related imagery that so many consumers relate to the holiday.
It’s essential to remember that, unlike Independence Day, this is a day of remembrance. Keep your tone respectful of the fallen and their loved ones, even if you’re focusing on summer fun. This ad from My Mind’s Eye does a great job of finding this balance: It’s eye-catching, positive, and still reminds viewers of the reason for the holiday.
Use Memorial Day hashtags on social media platforms, but be careful about the kind of content you post. Some people may be using these hashtags to search for information around the holiday itself and may be offended by overly promotional material.
2. Tease Your Sales on Social Media Without Revealing What They Are Until Memorial Day
Teasing your Memorial Day sales on social media is a fantastic way to drum up anticipation and build a potential customer base well before the big day. By running it on social channels, you have the chance to pick up thousands of new users who have never shopped with you before.
Get your social media calendar in place well ahead of the holiday. The more time you have to post, the more anticipation you can build. This is as true for your email marketing campaign as it is for your social media posts.
For example, The Pampered Iggy—an artist who makes outfits for Italian Greyhounds—teases their upcoming Memorial Day sales in this simple but effective image:
3. Run a Flash Sale
Unlike the winter holiday shopping season, Memorial Day sales last for a couple of days at most. This makes it ripe for flash sales.
These sales typically come with substantial discounts and are all about encouraging consumers to make impulse purchases. They’re also a great way to grab some press attention and make sure customers visit your store over your competitors.
Focusing on your new summer products is the best strategy here. Many consumers wait until Memorial Day weekend to make their spring and summer purchases, so they’re on the lookout for this season’s items. Make the discounts too good to avoid.
Getting the word out about your sales will be just as important. Consider using a paid ad campaign as I described above to promote your sales, but don’t forget about your email list or social media followers.
4. Sell Winter Items at a Deep Discount
Everyone loves a discount, especially on Memorial Day. Price drops between 20 percent and 90 percent are common. There’s no better time to get rid of leftover winter items while attracting new customers than to sell them cheap.
These sales can run alongside your standard Memorial Day sales events, or they can stand on their own. It all depends on what products you stock for summer. Brands that tend to do well during the summer months may prefer to emphasize their new line of products. On the other hand, winter sports stores may just want to make their steep discounts the center of attention.
5. Honor Veterans and Their Families
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for fallen soldiers. This is why it’s essential to stay positive but not too celebratory about the unofficial start of summer.
Richard Levick, chairman and CEO of LEVICK, says:
Remembrance and relaxation both play important roles in our lives, but they should occupy separate spheres…When brands forget to respect that separation, and when executives who don’t understand the true meaning of Memorial Day are in control of a company’s marketing and social media outreach, insensitive—even offensive—things happen.
In particular, he recommends against potentially exploitative imagery of military funeral services, families in mourning, and so forth. Many companies juxtapose these images with messages of “FLASH SALE!” and “Happy Memorial Day!” which can ruffle feathers.
Not all veterans and families want to hear “thank you for your service” on Memorial Day and want the day focused on those who have been lost. That said, honoring veterans, active duty military, and their families can be done tastefully and well, without drawing focus away from the meaning of the day—chances are many of them have lost someone in the line of duty.
There are many ways you can honor veterans and active service people. One option is to give them early or preferential access to your sale. Another is to offer them discounts or special offers. You could even give away small items as gifts.
But a particularly special thing you can do to show your understanding and gratitude? Donate a portion of your proceeds from your Memorial Day sale to a charity supporting the families of fallen soldiers, like the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) or the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. Mention this plan in your Memorial Day marketing materials, but keep the focus on those who need the help, not how awesome you are for doing this.
6. Contact Websites Running Sales Roundups to Get Your Store Featured
The Memorial Day weekend is a fantastic source of content for new publications, many of which include roundups of all the best sales. It’s not an accident when brands get included in these roundups. More often than not, it’s the result of a lot of outreach work.
Start by finding publications in your industry that have produced Memorial Day roundups in the past. If they did a roundup last year, there’s a good chance it will be on the editorial calendar this year.
You can also target bigger, broader publications that aren’t necessarily tied to one industry. Here are just a few websites that have created Memorial Day sales roundups in the past:
Next, draft an email to send to each of these publications. Personalize it a bit, but you can keep the bulk of it the same. Highlight what you have on sale over the Memorial Day weekend, the kind of discounts customers should expect, and why your deal is better than your competitors.
7. Set Up a Virtual Event With a Live Sale Segment
You don’t have to have a brick-and-mortar store to run a live sales event.
There are even some pretty significant benefits stores can realize by running virtual sales events. They are way more accessible for one. You’ll be able to accommodate significantly more attendees (which means more customers), and they’ll be able to tune in from anywhere in the world, too.
It will also be much cheaper to run a virtual sales event than an in-person one. Webinar software and a high-quality camera will cost a few hundred bucks at the most. That’s pretty much all you need. It will be much cheaper for customers who don’t have to travel to your store, too, meaning more money to spend on the sale.
You’ll want to make your sales event as fun and inclusive as possible. To this end, make sure to run games and activities and not just showcase your products. You could even run giveaways and competitions to give away some of your newest products for free.
Make sure that you devote a good chunk of time to your sales products, though. The whole point of running this kind of event is to increase sales, so it makes sense to spend at least the latter half of the event modeling your new clothing range or showing your new products in action.
After the pandemic, you may be facing more competition than usual when it comes to online events. It will pay to get the word out early and promote your virtual event as much as possible. Social media, email campaigns, and your website are all great places to start.
Memorial Day Sales FAQ
Facebook, Instagram, and Google are three of the best platforms to run paid ad campaigns on this Memorial Day weekend.
It can last as little as a few hours, but don’t let it go on for longer than the weekend.
You can incorporate both summer and solemnity. Don’t overdo it on the joy, but keep the message positive. Consider donating proceeds to relevant organizations.
Keep your email as short as possible, but try to stand out. State how much consumers can save, what products are on sale, and any other essential details.
Facebook or Zoom are two popular platforms that are relatively inexpensive (if not free) and stable to run events on.
Conclusion: How to Increase Memorial Day Sales
Memorial Day weekend is one of the biggest shopping events on the calendar. You can’t just launch a sale and expect customers to turn up, however, especially if you’re an e-commerce store.
Running ads, making the most of social media, and reaching out to online publications are vital to get the word out. Making sure your sale strikes the right tone with customers will be key to increasing conversions.
But don’t stop there. The best e-commerce stores use the Memorial Day weekend as a jumping-off point and do everything they can to keep holiday sales high after the Memorial Day spike.
Which tactics are you going to use this Memorial Day?
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7 Elements To Cultivate a Prosperous Content Culture
Updated July 7, 2022
As the vehicle driving all public-facing messaging for the organization, content is essential to the success of every department. With all the different goals to achieve, it’s no wonder tension builds when it comes to content production and distribution.
Seemingly competing priorities and a lack of a cohesive workflow can leave your company’s content disjointed and confused. And that’s definitely not the impression you want to make on audiences, including your prospects, brand fans, and loyal customers.
The larger your organization, the more complex content operations are. In most companies, no one team “owns” all content. All stakeholders are likely involved, each with their own content objectives and goals:
- Customer service uses content to educate customers and provide self-serve options to enhance their support programs.
- The SEO team needs content to rank highly in Google and other search engine results to drive highly motivated organic traffic around relevant keyword phrases.
- Demand generation professionals want to see eye-catching content promoted in all channels to increase interest in the brand and its offerings.
- PR is looking for thought leadership pieces, the visibility that drives brand recognition, and authority-building content that helps them land interviews and placements.
- The product team is eager to showcase the features and benefits of this amazing solution they’ve created.
- Sales wants case studies, product sheets, and other collateral content that can help them seal the deal.
- HR and recruitment expect the organization to produce content around company culture, employee satisfaction, and new opportunities to support their pursuit of new talent.
Building a content marketing culture requires everyone to pull in the same direction. In an ideal content culture driven by a unified process, the following things should be agreed on and documented:
- Content objectives
- Content marketing roles
- Content workflow
- Content guidance
- Content approvals
- Content results
Read on for suggestions related to each element.
1. Build a message ‘house’
Unify content efforts across multiple digital channels by building a message architecture, which acts as a guide for aligning content with both customer needs and business objectives. You might find it helpful to create your message architecture in the form of a house:
- At the top of the house is the umbrella message. It aligns content with core business objectives and company vision
- The middle of the house is made up of core message building blocks, including audience profiling, persona targeting, and content and product marketing messages
- The bottom of the house is the foundational support – proof points and message validation
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2. Establish content objectives
Keeping the message architecture in mind, marketing leaders must associate every piece of content with at least one objective. A content objective, as content strategist Meghan Casey explains, is simply “the thing you want a piece of content to accomplish.” Examples:
- Amplify a specific message
- Reach a certain target audience and promote a branded initiative
- Influence an outcome for a specific business unit or decision
- Promote an event
- Build registrations for a webinar
- Drive sales
Content objectives, of course, must tie to both business objectives and audience objectives.
- Business objectives: Know what value the content to be created brings to the business’ overall goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, if the goal is to increase sales by X percent, how many leads do you need? And how can you generate X number of leads through content?
- Audience objectives: Your content must serve a purpose for the intended audience. If you don’t know what your audience wants to accomplish, content results will fall flat. Create content that is useful and helps them take action relevant to their objectives.
Content objectives provide a basis for suggesting the content types that each team should create. For example, to build brand awareness, your best content types could be videos and infographics. To drive demand, you need to use SEO insights to understand content preferences to create webinars, emails, and white papers. If you aim to influence a wider audience, you might go for contributed bylines and thought leadership pieces in industry publications.
As this chart illustrates, content preferences vary by industry based on 65% of results across billions of keywords. For example, health care has a higher percentage of “quick” answers than education, home improvement, finance, travel, and ecommerce. At the same time, regular web listings represent almost 80% of finance industry results. In the ecommerce industry, local three packs are more popular than in any other industry listed.
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3. Define roles and build a culture
Only after you’ve built your message architecture and established content objectives accordingly can you define content marketing roles. Many companies detail the roles prematurely, creating overlap, inefficiency, and turnover.
Roles must be defined by marketing and business leaders if there’s to be a unified culture in which multiple stakeholders own content. Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi identifies possible roles:
- Chief content officer
- Managing editors
- Content creators
- Content producers
- Chief listening officer
As illustrated in this image, when scaling content within your business, culture is at the center, surrounded by the four-step process attributes – from audience-centric to objectively driven and process orientated to built to measure.
When you define your roles – whatever names you may give them – establish one high-level role (chief content officer or equivalent) that drives content strategy. This role sets, upholds, and refines the processes across the content teams even when content owners are decentralized (not all reporting to the same person).
This high-level role is important because a content marketing culture that works requires common processes and a shared messaging system. It demands cross-functional “standards and mechanisms” of governance, as Lisa Welchman refers to them. And someone needs to be in charge of those things. If that role doesn’t have all the content teams officially reporting to them, that person needs to find ways to “matrix manage” across those teams.
Within each team, then, content stars can emerge – those who are most likely to contribute, within their area of expertise, to the success of the content marketing strategy. Define all roles according to the unique skillsets of your people, including any number of hybrid skillsets growing out of disciplines like public relations, thought leadership content, and SEO.
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4. Define comprehensive content workflows
Each team should have a designated person (or people) accountable for understanding and documenting that team’s content workflow. The person should cover not only what it takes to create the content but also the post-production tasks – everything that happens after the content is complete.
Ideally, all those designated people from various teams come together to help each other understand the workflow for each type of content. A sense of the separate workflows helps solidify an understanding of the overall company processes.
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5. Develop guidance for creating key types of content
Designate an accessible place where teams can get familiar with the types of content your organization repeatedly creates: webinars, case studies, white papers, videos, research reports, newsletters, blog posts, infographics, presentations, etc.
For each frequently created content type, offer the following kinds of guidance to all teams:
- Short description (one or two sentences)
- Specifications (a content brief)
- Samples of finished pieces
- A fill-in-the-blank template that walks people through each element of that content type
6. Set up a content approval system
Content teams, over time, may gain authority to create content without the need for approval when the process is strategic. This is the goal of creating a content culture that works. The message house outlined in the first step, for example, helps you avoid approval objections.
If you’re not there yet, make sure that the right people approve your content. Without an adequate approval system, you can end up pumping out content waste – content that’s vapid or wildly off-message, content for the sake of content, or content that does not reflect the brand and that has no real impact on your target personas. In that case, you might as well not bother.
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7. Measure and track results
Someone must measure and track results for your organization to learn whether what you’re doing is effective. What you measure must tie back to your content objectives (as described above).
You need to find ways to measure what your audience does in response to consuming your content. Maybe people give feedback. Maybe they sign up for a demo. Maybe they do something else.
Content measurement may be part art and part science, but to justify continued investment, marketers need to start being more scientific in their analysis of performance and monetary value – as difficult as that can be to pull off.
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Create the culture and success follows
In a content marketing culture that works, the right people with the right experience produce the right content that resonates with the right audience. Departments align their content efforts (even as they work independently), customers accomplish more of their goals, and the business is more successful in delivering on its KPIs.
If you take these seven actions, your organization is on its way to building a content marketing culture that works.
Which of these actions has made the most difference for you? What else have you found contributes to a content marketing culture that works? Please let us know in a comment.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute
7 Elements To Cultivate a Prosperous Content Culture
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