Labor Day is one of the best opportunities for sales and promotions, especially if you own a brick-and-mortar establishment. A long weekend and the last hurrah of summer vacation often coincide with shopping—consumers spent more than $2.6 billion on Labor Day in 2020. But how do online retailers capitalize on this opportunity, especially with so much competition for consumer attention? Here’s a look at the best Labor Day marketing practices for a successful summer close-out.
Start Planning Your Promotion Early
If you’re on time, you’re late. Early promotion helps maximize the traffic to your site. We recommend planning your Labor Day marketing campaign 2-3 months in advance so you can begin promoting 3 to 4 weeks before the start of the sale.
When planning your Labor Day marketing campaign, first identify any deals or discounts you want to offer. Keep your inventory in mind. If you’re thinking in May or June, make sure you will have items in stock in September. Consider previous sales years and current lead times on shipping so you are well prepared to keep up with demand.
Next, think outside the box. Customer inboxes will be flooded with 15% off coupons. You can stand out by hosting an event or giveaway. Think about your ideal customer. What would bring a smile to their face or show a deep understanding of their interests?
Then, you can start preparing your Labor Day marketing material and planning your promotion ideas. Consider whether you will use a digital marketing strategy or focus more on physical advertising materials like signs, flyers, and posters. Go where your customers are. If your sales volume is entirely online, it will make sense to advertise digitally. If you have a physical storefront, you will want local signage supporting your promotion.
For example, you could post photos of customers using any products you plan on giving away on social media to build hype about the sale. You can also use email marketing to promote freebies, announce giveaways, or share tips on using your products. Just make sure to tie the messaging back to Labor Day so customers understand exactly when the sale is happening.
You want to create a sense of suspense and excitement with your Labor Day marketing. You also want to ensure that your promotion ideas stick in their heads so they won’t forget. In the weeks leading up to the sale, begin promoting it as aggressively as possible without overwhelming customers.
A good rule of thumb is to vary your messaging. Each email you send should have a different headline and different image, for example, so customers do not tune you out.
Know Your Customers
While promoting early is important, your strategy will fail if you do not keep your current customers in mind. Leading up to your sale, use surveys, polls, and different types of interactive content to get information directly from your customers. These results should inform your Labor Day marketing ideas.
For example, on Memorial Day, you could ask on social media, who’s traveling this long weekend? If 90% of your followers say they’re staying home, you can infer that you may have an audience for a future holiday weekend webinar or live stream. If, on the other hand, most people say they will be driving to the beach, you may want to consider starting your upcoming Labor Day promotion before the actual holiday, knowing that much of your audience will unplug.
Customer data also helps determine which items to promote. For instance, a 2019 survey found that 54% of customers wanted summer clearance clothes, 23% were looking for fall apparel, and 11% were looking for electronics. Finding out your customer’s preferences in advance can help you come up with Labor Day promotion ideas that are bound to be successful.
While you shouldn’t be afraid to take risks, getting a better understanding of your customers and what they want from a Labor Day sale will increase the chances that your marketing efforts will succeed.
Try a Giveaway or Contest
Earlier we mentioned thinking outside the box. Giveaways and contests are clever Labor Day marketing techniques that will help build hype for your sale and stand out from the crowd.
Instagram accounts that hold contests grow their following 70% faster than those that don’t. Many new customers come to a brand through one of these campaigns. So, you may miss out on an untapped demographic by not using contests and giveaways in your Labor Day marketing strategy.
Another reason to love contests and giveaways as a Labor Day promotion idea is that you will see a high return on your investment. Contests have a conversion rate of 34%, which is much higher than other types of content. The anticipation of winning a free product or the excitement that contests bring naturally leads shoppers to engage more with your brand, especially if they’re new customers.
Giveaways tend to work best when they involve a sense of urgency. Saying that we will give away a prize sometime this year does not entice customers to take action in the same way as winner drawn tomorrow morning. Consider giving away free samples of products that are about to go on sale during Labor Day to entice customers to shop and reduce excess inventory. Other ideas include branded merchandise, limited edition products, or even gift cards to your store.
Those who don’t win the contest can receive a coupon consolation prize with the discount only available during your Labor Day sale. Remember, the goal of your marketing is to raise brand awareness and generate interest in your upcoming Labor Day event.
If you’ve never run a campaign like this before and you’re having trouble getting a response, make sure the entry is easy for customers. Optimize the entry process by creating an autofill option, limiting the number of fields required, and be sure to post at peak times. You’ll see far more engagement if you limit any friction for users entering the contest. Make sure that your Labor Day marketing contests are simple and to the point so you don’t lose potential customers in the sign-up process.
Put a Time Limit on Sales
Once your sale starts, you’ll want to think about when it stops. If you want to increase the success rate of your Labor Day marketing efforts, you should consider putting a time limit on any sales or opportunities. If customers think they have a long time to act, they may never actually pull an item into their cart. As mentioned earlier, putting a time limit on opportunities creates a sense of urgency that can be great for your business.
Make it clear in posts that the sale is exclusive to Labor Day or ends at a certain point. Use wording in your copy to convey a sense of urgency. Phrases like “Hurry!”, “Limited Time Offer” or “Don’t Miss Out” can psychologically influence customers to make a decision faster because it creates a fear that they will lose an amazing opportunity.
Source: Smart Insights
If you have the ability, you may even want to add a countdown clock that shows viewers exactly how long they have to decide. This can be a powerful visual that puts into perspective how long they have to take advantage of your offer. Doing so will force customers to pay attention to your Labor Day marketing strategies to either take action or move on.
Also, consider highlighting the potential price increases after your sale. For instance, rather than just saying 30% off, show them the discounted price alongside the standard price, so they can easily understand how much money they will save.
You may also want to use scarcity to test any Labor Day promotion ideas. For instance, you could offer free samples to the first 100 customers who show up to the sale or do the same for those who sign up for your email list. You could also boost your Labor Day marketing by offering limited edition products that are only available during this sale. If customers don’t show up, they will miss out forever.
Making it clear that they will miss out on an amazing opportunity if they don’t act fast will go a long way toward converting potential customers who may have otherwise been on the fence.
Don’t Forget About Back to School
Lastly, you can take advantage of an often overlooked audience. Many Labor Day marketing campaigns focus heavily on the end-of-summer element, especially if the same companies already ran back-to-school sales in early August.
But just because the calendar has turned to September does not mean families are done shopping for school supplies and clothes. Parents spent a total of $32.5 billion on back-to-school items in 2021, which equates to about $600 per child.
Try using school-themed marketing or pushing fall products instead of highlighting summer clearance. If your product line does not quite fit with the school cycle, consider a teacher appreciation discount, a percentage off for college students, or another school tie-in to relate to the season.
As an example of this Labor Day promotion idea, in 2019, Staples offered a 5% discount to teachers and kids who shopped at their stores and used #ThankATeacher. One winner received $10,000 in supplies for their school.
Ultimately, it may be wise to consider the season from both angles and offer a mix of back-to-school and end-of-summer items. That way, you don’t miss out on either demographic.
Coalition Technologies is an industry expert in digital marketing, search engine optimization, and web design. Contact one of our Digital Strategists to learn more about our marketing services.