Wait, did I just say get ready for the holidays?? I know, it seems like school just got out and we should be at the beach! But we all should be thinking about the holiday season. Now is the time to start figuring out your holiday marketing plans to capitalize on this very important time of year.

So what can you do now? You can certainly send your customers an online survey to figure out what their buying habits might look like around the holidays. With the economy the way it has been it’s going to be very different from previous years, so it might be a good idea if you understand what these differences will be.

Here’s just a few ideas of survey questions you could ask broken out by if you market your products to a consumer (B2C) or a business (B2B).

What will your customers be looking to spend this holiday season?

B2C – Will they be buying “bargain” gifts under $5, $10, $15 or more? This gives you an idea of the types of products you should be offering.

B2B – Business gift buying starts pretty early so make sure you’re ready. You may find that if you give your customers incentives to buy early, you’ll have more people taking you up on a discount.

For both B2C & B2B – Consider asking your customers to rank best sellers from last year with a few new products you might want to sell this season. This will help you define what you need to be pushing in your email marketing campaigns.

What’s it going to take to drag them across your finish line?

B2C – Since the last part of the year has customers focused from “buying for me” to “buying for you” your customers will be encouraged by many things to make them purchase. Find out which ones they want from you by having them rank things like discounts, free shipping, last minute shopping deals, early bird discounts and bundles & baskets.

When are they going to start holiday shopping: September, October, November, Last Minute?

B2C – Having an idea of when your customers will start the holiday shopping season certainly gives you an idea of how early you can start your “early bird specials”. Plus it might even allow you to get to know in advance how much you’ll need to be scrambling towards the last minute of the season.

B2B – All businesses buying products to keep their business running look for special end-of-year/end-of-quarter deals. Plus many of these businesses might lose budget if they don’t spend it. You might want to ask them when they think they’ll be making a purchase of a product or service you offer. Then follow up with them and make it happen.

How do your customers like their experience with your website?

B2C & B2B – You might want to put a survey link at the end of a purchase process or in the footer template of your website asking your customers how they liked their experience.  Were there too many clicks? Do they need live chat or click-to-call functionality built into your site? Was the purchase process to onerous? Making changes now, will get you ready for the holiday season.

When will they start planning their holiday functions?

B2B – If you’re in the event, restaurant or hotel business, businesses are looking NOW to book their holiday parties so you’ll need to find out what they’re looking for in order to accommodate them. A survey to customers who’ve had events with you in the past asking if they’ll be having another event is a great way to get them thinking about you first. You might include questions like “How many people would attend?” and what any specific needs would be for their event. This helps you in a follow-up call or email to them with specific ideas around what they want. Take the work out of it for them.

Finally, you’ll need to look at your survey results and make some decisions on what you’ll be offering this holiday season. I know it sounds early, but planning now will help make the upcoming holiday season more successful and hopefully less stressful! Check out VerticalResponse Surveys if you don’t already have a provider.

© 2009 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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