Summer is here and so is the national holiday that brings Americans together like no other: Independence Day, the 4th of July.
Ever since that July day in 1776 when the colonies adopted their Declaration of Independence and signaled their desire to free themselves from Great Britain and the rule King George III Americans have celebrated with vigor their lives, liberty, and the chance they have to pursue happiness in one of the world’s largest democracies.
The Fourth of July, though, is more than a national holiday these days; it is also one of the major marketing events of the year. Like the Superbowl, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, and Christmas, the Fourth of July is a major landmark on the marketing calendars of firms from mom-and-pop corner stores through to some of the world’s largest corporations.
And consumers? They’re spending up big.
In recent years, for example, spending on Fourth of July events, merchandise, and other goods leapt more than 50% year on year, and it is expected to climb higher again in 2015. The average American spends some $300 on Fourth of July celebrations, including around $30 on fireworks to ensure the day goes off with a bang!
All that spending represents a great opportunity for business large and small to tailor their marketing to the holiday and take a piece of that $300 for themselves. A little creativity, a smattering of red, white, and blue, and you could see your Fourth of July sales spike higher than a celebratory firework.
Here are ten ideas to help your Fourth of July marketing campaign this Independence Day.
Facebook the Fourth
Americans love celebrating the Fourth, they love social media, and they love taking selfies. Why not take advantage of this trend to brighten up your company Facebook page with patriotic selfies from your customers? Offer a prize for the picture with the most likes before the Fourth and let your customers supply the content and drive your traffic for you. You’ll get to know your customers better, build your community on the social network, and create publicity in exchange for providing a prize – perfect, right?
Red, White, and Blue
Whatever your selling, look for ways to bring your red, white, and blue product front and center. Whether its hardware or handbags, books or Buicks, make sure you are putting your patriotically colored merchandise front and centre in your print, online, social, and in-store advertising. A little bunting, some banners, some rosettes, and you can dress up a boring display of toasters until it looks like they are endorsed by Thomas Jefferson himself.
Get Creative on Social
When Zappos wanted to celebrate the Fourth of July they had to get creative. After all, the online shoe retailer sells a product that is primarily made overseas so, despite their physical presence in the US, how can they appeal to their customers American values? Like this:
Specials on Shipping
It’s well known that one of the biggest turn-offs for online consumers is the cost of shipping. Indeed, offering free shipping is one of the best ways to convert unsure buyers into confirmed customers, and then inspire them with confidence for the next time they are shopping online. If your business can absorb a few days of free shipping costs in exchange for customers who’ll be back, happy and ready to spend, the next time round, the Fourth of July offers a great opportunity to test this in the field.
It’s the little things that you do that convert customers from one-time buyers into confirmed clients, and even brand ambassadors. Make your next sale memorable by including something extra in the shipping package or shopping bag of your customers in the lead up to the Fourth. Can you add a patriotic button to each sale? What about a jar of red, white, and blue jellybeans on the counter for every kid who visits the store with their parents? Online its easy to add an American flag to any orders you ship in the week before Independence Day, and you can be sure it will make you stand out from your competitors.
Re-Present Your Products
If you’re in the fireworks, beer, hotdog, or barbecue business then you probably don’t have to think very hard about whether consumers will think of your products on Independence Day. But what if you’re in the hardware business? Is anyone really planning on repainting the house or fixing that creaking floor this July 4th? Probably not – but this doesn’t mean you can’t present your products in a way that will inspire a visit to your store. Here’s what Lowe’s posted last year to achieve exactly that response:
— Lowe's (@Lowes) July 3, 2013
A Nod to Nathans
Enjoying a hot dog or two on Independence Day is an American tradition. But downing dozens live on TV at Coney Island is something that Nathans has been promoting for more than 40 years. Can you cook up something similar in your town? You don’t have to go all out and inspire feats of gluttony – and in this day and age maybe that’s not the best look for health-conscious consumers – but why not host a competition for the best hot dog recipe? Do you add cheese, onions, ketchup and relish? Sauerkraut or not? Toast the bun? Challenge your customers to come up with the best hot dog recipe and offer a prize to the best.
With more and more Americans going online to share, get social, and shop, the way you present yourself and your company online can be a big part of attracting clients to your business. As the Fourth of July gets closer, make sure you update your web presence to something a little more patriotic. Change your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media cover and header images to red, white, and blue themed alternatives. Make sure your website is dollied up for the occasion, whether that involves a change on the front page or just a link to a page of your Fourth of July specials. These mall changes can drive enthusiasm for your brand, and sales, too.
This year the Fourth of July falls on a Saturday, and this has some implications for your business. For one, any promotion you do can be big knowing that most people won’t be due in at work the next day. If you’re promoting a late night event then you can go all out because most people won’t have to wake up early the next day. Use the date to your advantage and think of how you can make the most of every hour through to midnight, and even beyond!
Kids love to celebrate Independence Day, too, but just because they aren’t going to spend in your store doesn’t mean you shouldn’t target them in your marketing efforts. Simple efforts aimed at getting kids into your retail store – face paining, patriotic balloon giveaways, costume contests – gives you a chance to show you’re invested in your community…and get parents into the store, too. Mom and Dad arrive with kids in hand and credit cards in their wallets – and by showing you can offer a cheap and fun morning or afternoon in store for their child you might just convert a parent or two into a customer.
Got your own ideas for the Fourth of July? Let us know in comments below or on Twitter!