Written by Michael Keenan

August 14, 2020

Thanksgiving: Should you run separate campaigns? Or, gobble it together with the rest of your upcoming holiday deals?

Truth is, Thanksgiving is just as big a spending day as other winter holidays. In 2019, sales for Thanksgiving day totaled $4.2 billion, according to research by Adobe Analytics, with sales up 14.5% from the previous year. 

The same research also revealed that smartphones and tablets were strong for conversions. About 45% of sales took place on mobile for the day, according to Adobe, a 24.4% increase on last year’s actual of 33.5%.

It’s clear that bargain hunters are ready to shop. So how can you get a piece of the pie? Here are seven Thanksgiving Marketing ideas to take advantage of to boost sales this season. 

7 best Thanksgiving Marketing ideas to increase sales

1. Build a Messenger-based gift guide

The NRF predicts consumers will spend a total of about $1,047.83 on gifts this holiday season. Create curated lists or gift guides to help the shoppers get in the festive spirit—and make the shopping experience a little less hectic.

Gift guides are common Thanksgiving marketing campaigns, and it can get potential shoppers interested in your products, or be more inclined to check out what you’re selling. Guides allow online retailers to offer products based on a shopper’s needs, like budget and the gift recipients preferences. 

There are a few key benefits to creating a gift guide in your ManyChat bot:

  • Make customers feel confident they are buying the right gift.
  • Increase average order value and make more sales. 
  • Setup is easy in Flow Builder.

Need a little inspo? Watch this gift-guide video to help you build your gift list. 

*Note: Even though this video was made for Father’s Day, you can still use the same build for any holiday gift guide. 

With a conversational gift guide, you can create a personalized experience for shoppers that makes it easy for them to find the best gifts by chatting with you in Messenger.

2. Offer gifts to your best customers

Thanksgiving is a holiday for sharing and giving, so why not share some love with your best customers by giving them a special gift. A gift could be a special promotion, product giveaway or a contest. 

Focus on a few different high-value segments and create promotions specifically for them, for example:

  • Customers with a customer lifetime value over $1,000.
  • Customers who spent $500 or more in your store during the last holiday season.
  • Customers who bought a specific product, so you can cross-sell a related product.
  • Customers who’ve left you good reviews in your bot or online.

Since these customers likely have a strong behavioral profile, you can offer relevant cross-sell opportunities and recover abandoned carts at a lower cost.

If you haven’t started yet, begin building these high-value audiences in ManyChat creating Customer Segments

creating customer segments

These segments can help make it easier to thank your customers come Thanksgiving. A personalized promotion is always a smart way to kick-off sales and boost profits during the season. 

3. Run a donation campaign to local charity

A donation or fundraiser campaign is another type of Thanksgiving marketing idea that can help you build customer relationships. It feels authentic, and reminds people that your business shares similar viewpoints with them. 

If you’re an eCommerce store, you can support organizations that provide food and housing to families in need. If you have a brick-n-mortar, you can team up with local food drives, foundations, or volunteer organizations who focus on helping your community. 

Some Thanksgiving fundraising campaign ideas you could try are:

  1. Put a percentage of profits from your store towards an organization.
  2. Sell products created by the organization and give 100% profit to them.
  3. Find a sponsor and set up a matching gift drive.
  4. Create Online Giving Days and encourage customers to donate in specific time periods.
  5. Setup a cashback for donations model where customers can earn points or cash if they donate. 

To promote your fundraiser campaign, you can use a variety of different techniques:

  • Run Facebook ads or Instagram Stories ads to reach more people and gain interest in your campaign.
  • Send a promotional message to your SMS subscriber list  
  • Launch an email marketing campaign 
  • Publish a series of posts on your social media profiles
  • Build a transactional flow and promote in your Welcome Message or Main Menu in Messenger

If you’re not sure what charities or organizations to donate to, ask your customers which organizations they’d like to support this Thanksgiving season. 

4. Launch an early Black Friday, Cyber Monday sale event

When’s the last time you had a relaxing holiday season? You know, the kind where you don’t have to shop for Thanksgiving-meal ingredients, decorations, holiday gifts, clothing, etc. Your customers also have a lot going on in November, and will likely get bombarded with messages from other brands this time of year. 

When you launch an early Black Friday, Cyber Monday sale event, you can help customers get all their shopping done early and offer different discounts. You could offer:

  • Limited-Time Offers
  • Daily Deals
  • Mystery Offers
  • Subscriber Specials
  • Clearance Sales
  • Flash Sales
  • Buy One Get One (BOGO) 

Feel free to throw in any extra prizes or giveaways to encourage people to share the deal with their friends and family, and get a jumpstart on the holiday season.

For more inspiration on marketing through the winter holidays, check out this article on Black Friday Marketing ideas to reach more customers and drive sales. 

5. Setup seasonal keywords

If you’re not taking advantage of keyword automation in your ManyChat bot, now’s a great time to start. 

Keywords help move the conversation along with shoppers when they are interacting with your bot. They help your bot understand when people ask it questions outside of the flow you’ve built. 

Think about what people are likely going to ask your bot around the holiday season:

  • What are your shipping times?
  • How can I return my order?
  • What are your latest deals?
  • How do I apply a promo code? 

Another way to use keywords is to trigger Live Chat and notify a support person on your team. Once support receives a notification, they can enter a conversation with the shopper and help them with any problems, questions, or concerns they have. 

6. Run a Thanksgiving holiday challenge

A fun holiday season campaign you could run this Thanksgiving is a 7-day SMS campaign. Whether you call it a challenge or something else, make sure to provide a real solution to a real problem people have over the holidays.

For example, if you sell fitness apparel, you could run a 14-day workout challenge to keep people motivated over the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Thanksgiving Marketing Challenge Day 1

Another idea is to help people relax and take some time for themselves. For instance, you could text daily reminders to meditate, do yoga, go for a walk, make a cool cocktail or dish — whatever closely ties in with your brand. 

 Thanksgiving Marketing Challenge

Don’t be afraid to add a little humor to your campaign, too. If your campaign is relatable, people are more likely to respond to it and enjoy the interaction with your brand. 

For more on how to set up this type of challenge, read How to Create a 7-Day SMS Challenge.

7. Re-market to existing subscribers with sponsored messages

Facebook sponsored messages are messages that you pay to send to everyone who’s ever messaged your Business Page through your Messenger bot or Live Chat. You can use sponsored messages during the Thanksgiving holiday to reach an engaged target audience at a lower price

“1,000% use sponsored messages during the holiday season,” Lauren P… Founder of Mongoose Media explains, “it’s the most expensive time of the year for Facebook ads. The auction pressure is ridiculous. I cannot emphasize this more that speaking to your audience will be the cheapest through sponsored messages”

Sponsored messages are also a great option for Thanksgiving promotions because they are easy to personalize, and re-open the 24-hour messaging window for organic communication in Messenger.  

For more tips and tricks on using sponsored messages in your Thanksgiving marketing strategy, read this Brief Guide to Facebook Sponsored Messages

Getting the most from your Thanksgiving marketing efforts

The more value you can give customers, the more you communicate with them on their terms, the more likely they are to support your business and buy from your online store. 

Thanksgiving marketing is about sharing and caring for your customers. Meet your shoppers on the channel that they are most likely using, add humor and empathy, and help solve their problem so they can have a relaxing holiday season — and turn to you for their shopping needs. 

Get more customers and drive sales this Thanksgiving season with ManyChat Pro. Upgrade today.