Now that the holidays are almost here or just about over, you might be dreading those listless days of January when people return to work and place a “cease and desist” order on any more online shopping. Even worse, some of your November and December shoppers will start returning their purchases.

Yes, it’s almost time for the annual post-holiday sales slump, a phenomenon that can actually undo a good chunk of your sales revenues from the prior two months.

While you can’t completely stop the post-holiday sales slump, you can dampen some of its monetary fallout by using these six sales tactics on your website (or even brick-and-mortar store):

Play on consumer (i.e., human) psychology.

Clinical psychologists tell us that we are likely to feel let-down or even depressed after planning for and then undergoing a big event like Christmas. The solution, in many cases, is to start planning something new- including a new promotion, sale, discount, etc.

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In light of this information, don’t go quiet after the holidays are over. Consider how you might spark curiosity even now by dropping hints about a big upcoming discount, a loyalty program incentive, a freebie, or a clearance sale. You may even wish to create a special “under construction” page on your website to solidify the idea that something big is going to happen soon.

Once you start dropping hints, invite interested parties to sign up on a special opt-in page. Taking this step will not only alert you about consumers who are most likely to buy, it’ll also help you grow your email list.

Don’t start a price war.

It’s important to keep your current customers in mind when offering item discounts or having a clearance sale. The last thing you want to incite is buyer’s remorse from people who just bought an iPad mini 3 from your website and now see it offered at half price a few days after New Year’s. In fact, unwisely discounting items can actually result in a huge spike in returns, refunds and complaints.

Instead, offer discounts on items that might complement major recent purchases. For example, if you notice that you sold a bunch of purple sweaters recently, offer discounted purple scarves that complement these sweaters. Alternately, offer a unique discount on those aforementioned iPad mini 3’s to only those customers who purchased one in the past.

Go with the holiday hangover flow.

Until the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, people are stuffing their faces, spending money, having parties and gaining weight.

On New Year’s Day, many upon many of these individuals will undergo a mindset shift and resolve to either lose weight, stop smoking, start exercising, or otherwise become healthier and more productive in the new year. After all that holiday partying, they will also consider how to best clean and organize their homes.

Before these resolutions fizzle, you can swoop in and take advantage of that new mindset shift by strategically gearing your affiliate or other product promotions towards those noble goals. Emphasize a fresh start or achievement, a new personal goal, etc. within your ads and copy. Place a deadline on your promotions too- ideally, it’s best to have your sales end by January 31st,  before the onslaught of that chocolate holiday known as Valentine’s Day.

Create a daily deal page or website.

Daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial continue to be popular, no matter what the season or holiday, because they offer sizable discounts on products. Keep in mind that consumers don’t just shop when there is a holiday approaching- they also shop when there is a deal or discount. And there are definitely those consumers who are going to purchase “what Santa forgot to bring.”

In light of this, create your own daily deal page, or even an entire daily deal website. Work with other affiliates or marketers to showcase related deals, especially those that target New Year’s resolutions. Encourage your current customers and/or email subscribers to try out your daily deals area by offering them a discount coupon or free shipping.

Start socializing.

Many of your customers will be taking time off from work to travel and/or visit family. During this time, they are much more likely to be on social networks and checking out what their family and friends are up to.

You can take advantage of this “down” time by creatively engaging your customers through social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Post videos of consumers using your products, for example, or offer a unique post-holiday discount to individuals who comment on one of your tweets. Alternately, generate buzz around your upcoming January event via several networks.

Retarget your ads.

The statistics on ad retargeting leading to an increase in conversions, click-through rates (CTRs) and purchases are pretty amazing. Here are just some of the highlights:

  • Retargeting can result in a 147% higher conversion rate.
  • CTRs for retarget vs. display ads are 10 to 1.
  • Consumers who see retargeted ads are 70% more likely to convert.
  • Branded search following ad retargeting increased by 1046%.
  • With retargeting, shopping cart completion increases 26%.

In light of such data, it makes sense to invest a bit of time and energy into retargeting, whether you’re using Google AdWords, Facebook FBX, Twitter’s new Tailored Audience exchange. Retargeting can mean not only increased post-holiday purchases, but increased purchases all year long.

How have you dealt with the post-holiday sales slump on your affiliate website or store? Let us know in the comments below.

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