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Labor Day is a popular consumer holiday in the United States, which spells opportunity for any business.

For most consumers, this holiday simply means a day off of work. There aren’t big celebrations, as there are with July 4th. There aren’t big special activities, as there are with Halloween or Easter, so it’s a little harder to come up with creative marketing approaches.

But the Labor Day Sale institution has become so big, it’s almost as big as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any other holiday marketing institution.

There are, however, other ways to rake in returns during this holiday.

If it’s too late to try these techniques this Labor Day, don’t worry. They can be applied to virtually any other popular holiday.

The Labor Day Sale

As mentioned, this is a staple. No matter what your business is, you can earn money by slashing prices on Labor Day. Naturally, get this across to your customers through your advertising and marketing channels.

Contests

There is always room for more contests. If you can relate your contest’s content to your business, great. If not, come up with something engaging, like a photo contest.

Contest entries and results should be posted across your network – on blogs, social media accounts, and so forth. This will help increase engagement and draw more people in to your funnel.

One way to seriously boost engagement is by creating a tiered Labor Day Sale structure. For instance, offer a base discount to everyone, then increase the discount to contest participants, and offer a special prize to the contest winner.

Social Sharing Rewards

Another way to increase social engagement is by offering discounts for social sharing. In the same way that you can offer discounts to contest participants, you can offer sales prices to social sharers.

You can run this like a sweepstakes – offering a “chance to win” for anyone who shares – or you can create a tiered system, like the one mentioned above.

Events

Hosting an event means that you have to stay open – if you’re a physical retailer or a local business, that is. Remember that since most businesses are closed, those who work at those businesses are free to shop and attend a promotional event.

Cross-Promote and Cross-Target

This is a great time to promote non-competitors’ products or services. Consider that this time of year is also when many kids are returning to school. If you join forces with a non-competitive business, you can strike up a cross-promotional deal that can help you expand your audience.

While they may not want to promote your products, that doesn’t mean you can’t earn money.

Affiliate marketing and advertising are viable income sources for many businesses. When partnering with another business or promoting for them, you can potentially earn a decent chunk of change with an affiliate deal.

The best way to do this is by finding businesses whose target audience overlaps with your own.

Tips for Getting It Right

To get your Labor Day marketing down, you’ll need to follow a few basic steps.

Here are key principles to follow for Labor Day campaigns:

  • Start early. Ensure that your email list and your social media followers know about upcoming sales, contests, and promotions. One week should be the minimum, but don’t be afraid to start even earlier. Many retailers and businesses will promote sales weeks or even months in advance. Get your promotion fixed in your customers’ minds soon, or they’ll find another sale to focus on.
  • Target the right keywords. Consumers know about Labor Day Sales and hunt for the best deals in town. In your content marketing and social media efforts, target the proper keywords. The biggest and most relevant are: labor day sales, labor day meaning, labor day activities, and labor day 2015 (or the current year).
  • Stick to the holiday theme. Though many sales bear little relationship to the actual holiday, you should still do whatever you can to create a relationship with the holiday. This can come in the sales copy, the types of products you’re selling, and so forth. Since Labor Day is about relaxing from work, for instance, create sales and marketing content that revolves around work, relaxation, hard-earned money, and so forth.
  • Include special shipping, gift cards, and ramp up your loyalty program. These “add-ons” will only increase conversions. The more bang customers get for their bucks, the more likely they will be to perceive the sale as a great deal.
  • Track, log, and optimize. This probably won’t be your last Labor Day or holiday marketing campaign, so you should naturally be analyzing every bit of data that comes your way. To a certain degree, any holiday marketing campaign is transferable to any other, so you can learn from your Labor Day campaign and apply those insights to future campaigns.

Labor Day should be part of your annual holiday marketing calendar. Whether you just run a sale or whether you cross-promote contests through affiliates, these tips and ideas should help you get off on the right foot. And if you’ve already missed Labor Day in 2015, you can apply these lessons to other big holidays, from Black Friday to Christmas.