This guide sheds light on the things you need to be doing in order to run a successful marketing strategy for Christmas.
Christmas person or not, you’ve got to admit, the holidays are a special time unlike any other. The holiday spirit makes everything seem so surreal to an almost palpable level, with a certain sentimentality that is hard to miss.
There are the food and age-old traditions to look forward to, and the twinkling lights, Christmas carols and seasonal red and green colours add an element of magic to the season, without which it cannot be complete.
Christmas is a time we get to spend special moments with our loved ones, and a time to reach out to the less fortunate. A great time to take some time off and reflect on the year that’s been. Everyone is nice, you wonder why life can’t be this good all year.
Beyond the Sparkle: The Pragmatic Cap
If you run an eCommerce business, however, you are bound to see beyond the Christmas elves and cute kittens donning big red bows. Because there is no time like the festive to push your products.
A friend once pointed out that people naturally tend to be unusually openhanded this time of year. That they are more likely to oblige to your requests (whatever those may be) because the psychological defences are down.
Looking at it from a marketing perspective, it is indeed true that sales tend to be particularly high around the Christmas holiday. And while we are not intimating that you arm-twist people to bend to your wishes, as an online store owner, you want to make sure you have a marketing strategy for Christmas that helps you cash in on the furore.
However, the thing about this type of strategy [built around a particular occasion or event] is that it calls for more than just offering a few good deals or offers, and more so when you are an online business.
Of course, such marketing gimmicks do go some way in catching your target customer’s eye, but more importantly, you need a solid marketing foundation to make them more effective. You need to know how to effectively promote your offer or deal on the Internet. And you need to know which tools can best help you push that agenda.
If you are looking to put together a good marketing strategy for Christmas, this article outlines a couple of marketing tips that can help supercharge your online efforts while also shedding light on the mandatory areas you need to address.
Let’s break it down into two sections, the first highlighting tips that can help you in creating an effective holiday marketing strategy, and the second making a mention of those areas that need rethinking.
Starting with the former…
Pinpoint your Seasonal Products
One of the first things you need to do when formulating your marketing strategy for Christmas is to hone in on those items that are most likely to perform well during the mad holiday dash.
If you have been running the business for a while, you can refer to historical sales data to give you a glimpse into those products or services that move fast between the months of November and January.
If you happen to have such a product, you need to focus more efforts behind that. But while you do, careful not to neglect your other auxiliary products/services that you could deliver to customers as a cross-promotion or upsell.
Having products that sell like hotcakes during the holiday season can boost your sales significantly. But don’t limit yourself to those offerings only. Look beyond them. Consider other products and promotions that have converted well throughout the year.
Ask yourself if these high-converting items (or promotions) resulted in better profit margins or led to recurring sales across the year. Then find out ways you can include them in your Christmas promotions.
Have a Clear Understanding of your Audience
Devising a successful marketing strategy for Christmas also involves understanding your audience properly.
Are your customers’ young men in college or women in their mid-20s? Are they high-flying career women in their mid-30s or men in their 40s who boast a high spending power? Are they male and/or female kids between the ages of eight and 10 or an elder demographic well into their retirement?
Having this clear definition will hold sway over your entire marketing strategy as it influences everything from the promotion channel, to a tone of voice, to timing, choice of colour, packaging, typography and a whole lot more.
Create Effective Campaign Schedules
If you have waited until after Halloween to launch your marketing strategy for Christmas, no need to worry; there is still some time to salvage the situation.
Launching promotions may sound easy but don’t do it just so you check off that box. Determine first which promotions you need to run. Identify the best time to run them. Then establish the best channels to run those promotions.
The good thing about the timing is that there is already a tried and tested holiday pattern that works for most businesses.
Like many businesses, you could decide to run your marketing campaign between November and January. Starting the promotions at the beginning of November can, for instance, net the early birds (or late shoppers) looking for good deals, especially those fast-moving holiday products.
This is a theme you can stick up to the customary Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials when you can opt to run exclusive deals for this short three-day window.
Your marketing campaign schedule should also take into account the period after Christmas given holiday shopping extends well into the month of January. In fact, the busiest time in many brick-and-mortar stores tends to be the day immediately after Christmas. Post-Christmas promotions can also help you boost your online sales heading into the new year.
Run Campaigns by Channel
Normally, most eCommerce business owners promote their products in the usual spots – AdWords, retargeting and paid social ads on Facebook and that other network. Which is fine if you are getting your products in front of the right eyes and in the right places.
If your offering is more visually appealing and calls for greater inspection, Instagram or Pinterest might be better platforms to market on. These are visual-based platforms best suited for “styles” businesses such as travel, home living, and clothing & apparel where purchases tend to be visually motivated.
They are also mediums that work effectively among consumers who are lifestyle-oriented.
For its part, Facebook guarantees awesome targeting and layering options.
When building your Facebook campaign for Christmas (or any other time for that matter), don’t fall into the trap of being all things to all people.
Targeted Facebook ads work best when you place emphasis on the products and services that perform best with a particular audience – it is our belief that by now you have a clear idea of who makes up your audience, or which demographic is your most ideal target.
Make use of Facebook Insights to aid you in determining the type of content that has struck a chord most with a certain audience. Do you have products that fall into that niche? Then chances are that market is ripe for picking, and all you need to do is show these prospects the right products.
If your marketing strategy for Christmas ventures into AdWords, make sure you are familiar with Ad Extensions. This is a feature that allows you to update all your ad extensions with a solid CTA (call-to-action) that promotes special holiday bundles, pricing and shipping.
You can schedule callout extensions which are particularly good for those last-minute urgency promotions which let your customers know that if they place an order with you, their delivery will arrive by Christmas Eve.
The good thing about including price extensions in your ads is that they can help those individuals who are still not sure about making a purchase. This is the festive shopping season, so why not have price extensions that are helpful and help get the information in front of those interested in buying, right?
Remarketing has always been a great marketing strategy for eCommerce store owners, particularly during the holidays when buyers are highly inspired to buy. Avoid going overboard with it despite it being the festive season, though; nobody likes getting pestered, holiday season or not.
Come up with clever lists that can dish ads with dynamic product feeds or think about employing the same approach with your callout extensions.
Be specific, not vague, for it is a turnoff. Let the prospect know you have their best interest in mind (or at heart), and serve them trust-building messages and shipping reminders that let them know you can make good on your delivery promise and deliver whatever it is they want when they need it.
Don’t Forget your Existing Customers
In the chase for new customers, it is easy to get so caught up in it that you forget about your existing customers. And by existing customers, we don’t necessarily mean your most loyal buyers who purchase on a frequent basis.
What about those people who made their first purchase from you last holiday season? Have they come back again now? Have they ever?
If you have cooled your heels on that front since last year, there has never been a better time to bring them back into the fold with your new offerings. Irrespective of the e-commerce platform you are using, it should have some sort of customer purchase history, listing the individual purchases made by each customer.
Your marketing strategy for Christmas should incorporate this data as well, building targeted email lists out of it. You can then reach out to them by, say, giving special offers that feature similar products they bought, or better yet, different products to accompany their previous buy.
And now for those areas that you need to tweak for the holiday shopping season…
As you sit to think about the approach you want to take on your holiday marketing strategy, one of the first things you need to do is align your logo with the Christmas theme.
This doesn’t mean to give your logo a complete overhaul, no; just a dash of suggestive creativity should be enough.
If you are wondering why you need to tweak your logo for the holiday season, don’t forget that this is your foremost mark of identity. Your customers use your logo to associate you and your products, and adding a Christmas twist to it helps you connect with them in a much better way during the festive season.
A logo attuned to the holiday season is also another psychological way of letting your customers know that you have something special for them this Christmas. This is something you have definitely seen big brands do year after year with great results, and you too could borrow a leaf.
Update your Website Homepage
The homepage of your business website creates that first impression with your visitors, while also interacting with them on behalf of the other web pages.
That in mind, this should very much be a component of your marketing strategy for Christmas as it will help give your visitors a glimpse of your holiday season campaign. A Christmas-themed homepage creates that first impression that they are at the right place (at the right time) and chances are they will find something nice for the season in your store.
If you have a Christmas promotion running on a landing page (see below), this also needs to link to the homepage.
Design a Landing Page for your Christmas Promotion
Once you are done putting together the perfect Christmas deal for your customers, featured it in your homepage and tweaked the logo to match, next thing you should think about is the landing page.
The landing page is different from the homepage in that it is very specific on what its call-to-action seeks to have the viewer achieve. Plus, it can be placed in various places – email campaign or ad, for instance – with the general aim of generating traffic.
In this case, you should design a landing page pushing for the holiday offer(s) you are running on your website so that your customers are able to get all the details about your Christmas promotion at a single place and in an unambiguous fashion.
Of course, the graphics of the landing page should be catchy and aligned with the festive theme. The success of your Christmas-themed landing page will largely depend on how good you are able to present it in front of your customers, so the need to painstakingly invest in it so as to get it right.
Don’t Forget the Power of Email
We did allude to email marketing earlier, but just to elaborate on that a little further, let’s say that email marketing is a powerful tactic that can beef up your marketing strategy for Christmas.
Lest you forget, email is by far the most successful online marketing strategy even in this world of social media. Really.
Check out these great Abandoned Cart Email Strategies
As far as email marketing and Christmas season go, ditch the usual and design a perfect email (if there ever was one) for your Christmas deal to dispatch to your customers, existing and potential.
Use your social networks of choice to promote your holiday message in order to increase your sales during this lucrative period.
In closing, it is still not too late to ramp up your holiday promotional efforts. And even if it was, all is not lost; there is always next year to look forward to.
Otherwise, by following what we have discussed here, you are better placed to put together a marketing strategy for Christmas that actually works. Because these are the major things you need to be looking at when running a successful online marketing campaign.
Also, note that additional tools and portals may come in handy depending on the nature of your business. Nevertheless, let it never be lost on you that at the end of the day, what matters most is quality, not quantity.
Best of luck in your holiday marketing efforts!