If you haven’t started your Christmas & holidays marketing, you need to start NOW.
It may seem early but in order to have your business ready for Christmas, you need to have started planning and be ready to market those plans very soon.
Christmas seems like it was only a few months ago but make no mistake about it, the tinsel will be on the shelves at shops & the sounds of Jingle Bells will soon be following you around shopping centres once again.
In 2020 to 2021 with the Covid-19 pandemic, people want a special Christmas more than ever. Internet searches are already high with terms related to Christmas, Christmas shopping and the holiday season. In previous years, the public could get a bit over early Christmas advertising, but with the pandemic it is different. People are planning for Christmas earlier than ever, no doubt something to look forward to. More people are searching and shopping online and it’s time to get your Christmas marketing plan started NOW.
For ANY business you need to think about your marketing for Christmas and the holidays season. From updating and checking your ecommerce store, to online advertising and SEO, it all takes time .. and it’s running out to be effective! It may seem like Christmas campaigns start earlier every year, so when is the right time to start your Christmas campaign?
Business Chrismas plans should start by July (at least)
For big brands that need to secure prime media placements, planning starts early in the year. Did you know that some big brands actually start planning for the next Christmas on 26 December. While most, smaller businesses don’t necessarily have to start that early, the sooner the better really is key. 40% of Australians have started their Christmas shopping by the end of October. Being in market and front of mind before this point is important for any business looking for a merry Christmas.
Be ready to start promoting in September
One of the biggest mistakes a business can make is not giving marketing enough time to work its magic. At Coast Creative we see a big difference when clients launch campaigns earlier with top of funnel brand content, before transitioning to content focused on sales activation.
Starting Christmas campaign planning in July gives most businesses ample time to come up with ideas, create assets, and prepare media plans. Once you’ve created your plan you should start running promotions in early September. An added bonus is media costs don’t spike until October so you’ll be getting a better bang for buck.
Why should you start Christmas marketing plans early?
Christmas Shopping Starts During Cyber Week
Your Christmas campaign needs to be well underway before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year Black Friday is 26th November and Cyber Monday is 29th November 2021, however, sales can now start a bit before that and end just after – so it’s typically about a week of online sales – now known as ‘Cyber Week’.
A lot of consumers will be looking for bargains and Cyberweek kicks off Christmas sales. Australians are changing their spending habits by shopping earlier and taking advantage of popular sales.
Online Christmas Shopping Is On The Rise
If you’re not yet online, don’t wait until Christmas. Especially since the start of the pandemic, more consumers are choosing to shop online, rather than walking into a physical store. This gives them greater choice and the ability to avoid those dreaded Christmas crowds.
It may seem like it goes without saying, but make sure your website is set-up seamlessly for online sales before you start your campaign. You should test the check-out process and ensure there are no barriers for customers.
Christmas & Holiday Competition Is High
Around the festive period competition for your customer’s attention is high. If you start advertising earlier this gives you a chance to get ahead of the game. It can take a while for digital campaigns to gain traction online and also for new customers to gain trust. So by planning early before your competitors, you can increase your share of voice in the market.
This will also help decrease the cost of your ads. If you choose to advertise at the busiest sales period, there is more competition for placements, which means a higher cost-per-click. Distribute your advertising so your brand is visible in the months before, when competitors aren’t and therefore costs are lower.
What if you have started your planning by July
Not to worry, just get started NOW. Follow the tips below ASAP and get going!
Get your website and online store Christmas & holidays ready
Here’s a list of easy things to do to make sure your website and online presence is ready for your festive season marketing campaigns:
Different types of online stores need to come up with different kind of marketing strategies.
If you are selling gift items, you should be going full throttle in marketing, because gift shopping will account for more than 50% of all Christmas spending. Same goes for decoration, food, drink, and travel related businesses.
But these are not the only businesses that can take advantage.
Even if your products or services are not directly related to Christmas, you should still devise a Christmas special marketing plan. If you can’t think of a connection, simply offer a special deal or discount on whatever you are selling. Try to be a part of the festivities. Even if it doesn’t bring any sale, it will definitely help with trust building.
Bonus Tip: If you are starting to plan now, try to focus on last minute shoppers. If you can think of a way to accommodate distressed buyers, you might win lots of loyal customers with a lifetime value.
2. Make sure your website and all other branding and advertising media are in good order
There’s no point doing any of the items below this unless your basic branding and online presence is in good working order.
- check that all software and plugins are up to date (back up first)
- make sure there are no broken links.
- is your website engaging? does it provide a good User Experience?
- get content ready and update where necessary
- if selling online, do a test purchase or even just test the contact and call to action items to make sure that they’re working properly
- make sure your website is Search Engine Optimised (SEO)
3. Prioritise Mobile Friendliness & Be Secure
Smartphone users are driving online sales, and digital retailers saw a 80 percent increase in mobile purchases in 2018 over 2017.
Not all of those purchases are made from the comfort of home either—according to Google’s 2018 trend report, mobile in-store searches are up more than 80 percent, and 65 percent of mobile electronic purchases are made by customers looking at those products in-store.
If you want to keep up this holiday season, make sure you offer your customers a great mobile experience and a seamless (preferably one-click) checkout process. Avoid SEO pitfalls that slow site speed to a crawl, such as automatic carousels and annoying pop ups.
Another important aspect for any website, and especially eCommerce websites, is to be secure. Google prioritises secure websites these days in order to make the web safer, not only that it will give your customers more confidence to shop on your website. In the past I have known potential customers to abandon their order because they realised that the website was not secure.
4. Create Gift Guides and Videos
Another interesting tidbit from Google’s 2018 trend report is that 70 percent of consumers start shopping without knowing what they’re going to buy. Curated gift guides are a great way to reach these undecided shoppers—and if your guide’s on YouTube, even better! Google says that 68 percent of smartphone shoppers turn to YouTube when they’re wondering what to buy.
If you don’t want to do a video, make sure your products are displayed in a way that is easy see and use for the viewer.
5. Push Holiday Content
Make sure your customers hear about your holiday sales through your ad copy, email campaigns, blog posts, social media and dedicated landing pages. Whenever possible, include the year in your headlines to assure customers that your sales are current. You should also overhaul your website, so visitors immediately notice your upcoming sales. You can even add a countdown timer to your homepage if you want to generate a sense of urgency. It can take up to a few months, in some cases, for new content to organically gain momentum on search engines – so DO IT NOW.
6. Research Holiday-Specific Keywords
If you want your Christmas or holiday offerings found, keyword research is a must. Useful tips include:
- Use Google Suggest to find popular holiday keywords: start your query with “Christmas” and add your topic.
- Use the Related Searches feature to find more keyword phrases: the bottom of your Google search might lead you to queries you hadn’t considered.
- Include “best” in your query phrase: your customers always want to find the best deals and gift options, so see if you can compete with any “best” keywords.
- Target complete phrases: If you were searching for Christmas presents or boxing day deals, what would you type in?
- If these tips aren’t enough, you can also use Google Trends reports to see what other holiday keywords are popular.
7. Create Dedicated Landing Pages
A ‘landing page’ is the page in your website that the viewer first sees/ arrives at.
Depending on how extensive your offerings are, you can either combine your pre-Christmas and Boxing Day sales into one page or create two separate pages for your two sales. You can keep this page active all year round and update it as you need to.
8. Use Images to Sell Products OR services
Images always helps sell a product. But do make sure you Optimize your images and add alt tags – this is simple best-practice advice for e-commerce stores, but focusing on holiday-specific keywords around Christmas will help customers discover your sales. Put your keyword research to work by adding them to the end of the image text.
9. Put Positive Reviews Front and Centre
Trust seals and guarantees are great, but nothing boosts consumer confidence quite like a positive review. When a customer searches for a specific product, you want them to see your best reviews first-and-foremost. This is especially true on mobile platforms when customers are searching for a vote of confidence in-store before they decide to commit to a sale.
10. Emphasise Your Unique Value Proposition
Your unique value proposition (UVP) is the special something that sets you apart from your competitors. Vague promises of “best in class services” won’t cut it—you need to offer something tangible such as price matching, free deliveries on large items, or money back guarantees. If you can offer a UVP unique to your brand or products, even better.
11. Incentivise Your Promotions
If you want to drive some last-minute traffic to your website, spring for paid ads that include incentives for sharing. Giving away coupon codes and promotional gifts whenever someone shares your website with a friend is a great way to incentivize a visit to your e-commerce store.
12. Build Links to Your Holiday Sales
You might not have time for a full-blown link building campaign before Christmas, but you can earn some last-minute exposure by maximizing your outreach. You can reach out to prospects one-by-one or use something like my tool, LinkAssistant, to automatically find and reach out to important industry figures. This also includes social media. Create enticing images and ads linking back to the specific website pages.
Use online advertising like Google Adwords to give your sales a boost. Adwords can be used for as long as you want and at your own set budget, you can cancel at any time.
So for that extra sales and awareness boost at a time when competition is even greater, Adwords may be worth it.
You must, however, make sure your Ad campaigns are written well and researched. Making sure your keywords are the best for your business and target audience. Without this attention to detail you will waste your time and money.
Christmas Marketing Tactics For Success
Use Your Existing Customers
With the focus on getting more customers and sales, don’t forget about your existing customers!
A study by Adobe found 40% of revenue came from only 8% of website visits. This indicates that a smaller portion of customers are making up a larger percentage of the revenue.
Existing customers account for even more revenue during the holiday season. Adobe’s research showed that those who had never made a purchase accounted for a 4% increase in revenue over the holiday period. Whereas returning and repeat customers accounted for a 48% increase.
So, in short, your existing customers are important.
Looking for ideas to re-engage existing customers?
- Send out an email campaign with an exclusive promotion to say thanks for their support this year.
- A gift for a loved one is a gift for them – encourage customers to buy a gift card and receive a discount they can use themselves
Don’t forget Social Media
Your social media business pages are essential to help build awareness, not only of your brands, but your campaigns. Find creative and engaging ways to start your Christmas campaigns on social. Use Instagram stories or Reals with your Christmas products and brands, create authentic posts to start getting your audience ready for Christmas. See more on how to attract your target market on social media here.
Offer Free Shipping and Express Delivery
Buyers expect free and fast delivery.
While shoppers may be looking to purchase earlier in the year, the last-minute scramble is not a thing of the past.
In 2019, the third week of December had the highest rate for express, next day delivery, according to the Australian Post report. Over half of purchases were express delivered in time for Christmas.
To leverage off this statistic, have express delivery as an option on your website. Use this as a selling point in your ads to let customers know their purchase will arrive before Christmas.
Free postage is an expectation. So adjust your product pricing to absorb postage costs so you can offer postage for free. If you can’t implement free shipping in the long-term, run it as a short promo over the festive season.
Use Retargeting to Leverage High Cart Abandonment
Ensure your retargeting funnels are set-up before the holiday season.
During Christmas, there is a high cart abandonment rate as customers browse across devices or even use the cart as a wish-list. Using effective retargeting, you can capitalise on the influx of traffic to your site.
This can include:
- Email reminders for abandoned carts.
- Google display retargeting ads for visitors to your website.
- Facebook and Instagram product retargeting.
Give Customers Real Reasons to Buy
With the prevalence of discount prices, it can be easy to fall into the same trap. While sales can be a great way to get customers in with an initial purchase, do so cautiously. Having too many frequent sales can condition customers to look for lower prices and only purchase from you when there is a sale. This can ultimately devalue your brand. If low price is not your differentiating point, perhaps limit sales to two per year.
One key marketing tactic that will rain true during the holiday period is having a content-first approach and creating personalised shopping experiences.
In saying that, sales do work for a reason. So time your flash sale to encourage urgency.
Keep Up the Marketing After Christmas
It’s not over when the Christmas carols stop.
Remember how important your existing customers are?
Now is the chance to turn all of your new customers you’ve acquired over Christmas into repeat buyers.
Try sending a post-holiday deal or new year’s special to your holiday shoppers. This can help keep up the sales during January which is usually a lower traffic period.
Don’t wait until the Christmas decorations are out. Start planning your Christmas strategy early and be prepared this holiday season.