It’s December already? Last time you checked, the trees were still shedding. You said to yourself, I still have Halloween to go through, but Black Friday caught up and you had no time left to plan a Christmas marketing campaign. Right? Wrong! It’s still not that late for you. Give this blog a read and be on your way to executing your holiday spirit-filled Christmas campaign.
We, at SocialPilot, have curated a bunch of quick steps, tricks, and pro-tips to running a successful Christmas marketing strategy. We have a special downloadable checklist so that you can keep your planning and execution on track and roll-out a successful campaign on time.
Step 1: Define Campaign Objective and Understand Customer Behavior
In 2018, 70% of shoppers admitted to not have shopped yet, a week before Christmas. Hence, increased sales is a good objective to channelize your activities around.
Start by establishing the sales goal that you want to achieve this Christmas season. To do that, revisit your sales figures of the previous year’s Christmas season. Once you have that number, write your goal for this year considering the economic factors and the competition.
In addition to sales figure you also need to look at numbers in abandoned cart, discount coupon redemption, key performing sale days for your business, the percentage of new acquisition v/s retention.
Once you have your targeted sales number, the next is to understand the customer buying pattern. 40% of shoppers admit to doing their research online and get the most value out of their shopping experience. It is important to be in the mind and screen of your potential audience early on in the holiday season.
Identify the times and devices from which your audience discovers you. Plan the steps of enhancing the customer journey. If your customer is most active on mobile devices, make sure your website is mobile-responsive. In 2018, 72% of shoppers were seeking deals on their mobiles. In the path of brand discovery, shoppers are hunting for information.
Customers are pressed for time during the holidays. They are happy with a brand that makes their shopping experience easier – 55% of shoppers were happy shopping with a brand that gave them the exact information they were looking for.
Your holiday should focus on – sales figures, enhancing the customer journey, sharing the exact information the customer is looking for, and being present at the right time and on the right device.
You have set your marketing objective – Increase in sales by X% compared to last Christmas’ sales numbers. But you also need to know the audience that you leverage as a brand.
Step 2: Segment your Audience
Before the holidays, shoppers are in a frenzy of getting that ‘perfect gift’ for their loved ones. In that hunt, they are willing to buy from a new retailer too. Businesses, in their market research, should consider the possibility of leveraging both customer retention and customer acquisition.
In order to enter a potential customer’s buyer journey, brands need to expand or tweak their search visibility. Identify the avenues of sharing information. Adapt the tone and messaging to resonate with the correct set of potential customers. Set the perfect imagery that appeals to the emotion and spirit of gifting.
Since it’s the seasonal shopping experience you are trying to take advantage of, your target audience should either fall in the category of deal-seekers or last-minute shoppers. The commonalities between both these kinds of shoppers – brand agnostic, doing their research online, won’t mind going down to the nearby store.
Prepare an irrefutable offer for the deal-seekers. Where are they you ask? 58% of shoppers find a better deal online, 40% of them say they Google the best deals, and there has been a 200% rise in the search-term ‘rewards apps’.
The last-minute shoppers are another category that the brands can focus on. They are on the hunt, they are indecisive, and there is a sense of urgency from their end. As a brand, you need to leverage their need and urgency. The search trend of Google revealed around 50% of shoppers are open to buying from new retailers if they meet their needs.
Customers that procrastinate holiday shopping are an easy target to boost your sales figures. These urgent shoppers have a few other factors that they look at, for you to leverage. 47% of instant shoppers factor in the returns policy in their decision-making.
They are open to discovering new brands, so you need to provide clear yet informational messaging with your branding activities. Look into the possibilities of revamping your returns policy, including free shipping in your offer, and packaging your brand with a seamless and quick shopping experience.
Step 3: Finalize your Christmas Offer
Once you have your objective and know your target audience, work on creating the perfect offer to entice them. Since you’re pressed for time, introducing limited edition products or holiday products might not be a card you would like to play. It is time-consuming and needs a different timeline to execute.
On the other hand, introducing discounts, gift certificates, product bundles, reward points, loyalty bonuses, free shipping, specialized packaging are changes that can be automated and promoted in a shorter span of time. Whether you are targeting the deal-seekers or last-minute shoppers, either wouldn’t an offer that would save their time, money, and add value at the same time.
Check what offers or deals your competitors are offering via social media mentions and on their website. Identify the value you can add to the shopping experience of your audience. Chalk out a couple of limited-time deals and make them roll-out ready. Because you have thoroughly studied the audience you’d like to cater to, providing them with valuable options won’t take too long!
Step 4: Decorate Your Online Store & Social Media Profiles
You have your how’s and why’s in place. You know your objectives and KPIs, understand your target audience, and have chalked out a ‘buyer persona’. Now you need to focus on the buyer journey of the audience that discovers you.
Based on the audience persona, you need to set a theme or introduce elements of “holiday spirit” across platforms where the audience can interact with the brand. The major avenues where the audience interacts with you first-hand are your social media profiles and the website.
Change the elements of your website, create landing pages for specific content pieces, have trigger pop-ups on various pages. These activities streamline the journey of a potential customer to a paying customer.
London Drugs, for example, added elements of ribbon, snowman, and Christmas on their Facebook profile and cover photos for the followers to get the holiday experience. Small changes like this takes little to no time to introduce.
Attractive landing pages help the customer to get the information they were looking for. If your messaging is uniform across the customer journey, this adds to the seamless shopping experience.
Trigger pop-ups are another way to nudge the customer into buying. Induce time-limited offers, higher discounts, bundled products during the research experience of the customer. This acts as an enabler for the customer to come to an immediate decision rather than defer it. All you need is content, design, and landing page set-up.
The content includes the offer that you have decided to set up for your audience – “X% of savings on cart’s total value”, “bundled products at a steal-deal price”, “limited time offer”.
Design involves the holiday elements on your landing pages or across the website, creating bright pop-ups that grab attention, a timer as your website header to create a sense of urgency.
If you are a small business owner, pressed for time, automation is your dear friend.
The time you spent on researching the details of your campaign can be saved in the shaping of your campaign. There are tools that can help you design the perfect landing page, create attractive pop-ups, and add a timer on your website as well.
To design creative social media posts, Canva is a highly appreciated tool that most marketers extensively use it. Next comes is writing social media copy that converts. Here, your copy writing skills would be put to test. But with Google trends and keyword research, identifying the buyer-enhancing words would make it less time-consuming.
Step 5: Spread The Cheer Across Social Media
Once your online store is all prepped and ready for business, it’s time to welcome the happy shoppers. But wait! How do they know all the fab things you have in store for them? That’s when you take the help of social media.
2.7 billion MAUs on Facebook, over 1 billion on Instagram, 300+ million on LinkedIn, and around 335 million on Pinterest. You get the picture. The potential is huge! Leverage the activities by getting in front of the right audience and a large audience. Promote your offering across pages and even on groups that you are a part of.
One of your biggest helpers, your elves, are the fans, loyalists, brand ambassadors that can help you spread the message like wildfire. They know your product, they are aware of what your brand stands for, and the audience they cater either the same as yours or a close match to yours.
It is important for you to identify and reach out to these superfans. Ask them to help you spread the message, reward them for their loyalty, produce social media content with them, start a #hashtag thread, introduce a trend for your audience to engage with.
These activities will help you not only create a buzz for your offer but also help you in distinguishing your brand from the other players in the market.
You could run social media contests to enhance your engagement rates and increase the loyalty base. A holiday contest idea could be organically including your product or service in the most innovative copy or design or content. The winners get free products, gift certificates, discounted subscriptions.
Contests help with engagement, increase fan-base, and generate a reservoir of UGC for the brand to re-share and re-purpose. With giveaways, a brand can enhance its branding as well as support its avid fans. It is also key to attracting a new fan-base that is yet not aware of your brand.
In order to leverage social media, you need to be consistent, precise, and not overly pushy. Content needs to be generated and shared across various platforms and at regular intervals. In order to optimize the impact of the right content to be pushed out, automation can be handy once again.
The right blend of social media publishing and social listening can sway the success of your campaign by huge margins. Plan out the content strategy in advance and schedule your posts throughout the offer period. You can interact with the audience using various listening tools and help them reach a decision online itself!
Step 6: Attract Audience With Paid Promotions
In order to attract more people to your landing page or even make them aware of your offer, paid promotions are an avenue that should also be leveraged. You could use various platforms, different ads, various copies, and designs in order to maximize traction you get. It comes down to your marketing budget and targeting. If you have a big budget and know your audience well, the ROI will be good. This would make it easier for you to reach your goal of higher sales faster and in a short period of time.
If you have a big budget you could run ads on various platforms – PPC ads, Google ads, Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads ( for B2B ). Remember the competition for keywords would be fierce and the CPC could witness a hike due to seasonal demands.
Google ads and PPC campaigns would help you in discovery while you could use Facebook ads for re-marketing. LinkedIn ads, though expensive, have proven to perform better in terms of getting qualified leads and higher conversions in the case of B2B clients.
There are various tools that help manage across various platforms. For Facebook, increasing impressions and reach of your posts can be easily achieved by running a Facebook Boost Post campaign. For Google, Google Adword is your friend, with LinkedIn business manager access helps you devise campaigns for the same. LinkedIn is offering ad credit as well for first-time ad creators.
Step 7: Personalized Email & SMS Campaigns
Your fans, current paying customers, and subscribers to your content are also eager opportunities that need to be tapped. Segment your current customers and send out mailers to all letting them know about the offer.
Remember that no two customers are the same, so don’t forget to personalize them and sprinkle a pinch of warmth. This would make them connect and convert.
Besides mailers, you could also interact with your customers through SMS campaigns. If they are online through mobile, they are also checking their text messages. This form of marketing is niche and not many companies use it. It would help you reach a higher number with lesser costs compared to other paid promotions that you have been doing across various channels.
Remember to segment your audience based on the amount of interaction they have had with your brand. Giving away $200 gift cards to first-time visitors and brand loyalists is going to leave a bad taste in their mouths. Understand the worth of your audience in dollar terms. This would maximize the return on investment of the personalized campaign that you’ve spent efforts behind.
Step 8: Post-Christmas Activities
Phew! Christmas is done. Now I can take a breather before the New Year starts. Well not so soon. Christmas might be over, but the shopping season isn’t over yet. A lot of online shoppers are vying to give themselves a little something special. Customers are still on a spending high. Extended discount offers, minimal shipping costs, and end-of-season sales are some tactics that you could continue to scrap every last bit of the dollars the customers are willing to spend.
These activities focus on trying to squeeze that extra bit of revenue now that the market is a little less crowded. Your brand could send out the message even louder and attract an audience in the pipeline for the next sales quarter too. This step, though not necessary, could help you get an edge over the competition and increase your brand awareness.
You can run a charity campaign posting about giving away X% of the proceeds of the sales revenue earned in the last quarter. Because you have struck an emotional chord with your audience, they will get excited to participate and contribute to the cause.
Step 9: Analyze & Report
It’s the new year, but you still need to wrap up the campaign. The biggest feat is yet to be conquered. Have you succeeded? Has the objective been fulfilled? Did we maximize sales by X%? All these questions will be answered once the report has been made.
You need to mine the data from various resources – website, social media, review sites, third-party avenues. Once the data is collected to measure the worth of the campaign through the pre-defined KPIs.
These activities will help you get a clear picture of what worked and what did not. Referring to this report next year would help you refine your objectives, goals, and capabilities for next year’s holiday campaign. That is if you wish to run another campaign.
You have a clear path drawn out for you. Don’t worry even if it is the last minute or the last week or the last moment. After reading this, you might have recognized a few activities that you have been doing already, some activities that are in the pipeline, and some that need to re-placed in a fashion that supports your holiday objective of getting higher sales.
A good holiday campaign that shifts the needle isn’t rocket science and doesn’t need everything to be thought out from scratch. Identify those “almost there” activities in your business and launch a successful holiday marketing strategy.
Here is your Christmas marketing campaign checklist that help you streamline every activity.