Planning a Christmas marketing campaign

The holiday season is upon us, just around the corner, fast approaching. Take your pick of cliché; at this late stage, they’re all true. For consumers this means starting to think about their Christmas to do list, but for retailers this signals the start of the busiest 3 months in their calendars. If you haven't already, maybe it's time to start thinking about your Christmas marketing campaign.

Why start now?

Your customers probably already have.

Despite the negative connotations and ‘Christmas creep’ accusations, 28% of consumers start thinking about Christmas in September and October. This means that more than one in four of your customers are already planning their Christmas, and many more are likely thinking about it.

For retailers who haven’t started, this means a substantial chunk of customers they could be missing by not starting early enough. For those with a plan it means capturing early shoppers and converting them with the right Christmas marketing campaign.

More than Christmas

Whether you’re ready or not, the holiday season has grown to mean more than just Christmas.  Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are now all an intrinsic part of the holiday schedule and, for retailers this means more to plan, organise and implement to ensure the best possible outcome from this busy season.

The potential for higher revenue and acquiring customers continues to drive retailers to perfect their holiday and Christmas marketing campaigns, which means increasingly more time spent planning in the run up the holiday season. Big brands start major Christmas marketing campaigns earlier every year with most launching at the start of November, leaving smaller businesses to follow suit. This means many businesses start planning for Christmas and the holiday season as early as June.

Retailers that launch first have the opportunity to capture early shoppers and gain first mover advantage, which just might cut through the noise of competition over the holiday season.

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Why is it important to have a plan?

With so many other key dates in the holiday season, one Christmas marketing campaign just isn’t enough. Deciding and creating offers, content and ad copy for the entire holiday season is more than a five-minute job. It’s also essential that everyone involved is able to execute campaigns and make executive decisions. This means establishing a plan for each campaign, ensuring all the key dates are covered and ironing out potential issues early.

Christmas and beyond

Having a successful Christmas is important, but having a successful business is essential. Luckily, the former can help drive the latter, but only with a solid plan. The Magento Holiday Benchmark Report highlights the potential for customer acquisition and retention during the holiday season, with retailers acquiring up to 59% more customers during these months and 39% of these customers making a 2nd purchase within the same holiday season. For retailers, this highlights the importance of planning a Christmas marketing campaign that focuses on turning holiday customers into loyal ones.

5 tips for a Christmas campaign

Stay customer focused

Planning with the holiday customer in mind should be central to a Christmas marketing campaign. Understanding the customer journey will enable retailers to identify channels and optimise their strategy accordingly. Additionally identifying the specific needs of customers at each of these stages means retailers can tailor their offers, messages and overall content for maximum appeal.

This might mean creating a Christmas ideas category for current customers looking for inspiration, or creating related optimised blog posts to reach out and inspire new customers at the research stage. Equally, you can help customers move on from the consideration stage by creating a sense of demand. Try displaying recently purchased figures on product pages or a final delivery deadline to ensure they get their product in time for Christmas.

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Christmas specific content

Tailored Christmas content provides a reason for current and potential customers to shop from you during the holidays; whether it is a separate Christmas category on your website or a limited time Christmas discount.

Everybody loves a freebie, so offering Christmas themed resources to download or print may keep customers returning over the holidays. Support your content with some careful scheduling and a deadline to create urgency and excitement. An advent style release is a popular way of doing this, with new content and offers released in the run up to Christmas.

Finally reinforce all your content with strong and consistent Christmas branding. Whatever your theme and slogan are this year, make sure every image and offer reiterates your overall Christmas offering.

Campaigns such as John Lewis’ Monty the penguin used strong Christmas branding to reinforce a range of content. Special Monty products and a themed Twitter account delivered tailored content outside of John Lewis’ normal offering, giving customers incentive to engage over Christmas.

Similarly, major dates over the holiday such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday should have their own tailored offers, so customers have a reason to buy from you throughout the entire holiday season.

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Keywords and ad copy

Retailers should ensure that a holiday season PPC plan is included in all Christmas marketing campaign planning, particularly if PPC is already an important part of your marketing efforts. With customer Christmas needs in mind, keywords should aim for higher relevancy to Christmas search terms. This could include words or phrases such as ‘fast delivery’ or ‘gift’.

Similarly, adjust ad copy to better capture a Christmas focused audience who may be looking for gifts for a specific family member, work colleague or on a tight deadline. In the same vein ad extensions that highlight Christmas specific delivery information and selling points, such as gift wrapping, could be the deciding factor in someone clicking your ad over a competitor.

Don’t forget social media

With the customer journey stretching across more channels than ever, the value of social media shouldn’t be underestimated during the holidays. 26% of shoppers use social media to read up on recommendations, not to mention the customers who curate, share or review products on various social platforms. With this in mind, social media should undoubtedly be a part of any Christmas marketing campaign.

To realise the full potential of social retailers should audit their current channels to reveal customers behaviour on each. Armed with this insight, a strategy can be tailor-made for each platform, publishing content designed to appeal to customer needs.

With 88% of Pinterest users purchasing a product they pin, this might mean curating Christmas ideas and projects aimed at attracting and acquiring potential customers. Conversely, Twitter content might focus on promoting customer service, with updated Christmas delivery and contact hours.

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Keep analysing

With fast paced and sometimes unpredictable buyer behaviour, planning successful campaigns during the holiday period can feel like a shot in the dark. To overcome creating a plan based on guesses, retailers need to look at any business specific data available.

Why not take a look at last year’s Christmas campaigns? How can they help guide this year’s planning by adapting and improving on content or offers that did work and rethinking ones that didn’t. Early testing can also help to reveal problem areas in campaigns so plans can be adjusted accordingly.

Additionally, tracking campaign metrics throughout the holiday season enables retailers to make quick decisions. Tools such the Magento Holiday Dashboard provide real time ecommerce data that can help retailers make informed, data driven decisions.

If you’re a bit behind on your Christmas planning for this year or want to know more about making this holiday season the most successful yet, contact one of our team today.

Katy Smith

Katy Smith

Digital Marketing Executive

Katy is a Digital Marketing Executive at Netmatter with a degree in Marketing. She has so far gained experience in various areas of marketing including email, copywriting, social media and SEO.

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