It's the end of the year, and marketers are challenged once again with outperforming the previous year's holiday marketing campaign. Holidays in general are unpredictable in terms of how audiences will behave, but the lingering pandemic continues to throw unexpected twists into the story.
A well-designed holiday marketing strategy can both significantly boost end-of-year sales and retain customers by strengthening relationships with them. Since audiences will bring their A-game when it comes to last-minute shopping and doing research on whom to go with for specific products or services, an effective marketing campaign should engage these customers—being on top of their mind will give you a definite edge over your competitors. Making a stellar holiday marketing campaign is no easy task, so let's dive in and see how to entice your customers and create a great shopping experience.
Analyze your previous holiday campaigns
Auditing the previous year's marketing performance will help you understand the behavior of your targeted audience. It is one of the best ways to understand your mistakes, shortfalls, and past trends better. Solicit the previous year's marketing information like ROI, Return on ad spend, clicks, impressions, web traffic, and conversions to identify where you met your goals and where you didn't. These metrics will help you define this year's objectives and result in better customer-focused marketing campaigns.
Define your goals
Once you understand your previous year's holiday campaign performance and how it impacted your business growth, you can now ideate and define realistic goals for the upcoming holiday season. These insights will help you execute customer-focused campaigns that result in higher sales.
Now comes an important question: When should you start your holiday marketing?
Start your holiday marketing early
First, holiday marketing isn't a one-off process that gives you an instant jump in sales. Rather, it takes weeks of brainstorming and planning to sell more while developing deeper relationships with customers.
Ideally you need to start planning three months before the holiday season. Then do your research to understand the demographics of your target audience. Launch your marketing campaigns about a month before the holiday season and be consistent with them. Schedule interesting social media posts at timed intervals to captivate audience attention. The important thing of the overall campaign is setting up a sales funnel and analytics on your website. These are essential components in any marketing campaign to drive potential customers through the sales process. The sales funnel is just a steady way of building trust and developing customer relationships, which make it more convenient to sell your top products, have better sales management, and offer great customer experiences.
Use targeted, holiday-friendly landing pages
It's understandable that no one has time and/or capacity to redesign a major portion of their website just for the sake of seasonal marketing campaigns, so that's where the landing page kicks in. NRF expects holiday sales for 2021 to increase by 8.5% and 10.5% over 2020, which shows the holiday season is the perfect time to get a big boost in your revenue.
Preparing a separate, holiday-themed landing page is a no-brainer. A revamped home page design with holiday themes will increase your level of engagement. Make good use of these targeted landing pages by pushing relevant social campaigns that highlight your offers and direct the consumers to these pages.
Here are some parameters for creating a holiday-friendly landing page:
Keep your messaging clear
Make sure the landing page messaging is crisp and clear. Conveying your key benefits to the customers should be the main point.
Highlight festive CTAs
Optimize your CTAs to gain more transactions by using holiday-inspired CTAs that are coherent with your holiday theme.
Create banners or popups
Design banners and popups that include information about any major sales that are holiday-related or site-wide.
Add personalized greetings
Use personalized messages on live chat widgets that encourage your customers to browse through all your holiday deals.
Improve your site's loading speed
The holiday rush means more traction, resulting in more website traffic. Make sure your website can handle the high volume of traffic as your page-loading speed will affect the visitor experience, and a single-second delay could trigger a drop in conversions.
Give early access to premium customers
Make your regular and premium customers feel special by giving them early-bird access to your holiday offers. Incentivize them with exclusive healthy discounts to purchase ahead of the holiday. Rolling out exclusive email campaigns to your premium customers can result in better conversions and higher customer retention. A sense of exclusivity and special treatment will make premium customers happy and keep them buying for a long time to come. It also helps to start your sales early before the actual holiday season.
Turn to video marketing
How many times have you wished you could watch a marketing video about a product instead of reading about it? There's no better way to communicate to your audience visually than with video, and it's also the best way to communicate a holiday message to them. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a minute of video is worth numerous times that. This helps consumers make a purchase decision more easily. Video marketing also allows you to market your overall brand, not just your products. Adding a video to your website, emails, or social media page can help you share your company’s message in a way that invites users to learn more about your brand. Videos are user-friendly too, making it easier for viewers to learn more about your products and their uses.
Whether it's a festive offer video that you publish on your website or send via email or it's a quirky holiday campaign video you post on your social media—especially Youtube—here are a couple of video marketing tips for the holiday season:
Focus on a holiday theme
Whether it's Thanksgiving or Christmas or something else, you can immediately ideate and establish a theme via festive music, holiday font styles, or even by glamming it up with motion graphic animation.
Customize your CTA
Use different CTAs tied to that particular festive theme to target different audiences. Remember to make the video emotionally engaging, as emotion always sells better.
Improve your mobile marketing strategy
Since web traffic from mobile devices and apps has significantly overtaken desktop traffic in recent years, this means one thing—it's time to amplify your mobile marketing strategy for this holiday season. With so many shopping on the go and an exponential increase in mobile-driven ecommerce sales expected in 2021, a good mobile experience is the key to good conversion rates. Additionally, it's known that Google prioritizes search rankings for mobile-optimized sites.
Major ecommerce players like Amazon roll out mobile-only offers to their customers through push notifications. This increases mobile app traffic and enhances customer engagement. Practices like A/B testing can ensure a high-quality customer experience and optimize your messaging. For instance, filling out a lead form on mobile devices can be difficult, but you can elevate the customer experience with expanding mobile CTAs redirecting the traffic to the specific landing page.
Social media contests and giveaways
As the pandemic drives people to ecommerce, you can reach out to your customers and amp up your social media game this holiday season through social media polls and contests. A good approach is to identify something that cultivates a sense of nostalgia in your audience and find a way to turn it into a fun competition.
Apart from social media contests, a holiday social media campaign about your brand, made by your fans, can actually do wonders for your marketing plan. Not only do you get unique, user-generated content (UGC), it actually results in incredible engagement and exposure for your brand. Starbucks has set some really high standards for social media campaigns by making the most of themed products throughout the year—but most prominently during the holiday season—simply by changing their packaging.
Other eye-catching social media campaigns are social media giveaways. Crabtree & Evelyn, an online retail company, ran a giveaway Pinterest campaign to attract more eyes to its products. The contest asked fans to follow the brand on Pinterest, then create a board to which they pin their favorite holiday-themed Crabtree & Evelyn products. When the competition closed, three lucky people were chosen to win the lists that they created.
Retargeting with email marketing
For every 100 people visiting your website, only five might end up purchasing—the rest will leave your website without purchasing due to various reasons. If you are clever enough to get them to fill out your signup form while they browse your site, you'll have a better chance to target them through personalized emails. Email might be the oldest online marketing tool, but it is still the best because it provides an excellent opportunity to reach your audience's inboxes. And remember to make sure your emails are mobile-responsive, because being able to access email straight from mobile or tablets makes this the most efficient form of direct communication.
Casper is a brand that sells mattresses for your bed. The above email fits so well with what they actually sell—the mattress shape, clock app, multiple alarms set not to miss an important date, and finally a discount code with the phrase "sleepin." This is an excellent example of clever email design that reminds customers what the company is all about while keeping the message crisp and the CTA simple.
Holiday marketing is the best and final chance to ramp up your sales and end the year on a high point. Since 2020, ecommerce shopping is booming at an exponential scale, and brands have to rethink their social media marketing strategy as social media will become their go-to-place for online marketing. Many customers will keep an eye out for discounts and offers, but cutting prices lower than your competitors is not enough. Customers these days prefer a personalized shopping experience over discounts. While offers do play a crucial part, showing customers you care about them always stands out. It will make them loyal to your brand and hopefully convert them into your brand ambassadors.