How To Prepare For Holiday Marketing Campaigns

Fall is well on it’s way to meet winter, and the aroma of pumpkin spice will be shifting to peppermint lattes soon enough. Marketers, it’s time to prepare for your holiday marketing campaigns. It’s one of the busiest times of the year, and one that should not be missed if you want to max out on the returns on your investments.

To help you make your goals a reality, we’re giving you some tips on how to plan for your holiday marketing campaigns. Before we get started, let’s look at some stats that break down why the upcoming holiday season is so important.

  • In 2019, retail sales crossed the trillion dollar mark for the first time ever. The cumulative brick and mortar and ecommerce sales came to $1.007 trillion according to emarketer
  • Online spending in the US alone increased by 13.1% and that came to a total of $142.5 billion, found Adobe
  • When shoppers were surveyed on how they split their holiday shopping online and offline, the results were 59% preferred online while 36% said they preferred offline. This year it’s anticipated that the gap will widen, with 64% of shoppers preferring online options.

Social media is the leading channel for promoting sales to holiday shoppers this year, with email marketing coming in at a close second. 

Discounts, coupons and deals are considered to be the best way to drive sales during the holidays. 

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And get this, it was noted that holiday shopping starts in October, with almost 22% of shoppers already spending before Halloween. So let’s get to it, and have a look at how you can get going with your holiday marketing campaigns.

And get this, it was noted that holiday shopping starts in October, with almost 22% of shoppers already spending before Halloween. While this year’s holiday season will be taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic the challenges it poses are not a match for how much consumers love this time of year. And to that end, they may even be looking forward to this holiday season more than most. So let’s get to it, and have a look at how you can get going with your holiday marketing campaigns.

Best practices for your holiday marketing campaigns 

Consider both mainstream and niche holidays alike 

Christmas tends to be front and centre, but that does not mean that you should disregard other holidays or special occasions that are around the corner. Some of these holidays are:

  • U.S. Thanksgiving (November 26th)
  • Black Friday (November 27th)
  • Small Business Saturday (November 28th)
  • Cyber Monday (November 30th)
  • Hanukkah (December 10th to 18th)
  • Free Shipping Day (December 14th)
  • Kwanzaa (December 16th)
  • New Years

And keep in mind that regardless of the holiday, shoppers will be flocking online like never before. 

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What is your holiday shopper type?

It is very important that you know the types of shoppers, or the shopper personas, that you’ll be dealing with. Pinterest has shared a range of shopper personas that you can expand on based on your offerings and target audience. Your goal should be to attract your audience’s attention through your campaigns. And to take that attention from consideration to conversion. For this, you need to speak to your target audience through designs and copy. 

  • The early bird who starts their shopping as early as possible. The sooner you start marketing to them, the more sales you will make. 
  • The traditionalist who is a diehard fan of age-old customs. They love seeing holiday colors in your marketing and the spirit of the season in your copy.  
  • The self-gifter, who is usually in their 30s and does not simply shop for others, but also for themselves. Some of your ad copy, in this case, needs to encourage the shopper to treat themselves too.
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Give that marketing cocktail a mix 

Use a combination of content to engage with your audience. We’re talking videos, social media posts, blogs, quotes, contests, offers, email marketing, and giveaways. And be sure to have your content focus on more than just your offers (e.g. that 30% off). Don’t stop posting your usual content. Rather, have your holiday-themed content complement it.

Provide tips on how to use your product or service. Explain its benefits, especially during the holiday season. And go through your best performing holiday content from previous years to see whether you can perhaps leverage or build on any pieces this year. At Kimp we love the challenge of one-upping a client’s past designs by adding a new twist.

Resources, assemble!

Yes, we went a little Avengers there, but well, this is the superhero of all holiday seasons you know. Gather all the resources you have – content and designs, and add in user-generated content too. Look at collaborating with influencers and even other businesses that complement yours.

Get a system in place 

If you do not already have a regular editorial calendar for your content and imagery, you should get one done – yesterday! Figure out the roles each of your team members can play. And make sure that you get all of your designs and automation software (e.g. social media schedulers) lined up. This is especially important if you’re an entrepreneur, running every part of the show for your business. Do not leave anything to the last minute.

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Now, here are some ideas for your holiday marketing campaigns

There are so many channels and ways in which you can really nail those holiday marketing campaigns. To give you a more comprehensive take, we’re going to be looking at some specific channels individually. Here goes folks.

Grab those email signups 

You would already have been encouraging email signups. But that said, there is nothing wrong with giving your customers a few places to sign up as well. With all of the effort that you’ll be putting into getting your audience’s attention, make sure that you’re connecting with them for the long run. 

Add lightboxes and signup forms on your website, have pen and paper in stores if that is needed, or even in-store tablets where possible. If you happen to be calling your customers, do not forget to ask them for their emails and to sign up as well.

Segment your email lists

All your customers cannot possibly belong to a single segment. So whatever message you may be sending out to a medium scale spender would not really agree with a high spender. This is why you should work on segmenting your email list. And then tailor your messages accordingly. You can approach this categorization according to their location, behavior patterns, spending levels, and level of interest.

Email marketing 

You absolutely must have a festive email marketing campaign that targets the holidays that matter most to your audience. Customers are expecting to get some really good email offers at this time of the year. They’re looking for ways that they can save money and treat their loved ones. So when you get your offers to their inbox, you can be sure that that will lead to some sales.

Make sure that you use colorful designs, attractive images, and have your discounts pop by displaying them with prominent fonts (that suit your brand of course). Keep the email in your holiday marketing campaigns short and sweet. Nobody, and we mean nobody, will read long chunks of text.

Some ideas for your email marketing campaigns

We have outlined five ideas here for inspiration, to get the ball rolling for your email campaigns. Be sure to try out other approaches as well, so that you can see what works best with your audience!

Some ideas for your email marketing campaigns

We have outlined five ideas here for inspiration, to get the ball rolling for your email campaigns. Be sure to try out other approaches as well, so that you can see what works best with your audience! 

  • Give early bird discounts. This will encourage shoppers to buy from you early on or at the very least get you on their radars. Be sure to provide attractive discounts so that your potential customers have a sense of urgency. 
  • Offer exclusive pricing for online orders. This will allow you to get the attention of customers and also tap into their increased preference for online shopping.  
  • Send an ‘Exclusive Discount Code Inside’ email. Increase your open and click-through rate and offer a sense of intrigue to your customers.  
  • Give your customers a ‘Last Chance for Any Online Order’. This will give a nudge to your last-minute shoppers who need to get their orders in to receive them in time for the holidays. And it’ll help you stay transparent so that you don’t disappoint anyone around the holidays. Be sure to share this date on your website and social media, prominently too.
  • Apart from sales, you can also send a greeting card to your customers on the eve of any holiday. Make it positive and beautiful. This will help build relationships and will also encourage last-minute shoppers to pick your shop.
Get your website ready for the holiday season 

Your website is also really important when it comes to your holiday marketing campaigns. It’s the place you’re driving customers to! You’ve got to make it worth their time. The work that you put in on your theme, landing pages, hero images, blog, and so forth will help you bring in more holiday shoppers. Here are some ways in which you can do this:

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Make your website mobile friendly 

Almost 72% or more shoppers use their smartphones and other devices to shop online. So it is not wise to have a website that is not responsive. When you have a responsive website, your site’s pages will look great on any device and will load quickly and smoothly. If your site is not responsive, customers will simply leave the site or they will stop browsing, if they have a hard time finding what they are looking for.

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Add a new landing page or homepage 

You need to set up a creative and festive mood on your website, so that your customers get excited when they land there. Keep in mind that the holidays you’re tapping in to resonate deeply with your customers. So if they see it reflected on every page, even better. Consider adding sections like gift guides, promotions, sales, coupons, and any other components that you think will engage your customers.

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Add a holiday event calendar

Rather than having customers scroll endlessly and keep hunting, what you could do is add an event calendar. This way you can show them everything that you have in store for your customers during the holiday season. You can include links to take customers to the offers, and if you have a physical store, you can even show your extended operating hours.

Social media marketing for the holidays 

Needless to say, social media marketing is one of the most important channels that will need your focus. Everything from your custom designs, to the curated content you’re posting needs to be carefully thought out. The message that you want to send out needs to be clearly communicated as well. There are many different things that you can actually execute with your social media. This is one area where you can really bring out your versatility as a business. Let’s explore the options that you can try out:

Customize the social media content that you design 

Images and designs that reflect the change of seasons will attract customers. Not only that, but it will also encourage them to shop. Use the same themes across all your social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. In particular, you’ll want to update your cover images and add a holiday touch to newsfeed posts as well. To this end, be sure to choose a palette for the holidays that works with your branding and stick with it. This will ensure that your holiday-themed social media content works cohesively with your usual content as well.  

Make use of Instagram and Facebook Stories 

The Stories on Instagram and Facebook will only be live for 24 hours, sure. But they are impactful! You can use them to simply keep your users engaged and remain top of mind for them as they think about the holidays. Or to promote an offer that is available for a limited time only. The option of using Stories is really worth trying out because a lot of people do click through. Instagram says that over 500 million accounts use Stories on a daily basis! Facebook also has a similar user base for their Stories.

You can use this feature to give customers an immersive experience about your brand and content. But they can also be used to showcase individual products such as special or limited edition holiday collections. Make sure that the imagery done for your Instagram or Facebook accounts are high quality and have clean backgrounds that draw the eye to the product.

When you are on Instagram, also be sure to try out the Reels feature that they have rolled out. They are fifteen second long videos that can also be overlaid with many effects including audio. It bears a resemblance to Tik Tok and allows for promotional video content. You can share Reels with your current audience by adding them to your Story, or you can also use the Explore page to reach out to new audiences with your Reels. The example below, is from Sephora, a well-known brand that is already on the ball.

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Share fun facts and useful info on your social media 

Holiday trivia, useful tips and some holiday fun facts are a great way to encourage engagement. For example, you could have tutorials on gift wrapping. And make sure that whatever you are posting on your website and promoting on your emails, is being cross-promoted on your social media as well. Customers can rely on your social media for quite a bit, so make sure that all your profiles have up to date information. 

Plan a social media contest 

Contests are always such amazing social media tools and the holidays definitely give you a much better chance to entertain your customers with them. You will also be able to get more attention because you will be giving away gifts to the winners. For example, you can sponsor a photo contest asking followers to share images of them engaging in their favourite holiday activities.

You could even ask them to get a bit creative by asking them to send in pictures of how they might use the prize if they win. And you can use the best images to create a special holiday blog post, social media posts or even to create a landing page. This will make your customers feel special as well.

You have all the creative liberty here and people will be happy even if they do not win, to be getting their 15 seconds of fame tied to a special holiday. Not only will contests bring in more traffic, they will also get you more new subscribers/followers. You can take this idea for a test run, regardless of the size of your business.

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How about some last minute gift ideas? 

Some people do tend to wait until the very last minute to shop. You can use this idea to reach out to the ones who wait until one or two days before the holidays to buy their gifts. When you offer them last-minute gift ideas, you are also offering a valuable service to your customers.

You can effectively save late shoppers from the awkward position of them not being able to find the right gift. Be sure to use phrases like ‘last-minute gift ideas’ in your posts so that they trigger the right action from your audience. Your last-minute gift guide can be as simple as a series of social or social media posts linking to your products.

Why are holiday marketing campaigns so important?

This time of the year involves a whole lot of nostalgia. And it can be a big huge pick me up, especially as we head into winter, with its shorter days. It’s a time for buying gifts, and treating loved ones – including ourselves. And all this is why it is an absolutely great time for businesses to increase brand awareness and engagement, secure sales, see more revenue, and interactions. If you still have not started on your holiday marketing campaigns, you are not too late. Get started today and make the most of them!