It’s Time To Start Planning Your Holiday Marketing

And just like that we’re 4 months away from Christmas! That means we’re nearing the busiest shopping season of the year, which can account for a huge portion of retailers’ annual sales. Your holiday marketing has a lot riding on it.

Holiday Marketing

According to Deloitte’s 2018 forecast, retail sales in the U.S. alone were expected to climb 5 to 6% over the previous year’s holiday season. E-commerce sales, meanwhile, were set to spike 17 to 22% to reach $128 to $134 billion.

These were increases on sales which were $1 billion, at a minimum, every day between November 1st-22nd, or $108.15 billion in all in 2017. As we wait to hear projections of what this year’s sales will be, there’s no time like the present to start planning for your holiday marketing.

Campaign Early, Campaign Often

There’s a lot of revenue up for grabs, and a lot of pressure alongside with it, for marketers. But at this point, in late August it might seem like the demands of holiday marketing are a long way away.

Kind of like when you see the sky darkening before a storm. The thunder and lightning seem to be far off. You think you might just get to your car in one piece. And so, you start running, thinking you’re going to make it. That is, until about halfway there, the clouds part, the rain pours down, and you’re drenched.

See where we’re going with this? The storm is the holiday season. And it’s closer than you think.

Plan Ahead For Greater ROAS

Getting a greater return on your ad spend is a direct result of the amount of preparation that goes into your campaign strategies for your holiday marketing.

And like every procrastinator knows, not thinking about the holidays until they’ve arrived is a sure-fire way to prevent yourself from developing a thoughtful strategy. Especially because your time, energy and resources will already be under siege.

Starting early means having a greater chance to align all of the moving pieces of your campaigns. You can get your campaign ad copy and other content prepared in advance and simply edit as needed. You can get your Holiday SEO campaign going (like SEO any other time of the year, you’re looking at a few months to really get the results you’re looking for here). And you can carve out time to assess how effective each tactic is.

Create High-Intent Shoppers

According to AdRoll, “October might just be the very best time for marketers to get their holiday campaigns up and running across the web, social, and mobile.” Their research shows that in October you get more bang for your buck with greater total impressions and lower costs per click compared to November and December.

But why wait until October when you can get out ahead of the competition with some campaigns in September?

It’s a great time to start planting the seeds for consumers to purchase from you when your holiday sales come around. Then you can continue to build on the momentum you’ve created for your products and capitalize on the fact that click-through rates increase between October, November and December.

In other words, this is the time to prepare to fill the top of your funnel through brand awareness activities so that you have a larger retargeting pool in October, November and December.

It’s also the time to figure out which of these activities and channels are best for you. Email? Blog posts? Google Ads? Decide how you’ll mix and match, and then come up with your strategies for each, and how they’ll all feed into your overall holiday marketing strategy.

Break Some Mobile Records

Buyer journeys have become so complex, and filled with micro-interactions and campaign strategies have to take this into consideration to be effective.

One of the most important trends to consider when it comes to buyer journeys is the rise of mobile shopping. In 2017, by Thanksgiving traffic from users on desktop devices and tablets was decreasing. At the same time almost half of all online retail traffic was coming from mobile devices – a 15% increase over the previous year, according to Adobe Analytics.

It didn’t stop there. Mobile devices were actually responsible for the growth of Cyber Monday. That’s right, smartphones actually made this shopping phenomenon even bigger. How much bigger?

Well, in 2018 mobile made up over 50% of site visits on Cyber Monday. Mobile was also the source of 34% percent of the $7.9 billion in revenue generated in the U.S. These figures made it the first Cyber Monday where more than half of visits came from mobile.

All this to say, optimizing your holiday marketing campaigns to run across devices, and prioritizing mobile is a must.

Consider Past Successes and Current Trends

Do you know which of your products and services sell best during the holidays? Are there add-ons that you can upsell, or special packages you can promote? Have you identified ways you can improve checkout conversion rates? If not, then it’s time to get started.

There are so many different tactics and data sets that can help you have your best holiday season yet.

Knowing what’s worked for you in the past is a great starting place to create a strategy for your 2019 holiday marketing campaigns. So is seeing what’s working, and not, for your competitors.

Be sure to assess your past successes, but complement that with a strategy to leverage current trends. This could be as simple as updating your website and ad creatives with holiday-themed design changes. Or creating a holiday-themed landing page with your top sellers and gift suggestions.

Consumers love signs of holiday cheer. And they convert more so through holiday landing pages. Go ahead and tap into that emotional appeal!

Just be sure to give yourself enough time to get all that festive cheer designed, coded, quality assured and tested.

When you’re putting all this effort in, you’ll want to be able to test messages, creatives and email strategies, generate insights into performance and have the chance to optimize. Testing when ad inventory is more readily available and affordable just can’t be beaten.

Be Ready For Traffic Jams

A tell-tale sign of the holidays approaching is how crowded parking lots at malls become. Another is increased traffic to e-commerce sites. As we look at different ways you can prepare for and launch your holiday marketing, it’s important to also consider the end goal of your ad campaigns.

Will the website that you’re driving consumers to be prepared to handle the increased volume? In other words, will you be ready for your holiday shoppers?

We’re hoping the answer is a resounding YES. Because if you’ve got a website that’s not equipped to perform, you’ve got a big problem on your hands.

Be sure to audit your checkout process, consider how user-friendly your website is, check on your site’s speed and think about how you’ll be delivering promotions and coupons. Then make adjustments as needed.

Bigger Discounts Meet Longer Sales

Think about other logistics as well, which will impact your campaign strategies. When will your last shipping days be? How will you communicate this to consumers? What will your Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s offers be? As of 2016 Black Friday and Cyber Monday started shifting from 2 days of sales to an entire weekend of promotions.

This has continued to mean bigger discounts, longer sales periods, and an increase in customers and their average order sizes.

Think about what this will mean for you. Confirm what your offers will be and then figure out how you want to build campaigns around them.

Once you’ve got your systems in place, you’ll be ready for all the joy of the season that increased sales will bring you.

Retargeting Can Produce Christmas Miracles

Retargeting customers will not only bring you increased revenue throughout the holiday season, it can create opportunities for value added interactions with customers.

Consider for instance the time-strapped mom who’s shopping for the family and forgetting items in shopping carts. Or the millennial who’s flitting back and forth between options. No matter the customer persona, your holiday shoppers will share a common trait – they’re looking for that special gift for a special someone. Or maybe their motto is “Treat Yo Self”.

Whatever the case, your retargeting ads may be the reminder they need to make a purchase that’ll make the most of the holidays.

And we’re here to make the most of yours. Get all the designs you need with Kimp to campaign before, during and after the holidays ;). After all, ’tis the season to increase brand awareness, engagement and revenue.