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How to plan your digital marketing strategy for the holiday season

With the holiday season just around the corner, marketers are starting to wonder how are they going to plan their digital marketing strategy to get in front of their audience. How can you get prepared for the upcoming Christmas and New Year season? With a top-notch digital marketing holiday strategy! Luckily, people are now very familiarised with shopping online due to the pandemic, as businesses had to shut their physical stores. What does this mean for you? Your brand’s online presence must be stronger than ever before.

We know that planning a strategy for your business can get quite overwhelming and stressful, but we might have just what you need! So sit back, grab a hot chocolate and check out our five-step process to make sure you’ll stand out from the crowd during the busy season.  

Step 1. Start early

Golden step! By starting to plan your digital marketing campaigns early means that your customers will have plenty of time to think and consider your offerings. We know that there are ever-increasing early holiday shoppers, so preparing high-quality seasonal promotions and holiday advertisements is a must. By having an early strategy figured out you’ll be able to focus all your marketing efforts on increasing sales during the rush periods, especially whilst facing fierce competition every step of the way. 

So start small. Set yourself SMART goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

Not sure how to start? Check out this awesome blog from HubSpot on How to Set & Achieve Marketing Objectives in 2020, it has all you need to know and more! 

Step 2. Be flexible

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce is highly unprecedented and hard to prepare for in advance, so predicting customer’s behaviour this year is difficult for businesses of all types and sizes. Keep this in mind as you might need to pivot your digital marketing strategy to reach your desired customers during the most unexpected times. 

Our special tip is to pay careful attention to your social media strategy, as your customers are 70% influenced by what they see on social platforms nowadays. People are spending more time on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube than ever, and the ease of shopping online has drastically increased even more since Instagram launched the Shop feature. Have you realised that the ‘Shop’ button has replaced the ‘Likes’ one? What does that mean? By habit, people tend to click straight away on the old placement of the Like button, but to their surprise, they end up on the Instagram Shop, ending up browsing products and offerings endlessly from their favourite brands. Pretty clever, right?

Keep in mind that consumers who are positively influenced by what they see on socials, they’re 4X more likely to increase their budget when buying online (and even amplify the impact of social proof and word-of-mouth). We have a whole blog on How to Create a Social Media Strategy, so why not give it a look?

Step 3. Use a content management platform 

If you want to get ahead of the game, you have to capture your customers’ attention and retain it. You do so by meeting them on their favourite digital platforms, and delivering what they want and when they want it, and that covers: 

  • Social Media 
  • Email 
  • Website 

But managing all of them smoothly can be a real challenge, once again. The solution is simple. Use a content management platform to run multiple accounts, and to organise all your marketing campaigns in one place. Once again, HubSpot is our favourite place to go to, as your marketing efforts are carefully looked after before it gets in front of your audience. But to make sure that your business will successfully integrate a content management platform within the business processes, get all your marketing team on board straight from the beginning. That might even mean that some training will be required, but that’s an enjoyable part! Learning new things, earning certifications and having a laugh with your co-workers is always a plus (at least for us!).  

Step 4. Level up your email marketing

How do you feel when you get your inbox bombarded with irrelevant content and ads straight after you open your laptop/phone? Yeah, pretty annoying, we know. If someone has subscribed to your business emails, it must give you a pretty good clue that they’ve had a positive experience and that they’re most likely interested in your brand. So why spam them with things that they just don’t care about? 

It all starts with the email subject line, so make sure you have an exciting and robust phrase, followed by excellent email content. The best times to reach people vary, so plan your emails at different times to get them opened, read and clicked. Our advice is to tone down the corporate voice, especially during the holiday season, and adopt a warm and friendly tone. Behave like a friend, create a minimalist design, write conversationally, and most importantly, give people value. Share tips, inspire them with creative insights, and maybe even reward them for reading your email. 

There are many golden nuggets that we could give you about how to write an email that converts, but we will leave this for another time, so make sure to keep an eye on our website!

Step 5. Festive ads 

It’s time to ditch the old fashioned Ads this Christmas season, so whether you are a retail, B2B, or B2C business, Google Ads are a great place to start getting festive! First thing, first? Create a campaign that will target holiday shoppers (especially the early ones). However, it’s not as easy as it sounds, as there are multiple things to consider when creating an Ad that will convert, but some good starting points are: 

  • Visually-appealing imagery (use the typical Christmas colours – red, green, gold, white and blue, but make sure to incorporate your brand colours in somehow too – this will enhance the chance that your customers will recognise your brand easier and stick in their minds) 
  • Set relevant landing pages (mostly to offer incentives to shop during the holiday season) 
  • Offer value (your shipping could be free for an order over a certain amount, or free gift wrapping, maybe a discount if ordered before a set date….get creative) 
  • Promote your seasonal discounts and deals (highlight clearly what is your company doing special during holidays) 
  • Use seasonal ad copy (include words like “Christmas”, “holiday”, etc.) 
  • Embed a sense of urgency (your copy should sound like “50% off if you order before XYZ date”, etc.) 
  • Golden nugget? Set up Ad scheduling (this will allow you to bid on the times when your customers are the most active on search) 
be creative note

But don’t forget about the Instagram and Facebook Ads too, as they’re the perfect place to get your marketing holiday game sparkle! You could do that by only getting yourself and your team dressed in ugly Christmas sweaters, get cheery and snap a photo. We’re telling you, that will surely increase those Instagram hearts! 

Also, keep in mind that research is everything. Have a look at what was popular with your customers last year during the Christmas season, what were your top sellers, and lastly, monitor consumer trends closely as they change quicker than the weather. 

Wanna know more? Read our blog on How can you use paid advertising during seasonal sales and start crafting! 

And there you have it, you are now ready to put your own digital marketing strategy together just in time before the holiday madness starts. However, if you are still looking for more advice and support, give us a shout and contact our cheerful team of marketers, as we’re always happy to help!

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