It’s early spring and the supermarkets are already stocking fruit mince pies and Christmas decorations. Despite the social media stir this has caused, with people saying, “It’s too early!” it’s a good reminder for businesses to start preparing for the festive season.
You mightn’t want to spruce up your house with Christmas lights quite yet and the Santa suit can stay in the closet for a few more months, but it’s time to plan for the last quarter of the business year.
Before you know it, the festive season will become the frenzied season. Get your holiday season marketing campaign ready now and breeze into the end of the year.
We’ve prepared a list of tips to help your business prepare for the busy Christmas season. Whether you’re an online retailer, service or hospitality business our tips will help you get your campaigns, website and social media strategy ready for the festive season.
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Consider important holiday dates
It’s not too early to start planning your campaign strategy for the entire holiday season. There are a number of holidays and events, in Australia, that happen over December and January.
- Christmas Eve
- Christmas Day
- New Years Eve
- New Years Day
- Boxing Day
- Australia Day
- Chinese New Year
- Back to School
Early September is a good time to prepare for these upcoming events. Decide on the dates that are important to your business and for your customers. This is the start of creating your holiday and New Year campaign.
Analyse past data
If you are an online retailer, there are questions you need to ask including:
- What were our best sellers last year?
- Which campaigns had the biggest impact on sales?
- What were the busiest days of the season?
A handy tool for analysing past data is Google Analytics. You can find out where your website traffic came from and the spikes of traffic at particular times of the year.
How are you going to track the success of this year’s campaign? Plan this early as this information is invaluable for next year.Without proper tracking and analysis, you’ll always be guessing the success of your campaigns.
Decide on the digital channels you’ll focus on
Some of the most popular digital channels for a holiday campaign include:
Plan your blog posts to suit your holiday promotions. Promote products that your customers are looking for during the season
Segment your database according to the buying history of your customers.Communicate your holiday season opening/closing hours. Send email newsletters to wish your customers a Happy New Year and Merry Christmas
Promote your products through Google AdWords. Run a campaign to maximise your seasonal sale.
Schedule regular posts to promote products, communicate important events and dates and wish your clients a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Use social media to promote products and build goodwill with customers.
Ever visited a website and then seen their advertisement on another site you are visiting? Retargeting is an effective option for advertising your promotions over the holiday season.
Plan your social media strategy
The festive season is hectic. In the midst of the business, it’s hard to keep up with updating your social media posts and responding to customer enquiries. Have you got a strategy in place to help you keep up to date during the season? You may need to hire staff or get extra help with your content marketing, blog posts and social media updates.
Create a campaign calendar for the season
Once you know what worked and what didn’t work in previous years, it’s time to create a campaign calendar for the season.Your calendar will include a list of dates for your promotions, the channels you will use and a list of aims for each marketing message. Aside from the digital channels which have been discussed, don’t forget printed channels including posters, table talkers, seasonal menus and flyers.
Get your website ready
Is your website mobile device ready? Not only does a mobile friendly website help your Google rankings, but your customers will shop online for Christmas gifts. Many customers will research online and purchase offline (ROPO) meaning your website needs to be ready for mobile devices. According to Nielsen, customers want to be able to choose online and pick up in person. Important dates like your opening and closing dates, order cut offs etc need to be optimised for viewing on mobile phones. Is your website mobile friendly? Click here to find out.
Other important considerations include whether your website can handle a surge in traffic, if your website has broken links and the user-friendliness of your check out. Get these tasks sorted early to ensure your customers and clients have an enjoyable experience when visiting your website.
Create the artwork, write the copy and schedule your online campaigns. In fact, Christmas is so busy that marketing campaigns can easily fall by the wayside. It’s not too early to:
- Schedule blog posts.
- Schedule email newsletters.
- Book and organise online advertising.
- Create your PPC campaigns.
Some things may need to be added manually on particular dates. For example, your website banners or graphics.
Get your inventory and products in order
Have you got enough stock to last the holiday season? When do your wholesalers close during the Christmas break? Even for services businesses, you may need to think early about personalised gifts, corporate gifts and corporate Christmas Christmas cards. Printers and creative agencies close over the Christmas break, so order early so you don’t miss out. For your online business, you may need to create new product categories and holiday themed sections of your website, including gift boxes and gift ideas.
Return policies and payment options
During the Christmas season, it may be good to reconsider your return policies. Extended warranties, free returns and generous exchange policies may give you an advantage over your competitors. This is a good time to consider additional payment options including Paypal, BPay or credit card.
A list of promotional ideas
Here are a few ideas for your holiday campaign promos:
- Gift wrapping services
A great add-on sale or complimentary service. Busy shoppers appreciate the convenience of gift wrapping services.
- Clearance sales
Have you considered launching a pre-Christmas sale, in addition to your Boxing Day sale?
- Charity donations
Instead of sending corporate gifts to your clients, you may prefer to give a donation to a charity. You can promote this initiative through your email campaigns, social media and blog posts. This is a way to build goodwill with your customers and clients.
- Free Shipping Promos
- Popular in the US, Free Shipping Day is the last day that online stores guarantee that orders will be delivered before Christmas.
With these handy tips, your business will be prepared for the festive season. For a stress-free, easy and super festive season, start planning now.