Most of us have come across the ‘Christmas in July’ promotions that many businesses put in place to get over the early summer hump. But, when it comes to digital marketing, Christmas really does start in July.
Planning for a successful holiday campaign can take months and the busiest shopping period of the year is no time to play it by ear.
The team at Aitkens Media is already hard at work preparing winter holiday campaigns for our clients. Our elves are busy making lists, checking them twice and sprinkling marketing magic dust across beautiful blogs, gift-wrapped promotions and twinkling social media strategies. But today we’re going to take a few minutes to share some of our best Christmas marketing tips with you.
Dates To Keep In Mind
Almost half of all customers have finished their Christmas shopping by the end of November. If you wait until December to start your campaign you’ll have already lost half of your potential customers.
But the holiday season is not limited to the traditional end of December holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, or as some call it: Chriskwanzukkah. Gift giving and buying starts in November and involves a variety of events.
The 11th of November marks the start of the holidays with Singles’ Day, a celebration with origins in China. As an ‘anti-Valentine’s’ celebration for single people, the date is particularly significant as it’s written 11.11 or one-one-one-one.
If you haven’t come across this yet, pay attention! This is huge and you won’t want to miss out.
Singles’ Day is currently the busiest shopping day of the year on and offline. Thanks to the Chinese version of Amazon, Alibaba and it’s founder, Jack Ma, Singles’ Day has become the biggest shopping day in the world and was worth $25 billion in sales, during 2018. Compared to the £2.44 billion in sales during last year’s Black Friday and the £3.6 billion that Amazon took on hits highest grossing day ever, Prime Day 2018, you can understand why UK and European retailers are sitting up and taking notice of the huge Chinese market in November.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday come right after America’s Thanksgiving holiday, on the last Friday of November and following Monday. Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the busiest shopping dates in the US and Canada, and have now expanded to ‘Black Weekend’ and ‘Cyber Week’.
The beginning of December is marked by ‘Small Business Saturday’; a date that most small business should take advantage of but generally fail to plan for.
What To Do and When
Christmas marketing campaigns should be planned in advance to give you time to work out all the details. Start promoting your brand early and focus on customer satisfaction throughout the duration of the campaign. Specific dates vary by business, but some general rules apply to all.
June to August you want to devote your time to planning. Christmas is a busy period for businesses and customers alike. Keep your promotions and messaging simple and impactful. This is easier said than done but this 3-month period allows you time to refine your campaign.
September and October you should start your early awareness campaign. This is the time to get your name out there and create a devoted customer base. Most people prefer to buy their Christmas presents from brands and companies they have successfully purchased from in the past. Don’t wait until December to make yourself known! If you haven’t done so already, this is also the time to create mailing lists, grow your social media following and increase your activity online across all your networks. You can also use the information gathered during this period to further refine your holiday campaign plans.
November and December are when your Christmas campaign should run. Don’t forget that your online presence is your digital window display: change profile images to seasonal ones, publish themed content, and generally try to capture the magic of Christmas and inspire your customers.
The main focus of these two months should be to provide the best customer experience possible. 85% of customers complain of problems while shopping online during the holiday period. With a campaign that has been planned months in advance, you can make sure your time is devoted to your customers’ needs.
Some Tips To Make The Most Of Your Holiday Campaign
- Christmas is all about relationships. Instead of pushing for sales, create a relationship with your customers so that they become brand loyalists.
- Make sure that the whole team has input during the planning process, not only those who deal with the digital marketing side of the business.
- Holiday campaigns can make or break a small or medium business and Christmas is one of those times when no ideas are bad ideas. Continue to brainstorm with your team the different ways you can help your customers.
- Unless you are a new business, you probably have some information from previous campaigns and holiday promotions. Refer to this when you are planning this year’s campaign and ensure you keep all collateral and data to improve next year’s offering.
And don’t forget: Christmas in July is a reality for digital marketing!
If the thought of planning for December in July feels overwhelming, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Aitkens Media. Our team can help you make the most of your social media marketing.