Sukhjit Hayer

Written by Sukhjit Hayer

Sukhjit is full of ideas of how brands can raise their online profile in all manner of ingenious and creative ways. "Strangers are just customers you haven’t converted yet"


Marketing at Christmas

Christmas is a pretty hectic time of the year. You might be busy buying all the presents you need to get, or ordering your turkey, but Smoof believe this also one of the most important times of the year for marketing your business. This is especially true for service-based products, but all businesses can get into the festive marketing spirit to benefit their brand.

We recently went through how ASOS did Halloween as a case study to how you can take advantage of key national holidays, and that is a great place to start your marketing at Christmas. Smoof are now going to give you advice on how to market your business during the Christmas period.

It’s not too late. Get planning!

Start with the basics and focus on the customer. Answer these questions:
Who is your customer?
What motivates them?
How can you provide what they want?
Where do they look for you or find you? Is it via search engines, your emails, your website or social?
Put yourself into your customer’s shoes. This will help you understand your customer better and the path they are likely to take to you. You can therefore, plan where you are going to market your business to reach them effectively. Do you have many different types of customers? Do these for the main customer categories.

Think about your marketing objectives. Have a look at your marketing plan and see how you can advertise during this merry time to meet those objectives. Here are a few suggestions of what your objectives of likely to be:

  • Build brand awareness

  • Target new customers

  • Increase sales

  • Enhance customer loyalty

Hopefully, you have a number of marketing objectives, but don’t try and tackle them all at once. Here at Smoof, we believe maximising customer loyalty is key during this time of year. Do you have any ideas on how to do so? Make sure you jot down all your ideas so you can work your way through your list when you are ready to do so.

Know your key dates and events! If you are a large organisation you might want to offer some sort of promotion during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Make sure you know when these are and ensure you are creating awareness of your promotions beforehand so your customers where they should be looking and buying from on the day.

Are your customers more locally-based? Make sure you know when all the key events are for your area; e.g. is there a yearly Christmas event like a light switch-on? How could you engage with your customers about those events?

Another key event you might want to think about is your delivery cut-off date. You need to remind your customers when this is and emphasise that they need to order by a certain date.

What you could do

It could be a little late to go all out with your print advertising but you can still work on Christmas marketing online.

Website
There is a number of things you could be doing on your website to market during the Christmas time, primarily focused on the objective of increasing sales. It’s a great time to check through your website and have a clearout; is there any broken links and what can you do about them? Go through your website and see how you could make changes to convert people to buy. This could be by having more call to actions or moving them to a better place. Look through your website as if you were a potential customer; is your content easy to read, simple, and informative?

It’s important that your website is mobile-friendly as more and more customers are using their mobile phone to make online purchases. Don’t redesign your whole website. Make small changes to make conversions more likely. Remember how much time you have to do this and remember to take your budget into account.

Don’t forget your blog. Update it during the festive period to include details of how you are celebrating. Your customers may be interested to learn more about the business in terms of the people behind the brand. This could help customers to understand the business better and it’s values.

Social Media
The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud for all to hear! You can take this literally if you want but also spread your Christmas cheer on social media. Spread the word and remind your followers of your services, products or any special offers you may be offering. You can attract new customers and build brand awareness by being creative and engaging. Promote any Christmas changes; for example, if you’re a restaurant you may have a Christmas menu or certain Christmassy products and might want to advertise these on your social media.

The role of social media for Christmas marketing has become more and more important. Do you remember John Lewis’ Monty the penguin, or Marks and Spencer’s two fairies? They both had their own social accounts! Social media, like any another marketing channel, supports the Christmas campaign. It could be the place where you showcase aspects of your festive marketing, in terms of highlighting the changes to your website, or get more people to subscribe to your newsletter to get special holiday discounts.

PPC
If you are currently taking advantage of Pay-Per-Click advertising there is a few things you can do to focus your advertisements better. To start with, analyse what you have been doing and what you can do better. If you are using Google AdWords, have a look at this guide on how to create and save reports.

You may want to rewrite your existing adverts to focus more on the holiday. Are you offering free delivery during the festive period? Add these details into your ads. Have a look at ad extensions and how they can help can enhance your ads. Think about what your customers are looking for from you; how can you mention that in your ads to be more specific? Highlight what makes you unique and why you are better than your competitors; you may want to include a customer testimonial in your ad. Could target your audience any better? Have a look at what Google says about location targeting.

PPC can be a method of driving new customers to your website and helping to increase sales. You can also use your keyword research to help your SEO on your website, blog and social media.

Email
Reward loyalty or enhance customer loyalty further. As with your social, spread the word about any changes you have made, advertisements, or any offers you may have. Let them know you care and remind them of your business during this busy time of year. Email is also an ideal medium for letting your customers know when you’ll be open over Christmas - this is vital to ensure you don’t miss any opportunities or leave your customers in the lurch!

Remember

I know that was a lot to take in, but here are some key points to consider:

  • Be imaginative, maybe base your Christmas marketing campaign on a certain Christmas theme. The common one is usually 12 days of Christmas and special offers are given to customers on a daily basis, often through email marketing.

  • Create a sense of urgency. Get people to click on those calls to action. Stress that it is so many days until Christmas and your potential customers should act now before the products or services they want are no longer available.

  • This is key: don’t forget the aftermath! The festive season may be over but don’t forget to review and measure your results. Google Analytics is a great place to start, but don’t forget your social analytics also. All this data will be important when planning future campaigns, especially your marketing at Christmas in 2016.

  • This is also super important: don’t see your marketing channels as separate. They should all have synergy and work towards a meeting a number of marketing objectives together. This could be your social, email marketing and PPC supporting the main focus of your website. They should complement each other and help you create a successful integrated campaign.

Not selling during Christmas?

You can still do the basics and focus on your social media, blog, and remember to change your answering message if you're not going to be available.

The new year is a fresh start and you should focus your marketing on why your products and services may be needed now.

Hopefully this post gave you some (Christmas) food for thought! f you are still in a pickle and wish for some help please do not hesitate to get in touch! We offer a great range of marketing services and we are always here to help, so say hi to Smoof!