Here it comes again, the holiday season 2017 has officially started. It’s the second part of November and everybody seems to be thinking about Christmas.
We’ve come full circle. Again.
And you are not ready. Again.
Change it once and for all and turn this whole chaos into your advantage by making a Christmas marketing plan.
For many brands, seasonal opportunities are huge and often the most commercially critical times of the financial year.
So how to get into it?
First, let’s state how far in advance you actually should start planning and getting ready for the holiday fever.
What is the sweet spot for starting your Christmas campaigns?
Too early and you won’t raise the proper interest, too late and your competitors will scoop your seasonal opportunity right before your eyes.
Do you know that you should be planning your holiday actions right after the prior holiday season ends? Why it’s so?
Sum It Up When It’s Still Fresh
Right after the Christmas season your mind is still mulling it over, so it’s the best time, to sum up:
- What exactly has been done
- What went well
- What went wrong
- What outcomes your marketing campaigns generated
- What channels were used
- What should be improved for the next time
- Plan budget and set realistic KPIs
- And how actually you could approach it better in the future
Okay, but let’s assume you are a rookie and it’s your very first time preparing for holiday season. So note it down: Draw conclusions right after and outline the next game plan for next year when it’s still fresh in your mind.
Knowing the result of the past period will let you lay a solid foundation for next time.
Currently Trending - Christmas
When does interest in Christmas actually starts to grow? This all comes down to web traffic seasonality.
As I wrote about it in my article Seasonal Marketing: How to Apply It to Your Business, seasonality refers to the upward and downward trends in search related to the changing demand for particular products over time.
Seasonality is about changes in the way users interact with the search engines throughout the year.
In practice, there are two types of content:
- There’s evergreen content that isn’t sensitive to the time cycles and always drives you the predictable levels of organic traffic because of it’s stable search volume.
- On the other end, you’ve got the seasonal content that can bring you the spectacular peaks in traffic only on special occasions during the year.
These upward and downward trends are actually measurable. If you would like to see when all that hype for Christmas and some other significant celebrations begins, prepare a list of seasonal keywords you are going to target in this season and next jump on Google Trends and check them all out. Make sure that you’re advertising on all seasonally relevant keywords.
Once you do it - you will have it clear when it’s the best time to launch a given seasonal campaign. And here you’ve got your sweet spot:
Interest over time - combined
Easy peasy, right? I bet it is, but most marketers skip on this part and do it intuitively, that’s why they may be missing out on something and not even knowing about it.
Be more strategic and data-driven - intuition doesn’t always translate into numbers ;-)
Now it’s time for the essence. After all, you came here for the successful Christmas marketing plan, right?
Research first. Always
Right before you start brainstorming Christmas marketing ideas and creating your own holiday campaigns, check how others do it. Auditing the existing seasonal campaigns will give you a bigger perspective on your tasks, allow you to jump on some successful blueprints and also reveal mistakes that can be avoided only if you know about them upfront.
Online research is the most important task of your job because it inspires you, brings some unique, creative ideas right before you and teaches you a lot. Therefore, make sure you check up on all the smartypants, marketing leaders, and their holiday actions - no matter if they represent your business niche or not.
Now you can give the gift of Uber straight from the app. Tap 'Send a Gift' from the menu to deliver a holiday surprise via email or mobile. pic.twitter.com/GX5K9PTgMw— Uber (@Uber) December 23, 2016
Spotify gets even more intense than Uber. Well, they’ve got a solid reason to be. Spotify represents the music industry, so there are millions of great stories ready to use. Rockstars popstars and other musicians have wild lives. Spotify just needs to dig into it to find something special and proper for an occasion.
Take a look at the pic below. Heidi Klum is famous Halloweenie. She always dresses up so that no one can recognize her. ;-) Can you actually recognize this famous Victoria’s Secret Angel?
Not a chance, right? As a result, show business media are always awaiting her newest costumes. It’s very clever of Spotify to invite Heidi Klum to their a Halloween campaign, isn’t it?
This year, Heidi Klum has put together a Halloween playlist with her favorite spooky tracks just for Spotify - How cool is that?!
Even if you operate in a completely different niche than Uber or Spotify, it’s still okay to follow them. These brands have got exceptionally creative brains behind. In fact, following their past and ongoing actions can bring you some fresh air and open your mind for the new ways of thinking and innovative ideas. These guys know how to bring the lightness into their holiday marketing campaigns and express things to the point. They just design the right patterns to chase. I think they’re special, but there is definitely more examples than are even more spectacular.
Let’s remind H&M’s last year Christmas story.
H&M literally employed Wes Anderson to direct the video “Come Together” with Adrien Brody. Now, that’s something! No wonder that once it was uploaded to YouTube it went viral. H&M apparel was subtly presented on characters and the storyline was simple, natural and nicely fit into Christmas warmth.
Another success story is that of Instagram’s Harlow and Sage. Heard of it already?
This Halloween they did this for the smart collar company linkAKC:
For me this is one of the best examples of seasonal marketing this year yet.
All in all, keep your eyes wide open and have your social media listening set for the seasonal phrases. Reach for Buzzsumo to check best Christmas marketing campaigns and set your scope.
Research is always necessary for you to develop your business knowledge and grow. Only by broadening your horizons and learning from others you will be capable of having good ideas.
Nail the Right Message
Ok, once you decide which particular occasions you’ll target, remember that a holiday campaign narrows down to the messages you’ll send. This is why it’s vital to nail the right message. While preparing your messages be sure to consider:
- Storytelling. Prepare the right story for the right occasion that will smartly smuggle your products or services and show them in the holiday context. You could reveal others ideas during the research process, now it’s your turn put your hands on the own concept and see how it goes.
- Emotions you want to evoke with your holiday story. Each occasion conveys a specific set of emotions. For instance, we associate Halloween with the feeling of spookiness and Christmas with rejoice, unity, family warmth, thankfulness, and appreciation. This is why you should focus on the strongest feelings and fit your touching stories into.
- Customer journey stage. While the most holiday campaigns are focused on the new acquisitions, we also see special holiday upselling offers directed to returning (existing) customers.
- What call to actions and steps you want your prospects to take. Calls to action and the conversion funnel are the second most important thing to do, right next to your storytelling. Plan the whole conversion process of a holiday campaign, to provide easy, user-friendly steps and kind of exciting journey to your prospects. Act multichannel for the best results.
If you already know what you can do for your holiday campaign, it’s time to find out how to do it. Organize all your assets for seasonal campaigns.
Targeting holidays you should take advantage of all the marketing platforms to bring in the most buzz and maximize the engagement. Therefore, your email marketing, social media, blogging and PPC should go hand in hand.
The right holiday message breaks down to:
- Changes to your website - homepage, pricing page
- Creation of dedicated holiday landing pages
- Emails you are going to send out to your user base
- Social media posting
- Holiday hashtags on Twitter and Instagram
- PPC ads copy
- Blog posts you’ll release
- YouTube video
Now, once you decide what channels to use, add everything into a calendar and establish the right schedule.
And hey, remember about using UTMs to your URLs. Without them it won’t be easy to see what channel performs best. Read this guide and learn how to set UTM parameters right.
Over to You
Of course, in this guide, I can’t tell you what exactly you should do this year to drive users specifically to your products. I can only show you the right direction and best practices to follow. in the end, it’s your call. What you’ll eventually come up with lies in your hands (and head). Each business is a whole other story and no one from the outside knows your powers best. So get to the job and I’m sure you’ll play it right.
No matter if you target holidays or don’t do it at all, you should pinpoint the best seasons for your brand. To do so, compare your year-to-year online performance in Google Analytics. Work your way backward to detect if and when you have natural, seasonal spikes in your online performance. Once you notice these ‘hotspots’ try to break them down into organic keywords behind the traffic. Perhaps they are caused by some seasonal causes. If there is such a correlation indeed, then try to capitalize on that already existing demand for your products or services.