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Digital Marketing Tips for the Holidays

The holiday season doesn’t lack shopping days. Add those to the traditional boost in consumer spending that occurs in the run-up to the holidays, and you have a recipe for a record sales quarter.

However, a bumper festive season doesn’t happen by accident. A comprehensive and thoughtfully crafted digital marketing strategy is necessary to make those sales rack up.

Why the Holidays Are the Best Time for Digital Marketing Success

The sheer demand for online shopping makes the holiday period one of the best times to launch a new digital marketing strategy, but competition between brands also makes an effective strategy necessary.

It’s important to present a strong digital campaign given the potential propensity for consumers to seek out the kind of in-store events they missed out on in 2020.

OK, enough background information. Use these nine digital marketing holiday tips to guarantee a holly-jolly holiday season.

1. Start Early and Have a Plan

The best holiday digital marketing plans start months before the festive season. To put it another way: If you haven’t already started planning your strategy, start now.

Breaking your holiday digital marketing campaign up in this way will help show you exactly how much work needs to be done and how to make the best use of your time.

Most important of all, don’t freak out if you haven’t started planning yet. There’s still plenty of time to create a killer digital marketing plan. Focus on the shopping days that are still ahead of you and identify one or two effective strategies to put all of your efforts into.

2. Host a Contest

The holidays are a time for gift-giving, so what better way to get into the spirit of the season than by hosting a giveaway contest.

Not only is a contest a great way to give back to your consumers, but it’s also a fantastic way to drum up brand awareness, grow your social following, and build your email list. You can even use your contest to tease the holiday shopping deals and events you have coming up.

The great thing about hosting a contest online is that it’s quick, easy, and cheap to set up. You don’t even need to give away something extravagant to get people excited. A free product is all it takes to get your campaign going.

3. Use Paid Campaigns to Increase Awareness

Run awareness-based campaigns on every major paid ad channel. I’d recommend Google, Facebook, and Instagram at a minimum, but feel free to advertise on any channel you think is appropriate for your audience.

Be thoughtful with your budget. Specifically, you’ll want to make sure you spread your budget across the entire holiday season. While it’s tempting to front-load your budget and catch shoppers as early as possible, consumers may not be ready to purchase at the start of November.

4. Use Promotions but Use Them Carefully

Promotions and discounts are something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they are a great way to drive traffic and increase conversion rates. At the same time, they have the potential to devalue your brand—especially at a time when rampant consumerism is so closely linked to environmental damage.

To make discounts more meaningful is to limit them to existing customers. With this strategy, there’s no risk of devaluing your brand in the eyes of new customers, while rewarding existing customers for being loyal. What’s more, it’s much cheaper to retain a customer than acquire a new one, and a generous promotion may be enough to stop them from shopping with competitors over the holiday.

5. Create Holiday Gift Sets

If you’re looking for a way to increase conversions and boost your average order value (AOV), try bundling your products into holiday gift sets and selling them at a discount. Product bundles are particularly popular in the run-up to Christmas when shoppers are searching for the perfect gift.

Bundling is particularly common with health and beauty products, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t work in other sectors, too. For example, a yoga e-commerce store could bundle a yoga mat, block, carrier bag, and pair of leggings. A pet store could bundle dog food, a bed, and a collar. Whatever you sell, there’s almost certainly potential to bundle several products together.

6. Create Laser-Targeted Email Campaigns

Making it the highest returning marketing channel. It’s a no-brainer to include email in your digital marketing strategy.

Not sending emails isn’t an option. If you don’t catch your audience’s attention, your competitors will. Your job is to make your emails stand out in a sea of sales messages.

There’s only so much you can optimize, however. When you send your email shouldn’t be one of them. There’s no shortage of statistics telling you the best time to send an email. The trouble is your competitors are reading the same articles, too, so forget best practices for a moment and stagger emails as much as possible throughout the day.

7. Be Socially Responsible

Practicing social responsibility—whether that’s donating a portion of your profits to charity, creating environmentally-friendly products, or something else entirely—isn’t just the ethical thing to do. It makes business sense.

If you’re new to corporate social responsibility, start by supporting causes that align with your brand. For instance, it makes sense for a pet store to support a dog shelter, or a gardening brand to support an environmental nonprofit.

Whatever causes you support, remember to be genuine. Your customers aren’t fools, and they’ll quickly be able to tell the difference between a company that is committed to being responsible and one that is greenwashing.

8. Try New Platforms

Ever been tempted to run a campaign on TikTok or Instagram Live? Don’t wait for the New Year to make a change; try a new marketing channel this holiday season.

Launching a campaign on a new platform may seem daunting, but if you treat it like an experiment, then it doesn’t matter if you fail. Better still, there’s every possibility you’ll hit it out of the park and uncover a profitable platform you can advertise on for years to come.

9. Make a Plan for Long-Term Success

If your brand awareness ads are successful, you’re going to have a lot of people visiting your site. Hopefully, most of them will make a purchase. If they don’t, you’ll want to find ways of targeting them throughout the rest of the year to make sure that initial ad spend wasn’t wasted.

One of the best ways to do this without getting visitors to sign up for a mailing list is through retargeting ads.

With retargeting ads on Google and Facebook’s ad network, you only serve ads to people who have previously visited your site. This is an incredibly cost-effective ad strategy and one of the best ways to keep your brand top of mind well into the New Year.