The holiday season is the time for resting and relaxing – and shopping. Christmas means the best sales of the year for most operating in the consumer market, but customers don’t lose their interest after the holiday season has already started. On long holidays, people have time to browse online, use the present gift cards, and change the wrong size sweaters and the second pair of fluffy socks.
You can do much more than just sell during the holidays. The time preceding Christmas is also a great opportunity to build your brand, nurture customer relationships and get visibility with intriguing content.
By planning and scheduling beforehand, you can enjoy your holidays without worry. Here are five tips for holiday season marketing and communications.
1. Create the most clicked newsletters of the season
Email marketing remains the best way to boost sales. There's a tough competition for opens and clicks before the holiday season so targeting a message as specifically as possible will probably win the race.
Those utilizing marketing automation already know what presents the customer bought last year and can suggest products based on that. Others will have to settle for using segmentation the best they can.
Practical help for the busy ones
Remember that even though Christmas is an important time for many of us, it is also the golden age of haste and stress. Help the customer with newsletters that make holiday shopping effortless: offer just the right presents and ideas, provide the presents pre-packed and delivered and remind your customers of the last days to order. You can also try SMS reminders.
Use practical headings: for example, “the best gift ideas of 2019 for your wife” and "Order in three days, receive in time for Christmas" are providing a solution to customer's gift problems.
Don't let the customer slip away easily – they might appreciate help in all the hassle. If the customer has once shown interest in a best seller book but hasn't bought it, you should remind him about the book in a few days – and offer a couple of other options from your selection.
Many shoppers are still looking for gifts after mid-December. Offer some help to the last-minute shoppers with self-printable gift cards and by advertising the opening hours of your brick and mortar store as Christmas approaches.
Fashion retailer New Look sends help for last minute shoppers by offering possibility to buy egifts.
Remember loyal customers
If you only do one substantial campaign a year, the holiday season is usually the best time for that. You can, for example, make your customers happy by sending them an advent calendar as a drip campaign. Behind the calendar doors, you can hide some great deals, interesting blog content and holiday wishes in video form.
A gift is more likely to be opened than an offer. Send a pretty Christmas email with a gift card or a holiday season drink invitation to your most loyal customers. At the same time, you will deepen your customer relationship and ensure that they will continue to buy services from you also next year.
Remember to also send Christmas eCards to your customers.
Target and cross-sell
Days between Christmas and New Year are a great time to upsell and cross-sell. This is why the hit gifts of the season should be highlighted in email marketing also after Christmas. For example, "Did Santa bring an iPhone 11 Pro? Buy accessories at a special holiday price here" will probably work better than a generic mass message.
Using gift cards
Surprisingly many gift cards remain unused every year – and simultaneously the upselling possibilities coming with them are left unused. Encourage using the gift card by sending an automated newsletter containing the gift card tips to the person who bought it. Urge them to tell the tips to the receiver of the gift or forward the newsletter after giving the gift. Send a reminder a few months before the gift card expires, and make booking very easy.
2. You take a rest, your social media doesn't
Social media goes silent during the holidays so the active marketer stands out. Plan and schedule social media posts for the holidays if you take the days off. This can be done in different ways on different platforms, for example:
- Scheduling can be done from Facebook's own settings
- Twitter itself doesn't have a scheduling option but free Tweetdeck does
- Instagram needs a separate application but there are many to choose from. Try Later app, for instance, which also allows you to see how your scheduled posts will appear in your feed. Since the apps are not Instagram's own, you should test them out properly.
- Scheduling isn’t possible on LinkedIn. However, it’s a good idea to write down the text to be posted for a smoother publication.
- You can also use tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite to manage all your social media releases on one platform.
You might want to schedule brand-specific, yet simple, neutral and positive messages, such as holiday wishes and elegant pictures with a nice atmosphere. Check that your messages are very clear so you don't have to spend your valuable free time answering threads and clarifying the fine print on the offer.
Finnish design brand Marimekko's season's greeting on Facebook is simple, festive and very loyal to the brand.
3. Holiday spirit with content
Christmas brings up a lot of emotions and excitement and you should make use out of it. This is the time to share the cutest pictures of office dogs with elf hats, create an atmospheric brand video or a holiday season playlist on Spotify that represents you as a company.
The holiday season is a good time to bring forth the softer side of the company. Do volunteer work, collect presents for the less fortunate, have an internal vote charity and donate the company's Christmas present money to them. Remember to tell about your activity to your customers through press releases and social media – also the media craves news filled with holiday spirit.
Use creativity in holiday campaigns: Microsoft succeeded in combining holiday magic and product promoting in this heartwarming ad.
4. Christmas look for the website
Holiday season is a good time to take a look at your website with a critical eye. Can customers wait for your support for a couple of days or will they be instantly frustrated? The more extensive your customer service section is, the less there is a need for basic requests from the customers. Also check that your site works well on tablets and mobile devices for a user lying on a couch and browsing your website.
If you anticipate a lot of sales during the Christmas days, check the front page of the webshop and schedule it to be full of offers, so the customers will stay interested.
After Christmas, many website visitors want to find out what a gift card can be used on or how a gift product is assembled. Make clear pop-ups and incentives for these situations, for example: "Did you get a gift card for Christmas? Book your vacation now and get 20 percent off" or "Did you get the newest Kitchen Super Equipment 2019 for a present? Watch a video of how to assemble it".
Take into consideration those exchanging gifts, and highlight it clearly how and when gifts can be exchanged – and make sure that something else goes in the cart as well.
Christmas gifts might bring you new and unexpected website visitors. Try to recognize them immediately, and create an automatic campaign that turns these visitors into customers over time.
Many web stores have an abundance of visitors during the holiday season but other sites are visited as well. If you expect a great amount of visitors, change the layout to suit the season, with a new background image, for example. Or maybe people on the contact page could have pictures with elf hats during the holiday season?
5. Automate customer service
Make sure that the customer is taken care of even though you are bundled up reading your gift books. By automating customer service messages you already go a long way. Welcome the new newsletter subscriber, thank the customer for order and request for feedback a couple of weeks after the purchase.
Add automatic answers also for contact forms so the customer knows that the answer takes a bit longer to get than usual. Send them a link to the FAQ page and tell when you'll be back at work, and what to do if they are simply unable to wait.
New tools for the new year
Marketing and communications is an entity that can't be separated. With Liana's solutions you can manage every aspect of your digital communications effortlessly and automatically. Contact our team if you have intentions to develop your digital communication tools.