15 marketing tips for Christmas:
- Design: give your look a refresh for Christmas
- Website: take advantage of online sales
- Events: be at a fair or event and meet your customers
- B2B: connect with customers and rekindle relationships
- Competitions: run a giveaway and highlight your company
- Shop front: add a Christmas look to your store
- Email: create a Christmas campaign to hook customers
- PR: generate a fun PR story, great for creating interest
- Loyalty: thank your most loyal customers with a gift
- Advertise: give your company a boost with advertising, either online or print
- Content: Christmas offers plenty of scope for content, get writing and share online
- Cards: printed greeting cards are still popular – send and make people happy!
- Give back: Christmas is all about giving – so help a charity or good cause
- New Year: Christmas buying extends into the New Year, so have your campaign ready
- Have fun: Christmas is all about down time – add humour to your marketing and enjoy!
Christmas, it comes creeping up on you. The first signs start with baubles filling supermarket aisles and radio ads run to book your company’s Christmas party. And before you know it, December has kicked in, Mariah Carey is ringing out, and the big day is here!
To make sure you don’t miss out on this boom time of year, I’ve put together this marketing post to get you thinking Christmassy campaigns and ideas early.
It’s fair to say financially it’s massively important. The majority of profits for some companies come in December, so these will have plans in place during spring to make sure nothing is missed.
So whilst for many SMEs their profits are spread across the year, it’s still important to give Christmas the big push to end the year on a high.
Christmas has changed dramatically over the decades, with online shopping being a major factor. Approximately 87% of UK consumers have bought at least one product online in the past 12 months. And it is anticipated that the Irish ecommerce industry will double in value over the next four years to €14.1 billion.
Does this all mean that tumbleweed is blowing hard down the traditional High Street? Not so fast. Yes, e-commerce has taken a significant slice of sales, and will continue to do so, but face-to-face shopping still has a place with consumers.
All it means is that if you have a retail shop and an online presence, the two should work together, they are not separate entities.
The majority of High Street retail sales has at some point been connected digitally, so the need to offer a unique, quality and personalised shopping experience both on and offline is never more important. Otherwise you’re at risk of slow sales and stifled growth.
Get lead captures onto your website and in store to generate leads. Use this to inform and educate your audience, but don’t overload them.
Consumers can and should have a multi-channel approach to your business. So ensure web, email, social media and other communications all integrate to push the online sale, or generate a store visit. And look to emerging technologies to provide the best customer service and stay a step ahead of competitors.
And what about the b2b sector? Just because the b2c market is heavy promoting its products and tempting consumers with mince pies, it doesn’t mean you should overlook this seasonal time.
There are plenty of ways to engage with your audience and make them remember you for the coming year. And also, they’ve been good to you this year, so it’s a perfect time to say thank you.
So make the most of Christmas with my 15 tips – and there’s not a Brussels sprout in sight:
- A designer’s heaven: Colours, symbols, food, presents, holidays, there are all manner of ideas to give your company a design refresh for Christmas. Get a campaign going and make sure it integrates across all platforms for a consistent look. With so many ideas to choose from, your designer will be spoilt for choice and be able to create a unique and memorable design that Santa would be proud of. If you’re a small business with limited budgets, use free online tools like Canva to create professional looking imagery and designs.
- Get web smart: As I’ve already mentioned, online is big business so make sure your website is singing. Promote your key products, get the design right, push the CTA on the Xmas offer, drive store locations if relevant and encourage participation in a competition for sign ups and loyalty. You could also add live chat. I’ve used this for many clients and works well to direct consumers and capture that sale.
- Excel at an event: If there’s a time of year to get out there and meet your customers, then Christmas is it. Research a relevant event, book your stand, and hey presto. You can talk about your products, have some fun and make great sales too as people are there to spend.
- Don’t forget b2b: Move aside b2c, if you’re b2b based, there are plenty of Xmas ideas. You could offer a download for free advice, receive a discount on a service or invite customers to an exclusive event. Give your design a Christmas look too; web, social media banners and printed if necessary – it’ll make your audience feel you’re current and you’ll have a stronger relationship.
- Competition time: With so many Christmas themes and ideas, you can’t resist running a competition. It’s a great way to attract new customers and engage with old – you can have some fun too. Make it connect with your brand – just some suggestions include funniest Xmas story, upload your most outrageous Christmas outfit, or catch the Santa online game. Sometimes the quirkier the better. Run through social media and promote online and in offices/shops.
- Play with display: If you have a retail outlet you’ll be changing the look for Christmas, at least I hope so. Can you make it better than last year? You want people to actually stop, look and talk about it – does your shop front do this? Make it engaging enough for people to discuss through social media. You could even run a competition online and link with your shop to encourage visits – a great tie between online and the High Street.
- Email away: Email still proves to be a winning strategy for conversions, despite newer channels out there. Get creative and run an email campaign to highlight products – the ’12 days of Christmas’ is always popular. You can feature a new product every day and discount it to drive sales. I like this method as the urgency and time-sensitive element really pushes people to buy. When people click the link from the email, make sure your landing page is up to scratch and doesn’t let the buyer down at the last step.
- Perfect PR: Christmas creates a host of ideas for PR. I ran a campaign once for a housing developer that had an eco-housing site. I encouraged schoolchildren to make eco Xmas decorations for an eco tree in the sales office. It was a successful campaign with plenty of goodwill all round. So what can you do? If you’re a cake maker, launch ‘Rudolph noses’ as cup cakes, a hotel can create a Christmas themed hotel room complete with all the Xmas movies, or even a plumber dressed up as Santa and decorate the van with antlers. If it doesn’t make the local press, then it’s great for social media – so get sharing!
- Stay loyal: You’ll have a loyal following of customers or clients – and they are obviously important – so make them think so. Run a loyalty campaign to thank them for their support, offer a discount or invite them to a special webinar. It’s a way of saying thank you and to retain their loyalty.
- Pays to advertise: If you have limited budgets, but want the Christmas push, consider display or PPC advertising. Do your keyword research with tools like Google Keyword Planner to really hone your offering, and make sure the page the visitor clicks on is relevant to your ad and converts them.
- Get writing: Christmas also generates plenty of content ideas you can turn into a blog post, video or infographic for example. How about a recruitment company talking about the best work parties, or a healthy food business offering advice for hangover cures? Really interesting, useful and timely content can boost your company and cut through the noise of promotions and advertising.
- King of cards: The traditional Christmas card can still play a key role in your Xmas marketing. Stats show that direct marketing has a huge open-rate compared with digital, as it’s very personal and direct to the customer. So make yours amazing. Get it designed so it’s unique to you – it’ll impress the recipient. Still not sure on the printed version? That’s fine, so why not try a video? Let’s say you have 15 key clients. You could produce a personal video for each one and give them the recognition they deserve. Your team, dressed in Christmas outfits saying how great the year was and working with them, would be funny, personal and very memorable.
- Giving is good: We all associate Christmas with a time to give. So why not give something back to a charity or good cause? You could run an event in your office or shop to dress up and pay for the privilege. Everyone loves cake, get people to make and sell them and pass on money to a non-profit. Get your team thinking and you’ll have lots of ideas to make a difference. I run a giving back initiative all year with any Marketing Health Check taken. It’s a great way for a client to benefit from marketing advice, whilst helping their chosen good cause.
- On with 2018: Keep the Christmas sales buying momentum going by launching your post-Christmas/New Year campaign. Get this going the day after Xmas day, create heavy discounts, and you’ll keep sales on a high.
- Have fun: My final tip – just have some fun! Christmas is a time for relaxing with friends and family, enjoying time off and having a laugh. So introduce this into your marketing. Humour is a great way to engage but make sure it doesn’t offend anyone – maybe test your joke on people you know first. That way you’ll have people smiling from ear to ear and thinking you’re the best thing ever, after Santa of course.
Get planning your Christmas campaign early – in fact, as soon as you can. Get it organised and you’ll have a seamless campaign that works efficiently and converts.
And start to think about launching as soon as Halloween is over. I’ve found clients have a boost in sales during November. So whether it’s a discount or free gift, start attracting those early shoppers and don’t wait for the Christmas rush.
Most of these ideas can relate to any business or industry. So tweak to suit you and also remember to measure the results. It can be a frantic time of year, but monitor feedback and you’ll have useful stats for other campaigns.
Let me know how you get on. Or if you have any queries, just get in contact. And remember, make your campaign memorable, targeted and professional, and you’ll be singing your heart out on Christmas day!
Note from the Editor (aka me): This post was originally published on 26 October 2017, and has been updated for accuracy and new content.