The back to school season is over, so is it too late to start your Christmas marketing campaign? While you may still enjoy some holiday marketing, the key is you must start early.
Most major retailers start their marketing campaign for the Christmas season as early as June.
This makes sense, since 40% of consumers begin holiday shopping before Halloween.
The good news for those launching their Christmas marketing campaigns now you can still reach 60% of the market.
To help you over the longer term we want to review how to plan for the Christmas campaign as well as a few cheats if you are getting in late in the game.
Below are some strategies other retailers use for their Christmas marketing plan. The key is to plan early, so you can catch Christmas shoppers through the winter months.
At the same time, you do not want to be so early your products sit on the shelves damaging your bottom-line.
The balancing act we propose will break up your Christmas marketing campaign over the course of the year into three phases.
Phase 1: Analyze the prior Christmas season (December 26th-May 31st)
Do you know the scariest number in retail? It is the 30% return rate for ecommerce purchases.
Some returns are unavoidable. Other returns come from incorrect shipped products, damage packages, and other preventable reasons.
If you want to plan for Christmas, review what you did right and wrong over earlier holidays.
Don’t stop at the return rates. Also, survey customers to find out what they liked and disliked working with you.
Then analyze your profits and losses to see what your top sellers were last year. Revise your marketing to feature those top sellers this year.
For new companies, start researching what your competitors did in the past. This is valuable advice for veteran companies as well.
Phase Two: Prepare your Christmas marketing campaign (June 1st – September 31st)
While your competitors catch some waves over the summer, devise a plan to dominate Christmas.
Start with the products you want to display. This is where your research becomes useful. Check what products outperform over the holiday season. Also, consider what is trendy at the time as well as what future trends look like.
For example, last year Pokémon Go was huge! The fanfare for this app died out as fast as it erupted. It still generates significant interest, but attention waned. If you do not pay attention to these trends you could might offer the wrong products to consumers.
Finally, create your promotions calendar with your messaging and brand strategy. Do as much as you can before the season starts, so everything is ready during the mad rush.
Nothing worse than not knowing what to say to entice visitors to buy your goods over the holiday season.
Phase 3: October 1st–December 25th
We are now in crunch time. Time to roll out your promotions for the holiday. Note: you do not want to annoy people who wait until December 21st at 5 PM before Amazon shuts off free 2-day shipping.
Instead, you do a slow build promoting your hottest products as you transition into holiday posts three weeks before Cyber Monday.
This is the period where momentum about the holidays picks up on social channels like Twitter. Use the social network to understand the trends as the holiday season progresses, so you can see if any new trends appear.
One thing you should not wait on is you search engine marketing. It takes time to rank on Google. Therefore, starting at the tail end of phase two in September can help your efforts in this department.
Keep creating content on your site up every week until Christmas to ensure you have more content for Google to drive traffic to your website.
Search ads should wait until you start your holiday posts in early November. Remember, too many ads too soon do not bring in more customers. They just cause ad blindness.
Finally, create a mix of holiday and non-holiday emails to make sure your customers receive your promos early in their buying process.
You can increase this frequency in your November and December email newsletters to focus exclusively on the holidays.
All these actions increase as your Christmas marketing campaign comes together in time for customers to buy your goods.
As you can see from the strategy above, you should start your Christmas marketing early. If you want to prepare for the holiday season, but have not started early you need to act fast.
Truthfully, running a Christmas campaign without help will be difficult once you get into October.
Instead, you need the right team to improve your holiday campaign. Contact us at once for a free consultation if you want to boost your Christmas marketing campaign before it is too late.