14 Nov 6 Ways To Roll Out A Holiday Marketing Promotion
With the holiday season upon us, you’re probably thinking about (or should be thinking about) launching a few festive holiday promotions. Holiday promotions can be a huge hit if done right, or a total failure if you forget to apply the right strategies.
In this article, I reveal 6 things you should do to ensure you run the perfect holiday promotion.
1. Get your time right
Timing is huge for holiday promotions.
If you fail to get your creatives ready and served on-time, you will receive troll-like comments for being late as well as make your brand looks unprofessional.
How do you time a holiday promotion?
Let’s take a fairly simple holiday like Black Friday. The date is November 25th (2016) and typically runs the day before and after both online and offline.
During this holiday consumers typically buy gifts for themselves and maybe their close family.
Depending on your budget and business size, you could spend 7-14 days before November 25th raising awareness for your Black Friday sale, and then on the 25-27th serve media showcasing your offers and email your mailing list.
Pretty straight forward.
Now let’s take a look at Christmas, December 25th, with the official the countdown starting on the December 12th.
Christmas is the biggest holiday in the western world and is the only time of year when consumers are buying presents for other people. These gifts need to be wrapped and handed to someone before December 25th, with people often travelling or having to use postal methods to send gifts.
Running a Christmas campaign that starts on the 12th of December is probably a bad idea for the reasons stated in the paragraph above, not to mention by then the bulk of shoppers have already done their Christmas shopping.
Major brands start their Christmas campaigns as early as October, with the goal of getting the first wave of shopper before their competitors.
When hosting any type of holiday promotion, identify the key dates and consumer habits to understand when to plot your holiday promotion timeline.
Here is a 99 Designs newsletter on November 1st (Halloween):
Themed to perfection, and sent on the exact date of Halloween.
2. Brand yourself for the holiday
The fastest way to fail at marketing a holiday campaign is by using text and creatives that you use for all other marketing campaigns.
Holiday marketing promotions rely heavily on using theme related copy, the better the copy the more engagement it will receive from customers, and the more attention it will attract on social media.
Here’s an awesome email by JetBlue using text and creatives relating to Thanksgiving:
It’s funny and ties in well with their brand image. Even if you were not thinking about going on holiday, would you like, share, comment, retweet or show it to a friend? Most people would.
Free engagement and relevant images (holiday themed) draws more people to holiday campaigns.
3. Promote gifting
During the Q4 holidays, consumers are looking for any reason to say:
If you’re using paid advertisements to drive traffic to your products, considering tailoring your copy to get visitors to buy items for friends or family. Run 2-4-1 deals where to qualify a customer needs to bring a friend; or create gift audiences targeting parents, grandparents or couples to buy your product or service for a loved one.
Best Buy target gift audiences by calling out parents to buy their children a gaming console on Twitter:
Gift audiences allow you to tap into a new market you could not otherwise target.
4. Create your hashtag
Hashtags should be part of every marketing promotion regardless of whether it’s a holiday or not. When a customer uses a brand’s hashtag it is because they want others to know.
Consumers check-in at Startbucks or their local yoga studio because they want their friends to know what they are passionate about and what brands they feel a part of.
As human beings, we need to feel like we belong, be it to a family, a set of ideas or a brand.
In 2015, BestBuy created the hashtag #Wintheholiday creating an almost competitive atmosphere where shoppers were asked to upload amazing deals they found at Best Buy using the hashtag #WinTheHoliday.
It’s free branding for Best Buy and builds a stronger brand affinity with users who are taking part.
5. Don’t neglect the offer
You can time your holiday promotion perfectly, grab the best creatives and think of clever hashtags, but if your offer is isn’t good enough, everything else will fall apart.
Q4 is the time when businesses go above and beyond to increase their revenue. Most brands will allocate most of their marketing budget in Q4 and to compete, your offers need to be almost perfect.
If the objective of your holiday promotion is to generate more sales, do ample research to see what others are offering in your industry and how you can top it.
The e-tailing group found that 94% of online shoppers do price research to find the item at the cheapest price, with the average shopper visiting four or more website before making a transaction.
For holiday campaigns that focus on building customer awareness or increasing reach, the quality of your message should be the focal point.
6. Automate the entire process
Unless you want to be known as Scrooge around the office, your employees will be having plenty of time off during the holiday season. You can’t expect them to work on Christmas day, or to get in the office at 8 am the day after, to send out emails and reply to all customer emails…..and you don’t have to.
Facebook recently introduced bots to its Messenger service allowing you to send automatic replies based on user comments. Email automation services allow you to send email sequences based on emails subscribers open, or products bought.
Ads can be scheduled to run at certain times of the day with creatives changing day-by-day.
All holiday campaigns should be automated at every level so even if your entire team is on holiday, your business is still running on all cylinders and making sales while you tuck into your Christmas dinner.
Pro-tip: if certain tasks can’t be automated and need a human, consider hiring freelancers from Upwork or Freelancer. They have a huge talent pool of freelancers from Asia who don’t share the national holiday calendar as the West.
This allows you to hire professionals to work on Christmas day without having to pay double or triple for holiday pay.
The upcoming holidays are a great time to not only generate more sales, but also to test new innovative ways to grow your business through online marketing. You may test 10 things, 3 of which work and you profit, and 7 of which fail and you learn.
If you’re thinking about running holiday marketing promotions, apply the 6 tips above to ensure your next promotion is a seasonal hit!