For many businesses, especially in retail, Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year, but grabbing the biggest share of the pie often means running some form of promotional or marketing campaign. But, when all your competitors are doing exactly the same, it can feel like it’s lot of work for little extra benefit.
The reality is, that isn’t the case at all.
Indeed, if that’s what your competitors are thinking too, then that could in fact be an opportunity for you to go one better. Because there’s a sense that everyone is running the same campaign, during the run-up to Christmas, many businesses drop the ball. Either they start planning too late, or simply run the same campaign year after year, with increasingly dull results.
By starting that little earlier and investing more time, energy and, above all, creativity into your campaign, you can make sure your brand stands out and put the competition in the shade.
The result can be magical sales figures.
Christmas comes early
Christmas seems to arrive earlier every year, but while you shouldn’t be bombarding customers with Christmas cards during September, you can certainly start planning your campaign and putting everything in place so you’re not competing for services and last minute ad slots in December. Once Halloween is done, most businesses are already planning for Xmas, so you should be looking at trends, customer expectations and what the big influencers are going to be before that.
Think about what products are going to be popular and how this relates to what you sell. For instance, if you have big ticket items, is there a way you incentivise customers in advance. An early email campaign offering a discount could be just enough to sway them. By doing so, you’re taking revenue away from your competitors before they’ve even had a chance to plan their promotion. Congratulations! It’s early November and you’re already locking in Christmas sales.
If you ship worldwide, remember that not everyone sees Christmas as the biggest holiday of the year or celebrates on the same day. Look at regional variances for last year (you kept the data, didn’t you?) and plan your timescales around that.
Of course, planning well in advance means your own business customers can do the same to target the early birds, and book the best Christmas ad slots and POS promos before anyone else.
The Christmas gift that keeps giving all year round
Once everything is in place, get all the key dates in a campaign calendar that’s accessible to everyone involved. Make sure each member of your team has everything they need to hit those deadlines and look out for any conflicts that could throw a spanner in the works, such as days off.
Some of the biggest days for online-related shopping come in the three days immediately following Christmas Day, so factor this into your strategy. This is when cash or gift cards given as presents are most likely to be spent. Target this demographic at the last minute and you could do very well. Consider free shipping for those purchasing with gift cards, as buyers aren’t out of pocket when ordering online.
This is also the time to run sales and discounts on seasonal items that didn’t do well in the run-up to Xmas and to get a final flourish of purchases for those popular products.
Make sure your campaign takes account of the New Year sales - everyone needs to do a bit of retail therapy at the end of the holiday season. Throughout the busiest periods, consider coupons or incentives with every purchase to keep customers coming back throughout the rest of the year. If you can find some way to incentivise referrals in the coming year, better still.
Bring Christmas cheer to your sales figures
At this time of year, creativity can pay big dividends. Here are few pointers to get your customers in the festive mood…
Early on, run a survey to find out how your customers celebrate (and shop) at Christmas, you can use this data to tailor your campaign and even your products. Keep it simple; a quiz or multiple choice questionnaire is ideal. Offer gift cards, freebies or discounts as incentive. This is ideal for finding out what the most popular products will be - so you can ensure you have the stock to cope with demand.
Whether it’s on product packaging, store leaflets, flyers, or online, get festive savings in the form of coupons to your customers. Subtly convince customers to exchange contact details for the discount. You now have a ready-made seasonal database.
Design an online advent calendar. This means your brand is front of mind every day throughout December. Each day can reveal a discount, promotion or prize, which can be randomised for each customer, with a big reveal on Christmas Day for the grand prize.
Whether or not the Christmas season accounts for a major part of your revenue, it’s worth investing extra effort and resources into your seasonal marketing campaign. After all, this is the time of good will and camaraderie. Do it well and those customers will return to spend with you throughout the rest of the year.Return back to Knowledge