5 Steps for Successful Holiday Marketing Campaigns


Posted on December 9, 2021 by Aaron Johnson

Steps for Successful Holiday Marketing Campaigns

The holiday season is upon us—the most wonderful and BUSIEST time of the year, especially for those in e-commerce. By now, your holiday marketing campaigns should be well underway. Are your campaigns not leading to conversions as expected? Are you still dragging your feet on your holiday marketing strategy and don’t know where to start? Wherever you’re at in the process, don’t stress! Believe it or not, there’s still time to develop and run successful holiday marketing campaigns. 

With more people interacting online than ever before, the opportunities (and competition) to win customers is at its peak. Couple this with the massive global supply chain challenges we’ve been battling since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, business owners and marketers have had to reimagine how they can reach customers, supply the demand, and convert first-time shoppers into repeat customers. These rather unprecedented challenges led to an expanded holiday season in terms of marketing efforts.

This year, you may have noticed that many Black Friday sales began long before the traditional day after Thanksgiving. And some Cyber Monday offers are still going on strong. It’s turned into a month-long season of “deals” to motivate customers to shop early … and keep them coming back “just in case” a popular item is suddenly available. Amazon started promoting its “Deals for Days” in early October. Nordstrom opened its in-store holiday shops on Oct. 18. Lowe’s began its “Season of Savings” kickoff on Oct. 28. Even Target cleared the Halloween shelves and turned their big box store into a winter wonderland a week before Halloween.

And with the uncertainty of the supply chain, don’t be surprised if holiday marketing campaigns extend beyond the holiday season. So while time is certainly of the essence, if you’re in a holiday-season marketing rut, all hope is not lost! Here are 5 easy steps you can take right now to create successful holiday campaigns.


Step 1: Analyze previous holiday campaigns and successful campaign strategies

Before you do ANYTHING, you need a baseline. Assessing past successes and failures helps you quickly determine what worked and what straight up didn’t. Have you ever run an A/B test to determine which subject lines encouraged your readers to click into an email? How did participation in past giveaways or contests compare? Looking back at offers, did your customers respond more to free gifts, discounts, or free shipping? How have your customers interacted with you most—social media, email, web forums? Gather the data and analytics and look for trends.


Step 2: Define your goals

What is it that you actually want to achieve? Are you trying to sell a product? Is there a sales goal you are trying to meet? Or maybe you are trying to increase brand awareness and gain supporters? Whatever you do, make sure your goals are measurable. This will help you determine successes and failures when you’re planning next year’s holiday marketing strategy (or future campaigns, in general).


Step 3: Determine your ideal target audience and identify omnichannel marketing strategies that fit that demographic

During this step, pinpoint who has a need for your product or service … and who is most likely to buy it. Take a look at your current customers. Which demographics bring in the most business? Which ones follow through various call to actions, interact, or convert to a sale? Any demographic trends should be noted. Demographics you should consider include:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Marital or family status
  • Occupation
  • Ethnic background

Keep in mind, you don’t want to segment the market too much. If you are going after a very specific, niche market, you may not reach your desired results. At the same time, don’t be afraid to go after multiple demographics within a campaign. Just be aware that different demographics may require you to deploy different marketing strategies.

Once you know WHO you are targeting, you need to determine HOW to reach them.

In 2020, 67% of global online retail traffic was generated by mobile phones. In the fashion industry, the mobile share of traffic was even higher at 76%. According to Hootsuite, the latest data shows that social media has grown by more than half a billion users over the previous 12 months. This equates to roughly 13 new users every second. 

Find out where your audience gets their information, so you can amp up your efforts. Are they active on social media? If so, which platforms? Do they click on your PPC or paid social ads? Are they swayed by influencer recommendations? Do they prefer videos, polls, or sharable content? Whatever has worked in the past, start there. In the race against time, the middle of the busy holiday season is NOT the time to take risks or test your audience.


Step 4: Plan your messaging timeline

Open up your calendar and map out a plan. Running an email marketing campaign? Look at your analytics. Which day/time yields your best email open rate? Do you want to send a reminder email? If so, when? Which other marketing channels will you use and when? Include PPC, paid social, social posts, polls—every piece of your messaging plan should be mapped out and delivered accordingly.


Step 5: Create compelling content

Creating content that builds trust, gets people talking, and sells is not always easy. Fortunately, some big-name companies have paved the way, and looking at trends in their messaging helps. Here’s what we we’ve learned:

  1. A great holiday marketing strategy pulls at the heart strings. Emotions work … especially during the holidays, and especially in the midst of an ongoing pandemic when all of the feelings are at an all-time high.
  2. Keep it simple. You have SECONDS to capture your audience’s attention. Don’t waste that time. Be clear, be concise, and provide a call to action—tell them what you want them to do.
  3. Be ready to react and adapt. This is especially true in regards to social media marketing. Consumers expect instant, real-time, direct interaction. And on social platforms where like-minded individuals unite, voices are amplified. If something in your plan goes off the rails, fix it immediately. And make sure your customer service department is up to the task, as well.
  4. Your existing customers are just as important as new customers. They’re your link to fostering brand loyalty. Most likely, the customers you interact with during your holiday marketing campaigns will be a mix of new and returning customers. It’s important to remember that the path to converting a sale for a repeat customer is often different than that of a new customer. So make a plan for both.


Holiday Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

While there are many ways you can go about creating your holiday marketing campaigns, there are certain tactics you should avoid altogether:

  1. Don’t copy your competitors’ strategies. This is a big NOPE. You have no idea who exactly they are going after and why. And besides, they might be winging it. For maximum reach and the best opportunities for conversion/interaction, use the information that is currently at your disposal to determine the who, how, and when of your marketing campaigns.
  2. Don’t focus on only one marketing tactic. Even amongst a very targeted demographic, people shop and interact differently. With all of the marketing mediums and vehicles available to you, limiting yourself to only one tactic shuts out an entire world of opportunity. Omnichannel marketing campaigns extend your reach.

Don’t refuse to get help if you need it. Social Link’s team of digital marketing experts have decades of experience in all aspects of digital marketing—from strategic planning and management to design and content creation. We know marketing best practices and digital marketing solutions like the back of our hands. And perhaps the best news is that help is only a click away. Fill out this form today to learn more about how Social Link can help you achieve your goals or for a free estimate.

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