Around this time of year, tinsel starts to appear, carols sneak into retail playlists, and holiday-inspired marketing starts to show up in our inboxes. We’re on the home-stretch to the holiday season, and it’s time to start thinking about seasonal promotions and digital marketing strategies.
With most businesses planning their marketing campaigns quarterly, now’s the time to think festive. While it may seem like overkill to think about Christmas in October, planning is the most time-consuming and essential phase of holiday-readiness.
Take a look at Google Trends from last year – search volumes began to rise from early October. To make the most of the merriment, start planning and implementing your campaigns.
It All Starts With a Plan
In the lead up to the holiday season, there’s so much online businesses can do to get the ball rolling. With increased competition across all digital channels at Christmas time, it pays to start thinking about strategic ways to drive cost-effective conversions. While you may not be ready to begin pushing holiday-themed promotions, you can start building your audience. Think about using the holiday leading up to grow your email list and your Facebook and Instagram followers.
If you’re planning on scaling up your ads, make sure you scale up your inventory too.
Put Pen to Paper
As an online retailer, October is the calm before the storm. Before bells start jingling and you get busier than Santa, take this opportunity to write some of your content. Think blogs, social posts, marketing emails and thank you cards. Most retailers increase the frequency of their campaigns over the holiday season, so to avoid playing catch-up or missing out – be prepared. You’ll need time to get your campaigns designed, coded and ready to send, so use this time to your advantage. The sooner you can test your strategies and message, the more time you’ll have to refine your campaigns and improve your results.
Kick off your campaigns early and engage your database before anyone else.
Explore New Avenues
Around the holiday season, retailers of all shapes and sizes flock to Facebook and Instagram to flog their wares. While the usual suspects yield strong conversions, it pays to think about other alternatives. Retargeting campaigns can be absolute gold mines over the holiday season; with so many gifts to buy, it can be hard for consumers to keep track of what they see and the sites they’ve visited. If you’re not already running retargeting campaigns, start testing them now. You don’t want to hit the ground a week before Christmas.
Sort Your Shipping
Towards the end of the year, tensions tend to rise, along with your customer’s expectations. To keep your shoppers smiling and your orders on time, make sure you set clear deadlines around your holiday shipping. The closer we get to Christmas, the more likely customers are to head in store to avoid any potential delays with their orders. Regardless of whether you get the order picked and packed on time, delays happen. To prevent an overload of enquiries and irate holiday shoppers, opt for transparent tracking which keeps the customer informed every step of the way. To stay competitive and win customers over, consider offering free shipping and free returns.
Use an online freight reporting tool like Shippit to keep tabs of how much you’re spending in real time. You can also monitor how your carrier’s performance impacts customer satisfaction.