This year’s Christmas period is predicted to be the busiest for online retailers, which is great news! However, it’s also the most competitive time of year for the vast majority of sectors, so it’s essential that you make strong efforts to boost traffic through every channel.
Before making plans for your Christmas strategy, use Google Analytics to analyse which products and campaigns performed well during last year’s festive period. Take note of the types of products and marketing content that are worth focusing on again, as well as what could be improved.
To help you prepare for the holiday season, we’ve put together a handy checklist, covering each online marketing channel.
When people are using search engines to find the perfect gift, you’ll want your site to be reaching the top spots. However, this is highly competitive during the Christmas period, so SEO is very important. Review your content (metadata and on-page) and include search terms that your customers use at this time of year.
Many customers will use local search to check when your physical store is open during Christmas and New Year. If you have a bricks and mortar store, make sure you update your opening hours on your Google My Business listing. This can be done in advance so don’t leave it to the last minute when you’re in the middle of the Christmas madness!
Christmas is a great time of year to connect with your audience on social media. Engage in relevant Christmas topics and get creative with fun festive content. Why not get into the gift-giving spirit and run a Christmas competition? Offer one of your bestsellers or Christmas bundles as a prize, and create entry rules that will help increase engagement. This could perhaps involve entrants tagging their friends in the comments box or creating user generated content in a photo contest. Make sure you check the relevant platforms rules and abide by them.*
At this busy time of year, help relieve some of the workload in the lead up to Christmas by preparing social media posts in advance. Create eye catching posts that feature products that are perfect for Christmas celebrations, gifts or recipes. Scheduling platforms such as Hootsuite make it quick and easy to set up posts that can be sent out throughout the Christmas season.
Email marketing can be a very effective tool for communicating with your customers during the Christmas retail period. You can inform them on your Christmas offers, bestsellers, events and sales. Bear in mind that your customers will receive a huge number of marketing emails at this time of year, so you’ll need to think about how your’s can stand out.
One of the best ways to help increase your emails’ click through rate is by sending out highly targeted emails. Depending on the information you collect, you can segment your customer database by interests and buying patterns. This means they’ll receive messages that are relevant to them. For example, you could target subscribers based on categories they’ve browsed or products they have purchased. Whether they were looking at dresses for their Christmas party or gadgets for their uncle’s present; an email featuring the category they viewed can be all it takes for them to make a purchase.
Your website might rank well for your keywords for the majority of the year, but at Christmas time you’ll have much tougher competition for the top spots. Retailers invest heavily in their PPC campaigns for the festive season, so make sure you remain competitive by increasing your bids and expanding your keyword lists to capture the additional festive traffic. Adverts are also key; make sure your adverts are relevant and enticing.
If you aren’t already getting organised for your paid campaigns, then now is the time to do so! Create seasonal landing pages and make sure you order enough stock of any products you include in promotions to avoid disappointing your customers.
Facebook advertising is another way you can reach potential customers. When creating your advert content, try to entice people to your site with benefits you’re offering over Christmas, such as gift wrapping or free shipping. You’ll also need to decide on the audience you’re wanting to reach for each campaign. The targeting capabilities are endless, including age, location, profession, interests, relationship status and much more. Using data from Google Analytics and Facebook Insights will help you carve your niche and allow you to target the right people at the right time.
Another way to boost sales over Christmas is by getting your products or store featured in magazines or websites. Consider which industry related publications and partners you could collaborate with, and get in touch as early as possible. Christmas is a great opportunity to showcase your brand’s individuality, so think about what you could do to gain some positive PR. For example, you could hold a special Christmas event and encourage journalists, bloggers and/or partners to get involved.
All of these channels can help make this Christmas season a success if you take the time to plan effectively. Start ticking off this checklist now!
- Research what customers are looking for when they’re Christmas shopping and review your keywords
- Update GMB listing with Christmas opening hours
- Run a festive competition
- Schedule Christmas posts in advance
- Plan how your marketing emails can stand out amongst the noise
- Segment your email list and send targeted emails based on interests/buying patterns
- Increase your bids
- Add more keywords
- Update adverts accordingly
- Target new/potential customers with Facebook ads
- Get in touch with any partners/publications that you could collaborate with