Christmas is the ultimate opportunity to delight your existing customers and gain new ones through captivating digital marketing campaigns.
Although for most businesses the planning begins way before the first Christmas lights have gone up, digital marketers implement tactics throughout the festive season to ensure maximum return on their efforts. It is not enough to focus on one marketing channel these days, Christmas marketing campaigns must be integrated across a number of different platforms to be successful.
Businesses often get it wrong at Christmas, favouring the extravagant over the carefully thought out. You don’t have to operate with a large budget to thrive in the festive period - smaller businesses often shine around this time of year because they have the opportunity to get creative, producing multiple campaigns that cleverly target and capture the sentimental side of the consumer.
Onsite blog posts are a fantastic way to connect with your audience and build up your brand’s personality while driving potentially lucrative traffic to your site.
Even with that added Christmas sparkle, the same rules apply for blog posts published during the festive period as they do all year round. Make sure you write engaging content that your readers will want to read, rather than producing them for the sake of it and stuffing them full of keywords.
Christmas blog posts should be well planned, and published at specific times throughout the months leading up to the big day. Many businesses have a content schedule so they know exactly what they are writing and when, which avoids any gaps in the blog if you don't have the time to brainstorm ideas. Remember, a lot of people take time off over Christmas, so you might not have a full team of marketers to bounce ideas around.
Keep your target audience in mind. Although you want to attract new customers, the content should be consistent with your brand’s tone and style, otherwise it will look out of place.
While good SEO is a long-term investment, a carefully-planned SEO strategy can reveal your business to millions of Christmas consumers. The key thing to remember is that a lot of users will be using their mobiles to go online this Christmas, so you need to ensure that your site is mobile accessible.
Do your keyword research carefully, consider how your customers search will change over Christmas, analyse what worked well for your last year and whether you can do this again. Try and use the same target pages again, for example using a Christmas landing page. Ensure that you are adding fresh new content to these pages too.
It’s only October, but we’ve already seen numerous brands attempting to direct traffic towards their new Christmas landing pages. Marks & Spencer is one good example of this, with the retailer promoting its extensive Christmas range by placing its new landing page in a prominent place on its website.
Social media is for life not just for Christmas. The key thing here is to start small and post consistently, as if you are inactive on your social media channels it will seem strange to suddenly start stuffing Christmas down people’s throats, so build your presence early on.
Once you’ve developed a strong social media following across different platforms, you can start promoting the blog posts you’ve written, as well as running competitions, games, offering discounts and asking people to get involved by sharing photos and videos.
Be careful, as a one-size-fits-all attitude doesn’t work across different platforms. Hashtags may work well for Twitter but adding them to your Facebook posts can be really annoying, and actually deter people from engaging with your content. It’s also worth remembering that women are 4 times as likely to use Pinterest as men, and Instagram users are the most engaged, logging on every day, research by Our Social Times states.
Last year, WestJet raised the bar when it came to festive social media campaigns, as it came up with a simply brilliant idea that turned out to be an internet sensation. The ‘WestJet Christmas Miracle: Real-time giving’ video (see below) may be a year old, but having generated nearly 36.5 million YouTube hits, it’s a prime example of how a bit of creative thinking can thrust companies into the limelight at Christmas.
Consider your PPC budget, as many businesses won’t spend anything on advertising all year then suddenly dedicate a large proportion of the annual budget to Christmas in an attempt to knock you off the top spot.
One way to beat your competition is to include offers in your adcopy, including words such as “Christmas offers” and “Free Christmas delivery”, which can significantly boost your sales.
Google’s aim is to send users to relevant sites that hold reliable information. Therefore, PPC campaigns must target keywords that reflect what the user is searching for and whether this will appear on the pages of the advertisements. If you do manage to get users to your site over the festive period, make sure they find what they are looking for.
The last thing you want is to attract people to your website, only for your landing pages and onsite content to let you down. This is why all of your festive marketing activity needs to be intertwined, so make sure all of your separate departments are working closely together.
You’ll reap the benefits of this approach a long time after the last of your Christmas decorations have been taken down.
Hannah Wilby is a Content Specialist at Bring Digital