Holiday Marketing Tips

For retail marketers, the holidays always come early.

Summers brings holiday strategy planning, where new marketing ideas are tested, and last year’s learnings are applied to this year’s game plan.

To make the most of the increasingly popular and lucrative winter holiday shopping, retailers typically finalize their holiday plans in the heat of the summer. For those still Googling for last-minute inspiration to set this year’s holidays apart, we’ve collected 19 of our best tips.

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1. Start planning for the holidays early.

According to research, 40% of consumers begin their holiday shopping by Halloween, which means your campaigns should launch by mid-October. This not only lets you take advantage of the Thanksgiving rush, but it also spreads awareness of your brand for Cyber Monday and the rest of the holiday season.

2. Avoid creative fatigue.

Ad fatigue happens when customers have been exposed to the same message one too many times and no longer “see” the ad. To keep your ads looking distinct and fresh, update your creative once or twice a month. Refreshing ads requires low-effort changes, like tweaking old concepts with new colors, buttons, borders, or images.

3. Use last year’s data.

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Take a look at last year’s holiday campaign and sales figures. What products were the most popular? What had better ROI, email or display ads? Campaigns that use data improve their marketing ROI 15–20%. Looking at your data will help you focus your attention on your highest-performing channels and highest-converting customer bases.

4. Make sure tools are in place before code freeze.

Most digital properties lock down their marketing tools and web code during the holiday to prevent bugs from ruining sales during the busiest season. Place all the elements you need for the holidays before the chill takes effect.

5. Use social media.

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Facebook and Instagram are no longer just brand-awareness channels. These platforms drive real, measurable sales for companies. Use well-lit, high-quality holiday images to grab your customer’s attention, and then seal the deal by driving them to your site using one of Instagram or Facebook’s many call-to-action buttons.

6. Let your film reels roll.

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Can’t wait to show off your snazzy holiday commercial? Shoppers who view video are almost 2x more likely to purchase than non-viewers. Throw up videos on your social media accounts to demonstrate your products in action.

7. To catch a customer, think like a customer.

Identify your target audiences and create content they’ll like. Your audience doesn’t log in to Facebook or surf a website to see ads. Have fun with your holiday campaigns.

8. Use segments to personalize your ads.

This year over 90% of marketers plan on personalizing their campaigns. If you’re retargeting this holiday season, personalize your ads by segmenting your audience into different groups based on the products and pages they view on your site. Try a segment for flagship discounts or special offers to retarget and convert more shoppers.

9. Attention small businesses, take advantage of local awareness ads.

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An estimated 80% of consumers will shop at brick-and-mortar stores over the holidays. Facebook local awareness ads are a great way for small- and in-store-focused businesses to target only customers that live within—or visit—their local community. Think of it like local newspaper advertising, but with the ability to reach customers on their desktop and mobile devices.

10. Retailers, consider Pinterest for your campaigns.

Pinterest drives a higher average order value than any other major social platform, including Facebook and Google. In fact, 59% of Pinterest users have bought something during the holidays that they saw on the site.

11. Get ready for Cyber Monday and Retargeting Tuesday.

Nearly 75% of consumers say that sales or price discounts help them decide where they shop. Discounts are the most frequent Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales strategies; however, the bigger win is driving all those users back to your site on Retargeting Tuesday.

12. Create a gift guide.

Create a gift guide to showcase the varied products and services that you offer during the holidays. Don’t forget to be creative with how you display your products. Many buyers are unsure of what to buy and want recommendations. The more unique and thoughtful your gift guide, the more likely that potential customers will stop and take the time to shop for more of your products.

13. Mobile optimize your site.

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Make sure your site is setup for mobile shoppers. Research shows that mobile transactions account for 48% of all online retail purchases during Thanksgiving weekend. Make sure your site is mobile optimized and can handle all the extra traffic you expect to get. This is crucial to marketing success as a whopping 79% of shoppers who have trouble with a website’s performance say they will not return again.

14. Use holiday-specific imagery and creative.

Spruce up your ad creative, landing page, and site navigation for the holidays. Incorporate a wreath, snowflakes, and other holiday imagery. It’s important to demonstrate that you have the holiday spirit and are excited about the gift-giving season.

15. Use discounts to create urgency with shoppers.

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Stress the importance of short-term and once-in-a-year sales. Marketers should be clear about discount deals and when they expire. In 2013, 92% of consumers used coupons and 57% of shoppers say they would not have made a purchase if there were no coupon.

16. Fill customer stockings using dynamic creative.

Dynamic creative is a technology that serves unique ads to customers based on the actions they took on your site. If your company has a variety of products or pricing models, you can use dynamic creative to target those segments with ads relevant to them. This helps keep your brand top of mind for customers who may not have been ready to convert the first time around.

17. Plan for an increase in site traffic.

Work with the team that oversees your website to ensure your pages will be able to handle the increase in traffic. Studies show that 47% of people expect a page to load in two seconds or less and 79% of consumers are less likely to buy from a site again if they are dissatisfied.

18. Use a clever subject line to increase open rates.

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Long gone are they days when calling out a discount in an email subject line was enough to pique your customer’s interest. During the fourth quarter, 83% of retailers sent general holiday or winter-themed campaigns. Test shorter subject lines that focus on a common pain point your products can help solve to break through the noise.

19. Avoid the Christmas bias.

Marketers too often mistake the holiday season for the Christmas season. Your customers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and even among those who celebrate Christmas, not all do so the same way. Avoid excluding these groups by creating holiday-specific ads that focus on seasonality and universal themes like gift giving.