Business News of Sunday, 24 December 2017
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas is coming. We’re getting close to everyone’s favourite holiday in the history of holidays – Christmas. Can you feel it? Can you smell it? Obviously, you can see it. We’re in the season of celebrating Christmas. Everyone is getting their list ready – what to buy; places to go and things to do. It’s the holiday season and one of the busiest times of the year.
Marketing managers are antsy about how to run a successful Christmas campaign. Who wouldn’t be? It’s a competitive world out there; tons of brands to compete with. You need to stay on top of your game.
Consumers are looking forward to the holiday shopping. Marketing managers are cooking up ways to generate more revenue. What are your Christmas plans as a marketing manager? What are you doing to maximize the holiday shopping rush for your business?
Now would be a good time to run a Christmas campaign. Why? According to Forbes, this is a highly competitive time of the year and customers are in a buying mood; people get in the spirit of Black Friday. It’s a season for shopping, sales, and splurges. So how does one run a successful Christmas campaign? It’s time to put your best foot forward. This article will highlight certain steps you as a marketing manager can take to get those Christmas campaigns up and running.
Plan! Plan! Plan!
If there was ever a time for you to put on your thinking cap, now would be the time! As the saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Running a successful Christmas campaign requires your research and plan. A good marketing campaign should be prepared way ahead of Christmas. What if I told you some campaigns start as early as June? I know, right. June is a bit too early to plan the Christmas holiday. But you’d be surprised the amount the time that goes into planning for campaigns. Others start somewhere around August but a majority commence theirs around October and November.
When it comes to running a Christmas campaign, the sooner, the better! Campaigns need more time to spread to consumers and even with the power of the internet, that takes some time. To win more sales, you will need as much time as you can get to prepare your marketing strategy to capitalize on the busiest time of the year.
Create your Christmas campaign and offer
Creating content is different from launching a campaign. ‘Different’ but not ‘difficult’! Your marketing channels must reflect your message. Just like every other campaign, a Christmas campaign runs for a specific period of time – some as early as October or November and into the New Year. It all depends on your industry. Now you know you first have to create a campaign (I mean, how else would you run one if it’s not created), you’re probably thinking ‘how?’.
Be clear about your goals and target audience
You just don’t want to run a Christmas campaign for ‘everyone’ all for nothing. That’ll be a waste of time and resources. You want to make sure that your Christmas campaign is set to attract the right audience. Remember, it’s all about adding value to your customers. In knowing your audience, ask yourself these questions:
What are their biggest challenges?
Where in the buyer’s journey are they?
What is the best way your service will meet their needs?
It’s important you know your buyer persona and align your campaign to meet their needs.
When it comes to the goals, it’s important you know the ‘why’ of running the campaign in the first place. Do you want to generate leads? Get customers talking about your product? Increase sales or promote brand awareness? What are your goals? How can you measure your success when there isn’t any goal to achieve? It’s pointless! Remember, your goals must be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). For example
– To generate 2,000 leads who are interested in our holiday sale by December 20, 2017.
– To get 3,000 downloads on our free Christmas campaign guide by December 15, 2017.
– Want to create SMART goals, check out Sidekick Social Media’s free goal setting template.
Create your offer
Now you’ve mapped out your target audience and you’re certain about the goals you want to achieve at the end of your campaign, it’s time to create that offer. An offer serves as a centre point for your campaign. It could be an ebook, template or free course. The idea is to offer something of value. Again, consider their pain points and address their needs. Your offer should be aligned to meet your target audience. You can download free holiday stock photos at Hubspot or at Freepik or Pexels.
Remember, your offer should come with a landing page. Your offer isn’t for everyone; only if it’s targeted to your prospect’s need will he or she agree to your offer. You see, a landing page is like a gate and the offers included are called gated content (provide prospects with valuable information in exchange for their name, industry, title, email address and other relevant contacts). This helps generate more leads.
See it as an ‘invite only’ party. Only those who get to fill the form get access to the big offer.
Your landing page should include a captivating headline, some exciting visuals, benefits of your offer and should a form (to collect necessary information). Remember your magic words and thank everyone who downloads.
Choose your Communication Channel
To run a successful Christmas campaign (or any other campaign) you have to be clear about the communication channels to use. Again, you need to pay attention to your audience. Think about your target market’s habits when choosing a communication channel. You wouldn’t want to waste time placing ads on Instagram when about 60% of your target audience spend ample time on Facebook, would you? I didn’t think so. Where are they likely to see or hear information about your products and services?
Successful marketing happens when you achieve your goal by sending the right message and reaching the right market using their communication channel of choice.
Include holiday themes to your campaign
A little touch of Christmas to your campaigns wouldn’t hurt. It’s Christmas after all and you want to remain in the spirit of the holiday. Maybe you decide to include a holiday-themed song like Jingle bells, Jingle sales. Maybe not that, but you get the message. It could be an image.
Whatever you’re doing, make sure it’s consistent with the message you’re trying to portray. Holiday themes give marketers another way to connect with their audience and get the ad to stick to their minds.
Distribute and Promote
Designing a promotional plan streamlined to your target audience makes running your Christmas campaign successful. How do you intend to promote your Christmas campaign? Email marketing? Blog posts? Social media? Pay-per-click?
Blog posts remain an effective tool for running successful marketing campaigns. If you already have some engaged readers on your blog, now would be a good time to talk about your campaign. Use this platform to spread the word about your Christmas campaign. This way, you easily attract people to your offer especially when you use a powerful call-to-action. You could either decide to write a blog post that will engage your reader while inserting a call-to-action (CTA) at the bottom post of your campaign or you might write a post that simply announces the campaign. Whichever one you decide, pay attention to keyword research and SEO.
You’ve blogged about your campaign and gotten people to be interested in your offer. Don’t rest on your laurels yet! Take it a step further. How? Through email marketing.
An email marketing campaign is a series of emails a business use to communicate with current and potential customers. Remember the email and information you collected about your prospect in exchange for a valuable offer? This information and email are what you use for email marketing. You want to start by generating an email list (if you don’t already have one). Hubspot can help you get started on creating your email list.
There’re emails you receive and at first glance, you trash it. You read the subject line and without thinking twice you discard it. Why? It’s not intriguing enough. It doesn’t relate to your needs and it certainly doesn’t appeal to you. Some don’t even have subject lines! Don’t be one of those marketers who send bulky and pointless emails to their prospects and customers. It’s a busy world out there; everyone wants to get things done quickly. You want to make sure you’re sending emails that warrant their precious time and attention.
When sending out emails, focus on:
– Powerful subject line
– Short and enthralling body
– Compelling CTA and Sharing options
Social Media remains one of the effective tools for marketing. There’s an endless opportunity of promoting your Christmas campaigns via social media. It helps you reach your target audience and create brand awareness. But remember to monitor which social media channel your target audience use – Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Facebook has a number of 1.87 billion active users. Instagram has 600 million and Twitter has 317 million. Just because Facebook has the highest doesn’t mean it’s your target audience preferred channel.
Every marketing campaign needs a following social media campaign to help spread the word. If you need help designing a social media strategy, Sidekick offers a free social media marketing strategy template.
Remember those goals you identified at the initial stage of the campaign? Now would be the perfect time to see if you nailed it or not. This is an important step in running a successful Christmas campaign. It won’t be successful if there was nothing to measure now, would it? It’s necessary to measure and analyse to see what you can learn from it.
– Analyse which blog posts did and didn’t increase traffic
– See what offers were and were not appealing enough
– Did you meet your goals?
– What can you do differently?
Consider these results and use them as a guide for your next Christmas campaign.
Have you run a Christmas campaign? Do you intend to run one this year? Share your Christmas campaign tips in the comment section below.