It may only be October, but many people have already started their Christmas shopping hoping to get complete before the festive rush. So you’re not crazy by thinking it’s too early to start your online marketing campaigns.
Many businesses make the mistake of not preparing and jump straight in closer to the date, often at a detriment to the business. Marketing your products for Christmas can start or be prepared at any time of the year but the earlier the better to get the best results out of the campaigns. 40% of retailers’ revenue comes from Christmas spending. By preparing early, it will be less stressful and more enjoyable.
Many marketers start their festive seasonal marketing in the summer, ready to roll it out as the summer holidays draw to a close, but if you’re not quite there just yet, that’s fine – you’ve still got time.
How can your social teams prepare for the Christmas season?
Get started on the right foot by brainstorming everything to do with Christmas, everything that you think it may entail – and anything that may or may not be relevant, it might be necessary later on!
Think about resources, the team (if there’s more than one of you), and what you may need in order to be prepared for the run up to Christmas. Think about inventory and the stock you will need – have you got enough?
Who is your audience and what do you need to do to attract them?
What do you hope to achieve throughout the period? What objectives do you have in mind when it comes to sales and profit? Look back at previous years and the results that you achieved. What do you need to do this year to compare and see better results?
Listen to your networks
When you start posting across your social channels, listen to the responses that are given. Your audience are your customers and you want to be providing a solution to their needs, not providing something that’s not relevant to them.
Social listening is a great way to understand your audience and to discover what it is they are really looking for. You can also tap into competitors and find out what they have on the horizon. Listen to your social channels daily and record results, this can feed into your marketing strategy as you move through the season.
By sending out snippets of information to your audience now, you can get them ready for what is to come. Seeds need to be sown in order for customers to want to buy and to be enticed into what you have to offer. Start posting across your social media networks or send out email campaigns with targeted messages about what you are offering.
As the weeks move forward, you can give more away and show a bigger picture of everything you are providing. Create images that are attractive and eye-catching and that stand out from the crowd. You want your posts and campaigns to be noticed, not just run-of-the-mill. You want them to be jazzy and memorable and most of all you want your customers to feel valued and appreciated. More often than not, people prefer to buy from people rather than a company, it’s the personal touch that’s loved so now is the time to give them a good experience of your business. Be careful in what memories you give your customers, if they don’t like what they see, they will remember a bad experience! If you find customers that love your product, you have a client for life. They’ll recommend and refer your business to their circle of friends and family and the span of your marketing efforts are doubled. For every customer that does that, your marketing expands. Nail your posts and campaigns right and you’re set up not only for Christmas but the new year ahead.
Once you’ve started your campaigns, and where possible split test what works best, as time moves forward, go back to the drawing board and brainstorm some more. What is working / what’s not? What can you do better / what needs improving? Is your ideal audience hearing you? How can you relate to them more?
Answer these questions as a team and discover how you can improve your marketing strategy to meet these needs.
The sooner you can test your messages, campaigns and strategies, the sooner you can make the necessary adjustments to make them even better and improve results. This will involve being honest about what your customers want and not what you want. Often this is two different things and it can be a hard barrier to get past if you steer a marketing campaign to how you think it should be according to your own agenda rather than listening to what the audience wants – think about them. They are the ones buying from you – they are the ones that will make or break your business. If you’ve got an audience that loves your products, you’ll be successful.
Go market some more
Having been back to the brainstorm it’s time to put into practice the changes you’ve made. This time your marketing campaigns and your social media posts should be spot on with what your audience is looking for. You should be creating eye catching material that speaks directly to the buyer’s ears. Record all your results, tweak where necessary and be confident in your approach. Add a personal touch and showcase everything about the business so people can feel a part of your brand.
What can you do to be heard on social?
There are many ways to talk to your customers on social media any many ways to attract new clients. Different strategies will have a different impact on different people, (usually) there is not a one-way-fits-all solution. Therefore, you need to be creative in how you reach out to your audience. People like to see value and to know that they are receiving something that’s of worth. Try to bring value into every post or email and bring your brand alive in the way that you’re speaking to people. Allow your audience to gain your trust, knowing that you are reputable and reliable. Promote your customer service policies and be completely transparent in all your work.
Here are some ways you can reach out to your audience:
- Videos – behind the scenes, products, team & company culture
- Online meetup
- Share user-generated content
- Countdown to Christmas
- Christmas events
- User sponsors / influeners
Being prepared is the most important step in marketing campaigns for Christmas, whether that be online or offline material. Having made the mistake of not preparing early this year, you’ll have a head start ready for the next! If you’re good at planning and administration, you’re on the right path. If it’s not your strong point – and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea – think about outsourcing your marketing to specialists who are ready and willing to do it for you.
If you’re a small business owner, you can’t do everything yourself and sometime things have to give. That may be your marketing, that may be your administration, or that may be your finances, but whatever that may be, it does not mean that you are failing in your business, it means that you are being efficient.
Outsourcing is a great way to manage a small and growing business. You have priorities, you have aspects that you are good at and focusing on these things will get the most out of your business.
Christmas marketing is just a small example of the bigger picture. You have a whole year of seasonal campaigns to work through and different aspects of the business that need your attention. What do you enjoy the most? What do you love to do that gave you the edge to start your business in the beginning? These are the reasons you get up every day and want to see be successful. Don’t feel held back by drowning in ‘there’s too much to do’. Learn to delegate and to find ways in making your business work in the best way that suits your lifestyle.
If you’d like to speak to us about how to manage your business in a more productive and efficient way, we’d love to help. Feel free to get in touch for an initial informal chat.