Amazon’s recent Christmas in July campaign was set to break retail records once again.
According to one estimate, Amazon’s global sales for Prime Day this summer were expected to hit $5.8 billion, compared to last year’s results of $3.9 billion. Other retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, Target and eBay have joined in on this pre-holiday marketing strategy, realizing the potential of starting the holiday shopping season even earlier.
Then, there was last year’s holiday sales. The 2018 holiday season netted $123 billion in ecommerce sales, according to Statista. Even if you didn’t participate in the summer retail strategy, you can still start leveraging the opportunity to get a larger share of this year’s holiday sales.
Assess and update audience personas
Review your audience personas to determine if they are still relevant. For example, you may not have a persona for Gen Z consumers who are becoming a force in retail revenue. This is the time to update those demographic profiles to include new insights about interests, lifestyle, shopping preferences, and buying behavior. In doing so, you can increase audience and customer potential as you ramp up revenue goals for the holidays.
Determine your strategic intent for each audience segment
Determine how you will approach each of your audience segments during the holiday. Is your intent to focus on loyal customers or attract new ones during the holiday season? What is each audience segment seeking this holiday season that you can make the focal point of your marketing messages to them?
Once you know the strategic intent for each audience segment, you can prepare the incentives, promotions, and messaging for each segment in conjunction with the content work mentioned later in this article.
Fine tune your mobile experience
Now is the time to ensure a simple and user-friendly mobile experience. With more consumers preferring to check their mobile devices for holiday deals whether they are in-store or at home, it’s critical that you deliver on expectations.
The experience should take into account everything from how your holiday ad looks on the smaller screen, to ensuring all links and buttons are working properly, to confirming your mobile checkout process is seamless.
Map out your holiday campaigns and budget for the entire season
In starting early, you don’t want to exhaust your marketing budget before the holiday season ends. Plan a schedule that includes ad campaigns that hit certain key holiday shopping events, such as Black Friday, while other paid marketing tactics run continuously from September through December. By planning these in advance, you can portion out your budget accordingly.
Prepare holiday content calendar and launch content
Although you may already have a content calendar for your marketing efforts, it’s a good idea to create a separate one for holiday marketing. Having a separate holiday content calendar will provide a way to focus on those deliverables while still maintaining your regular content schedule.
It also provides a way to acknowledge the need to create specific types of holiday content, such as gift guides for each audience segment, and holiday-themed visuals.
Focus on creating a holiday experience
While you want to remind your audience about the holiday, don’t inundate them or you will give them fatigue. That’s why it’s better to focus your campaigns on the holiday experience.
Start with campaigns that highlight a timeline up to the holidays with helpful hints on what to do each month to get ready. Or, you can offer tips on how to create a festive mood around the experience.
In return, you offer a shopping experience that makes them feel joyful through interactive online gift guides, video gift catalogues, easy purchases, multiple pickup or delivery options, and festive extras like holiday visuals and music.
Test discounts and local promotions
Another benefit to starting your holiday marketing early is that it gives you a chance to test or pilot different types of promotions to gauge response. If something works, then there is still time to repeat it closer to the holidays.
There is also time to tweak other discounts or implement a new marketing strategy, such as SMS texting promotions or geolocation targeting. Target key geographic markets or your local area as a small business owner to determine if these mobile marketing tactics resonate with your target audience.