An effective holiday marketing strategy could make the holidays your most profitable time of the year. But going into the season without a plan in place? Well, that’s as awful as receiving nothing but coal in your stocking.

What is your holiday marketing goal?

You’re not going to run a marathon without ever doing a 5k. The same thought process applies here. You can’t jump into holiday advertising without having goals to reach. Holiday campaigns are not just about dazzling customers with seasonal visuals or outdoing competitors when it comes to discounts and offers. Don’t get us wrong- these are important! But first, you need to get your goals straight.

In 2018, more than 60% of holiday shoppers made more than half of their purchases online. 

We are not talking about a single goal here. In fact, you should decide on multi-dimensional aspects of your objectives. For example:

  • Are you targeting new customers or existing customers? Or both?
  • Are you focusing on seasonal offerings? A specific product line? 
  • Which is more important: having an increase in eyeballs on your site or an increase in sales?

Answering these questions will help you decide on your marketing goal and help determine your marketing goals. 

How to select your digital advertising channels

Once your goals are in place, you need to determine the best mediums to deliver your campaign messaging. Wondering how to select your digital advertising channels? Consider these:

  • Email: Presumably, you have a list of customers who have purchased from you before (if not, START NOW). Take advantage of this low-hanging fruit! You can use this list to invite subscribers to VIP events, customer-only sales or share your own holiday gift guide. Now is the time to plan out your cadence and offers. 
  • Social Media: The day after Thanksgiving, you’ll see retailers transform their websites, e-commerce pages, and email templates into a winter wonderland. Don’t forget about your social media pages. Schedule time in early fall to layout your social media ad campaign and create custom holiday images that you will use during this time. Start with your Facebook cover photo. While most businesses use their logo as their profile picture year-round, you can still make them more festive with some holiday aesthetics. 

These are some images you’ll want to be updated and ready to launch.

  • Facebook cover photo (851 x 313 pixels)
  • Facebook profile picture (180 x 180)
  • Facebook ad size (1200 x 628 — and don’t forget about the 20% text rule!)
  • Instagram photo (1080 x 1080)
  • Linkedin profile photo (400 x 400)
  • Linkedin cover photo (1536 x 768)
  • Linkedin post photo (1200 x 627)
  • Google Ads: While many businesses focus on social media for holiday marketing (with good reason!), AdWords shouldn’t be forgotten. If you ran any holiday campaigns in AdWords last year, you should look back at these to see what worked and what didn’t. Make sure you’re utilizing ad extensions, which will provide you valuable real estate on the Search Engine Result Page (or SERP). Consumers discovering you in the search results – both with text ads and Shopping ads – is imperative. Elsewhere, using display ads is important to stay in front of your customers.

Connecting with your audience

Targeting the right customers is key to an effective holiday campaign. To accomplish this, think through who you should target and what your goal is with each group. You should not be talking to existing customers the way you’re advertising to new prospects. Consider the following categories:

  • Existing active customers: People who have already purchased from you are the lowest fruit on the tree. These are consumers you need to be trying to up-sell and cross-sell. We recommend creating a holiday marketing plan that focuses on making these customers feel valued while using historical shopping data to put the correct products in front of them.
  • New first-time-customers: Engage recent buyers by offering them product recommendations and an additional incentive on their second purchase. They’ve proven that they want your product. Encourage them to continue purchasing during your holiday campaigns
  • High-spenders and one-offs from holidays past: Use the data you have to pull a list of your highest spenders and those who seem to only come to you during the holiday season. Promote exclusive and/or big-ticket items to your high-spenders. Create a sense of privilege or urgency by unveiling holiday products to them before the public or by letting them know quantities are limited and they need to act fast.
  • Bottom-of-the-funnel prospects: This group would be new prospects who haven’t yet purchased with your company. The goal with this segment should be to keeping their attention on your business. Effective campaigns should create goodwill and engagement opportunities. Show them your brand story and get them to buy into it.

Hire an expert

If you haven’t even considered your holiday marketing plan yet, you need to start now. If that feels overwhelming, find yourself a professional team dedicated to taking that stress away from you

Contact our Director of Client Relationships & Operations, Colleen Crill to discuss your business goals.