The most wonderful time of the year to excite and develop your marketing strategy!

The most important quarter of the year is already among us, with all the massive holidays just around the corner; Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year Sales! The best time to increase sales and leads finishing the year with a bang! I know a lot of us can’t be as big as the John Lewis brand at Christmas, every year they take their marketing by storm with their extravagant and emotive video advertisements year-on-year. I know for SMEs this seems a bit extreme, that’s A LOT of planning and budget work, but there are many other things you can add to your marketing strategy this quarter that are much more price effective and goal achievable.  

1. Define Your Goals, think S.M.A.R.T

When defining your goals through Q4 think S.M.A.R.T

S - Specific - Make sure your goals are specific and you have a clear plan laid out for your business, make all the team aware of what you are planning and how you can implement it. 

M - Measurable - Will your results be measurable? Set up the appropriate tracking system, otherwise how are you going to know the impact of your strategy and what works for next year’s festivities?

A - Attainable - Are your goals attainable? Do you have the budget to do it? The resources? Don’t fault the brand by pushing for something that is not doable. 

R - Relevant - Are your goals relevant for your business? Don’t try and get more newsletter completions if you really need the sales?

T - Time-bound - Already nearly a month into the quarter, look at what you can do in the time frame you have, don’t push for a certain idea and it completely flops and impacts your brand image.

2. Customise Your Packaging 

If you have physical products why not add a little customisation, if you are a bigger business this will probably need more a lot more planning, so probably one for next year, but small and medium business have the opportunity to throw something festive in the mix either through their online or offline sales. Why not personalise the product receipt, or add a small Christmas business card in there, offer gift wrapping, really encourage the festivities and make it seem more personal for your customer. 

3. Great Time To Use Remarketing 

Remarket to those who have previously visited your website, not just for those shopping for others, but maybe for themselves adding to their Christmas list! During the Q4 period, it’s so important to make use of remarketing targeting, it’s a lot more likely people will come back to make a purchase, maybe remarket with a festive discount?

4. Create Special Offers and Discounts, Shipping - Get Creative!

Discounts and offers are your best friend this quarter, it is truly the time to invest in trying to bring in more customers, 71% of shoppers say its the most important factor when deciding where to shop. Don’t just try and out beat your competitors, some discount offers might be well outside with what your company can cope with, look at where you can align your deals, whether that might also be free shipping, buy three products get the fourth free, get creative with your offerings and promote them across all your available marketing channels. 

5. Work with a Charity or Good cause 

As a giving and selflessness holiday, it's the perfect time for your brand to be a part of the community. A lot of brands choose to help contribute and work with charities that aid people around the Christmas period by either:

  • Donating a small percentage of the purchased product to the selected charity.
  • Applying an optional donation at the online/offline checkout stage.
  • For a certain product purchased, all profit will go to charity. 

Whatever charity you choose to partner up with (as well as the good cause) you are also generating a lot of brand awareness giving you content to work on that PR strategy, leading me nicely onto the next section. 

6. Work on that PR!

Everyone loves reading about the latest trends and offers over the festive period, publications and bloggers love to write and join the excitement with their audience, almost like having a conversation with people about what they’ve spotted e.g. greatest gadgets, cool stocking fillers etc- so what a perfect time to reach out and show off what you got! Recently Missguided clothing brand bought out matching owner and dog jumpers in aid of the winter (and who doesn’t love an article about dogs?!).

The Sun - Missguided Matching Dog Jumpers

The Sun and other publications jumped on the product offer, making the article shared relentlessly through social media and increasing purchases, a perfect piece for the press to go crackers (pun intended). Work on putting a list together on potential publications you can reach out to, work on your connections via LinkedIn, there will be someone out there that would love to write about your product or service if proved to be a perfect stocking filler or gift for family/friend. Your brand will thank you for the backlinks and the publicity via those increase in sales!  

7. Jump on the Email Marketing 

Email marketing within the holidays always proves to be the champion for ecommerce as well as other brick and mortar companies. At this time of the year, I am constantly looking out for those festive emails from companies, seeking the best offers, discounts and products whilst 68% of shoppers would agree. Look at really focusing a campaign strategy through your loyal customers and CRM database, make the headlines and presentation festive and inviting whilst driving traffic to different parts of your website and social channels to really drive conversions and engagement.

8. Make it Social - Content, Content, Content!

Your Social Media channels are the place to be this quarter, there are so many ways you can optimise the performance of each channel. Make it clear across all your platforms that your brand is celebrating the festivities, showcase your products, offerings, any charities, yearly summary- content is key here.

  • Run a give-away, keeping people engaged in your brand.
  • Run ‘12 days of Christmas’ countdown, releasing something interesting each day, hype people up about the fact that Christmas is just around the corner. 
  • Share images and videos of your work environment and how festive you’ve made it.
  • Quizzes/polls to raise engagement.
  • How to’s/tutorials.
  • Christmas wish lists with your products/services.
  • Branded hashtags.

9. Update Your Website and Social Media Imagery

Make sure your customers know you’re all about festivities this Christmas, so they know to expect some sort of great offer from you! Do this by updating both your social media pages and website (if possible, if not, next year make sure you are well planned for it). Look at other competitors and brands profiles/sites and see how they are presenting themselves, here are a couple of ideas:

  • Personalise product icons.
  • Create a seasonal section on your website.
  • Update your social media banners/profile.
  • Festive related posts and engagement on social media.
  • Make your discounts holiday related e.g. for 20% off at checkout use ‘XMAS20’.
  • Pop-ups or lightboxes on your website relating to products or discount offerings.

10. Use Seasonal PPC words

PPC advertising on both Google and Microsoft Ads as well as paid social advertising are very important streams of revenue for SMEs. Don’t forget that during Christmas you should be adjusting your keywords and bids accordingly to match audience searches and competitors to increase those sales through the festive period! Highly recommend doing some heavy research and testing for a successful Q4 PPC campaign. 

11. Don’t forget the period after the Quarter has ended!

The desire and need for products and services don’t just stop in terms of festive shoppers, ever heard of those crazy new years day sales? Even going into Q1 make sure you are still continuing to out-beat the competition with some of your best offers.

Hopefully it's not too late for you to apply some new ideas to your Q4 marketing strategy! Don’t forget that your business may have some very good competition during the holidays, so make sure you are keeping a close eye on them through the next few months.

Happy Holidays, From CampaignHero!


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