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You Should Be Planning Your Christmas Campaigns Now

It might still feel like summer but if you want to stay one step ahead of your competitors (which you do, right?) then the smart business owner is already thinking about how to maximise some key seasonal events coming up.

The two biggies are:

  • Black Friday (and its friend Cyber Monday)
  • Christmas

Whatever industry you’re in, you’ve got an opportunity to capitalise on both of these events.

Black Friday is the biggest internet shopping day in the UK. In 2016, stats by IMRG showed that total spend with online retailers was £1.23bn, a 12.2% increase on the year before. It’s not just B2C businesses who can profit though. There are less B2B businesses taking advantage which leaves you with a great opportunity to lead the way in offering something exclusive for your customers.

As for Christmas…of course, everyone does some sort of Christmas marketing campaign but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. It’s the peak buying season for many businesses after all. But, if you start planning now, it gives you more scope to do something creative that will help you stand out from the crowd and capture your audience’s interest.

So, how do you go about planning a seasonal marketing campaign?

Alongside being a freelance copywriter, I’m also a marketing strategist and I help small businesses plan their marketing campaigns big and small. And these are the five key steps I’ve followed to plan and run successful seasonal campaigns…

 

1. Research

Before I plan any campaign, I look at the following information and data (if I have it):

  • Campaign data, feedback, and learnings from the previous year
  • Successful (and unsuccessful) competitor/industry seasonal campaigns
  • Non-seasonal marketing campaigns data, feedback, and learnings

All of the above helps me to understand what works, what doesn’t work and the learnings we need to take into any future plans. If you don’t have this data, or you haven’t run any marketing campaigns previously, you can at least look at what other people did last Black Friday and Christmas and garner how successful they were from the information you can find. This will also help give you ideas from a creative perspective.

 

2. Budget and Objectives

Next, you need to determine what the desired outcome of your marketing campaign is, and how much budget you can spend on it. For example, you may want to encourage your existing customers to spend more money with you. Or, you might want to acquire new customers. Either way, knowing this from the outset will help you determine the type of activity, offer and messaging of the campaign.

You don’t need to get too detailed here, just decide the answers to the following questions:

  • What’s your goal?
  • How will you measure it?
  • How much marketing budget will you spend on this?

It’s not just B2C businesses who can capitalise on Black Friday. With less B2B businesses taking advantage, there’s a great opportunity to lead the way in offering something exclusive for your customers. 

3. Audience

Now that you know your objectives, it’s time to get as clear as you possibly can about who you’re targeting your marketing campaign at. And before you say “everyone, Jen”, let me tell you now that when you market to everyone you actually market to no one. The most successful campaigns are very targeted to a specific type of person.

So, take the time to outline not just the demographics of your target audience, but their wants, needs and objections to what you are offering them.

For example, if your goal is to encourage previous customers to spend more with you: 

  • Which type of previous customer?
  • What products or services do they typically buy?
  • How do they purchase from you?
  • When do they purchase from you?
  • What motivates them to purchase?
  • What objections do they have to purchasing your product, service or from you?
  • What upselling opportunities do you have?
  • What channels of communication do you have with them?

It might sound like a lot to answer but this will really help you get specific about what offer you put together as well as the messaging and distribution of that offer.

 

4. Messaging and creative

Now comes the fun part! Here’s where you take all the information, goals and targeting you’ve identified and you come up with ideas that will engage these customers and help you reach your goal.

Now comes the fun part! Here’s where you take all the information, goals and targeting you’ve identified and you come up with ideas that will engage these customers and help you reach your goal.

Let’s stay with an example I’ve used previously. Encouraging previous customers to spend more with you, you might come up with the idea to design and send an exclusive Christmas card or gift thanking them for their loyalty. You can also offer them an exclusive discount on an additional service or product for the New Year.

It’s worthwhile bringing more heads into this ideas stage, as I’ve definitely found you can be more creative bouncing ideas around. So include your colleagues or trusted peers to come up with some engaging and creative ideas for your campaign.

 

5. Distribution and amplification

The final stage of planning your campaign is how you’re going to spread the word about it. Will you use your existing marketing channels? If so, how, when and how often? Will you seek new marketing channels? How can you maximise the coverage of this on traditional and digital channels and existing and new marketing channels?

Once you’ve decided this, you can start adding key dates and milestones to your marketing calendar, and determine which tasks need to be done by whom.

 

 

Once you’re at the point where you know what your campaign’s aim is, and how you will execute it, I’d strongly recommend you start implementing it straight away. Get content created, systems set up and engage suppliers whilst the idea is fresh in your mind and you’ve time to handle any hiccups and roadblocks.

Because let’s face it, a plan is just a plan until you do something with it and rushing to get a crucial campaign out the door will never garner the best results.

And one last tip, make sure you schedule time in after a big seasonal campaign to ensure that you take stock, measure against your objectives and determine the success of the campaign and the learnings you’ll take into the next big seasonal marketing campaign. As there’s always something to learn no matter how well it goes.

I hope this advice gets you motivated to start planning for the upcoming events in good time, and I wish you success in maximising these marketing opportunities!

And if you’re not inspired already, here’s an extra sprinkling from around the web…

16 Christmas Marketing Ideas to Boost your 2018 Ecommerce Sales – Packhelp
15 Brilliant Exampels of Holiday Marketing – Hubspot (USA focused)
10 Black Friday Marketing Ideas – Fifteen
Put Christmas Sparkle into Your Social Media Marketing Campaign – The Guardian

Jen Smith is a freelance writer and content strategist. Follow her on Twitter @_JenSmith

 

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