- During the festive season brands bombard consumers with Christmas marketing, from emails to leaflets and everything in between.
- Standing out from the crowd, whilst also embracing the festivities can seem a daunting task, but mastering it will boost brand loyalty, expand your audience, and drive sales.
- The truth? Making yourself a remarkable business that captures the attention of consumers during Christmas does not have to be difficult.
- From cross-brand partnerships to CSR, learn how to make your holiday marketing stand out and set yourself up for 2023
Holiday marketing is not as straightforward as adding snowflakes to social media posts or laying Mariah Carey’s dulcet tones over your TV advertising.
Customers will be seeing festive advertising throughout November and December. Timing, context, and personalization are vital to cutting through the noise.
Customers are doing their Christmas Shopping earlier than ever – with 29% of UK consumers beginning by the end of August – the clock has already started for businesses looking to drive more sales (and stay sane while doing it). From creating fun festive content to managing customer expectations, here is a list of six must-dos when planning for the holiday season. And yes, just like Santa, you should be checking it twice:
1. Plan your holiday marketing well in advance
When to start? Ideally, planning holiday marketing should have started by the end of the summer, especially if you are aiming to go big. However, even at a later point in the day, there are important steps marketers can take to ensure success. First, it is important to make sure you cascade all your campaigns and initiatives into a calendar and assign specific deadlines for each action or deliverable. Know when you are getting that festive mailer out. It can help to split activity by:
- Email Marketing
- Social Media
- Web assets
When planning, be sure you are considering other key dates for your business. Do not overlap with important moments such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Singles’ Day.
2. Associate with other brands or existing partners
Delight your customers by delivering new unique experiences and content while you engage with new audiences. Collaborations with non-competing brands offer a wide range of possibilities for all budgets. Options to consider include:
Plan and create holiday video content
This can make an engaging alternative to a static Christmas card and allows you to position your products as the perfect Christmas gift while associating your brand with positive feelings and values.
These kinds of strategies and initiatives also inspire recipients to share your content, increasing its reach amongst prospective customers. Video has become a primary form of content across all social platforms – you only need to look at the rise of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts to see its impact.
More importantly, you do not need big budgets and Hollywood-level videography. Creating holiday marketing through your unique videos helps you connect with customers more memorably.
Some engaging ideas for festive video content include gift inspiration, gift-wrapping tutorials, behind-the-scenes tours, and holiday-themed Q&As.
Organize a social media advent calendar
Connect with new complementary and non-competing brands to offer your followers a series of contests to win prizes. This expands your audience every day, whilst building loyalty with existing customers.
3. Work with Corporate Social Corporate Responsibility (CSR) partners
Christmas is the best time of the year to give back to your community. Think about how you can work with existing CSR partners to multiply their impacts, such as by volunteering your products or services.
As an example, this year, VistaPrint has partnered with The Prince’s Trust to create a special Christmas Card edition. Designed by illustrators from the Trust and 99designs by Vista, the profits will be partially donated back to NGO’s projects.
Although CSR is an ongoing, year-round commitment, the holidays are a particularly difficult and challenging time for many people battling loneliness, addiction, or financial difficulties to name a few.
Reflect and consider what more your brand could be doing to support its community. Collaborating with external partners brings added accountability and the logistical support you need to turn your positive intentions into actions that deliver meaningful change.
4. Revamp your website to make it more festive
Whilst your marketing strategy should extend far beyond some Christmas decorations, these are still fundamentals you include.
Don’t forget your product photos too!
Cold color schemes, such as blue or violet, work best for wintertime holiday marketing. Traditional red and green can work but do not overuse them. You want to stand out from the crowd. Be careful when matching festive elements like Santa hats, reindeer, and snowballs. Experiment with multiple different versions to find the perfect match of colors and elements.
Lastly, remember to keep your brand front of mind. Decorative elements should complement, rather than clash with, your existing designs, and your unique brand should remain front and center.
Apply the same logic to your packaging, merchandise, or thank you cards for the holiday season. From Christmas-ready retail tags to stickers to spruce up packaging (great packaging can make a difference, especially in the age of Instagram and TikTok unboxings). Place your logo or a unique design onto stickers and make sure they go on everything you send out during the festive season. This can be a wonderful opportunity to forge closer ties with your product or customer service team as we head into 2023!
5. Run holiday marketing email campaigns
According to YouGov data, in 2021 the average Brit spent £388 per person on presents and gifts. For 2022, 89% of Brits will shop online this holiday season. This is where email marketing makes all the difference. Autumn is a suitable time to start. Online stores should run email campaigns from the beginning of November. For travel, hotels, and hostelry, it is better to start crafting Christmas newsletters in September to give your customers more time to plan and buy special products and packages.
Is one single email enough? It depends on your purpose. If you only want to send a ‘Happy Holidays’ email to your subscribers, then one is enough. But not if you are looking for sales.
Here are some sequential emails ideas to maximize your marketing outreach and boost sales across the festive season:
- Awake interest with a teaser email to generate some intrigue. Videos, GIFs, and gamification are useful here but do not say what is to come. Just hint.
- Unveil the mystery – let your customers know exactly what they will get.
- Add the countdown – countdown timers remind that the holidays are near and urge people to shop.
- Announce the beginning of the Christmas sales.
- Greet clients on Christmas Eve – express gratitude, congratulate people, and show them that you care.
6. Prepare festive templates and special social media content for your channels
The festive season is incredibly busy for businesses, so it is a clever idea to schedule your social media content in advance. Here you can find some examples of the things you can do:
Work on an ad hoc appreciation video for your loyal customers
Wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Instagram Reels and TikTok both perform well and enable you to reach a large audience. Think about the nature of your business and the message you would like to send to the world. To make video content versatile, focus on your concept and build a strong message while letting visuals tell the story. Editing tools can remove the hassle of creating short videos for Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, TikTok, and more. You can merge video clips, trim footage, add captions, and include static content.
Use Christmas templates and ads
Consider templates that you can use to design eye-catching cover photos, ads, holiday stories, Facebook, and Instagram posts with ease. Embed the elements of your business mission into a holiday campaign and let the audience see your values.
Use a holiday marketing hashtag
Giving your customers the chance to spotlight themselves will improve your brand visibility while building brand loyalty and a sense of community.
Create personalized stickers
Create stickers for social media such as Instagram for people to add to their posts and stories. It is a funny and subtle way to gain brand visibility among new and existing audiences and to make them connect with your brand during the festive season.
A holiday marketing plan is not just for Christmas
As we look ahead to 2023, it is important to remember these steps have a use beyond the holiday marketing period. Yes, you can use this guide for next year’s festive season. But beyond this, an effective holiday plan can set your marketing team up for success.
More rigorous standards for CSR. Better relationships with external partners and other internal teams. Developing your personalization strategy. These are all pillars of a healthy marketing plan for 2023. What better Christmas gift could your marketing team wish for?
Richard Moody, General Manager UK & Nordics, Vista, oversees all aspects of business and operations. He has more than 20 years of experience in business growth, marketing strategy, and brand development, along with a deep understanding of eCommerce. He’s been at Vista since 2009 where he has held various roles, including the creation and management of a European markets team, introducing a successful CRM department for Europe, and leading the Nordics, Central, and Southern European countries at Vista. Before starting at Vista, Richard worked at both HSBC and MBNA (Bank of America).
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