Author: Marcus W K Wong
It’s no secret that the key to a successful inbound marketing campaign is preparation. Unlike the jolly good shoppers who can just go out on the last night of Christmas for that last-minute holiday shopping, or shoppers with 1000 tabs open of their favorite stores refreshing the page waiting on Black Friday, it’s a whole different ball game for marketers, especially when it comes to inbound marketing.
Online shopping has grown exponentially over the years so much so that shoppers make 51 percent of their purchase online according to a 2016 survey conducted by Fortune, holiday online sales alone pulled in $123.73 billion in 2018, and the majority of this was acculuated by Alibaba’s Single’s Day Event which last year, broke $30.8 billion alone.
So how do you make the most of the holiday cheer and not get buried by the competition?
Keep in mind that there will be spending happening on your part too and planning early will keep you from unnecessary costs. By early it means that your paid search marketing campaign should be good to go by September so those early-bird-shoppers can catch your products. Here’s how you can kickstart your 2019 holiday campaign and shine through the celebratory moments of the year.
Analyze Last Year’s Trends.
Gather data from your previous holiday campaigns, starting from September until December. Take note of traffic fluctuations and the time your sales began to increase. Review your goals that year, whether it’s an increase in online revenue or conversion rate and what you did to achieve those goals.
What worked out last year and what didn’t? Take note of those things and start ideating how you can improve this year’s campaign.
Here are the metrics that matter:
It’s the quickest way to determine your effectivity of your inbound marketing campaigns, if you have a growth trend of new users coming to your site.
Don’t let your visitors turn cold. The last thing you should do is give your potential customers a reason to leave your site. A healthy bounce rate is less than 30%, and our recommended time on page should be no less than 30 seconds.
This gives you the opportunity to determine if you’re attracting the right audience, and if you’re ready for the next big thing, conversions.
Conversions happen when you have the right messaging, paired with the right audience. Keep an eye on your conversion rate, (purchases vs. traffic on your site), during the holiday period the intent to purchase is greater, and this should positively impact on your conversion rate.
A negative impact would signal that your messaging is off, or that your pricing is not as competitive this holiday season.
This is one that businesses don’t realize have an impact on them during the holidays. Abandonment. It’s that final step where the visitor has added an item to the cart, but hasn’t completed the transaction.
A high abandon cart rate will signal something is wrong with your funnel, or worse – something is wrong with your transactional option.
Always keep an eye on your abandon cart rate during the holiday season, and have some remarketing prepared for visitors who don’t complete the checkout for that added reminder.
Evaluate what your competitors did that season too may it be on their website or social media. Note which of their holiday content got the most likes, comments and shares. Take interest in their Clickthrough rate (CTR) so you can gauge which of their ads worked and which didn’t. Do the same thing for your own ads and offers to see which ones were relevant and which ones weren’t. Google analytics is a great tool for analyzing website traffic and measuring CTR.
Set Your Goals And Brainstorm New Offers.
Do you want to increase sales, boost brand awareness and social media engagement or do you have a new product you want to promote? Have a clear goal and ask yourself if these goals are measurable because it’s important to plan how you’re going to measure them at the end of your holiday campaign.
Pro Tip: Avoid making a long list of goals for the holiday. It’s a busy season and you want to remain as streamlined as possible. Just focus on the major ones which are Sales & Revenue, Conversion and Engagement.
Now that your goals are set, you can conceptualize what offers you plan to roll out. There are a ton of holiday promo ideas you can implement, here are some to get you started:
- Free Rewards & Vouchers
This help-me-help-you method is always fun for the customers and guaranteed to increase sales and traffic.
- Reprocess your previous offers
If it worked the previous year don’t sack it off. Update and enhance it for this season.
- Exclusive Deals & Discounts
The holiday season is the season to give generous discounts and make your customers feel good about your business. Just make sure to do your math and compute the right metrics so that the discounts are aligned with your goals.
- Referral Marketing
Your customers are your best marketers! Referrals are a sure and trusted way to promote your brand so make it simple for your customers to share!
Make it fun by adding games or challenges relating to your products. Do a photo challenge for instagram, most liked post challenge on facebook and lead all those traffic to your website.
“The key to this business is personal relationships”
- Dickie Fox
Plan Your Content Marketing Campaign
There are tons of marketing channels out there and a content marketing campaign suited to each of them but whatever channel you plan to use always keep in mind that you’re talking to human beings and not just customers who will increase sales.
Dickie Fox once said, “The key to this business is personal relationships,” actually, it’s the key to any business and the quality of your content has the power to make your clients and customers feel like you personally care for them. Here are some types of powerful content marketing you can use for the holiday season.
Consistent blogging is one way you can make sure your website is holiday-ready. Look for popular and relevant keywords to inspire topics for your blog.
Schedule your posts ahead of time and yes, it may be tedious but write as many quality posts as you can way before the actual date you plan to publish. All these will ensure that you’ll have a website primed for the holidays.
Social Media Posts
Social Media is for building rapport and reputation. Facebook alone has a daily user count of 1.59 billion people while Instagram has a recorded 1 billion active monthly users as of June 2018. It would be wise to take advantage of this and like Marlon Brando said: “Give them an offer they can’t refuse.”
Just remember to pair your killer promo with killer visuals!
Reach out to new prospects and reconnect with those whom you lost touch with.
Reconnecting with old clients is most effective when done under circumstances aligned with it. There are tons of reasons you would want to reach out to them, whether it’s to let them know what your offers are or just to remind them of the perks of doing business with you.
Some people find videos to be more effective and engaging. A website is said to be 53 times more likely to rank on the first page of google if it includes a video.
So this is the time to be extra creative, whether it’s a 12-days of Christmas series, a short ad, or product review, try to post videos on your website or any video-hosting platform to increase traffic.
What’s the use of amazing content, masterpiece-worthy designs if people can’t find you anyway? Content without an SEO strategy will render all your hardwork and brilliant ideas useless. So make sure you covered all the general keywords in your campaign. There are a lot of ways to ensure that you’re placing high on ranking but if you’re pressed for time or just low on manpower, there’s always White Label SEO. Just remember that holiday-specific keywords are seasonal, expect dips during the non-celebratory months of the year, but always plan at least 60 days ahead for SEO. These keywords will be the ones that you will need to keep on tracking during the promotion, all throughout your inbound marketing campaigns. You might want to try game changing technical SEO audits at some point as well.
Plan Your Holiday Marketing Calendar
Kick it off in September. Facebook did a study that showed 1 in 5 people prefer to start their holiday shopping as early as October while 1 in 4 reported to do it in December and the others would shop in between.
Capitalize on these holidays, most especially Halloween which is one of the most hyped holidays around the world aside from Christmas. Your Halloween campaign can play a huge part in building momentum for December.
A great example of managing a Holiday Calendar, comes from HeyOrca. We use HeyOrca to help our partners grow their business through social, but it’s universally applicable to a complete Marketing Strategy. This is how a digital marketing calendar should look like:
Tip: What makes a marketing Holiday Calendar work best, is awareness internally. Have it validated with your team, your peers and even company wide to establish awareness.
Think cross-channel & visibility
Online shoppers tend to check multiple channels when looking for products to see what the best offer they can get.You have to be where they are, whether they’re using google search, viewing their social media feeds, checking updates on their email or reading blog reviews, meet them there and lead them to you.
Launch and Measure
So you’ve launched and implemented your campaigns, It’s now time to measure their success.
Measuring results can be complicated. This is why we emphasized that your goals should be measurable so that it’s easier for you to track your progress.
Some questions to take note would be:
- Did you meet all your goals? If not when why?
- How well did you rank in search engines?
- Were your target audience satisfied with your campaigns?
- Did your profit justify your cost?
- What’s the increase in customer acquisition?
There are countless tools out there that let you monitor your marketing efforts as well as analyze data, the most popular one is Google Analytics.
If localizing your website, optimizing and tracking campaign performance aren’t your forte or you’re too beat to do it yourself then marketing through localized Paid Ads and local SEO during this season is recommended. Just note, during the holidays, paid ad spend will increase significantly as your competition spends more to stay ahead of everyone else. Be prepared to allocate higher ad spend during the holidays.
That’s a wrap! While there are thousands of ways out there to set up engaging and one-of-a-kind holiday campaigns the important thing is to keep it light, fun and remember to embrace the Holiday Spirit!