Why is it such a good idea to focus on marketing at Christmas? First and foremost, Christmas is a time of shared traditions and themes that can be readily referenced when planning advertising. Secondly, it’s been shown that we’re more receptive to new things during the festive season when the Christmas spirit starts to drift away and ‘Last Christmas’ pipes up on the radio.
Avoid postponing your planning until the last minute!
Here are our top 10 tips for good marketing towards the end of the year:
1. Plan well in advance
In order to create a well thought through campaign, everything must be in place by the time Christmas is knocking on the door. Christmas has a tendency to take many of us (a little) by surprise (unlike our childhood when it always seemed a long time until Christmas). The bigger your company is, the more work that’s required. But even within the SME market, it’s a good idea to get started towards the end of the summer.
A campaign could typically contain an overview of all newsletters and associated details of their content, when they’re due to be sent out and who they need to be sent to. In addition, you should consider initiatives such as time-limited SMS offers, promotions on social media and their content, an advent calendar with an overview of every question and the prizes that can be won, as well as an overview of how the company’s website needs to be adapted to fulfill the campaign requirements.
2.… But wait a bit to reach out to the customers!
Even if you’re in good time with your planning, it’s essential to start the campaign at the optimal time. If you launch too early, it can easily backfire – anyone who’s had the pleasure of seeing brownies and gnomes on shop shelves as early as October can attest to it coming across as a bit over the top.
You can do yourself a favour by giving your customers the opportunity to sign up for campaigns, competitions or your advent calendar in early November, but it’s best to hang on with the rest of the Christmas marketing until at least mid-November or even as late as December 1st.
3. Spread the Christmas joy
Take a look at the video below and try to convince yourself that it’s not touching. This is a classic example of good marketing at Christmas. Yes, it is indeed ‘just’ marketing, but the joy of seeing the tired travellers unwrapping their gifts and getting what they wished for is actually pretty authentic.
At Christmas, we tend to ‘lower our defences’ and be more receptive towards ‘sentimental effects’, as long as they’re presented in an honest and unintrusive way, and the company’s able to relate eye-to-eye with the consumer. Allow yourself to be inspired and consider how you can help to spread joy amongst your customers this year. Christmas is a great opportunity to show the more human side of the business and focus less on products.
One good initiative that’s easier to implement than the gift story in the video above is to donate a bit of business profit to charity at Christmas, such as Bonaqua’s Give Water to Africa campaign. Not only does it help to improve the general impression of the business, most importantly you contribute to people in the world who need it. The vast majority of customers see it as a huge plus, perhaps with the exception of a few grumpy old men in the commentary.
4. It’s ok to be cynical
That said, not all company image fit in with the ever-positive, warm-hearted tone. Make sure your marketing matches your brand. Below is a good example of a slightly fresher campaign from Hotel Tonight.
Not too cheeky and with a sparkle in the eye, they toy with a subject that many people can relate to – namely, how at Christmas we’re often forced to relate to distant relatives alongside uncomfortable and improvised sleeping solutions. Smart way to sell hotels!
5. Arrange competitions
Are prizes not really just presents? Contests are in completely the right spirit for the Christmas season, and our experience tells us that it’s easier to get people to sign up for them while the Christmas music’s piping out in the background. You could for example publish quiz questions on Facebook, the company’s website or best of all: as part of a fun advent calendar with new tasks and questions every day. The latter is something for which we at Make have created a very user-friendly tool and it has proved to be incredibly popular year after year.
The advent calendar is an obvious opportunity to gather consent for sending emails and texts to participants in full compliance with the new GDPR rules.
6. Offers and discount codes
Even in the absence of contests and awesome prizes, an advent calendar can serve as an obvious way to distribute seasonal offers and personal discounts to loyal customers and followers, showing how much your business appreciates them. It’s a brilliant win-win situation where your customers get a good price on selected products and you get a boost in revenue. If you’re more interested in increasing your current clientele, you might want to consider rewarding those who share the advent calendar with greater chances of winning a big prize.
In addition, personalised discount codes or coupons make it easy to measure how many leads and sales are generated through the Christmas campaigns. This frees you up from having to speculate as to whether or not the campaigns are actually effective.
7. Countdown to Christmas Eve
It’s actually not such a bad idea to set short deadlines, for example by switching between offers during the countdown to Christmas Eve. With an advent calendar, you can send out new offers every day up until December 24, which will encourage customers to act quickly in order to take advantage of the offers. Don’t forget that it’s important to allocate extra time for postage to ensure that everything arrives in time.
8. Remember shopping holidays!
Shopping holidays are a great opportunity to put a bit more effort into your marketing. Days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become bigger in Denmark over the past few years – days that are centered on buying products at knock-down prices. In other words, it’s a chance that your business shouldn’t miss out on, as well as being a brilliant excuse to kick-start your Christmas campaign since both these days take place in November.
Below is an overview of important days:
- Black Friday
- Cyber Monday
- St Lucia Day
- 1st to 4th Sunday of Advent
- December 24 – Christmas Eve
- December 25 – Christmas Day
- December 26 – Christmas Day
- December 31 – New Year’s Eve
9. Add decorations for extra Christmas spirit
It can be an advantage to add some decorations to your website in order to really embed the Christmas atmosphere – and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Both on your website and social media you can use a few Christmas pictures, throw some Santa hats on your company logo, introduce a red and green colour scheme or even add animated snow. If you want to do the same with your newsletter, it’s actually even easier; Make has a number of templates that turn Christmas decoration into a fun game.
10. Follow up in the New Year
Christmas is over and it’s not long before everyday life is knocking on the door again. It can be difficult for companies to keep the shopping splurge going when the turkey’s eaten/long gone and all the Christmas crackers have been pulled (open). How do you carry these conditions forward into the New Year? One example could be creating new customer relationships through newsletters and text messages. Another might involve gaining insight into the interests of your customers through a survey. Christmas is only the beginning, and the good results will definitely last/continue until long after Easter.