The holidays are rapidly approaching, but did you know marketers have been preparing for this season all year? Whether you’re an eCommerce or service-based business, holiday marketing is vital. November and December are by far the most active months for consumer shopping, so it’s important to prepare your business and its online presence. In fact, Single’s Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are all within a three-week period which could make or break your year. And waiting too long to update your strategies and campaigns could leave you in the competition’s dust.
Zero Gravity Marketing has compiled some best practices to help your digital marketing strategies throughout the holidays. Here’s everything you’ll need to know for before, during, and following the season.
Before you begin any campaigns, create a plan as soon as possible! Allow for plenty of alignment and lead-up time for your internal or agency teams. Your plans should be clear to all parties involved. Be concise about where they are needed, what deliverables they are responsible for, and which items will be on their schedule.
During the holiday season, you should know what will be included in your upcoming promotional calendar. We can often get distracted by the size of Q4, but don’t forget to plan for Q1 (or Q5 as some call it) – it comes up fast. Know your flight times for Q4 and Q1 promotions so you can properly plan out any updates to your website. Prepare to update things like announcement banners, headers, sliders, website functionality, and apps you may need for customer service or promotions.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is one of the most important elements to boost your business’s holiday performance. Begin by reviewing last year’s efforts and analyzing the positives and negatives. Then, throughout the holiday season, remember what worked and try to integrate it again.
Next, you will want to conduct thorough research on holiday keywords and prepare content to use them in. Make sure all of your content is relevant to the user; don’t implement keywords without a purpose. Also, optimize your holiday collection or service pages. Here, you can introduce and highlight your predicted top-selling products or services. Bonus: Add these to Google My Business to boost your local SEO.
You should also conduct a technical audit before holiday shopping gets into full swing. Check for 404 errors, and assess your website’s load time and performance. You’ll want everything to be running smoothly for site crawlers.
Before beginning any paid advertisements, your marketing team should review 2020’s campaigns. Trends change from year to year, but you can still learn a lot from your previous campaigns. Determine what was successful from last year and take note of what didn’t work well.
In addition, make sure you build and adjust your audiences for the holiday season. Some of these segments that appear in the holiday season include:
- Users who viewed a holiday gift guide.
- Users who viewed a wishlist.
- Users who engaged with your holiday posts on social media.
Paid holiday marketing promotions include several different tactics, one of which is social media. There are many social media platforms to conduct your advertisements, but think carefully about which you will use. As we continue to see a plateau of growth and a shift in user behavior away from Facebook, consider placing more brand equity into other channels, such as Pinterest.
Like SEO and PPC, you will want to analyze campaigns from previous years to determine what was effective and what wasn’t. Build on the successful strategies and adjust or pivot away from the others. One of the most effective practices is including a ‘gift’ option in the email navigation. You can also pair this with a gift guide to maximize the holiday theme.
In addition, update the social blocks in your email template to include your most recent holiday social posts and update your hero graphics to be seasonally relevant. You can also appeal to the holiday gift shoppers by including information about shipping time. Also make sure to create segments for these users who purchase on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales so, in the future, you can retarget them as gift-givers.
And don’t forget: Following the holidays, make sure you update the email structure, so everything holiday-themed is gone.
Social media is one of the most challenging spaces to navigate in terms of staying on top of current events and trends – but when you get it right, it will pay dividends! One of the best things you can do in the build-up to the holidays is to create giveaways. Users will appreciate the financial help this time of year, so giveaways are often very successful. They also create engagement and a positive brand image that sticks with consumers. For the cost of a product and shipping, you not only increase engagement but gain impressions and followers too.
The holidays are the best time of year for utilizing stories. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat all have stories available for their users, and your business should take full advantage of this feature. They are a great way to add temporary content to fit the holiday theme without appearing on your page all year. This doesn’t mean you should abandon traditional posts, but stories are a great supplement to get festive and creative.
The holiday season is the perfect time to put some flair into your business’s design. For example, you can add branded holiday elements to your website, email, and social platforms. And when showcasing your products, infuse the holiday theme throughout by including things like gift boxes in the background of your pictures.
Making minute changes to your color scheme can do wonders for your business too. Metallics provide the holiday feel but still work well with an established brand. Just remember, when adding colors, be consistent across all platforms. If you update your website colors, do the same to your social. However, it’s essential not to overdo it with color changes. Don’t make transformations that will distort consumers’ ideas of your brand.
When preparing your website’s backend for the holidays, make sure all of your software is up-to-date and secure so you avoid any shopping mishaps. Check that your payment methods have Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), payment processors, and hosting. Your domains should also be set to auto-renewal to prevent service interruptions. In addition, have your host assess your bandwidth and traffic thresholds if you’re expecting a significant increase in traffic during the holiday season. Your server needs to be able to handle the massive influx of traffic; that way, everything runs smoothly during the holiday rush.
Your content should always account for the different seasons and current events, and the holidays are no exception. There are a number of things you can do to match your business’s content to this time of year. For starters, update all of your ad copy by infusing holiday-themed terminology. Each business has its own principles, but it’s best practice to include inclusive diction. Don’t hone in on one holiday; instead, focus on values that everyone shares, such as family and kindness.
In addition to ads, update the content on your website. One popular strategy? If your business is eCommerce-based, create a gift guide for your business. When creating a gift guide, keep your target audience in mind. The reader should think, “This would make for a great gift for _____!”. Also, make sure to include themes for these gift guides, too, such as ‘stocking stuffers,’ ‘Black Friday deal,’ or ‘best gifts under $20.’
Not an eCommerce business?
Gather all holiday-themed content that you’ve written, and add it to a collection in the main navigation on your homepage. Include any holiday blogs, your gift guide, sale items, promotions, and more. Then, add keyword-rich holiday copy to help drive traffic to these pages. This will give users a clear direction of where to go for holiday items or sales when they enter your website.
Collaborate With An Agency For The Holidays
The holidays are almost here, so make sure you act fast! Connect with the digital marketing experts at Zero Gravity Marketing to strategize, create, and carry out holiday campaigns for your business. Contact us before it’s too late!