No matter what time of year it is, there’s always a big event on the horizon: the holiday season.
Even though it may still seem like the distant future, the holiday season is a key marketing event for brands, and soon digital advertising for the holidays will be taking over the digital landscape.
Getting your holiday marketing campaign ready in time can be the difference between ending the year on a high note, or getting a sack full of coal.
Because there’s so much pressure and competition around holiday marketing campaigns, you might feel lost about how to proceed.
Thankfully, we’ve put together this step-by-step guide of all the considerations you need to take before, during, and after planning your holiday campaign.
Take a look at our tips and tricks, and find holiday marketing examples that will inspire your brand to take holiday marketing to the next level.
When Should You Start Planning Your Holiday Marketing Campaign?
At any time of the year, your holiday marketing campaign could be in progress.
Whether you’re reviewing data from last year, keeping an eye on industry trends, or are in the midst of planning and implementing your campaign, now is a good time to start your holiday marketing.
Holiday Marketing Tips
Before getting into the specific steps to consider for your plan, let’s take a look at some tips for planning a holiday marketing campaign.
- Don’t get overly complicated.
- Partner with other brands or non-profits.
- Be ready to change an unsuccessful strategy partway through the season.
- Address both current customers and prospects.
- Don’t try to get your customers lost in the hype of the holidays.
- Be prepared for competition.
What Makes a Great Holiday Marketing Strategy?
A holiday marketing strategy is different from the other marketing campaigns you run during the course of the year.
The holidays are the single most active time for buying, and everyone from specialty retailers to big B2B businesses is looking forward to their highest-revenue months.
A great holiday marketing campaign, therefore, needs to be one of your most involved and well-thought-out strategies.
In order to help you along the way, here’s our step-by-step guide of the best factors to consider in your holiday marketing campaign.
Step 1: Deciding on a Campaign Theme
The theme of your campaign is the big driving message that your assets, goals, and marketing efforts will revolve around.
The theme needs to be the center of your strategy and picking one that matches your brand’s image and creates a buzz will be the best motif for the holidays.
Step 2: Choosing Campaign Goals
A campaign without goals is like a rowboat without oars. You may have a sturdy vehicle, but you aren’t going anywhere.
Your campaign goals will help you and your brand understand the benchmarks you’re aiming for and create actionable steps to reach those concrete objectives.
Your goals can include metrics like:
Once your goals are set, you can create strategies to meet your goalposts and start to develop the detailed steps of your holiday marketing campaign.
Step 3: Defining the Target Audience
Not only do you need to have clearly defined goals, but you also need to know who your holiday marketing campaign is targeting.
If you leave your potential audience too broad, you won’t be able to create the personalized messaging and content needed to drive the most conversions.
While you may have buyer personas or customer profiles already built out for your digital marketing and content marketing efforts, take the time to research and refine your targets to relate to the holidays in particular.
This is an important season, and understanding your audience becomes that much more important during peak selling periods.
Step 4: Creating an Offer & Landing Page
Once you’ve picked your theme, set your goals, and segmented and defined your audience, it’s time to put together your holiday offer.
Whether you want to create an eBook, whitepaper, online course, helpful resource, video, product deal, or other assets, you’ll need to put together a compelling offer that audiences will want.
After you’ve created the holiday offer that your campaign will center around, you’ll need to design the landing page that your traffic will funnel into.
Your landing page needs to have engaging and compelling content, visuals, and forms that capture information and get you ready for holiday marketing in full force.
(And if you want our tip, interactive landing pages are sure to increase your conversions.)
Step 5: Designing a Promotion Plan & Nurturing Leads
After your offer has been created and you’ve set up your landing page, you’ll need to develop the distribution plan that gets your offer in front of your specific target audience.
A promotion plan can have many different touchpoints, but many will include:
- Email Marketing
- PPC Ads
- Social Media
After your leads come in through your distribution channels, you can add them to your top-of-funnel efforts and create specific holiday nurtures that drive them towards a purchase decision.
Nurturing typically takes place through emails, so create a template that fits your holiday marketing campaign theme and use visual elements that encourage users to click and open your emails to move them further down the buyer’s journey towards a sale.
Step 6: Considering an Influencer Strategy
An influencer strategy can help you take your holiday campaign to the next level by putting your offer in front of a much wider audience than your typical promotion techniques can achieve.
An influencer strategy involves using an influencer in your industry to promote and talk up the benefits of your products, services, brand, or specific offers.
When you get a well-respected influencer to promote your brand, their followers will trust the influencer’s opinion and will be more receptive to checking out your company.
Step 7: Taking Notes for Next Year
After the holidays wind down and your campaign comes to a close, it’s not quite the end of your overarching holiday marketing campaign.
The analytics and results of your campaign can not only tell you if you’ve hit your predetermined goals, but it can also influence the campaign you build for next year.
5 Holiday Marketing Campaign Examples to Inspire You
Now that you know the steps to create a successful holiday marketing campaign, let’s take a look at 5 examples from big brands that can inspire your efforts and help you start thinking about your holiday campaign creatively.
Starbucks is a company that always seems to be at the forefront of digital marketing, and its holiday campaigns are no exception.
Their red holiday cup designs are always a hallmark of the season, and each year the designs get more hype around the release.
Starbucks also works to create engaging experiences with their mobile app, launching holiday games and animations while also allowing you to purchase and send gifts to friends.
Google’s homepage is often an area where visual elements like videos, images, animations, and interactive games can be found, and their holiday “Santa Tracker” delights both children and adults and fills players with the old-fashioned holiday spirit.
One of the biggest parts of the holiday season is the charitable atmosphere that causes us all to give back to communities and charitable organizations.
Macy’s embraces this cornerstone of the holidays with their “Believe” campaign, where customers and prospects can write letters to Santa with a $1 donation to the Make-A-Wish foundation for each letter posted.
Not only does this campaign align with the values of the holidays, but it encourages audiences to engage with the brand and leave the experience feeling positive, a great association to have during the holidays.
Coke’s branding position as a lifestyle brand rather than a beverage company gives it an edge when it comes to tugging on the emotional heartstrings during the holidays.
Customers connect with campaigns that hit close to home, and Coca-Cola’s holiday campaigns that center around family, coming home, and missing loved ones are big hits year after year.
A great holiday marketing campaign doesn’t have to be an emotional journey to be successful.
Whiskey company Lagavulin partnered with celebrity Nick Offerman to create a viral video.
The video — a 45-minute single shot of Nick Offerman drinking Lagavulin by a crackling fireplace — became an instant hit.
The successful strategy shows how far influencer marketing and creativity in holiday marketing campaigns can take your brand.
Wrap Up: Planning the Best Holiday Marketing Campaign
Your holiday marketing campaign is the cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy for the most sales-heavy time of the year.
With the right approach and inspiration, you can create a campaign that resonates with your audience and delivers the right amount of holiday spirit.
While there are many different tactics to take with your holiday marketing campaign, anything you decide to do starts with a good copy.
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