Your Perfect Holiday Marketing Campaign Checklist: 15 Successful Strategies (+Free Download)
September has already crept up with Halloween, Black Friday, and Christmas bustling far away. If you haven’t started crafting your holiday marketing campaign yet, you’ve landed on the right page.
At Viden, our goal has always been to help businesses grow globally, applying the best industry practices. That’s why we’ve prepared a well-planned holiday marketing campaign checklist with a free download to help you get equipped for the busiest time of the year and run intelligent promotions. Tick these points off your marketing checklist to ensure you’re all set.
Let’s get started!
What is Holiday Marketing?
Simply put, holiday marketing is a marketing campaign that centers around the holiday season. A particular holiday can serve as an attention-grabbing tool or be encapsulated into the overall branding of the campaign. Holiday marketing incorporates special offers or discounts offered to customers or special events and holiday-themed marketing materials.
Holiday marketing primarily aims to capitalize on shoppers wanting to make seasonal purchases. Usually, it’s one of the most fruitful business times, as shoppers can’t miss enticing offers (and won’t!)
Here’re some shocking statistics from 2021:
- Retail sales during 2021’s November-December holiday season grew 14.1 percent over 2020 to $886.7 billion, easily beating the National Retail Federation’s forecast and setting a new record despite challenges from inflation
- Shoppers spent $579 on holiday-related items in 2021, up from $457 in 2020; fifty percent of shoppers reported spending more than last year.
- The 2021 US holiday season posted the most robust retail growth in more than 20 years, bolstered by resurgent brick-and-mortar sales and healthy eCommerce growth
As seen from the data above, holiday marketing has all chances to boost sales for a variety of reasons:
- Holiday marketing campaigns are seasonal; they take place only during a certain period, which creates a sense of urgency and encourages people to purchase
- Demand intent is higher than usual; more and more people are rigorously looking for goods during the holiday season
- The joy of upcoming holidays is everywhere; there are many opportunities to run emotion-driven holiday campaigns to take advantage of this joyful mood
Without a doubt, it’s worth investing in holiday marketing campaigns but do it reasonably with a well-brushed marketing strategy.
What Makes a Great Holiday Marketing Strategy?
Designing an effective holiday marketing campaign entails tailoring your sales goals, events, and advertising channels to meet the temporary need of shoppers willing to purchase the perfect gift for their loved ones. The crafting process may look overwhelming. Do not fluster yourself. Let’s start with the basics.
Step 1. Audit previous holiday marketing campaigns
No matter your current goals, you can still learn from your mistakes and take lessons from that experience. Look back at previous years’ statistics and where you won big and where you could make some changes. Analyze your earlier strategies and approaches to avoid similar mistakes in the future. In addition to performance data, take a look at customer data and answer the following questions:
- Have your customers changed significantly in the past years?
- What do they value?
- What are the main demographics?
Analyzing these key components will help you better understand your target audience and create a holiday marketing campaign accordingly.
Step 2. Identify holiday marketing strategies for your target audience
As we’ve already mentioned, knowing your target audience is the key to success. Simply mirroring your competitors’ strategies won’t bring excellent results. The clue here hides in understanding your target audience. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, get creative with delivery or buy online options with last-minute gift ideas available. If you have young customers, like Millennials or Gen Z, share holiday promotions or offers online.
Step 3. Create a schedule for syndication
Work smarter — not harder; that is the motor for the holiday season. Try to find opportunities for content syndication that save your time and money and create a more engaging experience for your customers.
When to Start Holiday Marketing?
Holiday marketing is not a one-off process. It’s a concerted effort that requires many weeks of planning and execution to build deep relationships with customers and make them come back later for more products or services. So, where should you start?
In a perfect world, it’s better to start your holiday marketing planning about two or three months before the holiday season. Initiate a visual thinking workshop with your colleagues to get the hang of your customers and learn more about their backgrounds and preferences. Think about the appropriate channel depending on what you’re selling and the demographics of your target audience.
If you have in-house creators, you can engage them in working on your holiday marketing. Otherwise, you can hire a digital marketing agency and create your visual marketing campaigns. Also, remember to set up a sales funnel and analytics on your website and landing pages to receive more insights from your campaigns and have the option to retarget visitors with ads who didn’t buy from you.
Launch your marketing campaign about a month before the holiday season. Be consistent with your marketing efforts and schedule captivating posts or advertisements at timed intervals. Once the holiday season is away, analyze your marketing efforts and make adjustments to gear up for the next year by learning from your shortfalls.
Now that you have an idea of what holiday marketing is all about let us switch to the different channels you can use.
Marketing Channels to Communicate with Your Customers
There’re multiple ways to reach out to your customers. Your choice will depend on the type of products or services you’re trying to sell and where your ideal customers are active. Let’s have a look at the most popular channels.
Thanks to the growing use of mobile phones and laptops, more and more people come online for shopping, banking, and many other needs. Online holiday advertising can be leveraged in a variety of ways:
- Using Ad extensions
Ad extensions are an indispensable part of any PPC campaign. They include various options like call and location, review, site link extensions, etc. All of them make your ad more searchable, so it’s a good idea to make the most of them.
- Creating a sense of urgency
Set a deadline for goods that are too good to miss. Create a sense of urgency in the minds of people who see your website or ad. In this case, users feel obliged to act before the enticing offer disappears. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and consider what would attract them.
- Choosing the right words
Content continues to be the king. Use appropriate words and phrases that appeal to a broader audience. Simple words that convey your message powerfully do wonders. Make your content as straightforward as possible and get your thoughts across.
- Taming automation
Think about optimizing your holiday marketing campaign weekly to give you the expected results. When it comes to holiday marketing, set up your budget a few weeks before and buy automation tools so you can focus on other aspects.
2. Social media
According to Statista, 4.59 billion people will use social media in 2025, which is projected to increase to 5.42 billion by 2025. People turn to social media to look for offers for the holiday season and scroll through reviews about products and services. This is why social media should take the lion’s share of your holiday marketing campaign. Here’re a few strategies to help you in this field:
- Be innovative. Enrich your pitches, ideas, and innovations with at least one surprise element; it can be eye-catching visual elements that immediately appeal to people and help them relate to your product
- Create a poll. You can start with a simple answer-question poll; when you do it on social media, the person who answers gets to see their friends’ opinions and, in turn, send them to contacts
- Use the power of storytelling. Everybody loves stories, especially with real-life experiences; create powerful stories, share them with users, and weave them into your holiday offerings
Email marketing is not dead, and emails continue to attract people in many ways. For marketers, it means that they should create outstanding newsletters so people not only open them but also click to visit your website. How to do that? Here’re a few recommendations:
- Personalize your email. Customers love to be addressed by their name and would like to see products designed specifically for them; showcase personalized offers, and entice different segments of your user base
- Take care of the design. Make sure you spend enough time coming up with an appealing newsletter that makes people want to open it
4. Sales on external platforms
If you’re selling products, you can extend your reach by leveraging the user base of these websites. For example, Amazon Marketplace is a vast platform millions of people use daily. If you sell on such marketplaces, there are more chances that people will become aware of your products.
If you’ve done everything correctly, you’re almost ready for the holiday marketing initiatives. Below, you’ll find a detailed checklist with a free download for your convenience. Use this checklist to get ahead of the game and finish the holiday season strong.
Your Holiday Marketing Campaign Checklist
1. Campaign objectives
Every campaign should start with identifying the sales goals that you want to achieve during the holiday season. To do that, look at your sales figures for the last year. Once you have this number, write your goals for the next year, considering the competition and economic factors. Additionally, revisit critical performing sales days for your business, numbers in the abandoned cart, discount coupon redemption, and the percentage of new acquisitions vs. retention.
2. Target products
Spend time focusing on your products and stock and try to understand which of them to feature in discounts and deals during your holiday marketing campaign. When selecting the products to feature in your promotion, consider the following points:
3. Discount policy
Choosing suitable discounts depends on your business goals and your audience’s expectations. When it comes to the most popular holiday season discounts, last year’s top five were:
- Coupon codes
- Site-wide discounts
- Free shipping
- Specific product discounts
- Discounts on new products or holiday collections
So think about your business goals and consumers’ expectations. Once you’ve made your pick, select a discount strategy that meets your needs.
4. Creative concept
A creative concept includes the theme of your holiday marketing campaign. You should decide what colors and what props you will require and approve the overall design. You could also create promotional graphics that contain these colors or use them in your email marketing campaigns.
Another important step is to plan the emotions you want your users to feel when looking at the design theme — giving, happiness, or joy. That is where your theme comes to play. Music, branding, and color psychology can be good attributes to your central theme.
5. Marketing collateral
This is where you get all the materials you need ready for your campaign. The main element of marketing collateral is your special offer. For example, are you giving all users a free gift with every order? Or are you offering 40% off your entire store during the holiday marketing campaign? Create an offer that will make your viewers or readers convert into customers. Afterward, create a checklist for all marketing collateral you need. This includes landing pages, brand stories, blog posts, infographics, presentations, proposals, email newsletters, and more. Add a holiday vibe to your website and landing pages to make them more attractive and relevant.
6. User-friendly mobile experience
Mobile commerce sales are predicted to jump up to $432.2 billion by 2022. That’s why ensuring a top-notch mobile experience for your store is crucial. Create web pages that are quick to load to improve the overall experience for all mobile users.
While designing your mobile app or enhancing the existing one, remember the golden UI/UX design rules:
- The design should be that the users can reach their thumbs wherever on the screen comfortably
- Keep it simple; dynamic functionality across the app will help
- The size of the target on the touch screen should be big enough to capture the user’s action
- Minimize the data input options. Users do not like to type a lot on a tiny screen
7. Planned dates
Planning is crucial for any marketing campaign, especially for the holiday season. There’re a few primary steps you should take while planning your holiday marketing campaign:
- Planning campaign launch date
- Scheduling final assets for launch
- Reviewing final assets
- Uploading blog posts and other marketing materials
- Creating automated newsletters
- Creating design assets
- Drafting content for social media and newsletters
8. Social media campaign
To understand which social media platform to use, go back to your target audience. Do you know where they are from and what their gender is? Understand how often they use social media platforms and how they interact with content. Once you get the idea, it’ll be easier to choose where your content should go.
Another secret weapon of a successful holiday social media campaign is user-generated content. People love when they are asked what kinds of services they would like to see. For example, you can ask them their preferences for a product and design a product based on their response. In this case, they are more likely to buy it.
9. Social media advertising
Investing in social media ads is a guaranteed way to reach new customers. Every platform has advertising tools and audience targeting capabilities. So when crafting your holiday season content, pay attention to how that content can be repurposed into social ads. According to recent research, the latest and greatest social media ad types are:
- Linkedin sponsored content ads. With sponsored content, native ads will appear on a user’s main feed on desktop and mobile devices; LinkedIn ads will help drive leads, build brand awareness, and nurture more potential customers
- TikTok adds with interactive add-ons. Recently TikTok rolled out interactive add-ons for ads; they include stickers, pop-ups, and other gestures that aim to help companies better engage with their users
- New Twitter ad formats. In spring 2022, Twitter began testing three new ad formats: interactive text, collection, and product explorer:
- Interactive text ads include font styles that are larger and bolder, with up to three words highlighted
- Collection ads feature a static main or “hero” image with five smaller images underneath that users can scroll through
- Product explorer ads offer a three-dimensional look at a certain product
- Instagram shop ads. Instagram Shop ads can feature product tags where users can get more info about a product and buy it immediately; these ads appear both in-feed and on the popular “Explore” page
- Create Highly Engaging Instagram Stories
- 5 Hacks to Increase Your Instagram Post Engagement
- How to Create Ads that Acquire New Clients for You
- Facebook Ads: How to Increase Conversion Rate
10. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is a win-win strategy for reaching new audiences and driving sales, especially during the holiday season. Collaborating with the right influences lets you dive into a relevant community of shoppers. It also provides your customers with high-quality content you can share on your social media channels. It’s best to find a creator who cares about your products and believes your community will do.
11. Personalized email and SMS campaigns
Segment your existing customers and send them emails notifying them about the offer. Do not create duplicate emails for two different users. Everybody needs special care, so add a pinch of creativity to each message. Besides emails, you can interact with your customers through SMS campaigns. Although this type of holiday marketing is a niche, some companies still use it. It would help reach a wider audience with less cost than paid advertising. Remember to segment your audience based on the amount of interaction they’ve had with your brand.
12. Customer support
Once you’ve set everything up, it’s time to focus on customer support. With the holiday marketing campaign, you’ll have more shoppers coming to your brand, so your customer support should be better than usual. It’s also an excellent opportunity to build brand loyalty. This may include a chatbot, 24/7 support, centralized contact options, or a google form. Let your customers feel cared for and confident.
13. Post-holiday activities
The holiday season is over, but the shopping season is not yet. Customers are still spending lavishly. End-of-season sales, discount offers, and minimal shipping costs are some strategies that you could use to please your buyers. These activities aim to generate more revenue and attract an audience in the following pipeline when the market is not so crowded. This is crucial to increase your brand awareness and speak louder on the market.
14. Analysis and report
The final step to executing a successful holiday marketing campaign is analytics. Sit down and check how your content is performing. Go back to those goals you set in step one and determine if you reached them and what prevented you from doing so. Analyze where people dropped off, blog posts that performed poorly, or find areas of your offering that fell flat. Write down the details, and use them to improve your next holiday marketing campaign.
15. Checklist and plans for the next year
Going through a checklist is not obligatory, but it will give you a clear picture of what’s missing and needs brushing through. Tick off the points you implemented into your holiday marketing campaign and highlight those you’d like to mirror next year. For this purpose, we prepared a handy checklist that you can incorporate into your holiday marketing strategy. Make use of it and create unforgettable experiences for buyers during the holiday season.
Holiday Marketing Campaign Checklist
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