With December just around the corner, it’s the right time for businesses to kickstart the festive marketing efforts.
This time of the year always presents a fantastic opportunity for businesses to re-connect with customers, engage and grow their communities, and ultimately increase sales.
Whether your company is participating in festive events, running special promotions or sharing season greetings with customers – it all comes down to getting your messaging across at the right time, through the right channel.
The festive period in stages
First, consider the stages for the festive period in order to get the timing of your communications right. For the UK and much of the Western world, there are mainly 4 stages:
Late November: Black Friday and Cyber Monday kickstart much of the Christmas shopping, as thousands of buyers seek to take advantage of the best deals for the latest products.
1st to 24th December: Christmas is coming! And that means busy times for shops, buyers, and brands running Christmas campaigns. The most popular days for shopping are the Mondays of December, a.k.a. “Mega Mondays”, with sales spikes of up to 15%.
25th December: The big day, when all we do is open gifts from others, right? Wrong! According to stats, over half (52%) of shoppers in the UK buy items for themselves on December 25th, and most of them use a smartphone – making Christmas Day the busiest day of the year for mobile shopping.
26th December – Early January: A window for people to make the most of reductions and further deals, while many brands focus on sharing content related to new year resolutions and trends for the year ahead.
Making the most of your festive messaging
Now, here’s a few tips to optimise your messages across different communication channels.
According to research, text messages have a remarkable open rate of 99%, and 90% of messages are read within 3 minutes! With such high and speedy open rates, text messaging can be a super effective channel for sharing time-sensitive information and CTAs over the festive period.
Text messaging also helps to improve ROI. Response rates from SMS are a whooping 209% higher than phone calls, email or Facebook. As much as 29% of targeted customers will respond to text messages, and almost half of these responders end up making a purchase.
Albeit the great benefits, it’s important not to overuse this channel. Text messaging is best used sparingly – otherwise it can end up feeling spammy. Pick your dates carefully and segment your audience to make sure you’re reaching the relevant contacts!
Always aim to keep text messages short – under 160 characters. You can make use of SMS abbreviations (texspeak) to fit your content within this limit, if you’re struggling.
Many brands use email to communicate about delivery dates, letting their customers know when the last orders can be placed to ensure delivery in time for the big day. With this in mind, think about any ways in which the busy festive period may affect your business; and communicate with your customers.
Email is also used for sending festive eCards, which present a much kinder solution to the environment than traditional cards sent by post. Going green is no longer just a trend; it’s becoming a top priority for businesses around the world. Firms choosing eCards over print to reduce their footprint are sure to please eco-conscious customers.
When creating your festive emails, make sure to use images and messages that truly represent your brand and values.
Plan your email campaigns in advance, taking into account that emails are generally opened within 24 to 48 hours after they’re sent.
The impact your website has on your visitors can be huge, especially if you are an e-commerce brand.
Online shopping is more popular than ever. In 2016, out of all online sales, almost 20% was carried out between November 13th and December 24th, so consider this window of opportunity to make your website stand out.
If you have live chat on your website, how about adjusting your greeting, or decorating your widget with a festive-themed emoji?
This time of the year, social networks get invaded with festive content, and there’s no good reason for your brand to fall behind!
Social media remains the top place to go for engaging with your audience. Apart from sharing traditional season greetings, don’t forget to use social channels to echo on any special promotions.
As Christmas is a time for giving, the time is also ideal for businesses to participate in fundraising events and amplify reach with social channels. If you have a large base of followers on Facebook, you can make the most of charitable giving tools, such as donation buttons, to support your business’ cause and engage your audience.
Social media competitions are also a great initiative to give back to your community. If you are organising any competition, try not to set the closing date and announcements too close to the big day, as this may affect participation and engagement.
In general, think about the holiday period as an opportunity to deliver a great festive multi-channel experience for your customers, while showing that you care about giving and engaging with your community.
Plan your campaigns in advance to get ahead of the competition. Use automation to help you ensure your communications are sent at the right time and triggered by relevant actions.
Integrate your channels to make the most of your campaigns. For example, if you’re having a flash sale on your website, let your subscribers know in advance with an email, share announcements on your website and social channels, and remind them with a text message right when the sale starts.
And above all, keep it positive and enjoy the festive season!