How to Run A Jolly Good Christmas Campaign

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Last week’s Monday Marketers webinar focused on a topic dear to our hearts

Christmas.

That’s right, it’s not too early to get excited.

In fact, TCC Agency Director Maureen Shelley and Chief Marketing Officer Jen Cannock explained why marketers and small businesses need to start Christmas marketing campaigns early this year.

Maureen and Jen then shared their insider strategies for how to run successful Christmas marketing campaigns.

They also presented some Christmas marketing campaign ideas and examples from some of the all-time best Christmas marketing campaigns.

In case you missed the webinar or need a refresher, here’s a rundown of Maureen and Jen’s top Christmas Marketing tips and tricks.

What will Christmas look like this year?

This Christmas is going to be a tricky one for Aussie customers and businesses.

We saw in the news recently that supply chains are struggling with demand right now so retailers are warning against last-minute Christmas shopping.

With so many of us becoming postage-savvy during the pandemic, we can also expect customers to be ordering gifts ahead of time to reach their loved ones by December 25th.

This means that, as marketers, we need to be on the ball with our Christmas marketing in 2021.

Regardless of whether Christmas is your busiest or quietest time of year, planning your Christmas marketing campaigns now gives you one less thing to worry about later.

Now let’s show you how in 5 easy steps.

5 Steps for running your Christmas marketing campaigns in 2021

Step 1: Work backwards

Christmas isn’t moving and it doesn’t care if you don’t meet your deadlines.

A nifty way to approach one of the most inflexible deadlines of the year is by doing so in reverse.

Create a marketing calendar by starting from December 25th and working your way back to the present day.

One way that this backwards planning might manifest in your campaign is through teaser emails that get people excited about your coming-soon Christmas offerings.

This might start with a few hints of what’s to come with the big reveal email around mid-November.

Importantly, work out when you need to start your Christmas marketing campaign. If this was yesterday, don’t panic! Reset your goals so they’re realistic and achievable.

Step  2: Cut through the noise

Christmas is a very noisy time of year with businesses and products all competing for attention.

It may seem daunting, especially when you’re competing with big brands with big advertising budgets. But even small businesses can cut through the noise to speak directly to their niche audiences.

Here are a few things to consider while crafting effective messaging for your Christmas marketing campaign.

Covid

Covid will have had an impact on your customers whether it be through their income, lockdowns or ability to see family.

It’s been a tough year for everyone so this year keep messaging light, use humour where you can, and avoid tearjerkers.

Think about the impact this year has had on your customer from their perspective and show how your product or service offers relief from that.

Your messaging might be around what customers can buy their Dad for Chrissy after a long lockdown, or how they can reward their Mum for getting through this tough year.

Authenticity

Similarly, a human touch is going to work well in your messaging this year.

Be your authentic self to engage customers on a personal level in a way that big brands can’t.

Problem-solving

Think about what pain Christmas presents to your customers, what problems they face and how you can solve it for them.

These might be things like Covid safe plans or social distancing floor stickers.

Cut through the noise: Christmas Marketing campaigns ideas

Once you have the right tone for your Christmas 2021 campaigns, you’re ready to explore some creative campaign ideas. Here are a few of our faves.

Idea #1 Hero content

Some of the most memorable campaigns are built around a single piece of content or idea.

This usually takes the form of a piece of “hero” content.

ALDI did this with a video about Santa crashing his sled in the Australian outback, which showed the community coming together to send Santa back on his way.

Create your own hero content on a smaller budget or use a novelty giveaway or campaign.

Idea #2 Do some good

If you’re stuck for ideas, think beyond profits. You might collaborate with a charity, which will get people’s attention and show your drive to do some good.

Your choice of charity could also be good for brand awareness and positioning by helping audiences to associate you with a good cause in your industry.

Idea #3 Christmas Cash

Sales guru Andrew Cominos aka The Results Guy has a Christmas marketing campaign strategy that gives you a quick and timely cash injection.

He suggests giving customers an offer that is designed to kick off their 2022 or make it their best year yet.

The key is to keep it affordable for both you and your customers so it doesn’t cannibalise your business.

Get customers to pay before Christmas and ideally take their payment via a landing page.

Idea #4 Know your audience

We talk a lot about audience in our webinars because it is such an intrinsic part of your marketing that can make or break a campaign.

To understand who they are start with demographics, then look at their wants, needs, and obstacles to purchase.

You can use quantitative analysis, market research, or simply jot down notes of your own observations about who your customers are.

You can use other data sources such as checking what your competitors or the businesses you admire are doing.

Once you know your audience, you can use platforms such as Facebook to create Lookalike audiences and get your message in front of thousands more people who match your existing customers.

Idea #5 Have a convo

Travel entrepreneur and brand coach Meredith Hill once said that when you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.

This is why it’s so important to create an audience persona – a character who you equip with demographics and visual representation just as if they are a real person.

Create this persona using the overlapping traits of your customers. Think of this persona as the centre of a Venn diagram of your various customers.

Your business might have several very distinct audiences with no overlap. In this case, create the relevant number of personas.

When it comes time to crafting your messages and content, imagine speaking directly to this persona as you explain the “5Ws & 1H” in order of importance: Who, what, where, when, why and how.

Idea #6 Generate leads

Starbucks has run some of the best Christmas marketing campaigns over the years.

In one, it offered gift cards to customers who could use them to take a break or catch up with a loved one over coffee.

In another, it encouraged people to post pictures of their cups under the hashtag #GiveGood.

Starbucks also released new cups with lots of white space that consumers could colour in and personalise.

These campaigns were all great ways to get more online followers, build community, and most importantly, generate leads.

Use Christmas cheer to run your own lead generation campaigns. Here are some things you could offer in exchange for email sign-ups:

  • Christmas gift guides

Solve your audience’s Christmas problems

  • Freebies

Offer a free Christmas gift with every purchase (one that doesn’t cost you too much)

  • Exclusivity

Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know about

  • Quizzes

Want to find the perfect gift? Take our quiz!

  • On-time deliveries

If within your control, offering reliable gift deliveries could be a goldmine

Step 3: Organic social content

Organic social content is your unpaid social content that forms an effective and low-cost basis for your Christmas marketing campaigns.

Use your calendar to plan social content just as you would with other campaigns.

Feel free to start small and ramp it up if and when time permits.

Always remember to link back to your website, which increasesd web traffic to your site and helps boost your position on Google search results.

If you’re using a landing page to collect leads, try to get the landing page on your website.

Or if that’s not possible, then at least link back to the place on your site where the action happens, such as your subscribe forms.

Website content

Get your website content ready with a branded spin on Christmas. Do this with:

  • Banners
  • Photography
  • Landing pages
  • Blog posts

If you can’t afford to get professional photos taken or a designer to create Christmas themed assets, use the miracle DIY design tool Canva to adapt your existing assets or find some stock images.

Make your visual content and messaging consistent across all your channels so it becomes instantly recognisable.

This excellent example from Target shows you how effective a super-simple Facebook banner can be as it references the brand’s logo and Christmas.

Social content

Apply this same principle of simplicity to your social media content.

You might create one hero piece of content and then simply re purpose it across all your channels.

Don’t worry about being too repetitive because audiences will simply view this as consistent messaging and will not be as tired of it as you are.

ALDI used this technique by taking a still from their hero video about Santa’s crash and using it on a billboard ad.

Videos get extremely good engagement on social. If you don’t have the time or budget to create them, try Lumen 5, a free and easy tool that we use regularly.

Step 4: Email campaigns

Although emails campaigns are typically for informing and entertaining your audience before they’re ready to buy, Christmas time is a little different.

At Christmas, many people are poised to spend. It’s easy to tip them over the edge with a great gift idea that lands conveniently in their inbox.

In other words, you might be able to use emails to convert your warm leads during the Christmas period.

Look at this clever example which taps into our insecurities over giving bad gifts. It shows you how a better gift is just a couple of easy clicks away – very appealing at this busy time of year.

As with all your Christmas marketing, don’t be afraid to reuse or repurpose your hero content for email campaigns too and include just one clear call to action.

Step 5: Paid campaigns

A quick Google search will reveal that yes, people are already using Google ads for their Christmas marketing campaigns – it’s not too early to join them.

If you use paid advertising, now’s the time to adapt your keywords list, ad text and landing pages for the holiday season.

For those who haven’t started using Google’s paid advertising yet but would like to, Christmas is a great time to start.

Whether it’s your busiest or your quietest time, starting paid campaigns this Christmas will allow you to reach more people.

Hot Tip: Another plus side to using Google ads for the first time this year is that if you create a campaign and wait a couple of days before making a purchase, Google will give you a couple of hundred dollars in free ad spend!

Not sure how to create Google Ads? Learn more about it in A Useful Guide to Google Ads and Analytics for Beginners.

Social campaigns

If you’re tight on budget this Christmas but need to ramp up your advertising, there are a few ways to get the best bang for your buck.

The way to make social media advertising work for you is to by putting little bits of budget into it, seeing what works, tweaking, and trying again.

Bigger companies and marketing agencies that specialise in this method will make a science of it and call it split testing. But there’s nothing stopping you from doing it yourself on a smaller scale.

Another great way to create more cost-effective social media ads is by reusing previous posts that have done really well.

Pick a post that got lots of likes and shares and turn this into a paid promotion.

If you’re using Facebook, there are two sure ways to improve your chances of success:

  1. Know your audience

If you have already done your audience work à la our suggestions above, this will be easier when you reach your paid campaigns

  • Choose the correct ad objective

Facebook will guide you through this step while building your campaign, but success hinges on choosing the right one

Here’s another example of ALDI reusing its single piece of hero content across yet another channel: Facebook.

Bonus COVID considerations

Just as your messaging will need to acknowledge Covid and demonstrate some heart, so too your practical communications will need to reflect Covid’s impact.

One of the first questions in each buyer’s mind at this time of year, especially in the lockdown states, is, When will my order arrive?

Any out-of-data or misleading info about orders and deliveries, either on your website or social channels, will not go down well.

Here’s what we suggest:

  • Be transparent and open about processing and delivery times
  • Put practical info on all your social channels
  • Post about any postage delays
  • Make your cancellation policy easy to find
  • Include a gift note option for those posting gifts to family and friends

How to run Christmas Marketing Campaigns 2021

Despite what has been a tough year, both businesses and customers are looking forward to Christmas.

Let’s make it a good one for everybody by preparing our campaigns early so that customers can get their gift orders on time.

By using authentic messaging and being open about practicalities, we can all take a bit of pressure off at the end of a long year.

Enjoyed this Christmas marketing blog? Sad you missed the webinar?

Catch more of our free online marketing webinars to get more juicy insider tips and get your questions answered.

Stay in the know by following us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Ready to improve your Marketing skills?

Contact us today

About

Natalie is a freelance copywriter and digital content producer from Melbourne. Her experience spans across industries including marketing, construction, tourism, and disability services.

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