Welcome to this exciting new section of the b:web blog: The Marketing Monthly, designed to help you plan your marketing activity month on month. I’m going to be including plenty of reminders and tips as well as a task list for you to work on for the month.
The focus of this Marketing Monthly is going to be Christmas (usually you would want to plan this much earlier but it’s definitely not too late!)
Christmas is a very busy period for all of our clients. It’s not just the obvious toys/gifts, we have clients selling anything from locksmith tools to curtains who all enjoy the buoyant Christmas sales.
How can you make the most of the Christmas boom?
1) Get Your Diary In Order.
There are several key dates for you to consider in the next few weeks.
- When is it cool to start your Christmas campaign. Personally I think before Halloween is an absolute no-no and even before November 5th is slightly dangerous!
- Black Friday (28th November) and Cyber Monday (1st December). Very much a US marketing phenomenon which has spilled over to the UK. The November payday is the last pay day before Christmas, so it does make sense that these dates are going to busy.
- Christmas count down (advent). Including a countdown on your website and marketing communications over the Christmas period will build up that sense of urgency.
- Last delivery dates. Depending on your products, delivery services (and the weather!) you might have several last order dates that need to be clearly communicated.
- Christmas dates and New Year.
- School term end/start dates.
2) Plan Content Early.
- SEO. Plenty of online stores will only sell certain products at Christmas (Christmas wrapping paper, Christmas cards etc). When we consider that it can take several weeks for new content to be indexed by Google you risk being left with zero SEO visibility by leaving it until the last minute. It’s far better to get the pages up early and to keep them throughout the year. You can opt to omit the Christmas pages from main navigation but do include them in the XML sitemap and perhaps promote them on social media as a soft launch.
- Don’t leave communications to the last minute. Prepare a list of emails, tweets, campaigns, website banners, promotions, special offers etc in good time and get everything written and designed all ready to go.
By planning early you free yourself up to be responsive to events as they occur and of course to process all of the orders that are flooding in!
3) Sell To Your Existing Customers.
You’ll want plenty of fresh new customers but we all know that selling to your existing customers is a much easier sale.
Email remains one of the cheapest methods of communicating directly with your customer database. It is effective and can be tracked. Be personal, refer to customers by their names and remind them of their recent purchases. You can probably get away with 3 HTML emails per week over the Christmas period as long as they are helpful, informative and offer incentives.
Ideas for helpful HTML emails could include:
- Gift guides. These should be genuinely helpful and created to allow customers to find that perfect gift for their special someone.
- Reminders of the time ticking away and key date – create that sense of urgency!
- Details of all of your offers and promotions as they happen.
- Your key dates for delivery and reasons to buy from YOU.
- Free resources that could be useful such as recipes, decorating tips, postal delivery dates or guides for entertaining children during the holidays.
- I’m not sure that many people have time for competitions at Christmas but certainly freebies are always welcome.
*** Tip! Remember that anything you do via email can be chopped up and reused on your blog and social media. Plan to re-purpose content several times to increase your reach. ***
4) Make The Decision To Purchase Easy.
- Be clearer. At Christmas you will find that more people are buying unfamiliar products as they are buying for other. Make your product descriptions really really clear, using the language your customers will understand and including all of the relevant technical details. Don’t scrimp on photos either as customers need to be reassured that they are buying the correct product.
- Stock the full range. It’s no good selling the toy fire engine if you don’t sell the fireman or the station to go with it! Visitors will prefer to buy everything in one transaction from a single merchant so look at your product range and fill in gaps.
- Bundle. Try creating bundles for a quick and easy one step checkout.
- Display related items. Display related items on your product pages so that customers can easily find their batteries and other little bits to complete their purchase.
- Be easy to share. More often than not a Christmas gift selection is a group decision. Allow your customers to share their gift ideas easily via social media, email and even via wish lists.
5) Be Convenient.
Customer service is often valued over price and will increase conversion during when people are so time poor. Offer potential customers free delivery, easy (and free) returns, no quibble money back guarantees, warranties that start on Christmas day and/or extended returns period. If you have the infrastructure implement a click and collect scheme and always ensure that customers have the facility to opt for delivery to an alternative address. Gift wrap services and product personalisation can also be incredibly convenient for your customers as well as increasing your bottom line!
Exceed your customers expectations by including something extra in their package: a handwritten Christmas card, a branded calendar for 2015, a free gift or a voucher off their next purchase (very smart move if you are allowing an alternative delivery address and the recipient has not yet been a direct customer)
Even once the deadline for posting physical items has passed you can continue to promote gift vouchers or digital products which I am sure would be considered extremely convenient for those who have left it a tad late!
November Marketing Monthly Take-Aways
- Prepare and publish your Christmas content and messaging sooner rather than later
- Check that the content on your website is persuasive, clear and reassuring
- Plan a good series of html emails to your database <– probably the most important on this list!!
- Get your social media ready to promote all your activity
- Create gifts to pop in with your order – consider Christmas cards or a 2015 branded calender
The Marketing Monthly will be back in December and I will be showing you how to make the most of the data you will have collected and helping you to plan a strong start for 2015.
If you would like to discuss your Christmas marketing with b:web we would be really happy to help. It’s honestly not too late to get cracking on creating some powerful communications to encourage the Christmas spend to be with you. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01483 799475.
You might also be interested in the Selling for eCommerce Workshop that I will be running in Surrey in a few weeks. More information on the eCommerce workshop can be found here, it would be lovely to see you on the day!