As children, we would spend months waiting in anticipation for Christmas Day to arrive. We truly did wish it could be Christmas every day. Thanks, Wizzard.
Little did we know, that as marketers in a digital marketing agency, our dreams would come true.
If you want your Christmas marketing strategy to boost traffic and sales, then be prepared to get your Christmas hat on as early as July. We’ve put together this ultimate marketing checklist for the Christmas period, to ensure that you get ahead of the game and avoid any manic rushes. It’s time to spread some (incredibly early) festive cheer and reap all the benefits from doing so!
So – let’s begin with the July to August period, where the sun is shining and Christmas seems miles away. These months are all about prepping and planning. Use these following steps as a checklist each year!
Step 1: Identify the keywords you want to target and keep a note of them. This research will end up being your main focus for the majority of your marketing efforts.
Step 2: Next up, begin some market research. Look for trends in your market. What will your customers be searching for in December?
Step 3: Once you’ve gained an understanding of your market, it will be time to carry out some competitor research. Who else is selling what you’re selling? What are they doing to rank so well?
Step 4: These early months give you the perfect opportunity to build up your social media presence, too. Tidy up your profiles and be sure to keep your posts consistent and engaging.
Step 5: Let’s not forget about outreach! Brainstorm and plan your outreach campaigns so you’re ready for when they need to go live.
Step 6: Lastly, ensure that you have Google Analytics set up on your website so that you can track success.
As you can see, there’s a lot of prep which needs to go into your Christmas marketing campaign. Or any marketing campaign, for that matter! I recommend double-checking that your website is optimised for mobile within these months – around 50% of Christmas shops are likely to be done on mobile each year.
Although mid-August might still be miles away from Christmas, it is the perfect time to start fine-tuning campaign ideas and getting your website ready.
Firstly, define the high-value pages you’ll be targeting at Christmas. Will you be able to work with these pages?
Speaking of high-value pages, it’ll also be worth adding fresh and relevant content to any existing Christmas pages which are going to be used this year. Make sure that you’re writing engaging copy which customers would hate to miss. This can be done throughout the next few months so that you’re constantly keeping things fresh.
As well as website content, start preparing your general Christmas content marketing ideas which you can distribute closer to the special day.
Your last task in August will be to submit business profiles to Google Maps and Merchant Centre for local search purposes.
Let’s step things up a notch in September… 3 months till Christmas and counting!
Throughout September, work on optimising your Christmas target pages for SEO and user experience. There’s no time for high bounce rates!
September is also the perfect month for analysing your competitors’ Christmas campaigns. What are they doing? How are they getting the word out? Is there anything you could be doing differently?
Now for the fun part – it’s time to create a pre-Christmas buzz. Start getting the word out about your super exciting campaign. Go easy on the Christmas cheer though!
Once you’ve carried out these 3 steps, start to monitor your results through Google Analytics and Social Listening tools. If anything needs changing, now is your time to adjust accordingly.
Towards the end of September, plan retargeting campaigns to gain repeat buyers (we recommend using AdRoll), and have a check over your website to ensure that all information is correct.
Spooky season is up next, but we’re keeping our Christmas hats on. October is all about monitoring what’s working and fixing what isn’t.
In October, continue to optimise Christmas target pages and continue to monitor competitors. It’s also worth assessing your social campaigns – how are customers responding to your social media so far?
On top of this, begin to monitor bounce rates and engagement times, too. How long are customers staying? What could be done to keep them longer?
If traffic is low, consider Paid Search Traffic so that you can get a targeted stream to your website. There’s nothing wrong with having an extra nudge here – studies show that Facebook Ad clicks peak over Christmas.
If using Ads, look into refreshing your ad copy. What are your stock levels like? Any opportunity for limited-time sales?
Give your website some more loving through October, too. Update your site architecture so Christmas pages are easier to find.
There’s one month until the festive period comes to life. It’s time to get serious.
Step 1: Start the month off by asking yourself a few questions regarding organic search results:
🖥️ Can you be found on desktop?
📱 Can you be found on mobile?
📶 Are you ranking above competitors?
If you answered no to any of these questions, then it’s time for some testing and tweaking.
Step 2: This next step is all about focusing on your paid campaign. Cost per click prices and competition will rise in November, so bid up to maintain visibility. Also, don’t forget to keep an eye on your product count around November – if you’ve run out, then you’ll need to pause paid ads.
Step 3: As always, prioritise your content through November, and add as much fresh content to your website as possible to stay at the top of search results. Google loves fresh content!
Step 4: Last but by no means least, it’s finally time to focus on your outreach campaign to get some more exposure. Firstly, prepare some press releases and contact key press outlets for extra reach. Use teaser campaigns to build excitement, and monitor user behaviour with Google Analytics after doing so. If you need further assistance with this, our link building team can help.
Can you hear the sleigh bells ringing? It’s time to unleash your elves, get super festive, and spend some money!
Step 1: Add to your budget to cover traffic and cost per click increases. The competition will rise substantially through December, so be sure to also bid up to maintain rankings.
Step 2: Speaking of competition, ask yourself: is anyone making a last-minute dash into the top positions? Be sure to keep an eye on those search query reports to stay ahead of the game.
Step 3: December is the best time to get the word out via your lovely press release! Don’t forget to utilise your email databases to avoid leaving out loyal fans.
Step 4: Just before the Christmas peak, release a digital PR push to further promote your campaign.
Step 5: Once everything is out there and your campaign is getting great engagement, continue to promote offers, best sellers and gifts.
All that’s left to do is enjoy Christmas and give yourself a pat on the back for smashing these intense four months.
You might be full of Christmas pudding and dreading getting back in the swing of things, but your marketing strategy doesn’t stop once Christmas has passed. When you get back to work after the Christmas period, review your own and your competitors’ campaigns to establish what worked and what didn’t. Keep the energy from your campaigns going by continuing to add fresh and relevant content… and be sure to prepare for award season!
Oh, and don’t forget to update those site links for January sales. Good luck!
We understand that all of this information can be pretty overwhelming – especially if you’ve already passed the starting months. Our team of digital marketing specialists are on-hand to help out with any area of your digital marketing campaign; whether it be PPC, SEO, Content Marketing, CRO, and so on. Simply get in touch today to see how we can take your Christmas campaign to the next level.