21 Holiday Marketing Campaign Tactics for Success — 2017 Edition

21 holiday marketing campaign tactics

The holiday season is right around the corner. As an eCommerce business, you’ve likely been thinking about the holiday shopping season since early summer. According to the National Retail Federation, the holidays can represent up to 30% of retailers’ annual sales.

If you are looking to up your game in 2017, check out these 21 tips for successful eCommerce holiday campaigns, from emails to social media posts, pricing tips and more.

1. Email your list the few weeks leading up to Black Friday.

Once or twice a week in the two or three weeks before Black Friday, let your customers know you’re doing something for Black Friday. Give them the need-to-know details on how they can save big with you this major shopping day.

2. Don’t skip over Cyber Monday.

Prepping for Black Friday can be stressful—but don’t let it overtake Cyber Monday. As an eCommerce business, Cyber Monday can bring in more money than Black Friday. In 2016, Cyber Monday became the United State’s biggest online shopping day, totalling nearly $2.67 billion in online spending.

3. Don’t Overdo it.

You can’t and don’t want to have major holiday campaigns for every week during the holiday season. Even though it seems like there’s one almost every week in November and December. It’s too much for you, and for consumers. Choose only a handful of weeks to base your major campaigns on, and they don’t just have to be the major shopping days. Show some love the day before or after the major sales days like Green Monday—that have shown sales growth for eCommerce selling—and you won’t be competing with every other retailer.

4. Send a couple emails to active shoppers and past holiday buyers on big shopping days.

If you don’t already segment your email lists, start now. And have a list that’s just for active shoppers and holiday buyers. On the big holiday shopping days—Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Super Saturday—send this list two to three emails. You’re competing with numerous other retailers on these days, so you want to grab their attention, try creating urgency with a countdown to these days, and get their money. Need inspiration, check out this post by Shopify on email campaigns you can steal this Holiday season.

5. Include estimated shipping and delivery dates in promotional and purchase emails.

Want to improve your conversion rates? Then put approximate shipping and delivery dates in your emails. Especially around the holidays, consumers want to know their gifts will arrive on time.

6. Tell why your product will make a great gift.

Does your reusable coffee cup make traveling on the go easier for businessmen? Are your bath bombs the perfect relaxing gift for busy moms? Whatever the reason is, let consumers know why your product makes a great gift this year.

7. Advertise the good you do.

Alex and Ani charity jewelry

[Screenshot: alexandani.com]

Do you donate a portion of your sales to a charity? Or give a pet a meal for every bag of dog food you sell? Whatever good your company does, whether year round or during the holidays, let customers know. Everyone is in the giving spirit during the holidays, and customers like supporting businesses that are too.

8. Offer free shipping.

Consumers not only want great customer service and great deals, they also want free shipping. Last year, 71% of online shoppers rated free shipping as their top retail policy during the holidays. People spend a lot during the holidays, so when you offer free shipping, it’s a good enticement to buy what they’ve been eyeing on your site.

9. Create a deal consumers can’t pass up with an exclusive product.

Anytime you use the word “exclusive” people go nuts. That one word adds allure and gets people intrigued to buy whatever you’re offering. Try offering an exclusive product—for only this time of year—and see how quickly customers jump on it because they know it’s only available for a limited time. Be sure to optimize a landing page or your entire site around this exclusive product offering during these couple of months.

10. Position your product as a lifestyle choice.

Anyone can sell a product—only the really good brands can sell a lifestyle. Instead of focusing on just selling your product, sell a lifestyle your current customers would want to join. Red Bull is arguably one of the best brands at doing this. Their product is an energy drink, but more people look at them as a company that embodies epic adventures, ones that everyone wants to be part of.

11. Provide customized bundles.

customizable bundle products

[Screenshot: harrys.com]

Why would someone buy a random bundle of items from you, if they can create their own customized bundle from someone else? Shaving equipment company Harry’s lets people build a customized shave plan, and do so easily, from their website. Why not try out offering customized holiday bundles of your products this year?

12. Run a holiday-themed referral program promotion.

holiday themed referal program from Huckberry

[Image: friendbuy.com]

During the holiday season, have a “Give the Gift That Keeps on Giving” type of referral program promotion. Offer customers who refer friends and family to your business 15% off, to them and whoever they refer, during the entire month of December. They’re giving. You’re giving. It’s a win-win promotion.

13. Experiment with your pricing strategy.

Start out with a certain price for a certain product, and if it isn’t selling like you’d wish, raise or lower the pricing a bit. See if your price adjustment makes a difference. If it does, keep it there. If it doesn’t, experiment again. You obviously can’t keep raising or lowering your prices, but with a couple shifts, you might be able to find your pricing sweet spot and get more sales.

14. Make it easy to find gifts and gift cards.

Macy's search bar

[Screenshot: macys.com]

Consumers nowadays are all about convenience. So if you want an easy holiday marketing tip for 2017—give consumers one-click access to a gift guide and/or gift cards on your website’s homepage, like Macy’s has. You’ll save them time, and they’ll (hopefully) reward you for it by purchasing something from you.

15. Let people write a personal message with their gift.

personal message ecommerce gift[Screenshot: greetabl.com]

For those who have relatives far away they don’t get to give a gift to face-to-face to, they likely still want a way to make their gift personal. Be like Greetabl, and allow customers to type up a heartfelt, personalized message for the gift’s receiver. And take it a step further like this company and handwrite their included message for them.

16. Put together a gift guide blog post.

In the ways of content marketing, a good idea is writing a gift guide blog post highlighting your top products of the year. For all those people out there looking for what to buy their boss, mom, grandpa, neighbor, etc., and there are a lot of them, a little gift guide is just what they need.

17. Utilize social media ads with catchy media.

Social media ads aren’t anything new. But they’re especially important to take advantage of during the holidays when more people are online shopping. Toward the end of the year, people’s timelines and feeds are bombarded with holiday content, though, so help your ads stand out by using catchy images, videos or animated GIFs.

18. Start testing retargeting campaigns.

If you’re not already running them, ‘tis the season. Retargeting has been extremely effective for many retailers during the holiday season. It helped me last year. I’d put a gift for a family member in my shopping cart, got distracted by my kid, closed my laptop without purchasing the item and quickly forgot about it. Luckily the next day that company sent me a retargeting ad to remind me that oh yeah, I hadn’t bought that gift and needed to.

19. Be funny and/or poke fun at cheesy holiday traditions on social media.

funny holiday marketing

[Image: Instagram]

Everyone could use a good laugh during the stressful time that the holiday season is. Last year, Dollar Shave Club did a great job on Instagram promoting their Holiday Shave Set with funny videos that showed how cute teddy bears and Frosty the Snowman can’t handle how awesome their products are.

20. Take advantage of emotional marketing with storytelling.

Christmas and creative storytelling go hand in hand. And if there’s one time of year when we all can’t control our emotions, it’s the holidays. (Just ask your wife or mom why she sits in front of the TV crying while watching all those Hallmark holiday movies.) So whether you want to share your brand’s story or retell a classic story in your own way, like M&M’s did last year with their “Christmas with love from Mrs. Claus” video, put on your creative storytelling Santa hat.

21. Create a microsite.

Microsites are an ideal way to target a certain buyer persona or highlight a specific holiday-themed campaign. They’re simple, easy to navigate, and like HubSpot found out last year, get great engagement from current, and sometimes new, audiences.

From all of us here at Stryde, we hope these holiday marketing ideas for 2017 really help you “sleigh” your marketing campaigns and sales this year.

About Greg Shuey

Greg is a member of the executive team at Stryde and a seasoned digital marketer who has worked with thousands of businesses, large and small, to generate more revenue via online marketing strategy and execution. Greg has written hundreds of blog posts as well as spoken at many events about online marketing strategy. You can follow Greg on Twitter. Circle him on Google+, and connect with him on LinkedIn

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