It’s Already Time to Focus on Holiday Marketing

This past weekend marked the unofficial end of summer. Soon you’ll be met by the fall colors and crisp morning air that signifies that Black Friday and the holiday shopping season is just around the corner. But there is plenty of time to think about your holiday marketing strategy, right? No, not right. The time is now to start making your holiday marketing plan.

So where should you start? The two biggest areas of focus this holiday season are: 1) driving revenue and 2) creating attention-getting media activations.

Local, small- and medium-sized businesses should have their holiday marketing strategy prepped and ready to launch by October … yep, just 27 days away!

Successful local businesses proactively change their messaging several times throughout the year. And most develop holiday-centric campaigns to boost revenue and engagement. If your business isn’t in the habit of doing this, maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy. Timing and a fresh approach are everything!

The Biggest Trends in Marketing This Holiday Season

Holiday shoppers in 2018 increased their online spending by more than 15%. They also outspent their intended shopping budget by 30% in the U.S. Estimates for 2019 Cyber Monday are $10 billion – up from $8 billion last year.

So, what are the hottest digital marketing trends this holiday season?

  • Have clear strategies in place for the holiday season and start planning ASAP – your holiday messaging should be ready by October.
  • Conduct conversion lift studies – use Q1-Q3 for analysis, then use what you’ve learned to develop your strategy in the 4th
  • Plan ahead for the seasonal CPM spike. CPM always increases during the holiday shopping season. Make your media plans in advance, leveraging analytics and industry trends to forecast and plan your budget.

Deep Dive: Paid Search

Paid search, aka pay-per-click or PPC, is a search engine service where marketers bid for ad placement on results pages. These ads appear in a search engine’s sponsored links section using keywords related to your business. You pay the search engine a small fee for each click on your ad.

There are a number of advantages to using paid search, including:

  • Fast results
  • Generates better, more qualified leads
  • Provides results you can measure
  • Improves brand recognition
  • Is excellent for local searches

What’s the key takeaway for paid search from the 2018 online marketing season? Timing. Last year online shoppers began researching their holiday buying choices in October. Some other takeaways from the 2018 paid search holiday marketing season were:

  • Test deals early, before Cyber Week.
  • Prepare remarketing lists in advance to capture additional traffic and retarget shoppers later in the season and the shopper journey.
  • Showcase your merchant promotions to stand out in a competitive market – consider leveraging text messaging to deliver coupons directly to mobile devices.
  • Budget accordingly to offset demand from a November surge in search volume.
  • Consider using the buy-it-online, pick-up-in-store strategy between December 18 and 25 to increase pre-Christmas orders and in-store traffic.
  • Last-minute shoppers often search for gift cards. Present this opportunity in search results and consider promoting gift card deals with added benefits to the buyer, such as buying a $100 gift card and receiving a $10 gift card.

Deep Dive: Social Media

Social media marketing increases traffic to your business by attracting customers and generating engagement. Companies spent almost $27 billion on social media marketing in 2018 and allocated 25% of their annual budgets to holiday, social media marketing. In 2019, spending on social marketing is expected to increase by 19%.

Facebook and Instagram are the frontrunners for holiday advertising spending by local businesses. With 74% of social media users visiting Facebook every day, and 60% perusing Instagram, it’s no wonder these two sites are at the top of the list.

Social marketing during the holiday season has become increasingly important because:

  • 95% of online adults aged 18-34 are likely to follow a brand via social networking.
  • 71% of consumers who have experienced a positive social media service with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.

Social media should be a large component of your holiday marketing strategy. What better way to showcase your end of the year offers and company spirit than social media!

Deep Dive: Mobile

Mobile marketing must be a cornerstone of your holiday digital marketing strategy. After all, nearly 6 out of 10 shoppers started searching for the product they bought using a mobile device. But what exactly do we mean when we say mobile marketing?

Mobile marketing isn’t just ads within apps. It’s ensuring your website is mobile friendly. Claiming and verifying your Google My Business listing to ensure your information (name, location, hours, offers, etc.) are up to date and accurate. Creating opt-in text messaging campaigns and then engaging with customers to build loyalty and drive increased revenue. And the list goes on … ensuring your business leverages Facebook and Instagram advertising to target the extremely mobile-active social user.

End the Year With a Bang

Having a comprehensive marketing strategy means you are focused on the online, mobile and social marketing of your business. Incorporating all three components is critical to boosting traffic and sales during the 2019 holiday marketing season.

Ask yourself this, can you gain someone’s attention while they’re waiting in line browsing Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter? Is your content compelling enough to click through and order your product? Can online shoppers check out videos related to your products and services? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you are guaranteed to lose business this holiday season.

But don’t worry, Vivial can help! Our Marketing Platform is designed to leverage online, mobile and social marketing in one easy-to-use dashboard. And best of all, when you sign up during the month of September, we’ll give you one month free. Ensuring you end 2019 on a strong note is important to us. Let us help you get there.