There is no doubt that Christmas here in the UK is going to be very different this year. Many businesses are now closed again until early December because of the lock down and this will mean that the usual peak trading time in the run up to Christmas will be cut unusually short. The Christmas period is usually hugely important for many businesses and even when the existing restrictions are over, a prevailing sense of uncertainty may still affect people’s willingness to come out to shop and socialise.
This year, more than ever, getting your online marketing right over the Christmas period could help your business to make up some lost ground. Many of us will be spending a lot of time virtually shopping this year so, as a business, making sure your online game is strong will mean that you can take advantage of the opportunity to meet your customers online.
Christmas Special Offers and Promotions
Incentives and special offers are hugely popular and always very welcome at Christmas. Whether you opt for straightforward discounts, multi-buy or package offers like three for two, free delivery or some kind of loyalty bonus – special offers can be a great way of getting people off the fence when it comes to buying. Offering time limited discount codes in return for website subscriptions can be a great way to boost both sales or email subscribers. Using your social media platforms to promote individual product offers can be a great way to drive traffic to them.
Pay Per Click Advertising
A short pay per click campaign could give your business a welcome boost over the Christmas period. Advertising on Google can be highly targeted and specific, in terms of location and other audience demographics. A short Christmas marketing campaign can be a great way of getting new visitors to your website or your physical location. Make sure you have a specific landing page set up for Christmas traffic and try to use festive copy and keywords in your adverts.
Google My Business
When people are looking for businesses in their local area, a Google search is often the first port of call. Increasingly, people are also using their smart phones to make ‘near me’ searches when out and about so a managed listing on Google My Business which appears in the ‘three pack’ can improve actual footfall to your business.
You can use your listing to keep your customers up to date with your opening hours, especially if they are extended over Christmas, new health and safety attributes on Google My Business also allows you to post information about any health and safety measures people can expect to find when visiting – particularly relevant at the moment!
Posts on Google My Business enable you to create and share short, visual messages with customers using Google search and Google Maps and will be visible whenever your business listing is visible. Posts can be used to promote events, products, offers, news and more and are quick and simple to set up.
A post on Google should be short, engaging and inspire some kind of action like, find out more, book now or get offer. Use good quality images to get attention. If you have yet to set up your Google My Business Page – have a look at our blog post ‘How to claim your listing on Google My Business (and why you should)’
Creative Christmas Content
Christmas offers a great opportunity for producing website content which is fun and entertaining. There are so many potential subjects which you can write about around Christmas and how your products and services relate to that. Writing content can also provide you with useful additional material for your social media channels and email campaigns. Using your blog to publish high quality content which is related to your products or services is a good way of subtly promoting them whilst providing something useful and informative for your customers to read. Think about how you can share your expertise with your customers to help them find the information they need to buy with confidence.
Email is still one of the best ways to keep in touch with your customers at Christmas and presents the ideal opportunity to set up and run an email campaign. Christmas offers a great opportunity to share information about your products or services at a time when customers are particularly receptive to hearing from you. Spending some time thinking about an automated ’12 days of Christmas’ email campaign is one idea, some kind of virtual email advent calendar is another. You can also use email to send out information to customers about final order dates and Christmas deliveries and even offers for the new year.
Social media is a platform which works brilliantly with visual content and Christmas is arguably one of the easiest times of year to generate it. You could make a video to share with your followers giving access to what goes on behind the scenes at your business as you build up to Christmas or put together a series of helpful Christmas gift guides. Using the shopping feature on social platforms could also offer you the opportunity to set up an online store for free. You could also consider allocating a budget to promoting your social posts to get them seen outside of your existing social media followers.
As well as using your social media channels to promote and sell products or services in the run up to Christmas, social media is also a great platform for engaging with your customers and followers in a more informal way. Encourage social media followers to upload their own photos and tag your business in them, run creative Christmas themed competitions and ask entrants to upload photos of the results, offer giveaways and canvas opinions by asking questions or setting up polls.
Whilst it is not the start to the festive season anyone in business wanted, the current lockdown period could give you the ideal opportunity to get your Christmas marketing ideas ready for when you are able to re-open your business to the public in early December. Getting organised now with written content for your website or email campaigns, creating and scheduling social media posts, automating emails and getting images and product listings ready will be time well spent.
For more help and advice covering all aspects of digital marketing, visit our blog or our resources page to access free services and helpful downloadable guides and checklists.