Spoiler Alert: if you’re in retail and you haven’t started planning your holiday marketing campaigns by October, you’re scrooged!
Yes, I am aware that it is only August and Christmas isn’t until December 25th.
To “win” this holiday season and end the year on a sales high, retailers need to start planning and testing their campaigns early. This does not mean running “season’s greetings” ads with gingerbread men in September—that’s a great way to annoy the hell out of people. What “start early” really means is testing, analyzing, and preparing. Here is a checklist to get you started. For even more holiday marketing help, we invite you to attend our in-person Holiday Marketing Workshop on September 19th, co-hosted with Google. Register here.
Holiday Marketing Checklist
- Set sales goals that are based on data. Unless something drastic is changing in your strategy or industry, you can’t expect drastic increases in sales or ROAS.
- Pay attention to social media. What are the topic and products that are trending in your industry?
- Build your remarketing list. CPCs start increasing in October. Focusing on driving qualified traffic to your site in July and August will build up your audience list at a lower cost. Targeting your holiday campaigns to these lists will help to keep the costs down. Audience suggestions:
- Cart Abandoners
- Window Shoppers (time on site > 60 seconds and pages/session > 3)
- Bouncers (time on-site < 10 seconds)
- Content Viewed (page = /collections/guys/watches)
- Test messaging, offers, and promotions. Will shoppers respond better to a discount or a free gift with purchase? The only way to know is to test the messaging before the shopping season goes into full swing. Here are some messaging ideas to test:
- 20% Off vs. Save 20%
- Shop Now vs. Save Today
- Free Shipping vs. Flash Sale
- Humor vs. Sincerity
- Purchase vs. Buy Now
- Register vs. Signup
- Test creative. Similar to your message testing, you need to find out what type of creative resonates with your audience prior to creating all of your holiday ads. This means testing new ads in the summer and early fall. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas to test:
- White Space vs. Color Block Backgrounds
- Animated vs. Still
- Cartoon vs. Photo
- People vs. Landscapes
- Puppies vs. Kittens
- Review your conversion funnel and ensure that your site is optimized for conversions. Any friction/sticky points along the path will not be tolerated by holiday shoppers. The average person will leave a site that takes longer than 3-seconds to load. Other points that affect conversion rates include:
- Not being upfront about shipping costs. Waiting until the last step to calculate the cost of shipping will greatly increase your cart abandonment rate as shoppers will look for a similar product elsewhere with lower or free shipping.
- Requiring shoppers to register their email with your site before they can complete a purchase. Yes, gathering emails is important, but you can wait and ask for the email after the sale is completed as a means to track the order.
- Requiring multiple clicks to get the product in the cart. Once the shopper decides on a product, it should be simple to get that product in their cart and checkout.
It can take months to clean up a messy conversion funnel and/or speed up a slow site. The last thing you want to do during the busy holiday season is alter your site.
Follow these steps and you’ll be ready to start launching those holiday ads by mid-October! If all of this sounds like too much to pull off, we’re happy to help! Contact us or sign-up for our in-person Holiday Marketing Workshop on September 19th, co-hosted with Google.