Is it too late for Christmas advertising?

By posting about Christmas during December, we feel a little late. Big brands have been working on their digital marketing campaigns since January, with the first ticklers launched as early as August and even our local Portsmouth Christmas lights switch-on happened mid-November. However, it’s never too late to jump on the Christmas cheer bandwagon – and never too early to think about next year.

Why is Christmas such a big deal in the UK?

The Christmas and New Year period, which now stretches from Halloween to the January sales, prompts a massive surge in consumer spending across a wide range of categories, from furniture to food, toys to tech. The surge hits even apparently unrelated industries, such as car tires and garden furniture, as people prepare for long journeys or look for a quirky gift. In addition, corporate spending ticks up as businesses reach out to their customers, reward employees and wrap up year-end accounts. All in all, the UK spent £77.56 billion on Christmas in 2016, with families expecting to spend around £750 – about a month’s rent or mortgage payments for many – on food, gifts and decorations. Many go over their estimates, covering the excess with credit cards or loans.

The digital takeover of Christmas

In 2016, over 27% of Christmas related spending took place online, a whopping £22.9 billion overall. Bear in mind that online shopping is a relatively recent phenomenon and that the total Christmas spend includes a lot that can’t be ordered online (Christmas lunch with colleagues, after work drinks…) and the figure is even more significant. With social media going crazy as people hunt out the best deals, it’s no surprise that savvy advertisers from Portsmouth to Perth have switched their focus from traditional media to digital marketing.

Get started today

December is the ideal time to ramp up your Christmas marketing campaign. If you haven’t done anything yet, social media provides an excellent platform for simple awareness-building events, such as giveaways. Here are 5 ways to get started now – and at the very least, take five minutes to schedule posts to wish your customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year at the appropriate time!

  1. Create an advent calendar

Advent is a good excuse to post limited-time offers across social media and your site. Whether you offer daily gifts and offers, weekly ones or something less frequent, these can help build customer engagement as well as driving sales. Just make sure you can deliver in time for Christmas!

  1. Send useful, timely reminders

Seasonal opening hours, last posting dates, last dates for custom orders and any other changes to routine are a good excuse to send an email out and a good way to nudge customers into placing an order. Emphasise the ease and convenience of ordering now to ensure delivery in time for the holidays and post shareable images on social media with the info.

  1. Put tinsel on your website and advertising

Make your current offers seem more desirable by implying they’re limited time or once-a-year treats. Adding a Christmas theme to your website or PPC ads will imply that these offers will vanish when the holidays do.

  1. Create a festive landing page or gift guide

Maybe you don’t want to turn your whole site into a winter wonderland. Instead, create individual landing pages which list Christmas offers, gift ideas or other themed deals. You can then link to these from your homepage and set the whole lot to vanish on 1 January. It’s much easier than getting the decorations back in the loft!

  1. Thank your customers

Your existing customers are your best customers, so thank them with a sincere message and a special offer. Whether you choose to offer different tiers to different customers is up to you.

  1. Think about other celebrations

Unless your business is called ‘the Little Christmas Shop’, chances are you’ll have customers who don’t celebrate this holiday. Creating a digital marketing campaign for festivals often overshadowed by the big C can be a great way to show appreciation for your customers. These include Chanukah (12-20 December), the winter solstice (22 Dec), New Year’s celebrations, Hogmanay, the lunar new year (16 Feb 2018) as well as Christian religious traditions, such as saint’s days, which are often overshadowed by Santa. Know your audience and choose wisely.

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