This year has seen a seismic shift in the number of consumers relying on online shopping. In 2019, the largest segment of the population using online shopping was women aged between 25 and 54, whereas this year, the age bracket has altered towards ages 45 and over. Quantcast data from September shows that 67% of consumers in the UK hope to spend just as much on Christmas this year, if not more.
This is despite of some 37% of respondents experiencing increased personal financial instability as a result of Covid-19. It is clear that the Christmas rush will take place more online this year than ever before, and that may be an intimidating prospect for small to medium sized local businesses. However, the festive season provides some low-cost opportunities to market your business and address seasonal demand. Here are some of our low cost Christmas marketing tips to prepare for the festive period.
For any business, whether you serve consumers directly or other businesses, partnering with charities can spread awareness of their good work while demonstrating your brand values. Larger businesses work with charities all year round, such as P & O Cruises and the Teenage Cancer Trust, who have raised £100,000 together since 2015 through fundraising. Another model for charity partnerships is Oliver Bonas and UK Youth. A portion of proceeds from selected items are donated to fund UK Youth’s development programmes.
For small and medium sized enterprises, however, there are other ways to make a difference to a charity and your own marketing. Forging links between your business and a smaller charity can help to amplify your marketing campaigns; these charities are more likely to target their members on a local scale, and benefit from more support. For example, Sudbury employer Specflue’s 2019 Christmas appeal provided a box of food and gifts to a family in need for every order worth £1000 in association with the local branch of the Salvation Army. This encouraged customers to stock up for the New Year while benefiting a charitable cause.
Although these are Christmas marketing tips, no business could get through November without mention of the infamous Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Viewed by many as an example of rampant consumerism, it can be difficult and costly for small businesses to slash their prices to match large brands. This means that the opportunity to capitalise on the two-day buying period can be missed.
The emphasis for small businesses must be on adding value to purchases, and not just reducing prices, particularly in a time of economic stress for many local enterprises. For example, incentivise signing up to your email list to capture as many contacts as possible. Then, capitalise on your new contacts in a Christmas email marketing push. Alternatively, extend any offers to a longer time period to avoid short term stress on stock and employees.
To make the most of seasonal website traffic, consider adjusting your target keywords. This is to capitalise search variances, and get in early to make the most of lower cost pay-per-click terms. For example, Google Trends data shows that searches for the term ‘biscuit cutter’ are popular all year round. Conversely, searches for ‘Christmas biscuit cutter’ spike in November and December only. If you use pay-per-click marketing, take this seasonal variance into consideration when bidding for key phrases.
Similarly, for businesses with e-commerce websites, email remarketing can help to convert customers who would otherwise go elsewhere. While browsing for gifts, attention spans are short. It can be easy to click away from a product and not return to it. By setting up abandoned cart email prompts or emails to recommend similar products using software such as Mailchimp, you can bring your website to the front of consumers’ minds again through remarketing.
If your business runs any seasonal promotions, make sure that your imagery online is updated to publicise them. In the same way as you would decorate a high street shop to attract shoppers, or offices to inspire some Christmas cheer in visitors, your online shop window needs to be able to compete, even if only with a nod to the season. On websites and social media, consumers have come to expect a ‘festive’ update. This provides an opportunity to showcase any relevant offers or to promote charitable causes, as mentioned above. This could be minimalistic, such as changing your banner messaging or website copy. Alternatively, it could be festive touches to your branding. However, make sure that these are consistent with your brand identity to remain recognisable.
In summary, make sure that you have a strategy in place to maximise the potential of the Christmas season. Keep your website content and your social media channels fresh in the run-up to December. Plan any promotions to maximise their effectiveness online, and know your limits. We designed our Christmas marketing tips as a simple starting point; incorporate them into a strategy or Christmas marketing campaign that works for you.
Are you looking for a new marketing strategy heading into 2021? Get in touch with Mackman today on 01787 388038, or email [email protected].
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