With the Christmas season officially in swing, now is the time to get those festive campaigns working their magic. Hopefully, you’ve got a solid idea of what your advertising strategy is going to look like over the next couple of months but we regularly see some key essentials missing from festive advertising strategies.

So this article is designed to act as a seven-step guide to an all-inclusive holiday advertising strategy that’s going to make Christmas miracles happen this year – and every year that follows.

 

#1: Social campaigns for gift ideas

The first thing to keep in mind with your Christmas marketing campaigns is that everyone is in shopping mode, whether they know it or not. We’ve all got someone to buy for, parties to attend (or host) and those pesky secret Santa obligations to worry about. Which means we’re constantly susceptible to buying inspiration throughout the festive period and social media is the perfect place to inspire people.

Make the most of Facebook and Instagram targeting to inspire gift ideas this Christmas and create visual ads that position your products/services as the perfect gift for someone else or something that’s going to make the whole Christmas rush easier to manage.

 

#2: Organic search campaigns for gift ideas

Social media is the perfect place to inspire people who aren’t actively looking for gift ideas, but Google is the first place people turn to when they’re searching for “Christmas gifts for her” or “where can I buy [this year’s hottest toy/game]?”

Once again, it’s not only gift ideas people are going to be looking for. It could be alternative Christmas recipes, tips for saving money, where the nearest ice rinks are going to be cropping up this winter or how to deal with the stress of it all.

No matter what line of business you’re in, you’ll want to adapt your keyword strategy for both organic SEO and paid search. And then you need to create your festive content and ads to tap into the nuanced user intent of your target audience at this time of year.

 

#3: Paid search campaigns for Black Friday

Now that we’ve fully embraced the Black Friday from the US, it’s officially one of the biggest shopping events on the calendar and you can’t afford to ignore it. Naturally, this one is more product-orientated but you can still run Black Friday promotions for services and content campaigns that generate leads off of the back of the Black Friday interest.

 

Google has launched a new ad format for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, too, which will only be available until November 27.

 

 

Google told us about the new format in an email sent out to partners and you can use the new format by adding a promotion extension for Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

 

 

However, there’s no guaranteeing your promotion will show in the list or any particular tactic that increases your chances, so it’s just something you’ll have to experiment with.

 

#4: Paid search campaigns for Christmas and the New Year

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make over the holiday period is setting up a Christmas campaign and just running it throughout the entire period. The thing is, purchase intent changes a lot during the build-up to Christmas and it changes increasingly quickly as the day approaches.

Then the day is swiftly gone and a completely different kind of purchase intent takes the lead over the New Year period.

Your search ad campaigns need to address these changes and capture the interests of shoppers as they evolve throughout the Christmas period. Most people aren’t going to buy from you right away and it’s going to take a different message to convince them a week later or even the next day as Christmas gets closer.

Local inventory ads are great at getting Google users into your store in the final days before Christmas

 

It’s not only the messages in your ads that need to adapt but also your bidding strategy and the ad formats you’re using across the holiday season.

 

#5: Make use of scarcity throughout your messages

Christmas comes with a very definite deadline and this is one of your biggest selling points throughout the holiday season. People are under increasing pressure to buy before the big day and arrange a whole bunch of things before various other deadlines – the last day at work, shipping cut-off point, etc.

Use this to your advantage by creating a sense of urgency in your ads. Even a subtle mention that time is running out or using the words like “before”, “now and other time-sensitive vocab can be enough to remind people they need to move quickly.

In behavioural economics, this is known as time scarcity where time is literally running out – and you can do the same thing with product scarcity by showing there are only a limited number of products or limiting the amount of customers who get a special deal.

Make people feel there’s a risk they’re going to miss out and it’s a lot more difficult to resist your offer.

 

#6: Remarketing and email campaigns

Once you get traffic on your site, your goal is obviously to convert them into some kind of valuable lead. Ideally, you’ll turn them into a customer on the spot but this doesn’t always happen and you need to work a little harder to turn some of those clicks into paying customers.

Remember, those clicks don’t come for free and every visitor you pay for that doesn’t end up on your customer list is costing you money.

To maximise your PPC profit you need a way to reach out to those users who don’t buy first time around and getting your hands on their email address is always the best way to send follow-up messages directly to users.

Welcome to the world of email marketing.

Your other key strategy is going to be remarketing so you can target previous visitors with ads on the Display Network. What you want to do is segment your traffic in Google Ads and create remarketing lists based on the user intent of each segment and create highly targeted remarketing ads, rather than just follow up with generic messages.

Remember, time is short at this time of year and you’ll find emails and remarketing ads that emphasise the shortage of time, stock or limited offers are incredibly powerful during the holiday season.

 

#7: Don’t forget former leads, customers

The biggest mistake you can make with your holiday advertising efforts this year is to forget about your former customers/leads. You’ve got everything you need to tempt them back into the game with special promotions and you’ve already invested good time and money into building a connection with them.

So create campaigns for people who bought from you last year, those who never quite did and every other valuable audience list you can create from your leads database.

 

The key to any Christmas advertising strategy is to make full use of all your channels and create campaigns that target users at every stage of the consumer journey, as their purchase intent changes. This happens very quickly during the holiday season as Black Friday turns into the Christmas build-up and New Year quickly follows.

This means you need to capture people’s imaginations before they even realise they’re looking for inspiration (social) and be there when they start hunting for something specific (search). The trick is pinpointing what will spark that moment of inspiration and what people are searching for as their intent changes throughout the festive season.