Kids wait patiently for Old Saint Nick to deliver their Christmas gifts, digital marketers? Not so much. Time doesn’t wait for anyone and they’re already looking to utilise the season to be the best one yet, just through conversions – not gifts, of course.

Turn on any of your devices this season and you’ll likely see a Christmas advertisement or promotion for a wide array of businesses and products and for a good reason too – businesses reported earlier this year that online Christmas sales spending in December 2015 rose by 11% to 24.4% of Christmas spending, with online sales rising from £16.64bn in 2014 to £18.57bn in 2015. Mobile Christmas spending also saw a positive increase, with 31.6% or £5.87bn of spending made using mobile technology during the season.

It is inevitable that Christmas is where the potential lies at for online retailers, yet with all that potential many smaller retailers still underuse this chance. With so many factors to consider, the idea has many wondering where to even start and where the company should focus its efforts. All good ideas have to start somewhere and whether that effort is focused on the social side of things, on-site offers and modifications or through targeted Christmas advertising – they all increase your chance of success this Christmas season.

So what are the options for utilising digital marketing for your Christmas Campaign this year?

Email Marketing

– Email Marketing –

Sending emails to your customers, both past and present is an essential method to attracting conversions and maintaining consumer engagement. With an up-to-date email listing, using email marketing for your Christmas campaigns can be remarkable. All successful email campaigns have an aspect of interaction or connection that compels users who read the email to carry out a designated call-to-action, whether it be to explore a product range, sign up for more information or opt-in to an offer.

A good example of a successful holiday email marketing campaign can be seen from Zazzle, with their Christmas emails grouping products into various categories for the convenience of its users. It’s tailored to the season and introduces the user to some relatable but funny product designs:

Zazzle christmas email campaign

A second example of a good email marketing campaign is by Nudo. Nudo Adopt sent out an email titled “Final Christmas Delivery Dates – Hurry!” – the business Nudo Adopt works by allowing customers to “adopt” an olive tree or tea plant from across the world and in return, receive olive oil or tea sent to the house. The premise of this email was to remind customers the dates they must place their order by to receive the product in time for Christmas. This email, of which was sent out on December 10th – hinted to their email marketing list that they had just enough time to receive a delivery of such a bespoke gift for someone this Christmas.

Nudo Adopt Email Campaign

When exploring the world of email marketing for your Christmas campaign, it is important you are made aware of a few hints and tips to help enhance your campaign. One of these is that the campaign emails should only be sprinkled with a festive feel to them to make them all jolly, however, this should never be overdone so much so that it’ll be offputting to the end user. It may also be useful to remember that some people may dislike Christmas or their beliefs may not celebrate it, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go as far as not including the word “Christmas” but to be aware of these analogies.

This recipe for success also includes targeting appropriately. Through customisation of emails to different individuals, to references to prior purchases that a client has carried out with you, this bespoke supplement would be set to impress – because everyone likes to be addressed correctly. It’s one of the smallest touches that can be made yet can make one of the biggest changes – 94% of companies say that personalisation is critical to current and future success.

Be imaginative. With a magical Christmas season ahead, there is a lot that can be imagined up for a thoughtful Christmas email campaign that can be used for high engagement or to increase conversions. Think outside of the simplistic avenues of “Christmas 10% off” and think into more advanced ideas, such as the possibility for users to win a variety of prizes by signing up to your website and visiting a selected page each day on your site, or a competition where every Xth purchase receives a free Christmas related product. You could even attempt to utilise interaction and engagement by asking your email list to send your social media accounts selfies of them using your product for example, if applicable.

Targeted Paid Advertising

– Targeted paid advertising –

During this time of the year, many people will be scouring the web for Christmas presents, gifts for friends and families, venues to visit to get into the Christmas spirit whilst some will be on the search for restaurants to have a meal at. With this spike in interest for such products and services, it would be ideal to dive straight into the paid advertising market – if only for making the most of the Christmas season. To target consumers online through digital advertising at Christmas, you have multiple avenues you could go down, with the most significant being Google Adwords which allow you to promote your business through any of Googles platforms or services. Other options that exist include Facebook ads, Twitter advertising, Instagram ads and Microsoft advertising. With the freedom to set budget limits on most, if not all of these platforms, the power would be in your hands to pinpoint your target market and focus on delivering ads to these consumers.

Examples of such Christmas campaigns that you could run this Christmas period with paid digital advertising include a Google search network campaign which could show off the Christmas offers you’ve got available. Google search network campaigns are useful, as their ads appear above regular organic results on the search engine (as long as you’ve got a quality ad resulting in a high ad position) thus someone looking for something may opt to click your ad over the organic results below it. For example, if you had a restaurant you wished to promote, you could entice people who are searching for “Christmas Meal Dinner” with an ad offering the consumer 25% off and a free wine for a limited time only.

Google Adwords Christmas

Involve social media

– Involve social media –

Using social media doesn’t cost us anything, making it a quintessential service for promoting our business and campaigns. Social media is also the ultimate format to grasp interaction from our consumers, with the whole platform being built on engagement. Minus the small easy and convenient changes we can make to our social media accounts during the Christmas period, such as changing our profile picture and modifying our profile to be “Christmassy” there is many other options available.

One of these options is to use the Christmas season to post relatable shareable material that others will want to show their friends and family. It could be you showing the crazy things that are possible through using your companies product, or a comedic sketch carried out and filmed at your organisations HQ, which would be useful in promoting your brand to a wider audience.

They say Christmas is the season of giving and with this idea you’re sure to spread some seasonal cheer. Another option for involving social media into your Christmas campaign would be to carry out competitions that consumers could connect with. One example of such competition could be a giveaway where users would retweet/share a post with the winner being randomly chosen from all entered participants to win a product or service that you offer. The potential to host other digital competitions is also there and are limitless, these could involve users taking a photograph of your store/product and sending them across to you, instant competitions where random users who connect their social account to your website have the chance to win a prize and other Twitterstorm events where an offer is only available for a few minutes and users must monitor your social account for the announcement.

Social media giveaway

Optimise your website

– Optimising your website –

Your website is the first impression for your customers, it’s seen as the window display of any business – showing the outer world what exactly you offer in. Thus, it is important you show the outer world that you are conscious of the current events, such as the Christmas season. You can do this through spicing up your logo with a festive theme, changing your website colour scheme to portray a more festive or icy touch or even adding a falling snow overlay for added frostbite!

What is more important however, is that you optimise the site for achieving conversions and making the most of the season ahead. An example of this would be to ensure your site prominently displays their Christmas range featuring festive-related products during the winter season, and not BBQs, blow up pools and sun loungers. In the same light, you should almost learn to predict what products or services consumers who’ll visit your website will want to see at that time of visit: sunbeds during Spring and woollies for Winter, sledges after Summer and wind-breakers after Winter. Is it snowing outside? Maybe showcase your range of sledges. Looking to be a frosty week? Offer your consumer some defroster. Whatever your business may offer, ensure you present your products or services with a festive feeling to let your visitors know that they’re in the right place for the time of year.

Featuring festive products

Christmassy Content Marketing

– Christmassy Content Marketing –

Ah, content marketing, it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but Christmas is the best time of the year for it. Content marketing which can be defined as a mashup between infographics, blog posts, videos and images – pretty much anything that is “shareable” is an ideal method to driving new traffic to your site and increasing your brand reputation. The process of creating content is free if you create it in-house and it doesn’t take up much of your time either if you preplan the type of content that will: a – fit your business, and b – be most worthwhile for the season.

The most common type of content marketing is blog posts, with many companies opting into crafting regular blog posts for their sites that will be picked up by potential consumers and other businesses on the web. These posts, which may relate to current affairs or events either in your market sector or worldwide are most successful when they answer a query or open up an avenue for a user to garner additional knowledge that they may be looking for on the search engine results page. With Christmas round the corner and a significant increase in web users looking for gift ideas, making the most of Christmas and product reviews amongst much more, this opens up the potential for any business to capitalise on the season.

Content marketing blog post

Hopefully, with these tips, you’ll be able to make this Christmas a success for your business and one to competitively beat year on year.