Christmas Marketing DOs and DON’Ts

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Coming up with Christmas content can be a huge challenge. Especially when you’re competing against other competitors in the same boat. Here are few important tips on what you should and shouldn’t do over the Christmas period.

Customers engage far better when you give them a bit of entertainment. The Solopress Christmas survey showed that entertaining or humorous campaigns appeal to the highest percentage of the audience at 68%. In second place were those that celebrated the seasonal atmosphere, which were 58%. Surprisingly price-led campaigns only appealed to 11% of the audience. So a focus on captivating content could help you outdo a cheaper competitor. Christmas is a fun and relaxed time, so it’s an opportunity to be playful and encourage interaction through various channels, especially social media.

Start a conversation with a light-hearted question about Christmas like; when is it the perfect time to put up a Christmas tree? Because everyone is gonna have a different opinion. It’s important to keep all of your platforms consistent. From print to social media to email, keeping this consistency allows your customers to recognize your brand more easily. Customers that come to your shop via a flyer or go to your website via a social media post need to see familiar branding that guides them through the purchase journey.

And whilst this is true at all times, it’s especially important over Christmas when so many businesses have very, very similar color schemes. Our heads are filled with hundreds of messages a day from lots of different businesses. This makes the job of encouraging brand retention doubly difficult. Posting regularly on social media can encourage customers to recognize your brand and therefore achieve brand lift. Over Christmas this is also important as cultivating recall by repetition can be a very achievable goal.

As a general rule of thumb, around Christmas time you can probably get away with more social posts than you think but fewer emails. Folks will scroll past anything that doesn’t appeal. Okay, you failed to engage them on this occasion, but unless you do something that really riles them up you’re unlikely to have lost a follower.

Email is another matter. People have strong feelings about keeping an orderly inbox. Post too many sales pitches and you’ll likely lose a lot of your subscriber list. Or even worse, fall foul of the dreaded spam folder. Three per week is probably about right. And remember there’s no substitute for a physical Christmas card. Customers like to see a personal touch.

If you give thanks to your customers, they’re more likely to appreciate it and remember your brand. Sending Christmas wishes can be an easy way to achieve this. And recent studies show that even without a gift or discount a message of thanks from a business is meaningful to over 70% of your audience. 44% of the people we surveyed did not agree that an email was a valid substitute for a card from a business. So send Christmas cards expressing your gratitude, sign them personally and send them early.

Keep them tasteful and not overtly branded. Something you’d be proud to put on your own mantle piece. And remember don’t add a sales pitch. Whether it’s from the past, from culture, from other businesses or time-honored festive motifs, there’s no shame in stealing thematic ideas from other people.

There’s a balance to be struck between innovation and tradition. I just looked in both of those lights directly. Now I can’t see a thing. Don’t be afraid of embracing seasonal color schemes and imagery. Some of the best Christmas campaigns have put a twist on conventional themes. There’s nothing new under the sun so marketers often take in what they see and adjust it to their needs.

Imitation is the best form of flattery, but make sure you use your own unique spin on it to make it your own. And if you’re incorporating ideas from outside sources follow some ground rules. Don’t borrow from a direct competitor and don’t lift ideas directly. Conventional wisdom says to let Halloween go by and don’t go all out Christmas crazy and especially in terms of decor and music until the Guy Fawkes night bonfire has well and truly cooled Third week in November is about right to start wrapping it up.

In our exclusive Christmas survey 68% of respondents expected to see Christmas decorations at a business premises. 70% looked forward to seeing them in shops and businesses and 77% enjoyed seasonal menus and decorations in restaurants and coffee shops. So when the time’s right change your content over to a more seasonal tone of voice in order to meet expectations and inspire some seasonal spending. Content can change over Christmas and it’s important to address the humble, functional content as well as the top-line messaging. Have your opening hours changed? Have you changed them on the website? On Google My Business? On the printed displays at your sites? Has your returns policy been amended for gifters? And have you communicated that? Is it reflected in the copy that appears in the Ts and Cs? Webpages? Behind the counter displays? And even on your till roll? Getting the basics right will make sure it remains a season of goodwill where customers are concerned. Our research shows that almost 7% of people don’t actually celebrate Christmas at all. With a further 5% declaring themselves indifferent. So it’s best not to forget this 12%.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a more celebratory tone of voice in your content at this time, but steer clear of overtly religious language and keep everyone included. There are business reasons too why an audience may be unconcerned about Christmas. If you’re a B2B supplier, a section of the businesses you serve may not be affected by Christmas seasonality at all.

But they might be fixing budgets for 2020. You’ll have more success by targeting those needs at a time when spending plans are being made than with a festive message. While we bear in mind people that don’t observe Christmas, we also need to spare a thought for those that genuinely do. Folks that hold Christmas sacred won’t thank you for making light of their beliefs. Greggs the Baker’s representing the infant Messiah as a sausage roll in 2018 springs immediately to mind.

A less extreme example is using the term Xmas to represent the word Christmas. 35% of the people we asked felt that Xmas was not an acceptable abbreviation. With 15% feeling strongly about the matter. While that’s not the majority, you might wanna think twice before irritating a significant segment of your audience. There will be a post-Christmas content cleanup operation required once December the 25th has passed.

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