The holiday season is just around the corner, and we recognize the importance of being prepared. In the retail space, this is the most competitive time of the year, and it’s critical to ensure that you’re well-prepared to handle the flux of the season.
To help you maximize your success this holiday season, we’ve put together a strategic guide on the five best ways to boost your holiday marketing strategy from a few of our experts.
1. Review Past Year’s Performance
The first step in achieving holiday marketing success is to look back before you leap forward. Reviewing your performance from the previous holiday season is invaluable. It provides you with insights into what worked and what didn’t. It’s the most competitive time of the year in the retail space and you want to ensure you’re well prepared to handle the flux of the season. “This data-driven approach will help you fine-tune your strategy and set realistic goals for the upcoming season,” explained Caylie Rowe, Paid Search Specialist, at Chacka Marketing.
Rowe says, pay close attention to:
- Key Metrics: Evaluate key performance indicators (KPIs) like click-through rates, conversion rates, revenue/sales goals, and return on ad spend (ROAS) from last year. Make sure to identify areas that need improvement now rather than later.
- Audience Insights: Look back at your audience’s behavior during the holiday season. What products or offers/deals resonated the most with them? This knowledge can inform your ad messaging, content, and strategies for the upcoming season.
- Competitor Analysis: Keep an eye on your competitors’ strategies. What were their successful tactics? Do you offer similar deals and how can you differentiate your brand to come out on top?
By looking at your past performance and evaluating it carefully, you’ll be more prepared to plan and execute a winning holiday campaign.
2. Brainstorm Early
Success during the holiday season requires thorough planning and early action. “Don’t fall into the trap of waiting until the last minute to strategize. Ideally, start brainstorming and planning discussions by July,” stated Ashley Gray, Paid Search Specialist, at Chacka Marketing. (Don’t worry if you are already late on planning…We have tips for you too!)
Here’s what you should focus on, according to Gray:
- Goals & Strategy: Establish your holiday season goals and the strategy to achieve them. Ensure alignment with your overall business objectives.
- Ad Creatives: Have your ad images, videos, and copy ready well before the start of Q4. This proactive approach avoids preventable last-minute stress.
The key is to avoid any last-minute rushes. Lastly, Gray suggests that “giving your team sufficient time to prepare ensures that you can navigate the holiday season efficiently and with confidence.”
3. Budgeting for Success
A well-planned budget is the key to any successful holiday marketing campaign. “If you anticipate an increased budget for the holiday season, don’t simply throw more money into existing campaigns. Instead, consider expansion opportunities early on,” said Gray.
Gray suggested a couple of steps to take:
- Expansion Exploration: Look for expansion opportunities like broad match keywords, new audience segments, or Performance Max (PMax) campaigns. Start implementing these strategies well ahead of Q4 to gather historical data and insights.
- KPI Evaluation: Reevaluate your primary key performance indicator (KPI) for the holiday season. Be prepared to adjust your goals as the season progresses from early Q4 to late Q4 and even into January.
A well-allocated budget combined with data-driven decision-making will help you make the most of your holiday marketing efforts.
4. The Three A’s: Ad Extensions, Ad Messaging & Audiences
The smallest of details can make a big difference during the holiday season. “Don’t underestimate the power of ad extensions and messaging updates,” explained Caylie Rowe, Paid Search Specialist, at Chacka Marketing.
Rowe says, to consider her three tips:
- Holiday Ad Extensions: Craft holiday-specific callout extensions and update image extensions with festive visuals. Take advantage of Google’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday-specific ad extensions to capture your audience’s attention.
- Clear Ad Messaging: Make sure your promotions and sales messaging are clear, concise, and aligned with your offers. Highlight those special deals, sales, and limited-time offers prominently in your ad copy. The clearer you are, the more likely you will see action taken by customers.
- Review Past Audience Performance: Assess last year’s audience performances, particularly for platforms like Display and YouTube. Understanding the effectiveness of specific affinity and lifestyle audiences helps to refine targeting for the upcoming season.
These subtle yet impactful updates will keep your ads relevant and engaging throughout the season.
The holiday season can be unpredictable, and adaptability is key to success. While planning your holiday strategy, be aware of potential production shutdowns or delays, as we’ve seen during unexpected events like the pandemic.
Here’s how to stay flexible:
- Contingency Planning: Have contingency plans in place for unforeseen disruptions. Make sure your agency partner has a backup plan in case something shipping delays occur. Consider how you’ll communicate or adjust your ad strategy to keep customers informed or updated with these disruptions.
- Real-Time Monitoring: Keep a close look at market trends, customer responses, and any emerging issues. Be prepared to adjust your strategy in real time to address changing circumstances. At Chacka, we monitor if your website is working, do ad checks, and ensure conversions are still reporting consistently throughout the Black Friday weekend for our retail clients.
2024 BONUS TACTIC: Retrospective
Remember, a winning holiday marketing strategy needs a proactive and data-driven approach. By reviewing your past performance, budgeting, ad extensions and messaging, and staying flexible, you can ensure that your brand shines bright during the holiday season and Q4, but the biggest thing you can do is take time in January to document what you did well, what didn’t go well and what you wish you had known to do differently. Once documented, your 2024 Q4 Plan is practically complete, and you’ll be ahead of the curve in 2024!
At Chacka, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Need help? Contact us today to get started. Let’s make this holiday season your best one yet!