Don’t be a Grinch! Start Planning Your Christmas Marketing…

Don’t be a Grinch! Start Planning Your Christmas Marketing… image christmas marketingDon’t be a Grinch! Start Planning Your Christmas Marketing…Since we hit the dreaded (or exciting, depending on your viewpoint) 99-days-til-Christmas point earlier this week, the press has been filled with everything from exclamations about how it’s too early to start selling tins of Quality Street, to how exciting it will be to be opening our presents 14 Tuesdays from now…

Although I fall more into the grumpy Grinch category, I will admit that it’s crucial for brands to start thinking about Christmas now. After all, eBay recently revealed that 150,000 searches for the word ‘Christmas’ were performed on its site during May – June 2013. Plus, data from Asda shows that just under one-third of 5,000 mothers it surveyed had already started saving for Christmas by August. If consumers are already ready for the big day, why should brands lag behind?

Where should you start?

Well, although the likes of advertising over Christmas and ensuring your site is kept fully optimised are crucial, for me, there are two things that will see your brand through the festive season – social media and content. I know that personally, I’m much more likely to flick through the likes of Facebook and Twitter than simply surf the web or respond to adverts, so it’s on these platforms that brands would grab my attention during the Christmas/New Year break. In fact, Britons are likely to spend an average of 86 minutes on social media on Christmas Day alone!

Whether to start with the social media strategy or content plan is really a chicken or egg-type situation… Both rely on support from the other, yet neither can be compiled solely based on the other’s data. The best way forward is to understand how to create both individually, then have your social media and content teams (be they in-house or outsourced) work together.

Create an editorial calendar

Working two weeks ahead of publication (or even a month, if you can), create an editorial calendar spanning November, December and the beginning of January. Working a few weeks ahead allows contingency for resource, editing and publication. Think about the type of content and topics that will really prove useful to your audience during this period. You can determine what this will be using by a) analysing what content is already working well on your site using Google Analytics, b) looking at what content reaps most engagement on your social media channels and c) applying some common sense.

For example, if your company sells packaging materials, create a handy guide on how best to wrap and send awkward items. This sounds like a simple concept, but it’s something that will provide true value to those sending gifts in the mail or via courier for Christmas. Plus, think about the content that will prove useful after Christmas and into the New Year. A fitness company might create an infographic on getting rid of those extra Christmas pounds, perhaps, or supermarkets could release recipe cards focused on healthy eating.

Doing this can help brands reap the profitability of the festive season far into the New Year, rather than just taking advantage of December’s lucrative nature; extending profits and further heightening brand awareness. Of course, creating some supporting content for your social media strategy is vital too…

Strategize your socks off

Plan your social media activity through December and January now. Otherwise, you may find yourself without the resource needed to not only publish the updates and content, but also to engage with your followers throughout what could be a crucial period.

Deciding upon an appropriate volume of activity throughout the festive season, in Don’t be a Grinch! Start Planning Your Christmas Marketing… image christmas socialDon’t be a Grinch! Start Planning Your Christmas Marketing…particular those funny few days between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, can be tricky. While during the big days (Christmas Eve and Day, plus New Year’s Eve and Day) you’ll likely want to take advantage of the excitement by pushing last-minute offers, tips and advice, during the down time, take a different approach.

Instead, consider how your target audience is feeling. In a state of limbo, they’ll likely be bored and ready for New Year’s Eve to arrive. Be their beacon of light. Post light, interesting updates that acknowledge the ongoing boredom and actually do something to cure it. Create some fun content – like a Bah Humbug meme, a video or podcast on how to use up their leftovers – or go down the user-generated content route, inviting your followers to upload pictures of their worst Christmas present. Think of the worldwide popularity ElfYourself has gained and be inspired!

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