When it comes to your Christmas marketing strategy, there’s a lot to consider (especially if you’re looking to combine a festive theme with a winter World Cup promotion).
Your audience will be bombarded with Christmas marketing messages from other brands – including your competitors – so it’s up to you to make sure you’re doing something different and standing out from the crowd.
Here we’ll take a look at how to plan, create, and deliver a festive campaign to maximise engagement and sales during one of the busiest times of the year!
Christmas marketing ideas
In this article, we’ll cover the following:
- Defining your goals
- Audience research
- Christmas content marketing
- Content planning
- Wider seasonal marketing
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday
- Interactive marketing ideas
- Types of interactive content
- Branded games
- What can branded games achieve?
- Christmas marketing assets
- Post-Christmas period
If you’re looking for something a little more fun and interactive this year, check out our free playbook – Game Time! Your Guide to Christmas Game Success. This guide covers everything you need to know about delivering a successful, interactive and playful Christmas marketing game campaign (on a budget).
Defining your goals
As with any marketing activity, you need to have clear-cut objectives from the outset to ensure maximum success and the best possible return on investment.
There are a few common goals across all industries when it comes to Christmas marketing objectives:
- Boosting sales
- Generating leads
- Driving web traffic
- Increasing app engagement
- Building brand awareness
We’re guessing that your Christmas campaign has at least one of those common objectives, so you need to know which tactics to apply to achieve them. We’ve put together some visual guides to give you a couple of ideas on where to start:
Planning well ahead of time is key to ensuring your Christmas campaign runs smoothly.
If you’ve got budget, work with an external agency to carry out some primary research on your target audience personas to find out which content formats and distribution channels appeal to them the most. Find out what motivates them to buy at Christmas – things such as free shipping and discounts can usually motivate people to buy, but this might not necessarily be the case for your audience or industry.
You could also create a survey and send it to your mailing list – any data is better than none! Furthermore, you should be taking a look at your web analytics data to find out your current top-performing content and what worked best last Christmas.
Take the learnings from this and apply it to your campaign plan for this year, and don’t forget referral channels! If a specific domain or platform provided you with a great deal of traffic last Christmas, make sure you capitalise on it this year.
Christmas content marketing and keyword research
If you’re keeping on top of keyword research for your Christmas content marketing, you’ll know which are the biggest opportunities for evergreen content plus any new opportunities for Christmas-specific terms. Take a look at who’s dominating the SERPs and consider how you can go one step further with a piece of content that appeals to user intent.
What are your competitors doing? Look back at their content and tactics used last Christmas to see if there’s anything you were lacking. What did they do better? Make a note of anything you spot and add it to your plan.
Researching your competitors and audience well in advance allows you to surface up opportunities for unique pieces of content that resonate well with your audience.
Last but not least – remember to go back and improve old content that may have slipped down the rankings or could do with an update. We sometimes get so focused on churning out new stuff that we forget about the easy wins for our Christmas content marketing!
Once you’ve spotted any potential content gaps and found out what appeals most to your audience, you’re well equipped to start building a content framework and schedule for your Christmas marketing campaign.
Use your keyword and audience research to plan out your top-level content pillars and allocate the topics that would work for different content formats. You should then have enough data to work with to form an editorial calendar with key dates for research, writing, and publishing, alongside a column for distribution channels.
To help you plan out key dates for your campaign, we’ve created a visual editorial calendar covering September – December 2022. Download your free copy of the full-size Christmas Marketing Calendar and get planning today!
Think wider seasonal marketing
You can build up a readily engaged audience by setting a few milestones in the run-up to your full Christmas campaign launch. Christmas conversions may be the end goal, but you want to build awareness beforehand, ensuring that you’re at the forefront of your audience’s mind once the Christmas rush arrives.
Why not build up the momentum through mini-campaigns that test out your proposed Christmas content strategy and tactics? Halloween is a great time to test the waters – you can also use it as an opportunity to collect data and then encourage those leads to shop with you at Christmas.
If something didn’t quite resonate with your audience, it saves you making the same mistake when it really matters! You can make any iterative tweaks and amends to your Christmas strategy using the data from your mini-campaigns. And obviously, any sales and leads you generate during your pre-Christmas campaigns are a bonus!
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Piggybacking on events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday can help draw attention to your wider campaign. Thinking back to the main drivers of festive purchases – discounts, coupons and deals – these annual events offer a great opportunity to test how your audience responds to different incentives.
Another recent survey found that an overwhelming 85% of consumers say they’ve backed out of purchasing an item because it wasn’t on sale, even if they really wanted it – presenting a huge opportunity for B2C brands especially to try out different incentives.
Because the online world is so heavily saturated with Black Friday and Cyber Monday content when it comes to launching these campaigns, like Christmas, you need to make sure you’re standing out from the crowd.
Everybody will have discounts, so you need something to capture the attention of your audience and bring them to your site over your competitors.
Say hello to interactive content!
Interactive Christmas marketing ideas
Go beyond just talking at your audience through static content and hoping they take action on your messaging. Make them part of your campaign by providing an interactive experience!
There are multiple benefits to using interactive content within your campaign:
- Achieve higher engagement rates than static counterparts
- Generate leads and capture GDPR-complaint data
- Boost brand loyalty by standing out from competitors
- Increase time on site and repeat visits
If your brand isn’t providing interactive experiences, you’re sure to be missing out – 93% of marketers agree that interactive content is effective in educating buyers versus just 70% for static content.
Types of interactive content
There are many types of interactive content, and what you use will depend on your audience and your goals. These could be:
- Interactive infographics
- Interactive video
- User-generated content
- Experiential marketing
- Branded games
For maximum engagement, you need to go a step further than just sparking discussions on social media through polls and surveys or encouraging user-generated content. You want something that can really move that Christmas marketing needle…
Branded games as a Christmas marketing tool
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C organisation, it’s always difficult to separate yourself from the Christmas noise and stand out from your competitors.
With so many offers and deals available at Christmas, people aren’t interested in a hard-sell. They’re either looking for the best deal or a way to provide their audience with some festive fun to increase engagement with their brand.
Branded Christmas games offer just that. With 2.5 billion active gamers around the world, chances are your audience is amongst them.
People love to compete and they love to win – by applying basic game mechanics to your marketing, you can appeal to basic human instincts and drive powerful interactions!
What can branded games achieve?
Here are just a few examples of the objectives you can achieve with a branded Christmas game campaign:
- Drive sales by adding in voucher functionality, where players can unlock discount codes as in-game collectables or for achieving a certain score.
- Planning on running some app-exclusive campaigns? Increase app engagement by launching a game within your app.
- Send traffic to a specific area of your website. You can include a strong CTA at the end of your game to send traffic to a specific landing page. This could be where winners go to collect their prize or enter a draw.
- Generate leads by offering a leaderboard – players need to submit their details to feature on the board as they compete for the top spot.
Branded games can also help you stand out in email inboxes, especially around Christmas time, and are often more cost effective than the postage on physical cards. Check out our top 5 Christmas game campaign ideas for some further inspo!
Create Christmas-themed marketing assets
Inboxes and social media feeds will soon be filled with red and green – ask yourself, do you want to be just another brand using generic Christmas colours and typical imagery? Can you add a Christmassy twist to your visuals in other ways?
Think about using your brand colours, the ones your audience are already familiar with, and how you can add in a festive splash. Implement your festive campaign-related elements across all your visuals, including social media, email, ads, offline content and any other mediums used. You might even want to consider setting up a separate Christmasified landing page for an ultra-seamless campaign.
The important thing is that, once you’ve chosen a theme and colour scheme, you stick to it. Your customers will start to become familiar with the way your campaign looks, so make sure it’s consistent across all channels.
Don’t forget after Christmas
Keep that momentum going! Don’t drop the ball once your campaign has finished – take those Christmas business promotion ideas and really get the most out of them. That blurry period between Christmas, New Year and returning to work is a time to recharge your marketing.
If you’re planning discounts and giveaways during the run-up to Christmas, why not add another incentive by offering a competitive prize draw to be done after Christmas? This gives you a reason to reach out to entrants after all the hustle and bustle, remaining at the forefront of their minds.
If you’re having a Boxing Day sale, make sure you have a campaign plan ready for this too. If you’ve used a branded game at Christmas, get even more engagement from it by using it post-Christmas too.
Top tip: If you’re planning on contacting people in January, wait until at least the second week – people generally have a lot of catching up to do on emails after the festive period, and you don’t want your communications to get lost!
Hopefully, we’ve given you enough information to start putting together a solid Christmas content plan that promotes your business and ultimately increases sales!
If you’re interested in a branded game to boost your Christmas marketing and set you apart from your competition, we’re here to help! Check out our top tips for commissioning a Christmas game or get in touch with our friendly team.
We can talk you through the process, understand more about what you’re trying to achieve and suggest the best options for your campaign.
This year, if you’re looking for creative ways to combine your Christmas marketing strategy with the FIFA World Cup (taking place from Nov-Dec 2022), check out our handy blog on World Cup promotion ideas!