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How to Ensure Your 2023 Holiday Campaigns Make an Impact

Holiday trends can be useful when guiding your campaign planning, but they are only as useful as the actions spurred from them. As marketers, we must analyze those trends, understand our audience, and find and execute on the opportunities that arise from those trends. 

In this article, we’ll continue our marketing holiday planning series by analyzing how you can make a positive impact this holiday season with your campaigns.  

For Goodness Flakes, Don’t Just Wing It. Craft Your Campaigns Around KPIs 

Don’t just plan and execute several holiday campaigns just because you think you need one. The holidays are one of the noisiest times of the year with hundreds of thousands of brands competing for mindshare. If you aren’t prepared and have a great strategy that’s going to help you stand out from the crowd, you may just blend in with the noise. 

With some of our clients, where the holidays are not a big revenue-generating opportunity, we even recommend pulling back on paid media spending. For some retailers, the holidays are an opportunity to stand out by not participating. For example, ever since 2015 REI, one of the largest outdoor retailers in the US, has closed for Black Friday. Instead, they’ve promoted people to enjoy the outdoors with their #OptOutside campaign. This campaign has been a fantastic opportunity for REI to build further brand loyalty. By shining a light on the materialism of Black Friday, REI has created many more loyal customers who value connecting with others and the outdoors.   

Potentially, crafting a holiday campaign may not be the right option for your business. But if it is, then you must understand why you are creating holiday campaigns and measure the impact they have. By planning and executing holiday campaigns, are you looking to: 

  • Increase brand awareness? If so, ways to quantify that is increasing brand mentions, your follower count on social media channels, branded search volume, web traffic, and/or backlinks. 
  • Generate leads? Analyze your different campaign elements and measure how those materials are generating the most conversions. Also compare your overall campaign conversion rate with your other campaigns from throughout the year and industry benchmarks. 
  • Acquire new customers? Focus on crafting middle-of-funnel content and consider performing account-based marketing campaigns to prioritize converting the customers you are looking to engage with. Analyze the results of your campaigns by measuring your customer acquisition costs and the number of total new customers you’ve gained from the campaigns. 
  • Increase customer retention? Prioritize creating opportunities to cultivate customer loyalty, such as creating a customer loyalty program. Ensure that your campaigns communicate how your products and services can help your customers solve their toughest problems and encourage them to engage in further enrichment opportunities. Analyze the impact your campaigns have on increasing your net promoter score while reducing churn.  

Your goals are going to influence how you design your holiday campaigns and the segments you target. Focus on crafting a campaign that helps you meet your goals and grow your business. 

Make a List and Check Deliverability Twice 

What can quickly spoil the holiday spirit is realizing your email deliverability problems too late. With all the effort you and your team put in to make your holiday campaigns memorable, you don’t want your messaging getting lost in the spam folder. Ensuring your brand’s IP address is warm and favorable with ISP providers increases your brand’s chances of making sure your emails make it to your prospects’ and customers’ inboxes. 

To improve your deliverability, consider employing the following IP warming best practices: 

  • Perform deliverability tests: When a user sends an email through their email client, it is usually routed through a number of the client’s possible IP addresses. Fortunately, many of them have test deliverability features that enable you to send test emails to any one of their possible addresses to see if you experience any deliverability issues from any of the IP addresses. 
  • Increase your sender reputation by delivering the right number of emails: Before you send your holiday campaigns out, test your email frequency. Sending too many emails can burn through subscribers, leading to an increased unsubscribe rate. And if too many recipients unsub or categorize your emails as spam too frequently, it can negatively affect your sender score with your ISP. Leading up to your holiday campaigns, begin sending one email per week if you aren’t already. Scale up to twice a week if you have enough relevant content and are getting positive responses.  
  • Avoid large sends at the top and bottom of the hour: ISPs receive a majority of email volume at these times. Leverage AI, like Salesforce Einstein’s Send Time Optimization, to determine the best email send time. 
  • Avoid sending “deep” into your list: This could potentially cause an increase of hard bounces and unsubscription requests, causing damage to your sender reputation. 

Campaigns Become Tree-Mendous When Designed Around a Personalized, Omnichannel Experience 

Social media platforms have become an entry point for everything people do online, including but not limited to news, entertainment, and shopping. And as we mentioned in our last article, “Top Market Trends Going into the 2023 Holiday Season,” traffic referrals from social media platforms have grown 27% year over year, and more than half of consumers have said they went to a physical store to research products they’ve seen within their social media feed. 

With the experience between digital and brick & mortar stores continuing to blend, considering the increase popularity of buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS), it’s more critical than ever to provide a coordinated, personalized omnichannel experience. 

To begin designing a more personalized omnichannel experience as we get closer to the holidays, consider beginning to: 

  • Integrate your data sources together with a customer data platform (CDP): Having a single source of truth empowers you to activate customer data downstream throughout your MarTech suite, making it easier to segment effectively, send personalized emails, and craft custom journeys. 
  • Analyze Customer and Shopping Behavior Across Channels: You must understand what your customers want and how they interact online to build experiences that enhance your brands’ accessibility. This way, you can craft campaigns that meet your audience where they are at with the right messaging and solutions at the right time. 
  • Foster Cross-Departmental Collaboration: Marketing, sales, and customer success should work together to ensure customer engagement is seamless across channels and teams. That’s why creating your campaigns with key stakeholders across the sales cycle is so critical.  Your teams should be working towards the same goals with the same data, so when a customer reaches out across social media, email, directly on your website, or via texting, they’ll have a seamless experience across all channels. 

Make Holiday Marketing the Gift that Keeps on Giving 

The passing of the holiday season means an influx of new leads and customers. To ensure your campaigns create momentum throughout the new year, consider how you are going to hold the interests and ensure retention amongst new and returning customers. 

There’s a couple of methods you could employ to retain customers after the holiday season: 

  • Plan and execute personalized retargeting campaigns. Serve relevant content via email and on social media focused on enhancing their purchase throughout the rest of the year. You could do this by sending them self-help articles, new product recommendations, or other success stories. 
  • Implement customer loyalty program. Loyalty programs are a great way to reward customers for purchasing from you, helping influence repeated purchases. Based on those purchases, you could send them small personalized gifts, provide points that can be racked up for larger points, or send them recognition for making repeated purchases. 

Be True to Your-Elf and Your Brand 

Most critical of all, during the holidays (and the rest of the year, of course), you should be true to who you are as an organization and what your brand stands for. Don’t just follow other brands in thinking you need to have a large holiday campaign because, in your case,  it may not be the most cost effective way to acquire new customers. Throughout the holidays and the entire year, listen intently to your customers, understand their challenges, and craft campaigns that help them solve their toughest problems. For more marketing holiday planning tips, read our previous blog on the Top Market Trends Going Into the 2023 Holiday Season.

Also, consider contacting us to learn how Lev can help you provide an out-of-this-world customer experience this holiday season.