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The holiday season is nearly here, and with an ever-increasing number of New Zealanders shopping online, is your digital storefront in order? With less than two months to the kick-off of the biggest four days of shopping of the year (Black Friday through to Cyber Monday), there is still time to get your marketing ducks in a row to carry out a wow-worthy holiday campaign. Not sure investing in a solid marketing strategy for the holidays is worth your time? Paymark figures show Black Friday spending in 2020 exceeded Boxing Day spending by $100 million. Boxing Day was traditionally New Zealand’s largest day of spending, but in recent years Kiwis have embraced the shopping holiday that originally started in the US. And in 2021, the numbers continued to increase: “Looking across the pre- and post-Christmas period, annual spending growth for [our] core group of merchants for the five weeks ending Sunday 27 December was up 5 per cent on last year, which included a strong start over the Black Friday four days of sales,” Paymark said.

Want to Kickstart your holiday marketing campaign but short on time?

As the conventional New Zealand shopping season has expanded, it is unwise for businesses not to take advantage of the buying frenzy in the last quarter of the calendar year. Competition online is fierce, but a well-crafted marketing campaign can help you reach your goals. If you’re reading this, you may have been a little slow off the mark getting your holiday campaign started this year. Here are the foundation pieces for pulling together a successful holiday campaign when you’re short on time.

Perform a Marketing Audit of What Has Worked in the Past

If you haven’t yet come up with a marketing idea for the holidays, leverage the data from past campaigns so you can understand what drove sales last year and the year before. If you want to grab a share of the million-dollar pie, this is the one time of year that it is crucial to understand what makes your customers tick, and what drives them to buy from you during the holidays. Assess your past holiday social media marketing, email blasts, and website landing pages – identify what worked. You might see a trend toward humorous copy, nostalgic video content or maybe a quirky user-generated campaign – what you discover will, of course, be different for every brand. This retrospective should help you craft this year’s campaign. 

Drive Sales with a Strong Email Sequence

Use email to get in front of your most loyal customers early and start a new relationship with potential customers. Commerce Media Platform Criteo has found that consumers who buy from your website for the first time over the Black Friday to Cyber Monday 4 day weekend take on average 41 days beforehand to investigate what they want to purchase. Brands need to promote their big sales with that window of consideration in mind, so that consumers have a copious amount of time to prepare to shop. Make sure your email marketing strategy is fine-tuned for collecting new emails, and drop your new subscribers into the sequence so that they are made aware of your upcoming sales.  A few other tips for emails:
  • Irresistible subject lines help with stellar open rates
  • Alleviate online gift-giving fears with clear order deadlines and delivery timelines so that your customers know your products will arrive in time for the holidays
  • Tweak your landing pages so that links in your emails arrive at a dedicated page to buy exactly what your email is promoting
  • Once the holidays are over, don’t forget to continue to nurture your customers through email so that they are loyal buyers all year long

Use Micro-Influencers to help multiply your efforts

Micro-influencers are the more accessible version of the Kylie Jenner’s of the world. With a smaller following than big influencers (but still rather large!), they make a living collaborating with brands and have grown an engaged following in a specific niche. For brands, their ability to tap into a targeted demographic is gold. You can search relevant hashtags on Instagram or for bloggers fitting the demographic you want to target and contact them directly to collaborate for the length of the campaign or a one-off. When searching, keep in mind that a micro-influencer will generally have accounts with a following of between 10,000 and 50,000. 

Social Media for the win

In part because of people being home more, time online has increased. More time scrolling the Gram and reading through the Newsfeed means that you can’t ignore social media as an integral part of your Holiday digital marketing campaign. If I can offer one piece of advice, try and bring a little levity and humour to your social campaign – of course social media isn’t standalone, so this is actually an overall campaign tip. The world is navigating some pretty rough times. One way you can stand out and cut through the noise is to create engaging content that will make your audience laugh, smile or feel an emotion different from the ones of uncertainty we are dealing with on the daily. 

What About Paid Media for the Holidays?

With more and more brands either increasing their media spend or deciding to rev up their paid social media activity for the holidays, be prepared to pay more. With more brands competing for the same audiences, it’s a given. Paired with your organic social media content, a media buying expert will be able to bring together your landing pages, email strategy and influencer strategy to further amplify your reach and bring customers to your ecommerce shop. Facebook ads, Instagram ads, any ads at all are not for the faint of heart over the Holidays (or light of wallet!) but if done correctly can be great for the holidays and beyond.

Bonus Tip: Win-Back Sales with Abandoned Cart Emails

The savvy marketer has abandoned cart emails running year-round but, if you don’t, the holiday season is a good time to set these up. Ecommerce platforms like Shopify offer easy-to-use templated abandon cart emails to remind people who visit your website what they left behind in their cart. Email and SMS Software Platform Klaviyo disclosed that businesses using abandon cart emails recover 3-14% of potentially lost sales. With those stats, even though abandon cart emails aren’t specifically a holiday marketing strategy, we still think they’re worth mentioning so you can maximise your holiday sales.  If time is not on your side, remember to keep it simple. Get to the core of what it is you’re offering and how it solves your audience’s problems, then get creative. Don’t stand by to wait and see what happens over the next month or two, put your plan in place, roll it out and be prepared to pivot. The good news is, because your shop is online, the pivot is more than possible.
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