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Planning months ahead for a holiday campaign can sound like you’re jumping the gun, but to marketers, it’s the perfect time to start thinking up online campaign ideas. As the holiday season is quickly approaching, it’s essential that your business has the right marketing strategy guidelines laid out to boost engagement and skyrocket sales. 

Online sales now make up over 50% of the consumer holiday shopping spree, and this number is expected to grow significantly year by year. With the ever-evolving market and changing customer tastes, it’s important to stay up to date and on top of changes happening in the real world and, perhaps more essentially, the online one. In an effort to make your life easier and help you begin your digital marketing strategy for the holidays (if you haven’t done so already), I’ve put together an all-encompassing 2019 holiday digital marketing guide.

The First Steps

First and foremost, you need to outline your business’s goals for the holiday season. What exactly will make this upcoming holiday season better than your last? What can your business do to increase traffic to your site, create more conversions and finish the sale? Think about what part of the e-commerce process your business can improve on this holiday season, and target your digital marketing campaign toward lifting up that weak spot.

Next, consider your last holiday digital marketing strategy: what worked, what didn’t, and what were your numbers like? Taking a deep assessment of what you’ve done in the past is a key point in defining which of those strategies and initiatives you should be incorporating into this holiday season, as well as which ones you shouldn’t.

The Fundamentals Of Digital Marketing

A visually stunning and intuitive website. A smoothly functioning check-out process. Smart, targeted SEO. Branded content marketing. Clever and interactive social media engagement. There are so many aspects that go into the fundamentals of digital marketing, and none of them should be forgotten or pushed to the wayside during the holiday season.

Remember that these are fundamental pieces of your brand and comprise most customers’ direct interactions with you and your products. Before getting swept up in the holiday rush, perfecting these few fundamentals should be your priority.

• Upgrading Your Website: Having a visually engaging homepage and intuitive navigational properties are just the start of a high-quality user experience. Think of who is using your site and what they’d want to see, not what you want to show them. Incorporate real-life user images of your products and real reviews from customers — an honest brand is confident in its products and shows it on their website. Don’t forget to “holiday cheer up” your homepage come the jolly season, as a shift in tone can grab customers’ attention and make them excited for holiday sales.

• Quick Checkout: In order to maximize conversions, your check-out process must be streamlined, reliable and fully-functional come the holiday season. Ensure that it can handle more than enough transactions without becoming faulty or slow, and include a guest check-out option for those perusing sites they don’t often buy from. All of these factors can gain customer trust in you, showing your brand is reliable and trustworthy, and allowing for one-time customers to become repeat ones.

• Content Generation: Set up content calendars well in advance of the holiday season so they can be checked and double-checked to ensure the posts will be effective and perform as high-traffic campaigns. Tailor your pieces to your target customers and time them at key points in the holiday shopping cycle. Remember to reflect the spirit of the holiday season in your content!

• Social Media: Tie together your content within your social media for a cohesive brand voice across company channels. This helps to promote brand reliability and satisfy that love of consistency that customers have. Your social media channels should be at their busiest during this time of year, hyping up holiday-exclusive promotions and sales to push customer traffic toward your website, potentially upping your conversion rate and sales.

Understanding The Holiday Season

There’s a variety of research regarding how, where and when people shop during the holidays. Going through this data and identifying trends within your own customers can help you on specific, effective targets for your holiday campaigns.

Gearing up for shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are natural pieces to the bigger holiday marketing puzzle. But keep in mind how many customers tend to do their shopping last minute when they are more likely to make quick purchasing decisions out of pressure. Make these late customers feel comfortable spending their money by pushing exclusive sales as the holidays inch closer, focusing on the limited amount of time these sales will be available. Sale banners on your website, an email reminder of products dormant in their cart, and targeted advertisements on numerous social media platforms can all be valuable tools to reign in more last-minute holiday sales.

Another major part of the holiday season to be aware of is when your competition starts promoting. Many brands begin sending massive amounts of holiday-targeted emails in the months of November and December. Ride the wave earlier than them by starting to preview sales and special discounts weeks in advance so customers will (hopefully) think of your brand first. Target your email campaigns toward holiday specials early in the season, without bombarding customers too prematurely. If you wait until the holiday season rolls around, it’s hard to distinguish your brand among all the other emails customers are likely to be receiving.

Maintaining a high-quality and engaging holiday marketing campaign from early on can be a time-consuming feat, but watching your efforts pay off directly with sales makes all of the work worthwhile. Using these tips above as key guidelines, take the opportunity to get creative with your holiday campaigns this year. Step outside of the proverbial (gift) box and give your customers a holiday experience like nothing they’ve seen before.

[“source=forbes”]