Prepping for the Storm: Your 2020 Holiday Campaign Guide

21 September 2020

We could all use something to look forward to right about now. Luckily, the holiday season is just around the corner. We’ve been dealt a rough hand so far this year, but there’s no stopping the festive bells from ringing.

Of course, this time of the year is exciting for businesses too. Black Friday sales have become a digital phenomenon that attracts millions of buyers to e-commerce stores every year. In fact, most popular websites tend to crash at least once amid the chaos. Usually, companies will start making preparations for the ensuing madness as early as August or September. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works.

Given the current climate, it’s fair to assume that this year’s Black Friday sales will have an even bigger digital focus than ever before. With so many restrictions in place all over the world, and the risk of infection still high, even consumers who prefer to shop in person are like to do so virtually instead. So it’s time for online businesses to pull up their socks and start preparing for the biggest Black Friday yet.

While Black Friday is the biggest upcoming sales event for businesses, that’s just the beginning of the festivities. There’s plenty more to celebrate between now and the end of the year. It’s important for businesses to be conscious of these holidays and strategise accordingly, particularly when it comes to marketing. Every holiday is linked to shopping in one way or another, so there is always an opportunity for retailers to capitalise. Here’s a rundown of the upcoming holidays this year:

  • Halloween October 31
  • Thanksgiving November 25
  • Black Friday November 27
  • Cyber Monday November 30
  • Hanukkah December 11 - 18
  • Christmas Eve December 24
  • Christmas Day December 25
  • Boxing Day December 26
  • New Year’s Eve December 31

Don’t know where to start? That’s where we come in. Keep reading to find out how to pivot your strategy and nail your holiday campaign during this competitive and challenging time.

1. Rethink your creative holiday concept

COVID-19 has impacted everybody in some way, and has brought with it massive cultural and social change. Therefore, connecting with your audience this year may call for a different approach. Consumer sentiment is low these days, so make sure you’re sending a message that translates. Consider how your offerings will resonate with your customers. Focus on creating a strong concept behind your holiday marketing campaigns rather than focusing solely on conversions. With so much anxiety around COVID-19 still lingering, bringing people together with a peaceful, comforting and grounding message may be the way to go this year.

Ask yourself these questions:

What’s the centerpiece of my campaign?

What design approach will best capture my audience’s attention?

Would I be open to collaborating with influencers in my community?

What is the overall look and feel of my holiday campaign?

2. Leverage your social media

Social media has been an integral aspect of our social fabric for quite some time now. However, the onset of COVID-19 has taken this to a whole new level. Usage rates have shot through the roof, and it has proven essential in maintaining a sense of connection with our friends and family. For many, it’s eased their anxiety and loneliness around the situation, reminding us that we are all facing the similar struggles and challenges. For online holiday campaigns, social media is set to play an even bigger role than usual, and will likely be your main avenue towards increasing brand affinity.

Based on your target audience, choose the best social media platform for your holiday campaign. If you’re in the fashion industry, Instagram and Pinterest could work best for you. For other businesses, good old reliable Facebook and Twitter might be your best bet.

When preparing your social media schedule for the holidays, keep the below in mind:

  • Visualise your holiday campaign with compelling creatives and a solid holiday theme.
  • Don’t skimp on hashtags. These will allow your campaign to get discovered by prospective customers and attract engagement.
  • Set up Instagram Shopping if you haven’t already, and take advantage of its checkout feature. This will enable your users to purchase directly on Instagram without having to leave the platform.
  • Utilise social media stories by posting and tagging your products for sales.

3. Get your website in order

E-commerce sites tend to experience abnormally high traffic during the holidays. Make sure your website is equipped to withstand this influx. The last thing you want is to miss out on precious sales because your website has crashed. Therefore, it’s absolutely paramount that it can catch up from frontend to backend for a seamless digital shopping experience.

As well as this, your website needs to be ready for a new set of customers. The pandemic has pushed more people towards buying online for the first time, and your site must be well prepared. Is your UX design clear and intuitive enough for first-time online shoppers? Is your website fully optimised and responsive to all devices, including those with old browsers?

4. Incorporate deals in your 2020 holiday campaigns

This one goes without saying. However, this year is slightly different. The impact of the coronavirus has left many in financially vulnerable positions. This year’s holidays will be tough for many families, who may not have the means to spend as much as usual. This is where a great holiday deal can make all the difference.

Run some PPC holiday ads specific to your campaign to attract customers on search engines. This is a quick way to get your business in front of lots of eyes when your customers are looking for products related to your industry. Start these ads as early as possible and warm up potential customers so when the holiday season arrives, they’ll be ready to buy from you. Make sure to promote your deals on your social media pages using a targeted campaign, too. Make them an offer they can’t refuse!

5. Spread good vibes and gratitude

This has been a strange and unpredictable year for everybody. The spread of the coronavirus is an anomalous event, because it’s more or less affected people from every corner of the globe. Therefore, instead of garish or superficial ads, keep it genuine with a dose of good vibes and gratitude.  Try to focus on content rather than salesy material where possible. People need something to connect to now more than ever. Make sure to show your existing, loyal customers some extra love too.

Final thoughts

Although we are gearing towards an entirely different holiday season, you must have a solid marketing strategy in place. Plant your seeds early on and reap the benefits of a well-planned holiday campaign that will bring you and your customers some much needed cheer.

Need help bracing your business for the holidays? Elephant in the Boardroom is here to help. Contact us today at +61 37018 7620 or visit our website at www.elephantintheboardroom.com.au and smash your 2020 holiday campaign.