Top Tips on How To Market Your Business for Christmas

The festive season is just around the corner and many businesses having already started to launch their Christmas campaigns – research from Iterable, which surveyed 1,000 UK consumers about their plans for Christmas 2021, finding that over half (55%) of UK consumers would like to start receiving promotions 1-2 weeks in advance of a Christmas sales event.

But how exactly is the best way to market your business for Christmas? Here, TechRound explores opinions and advice from a range of top marketing experts on the subject…

 

Our Marketing Experts:

  • Jennifer Hakim – Founder and Director of Dare PR
  • Jon Abrahams – Managing Director at Rovva
  • Francesca Baker – Freelance Communications Specialist
  • Emma Hull – PR Specialist at Aura Ads
  • Gemma Harris – MD of PR Agency Lineup Media
  • Millie Henderson – Marketing Jr at Surge
  • Landon Ray – Founder and CEO at Ontraport
  • Charlotte Sheridan – Director of The Small Biz Expert
  • Jennifer Shambroom – Chief Marketing Officer at Clickatell
  • Nat Sharp – Director at Sharp Thinking Marketing
  • Elma Glasgow – PR Consultant
  • Josh Bunce – CEO of Inurface Media
  • Rosie Hall – Marketing Executive at Hable
  • Elle Nadal – Director of Marketing, EMEA at Iterable

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

techround

 

Jennifer Hakim, Founder and Director of Dare PR

 

Jennifer-Hakim-dare-PR

 

“One of the things businesses fail to realise each year is that as much as Christmas presents an opportunity to showcase your products and brand to a larger audience, it also comes with its share of pitfalls, such as getting lost in a sea of information. When it comes to public relations, you must connect and get to know your core audience’s needs for the festive season early on (even Spring isn’t too early to start your Christmas marketing strategy), so you can offer incentives and special treats that no one can rival.”

“Just like in any other season, it is vital you know what differentiates you from the rest of the crowd, as almost every other brand will promote their Christmas collections. For example, if you’re running a sustainable living brand, your customers and target audience might not connect with the idea of Boxing Day sales. Indeed they might prefer other values this season, such as homemade or fully recycled.”

“Just because other businesses do one thing does not mean you have to the same. Find your values and brand ethos, and communicate them clearly – if you give back or contribute to positive change in any way, Christmas is the perfect season to share or reiterate that information, as people connect with charitable values more strongly around this time of year.”

 

Jon Abrahams, Managing Director at Rovva

 

Jon-Abrahams-Managing-Director

 

“TikTok marketing isn’t like any other advertising you do, so you need to ensure you fully understand the platform before you start creating content. TikTok is primarily a place for fun, especially around the festive season; it’s light-hearted and provides users with an ‘escape’ from the doom and gloom often found on other social media platforms.”

“You should study the content that currently performs well and determine how other brands engage with their audience.”

“Here are my two top tips for marketing your business on TikTok:”

Be Creative

“Creativity is key. With so many videos being uploaded every day, you need to create something that will set you apart. Be careful not to simply copy what works well for others – authenticity is essential for TikTok marketing.”

“Look for areas of your business that might interest someone, making videos fun and light-hearted. You could show your followers how something is made or ‘behind the scenes’ festive content that gives them an insight into your world.”

Hashtag Challenge

“If you’re looking to drive brand awareness during the festive season while encouraging users to interact with your business, creating a hashtag challenge is a good place to start. You’ll want to create a piece of content that you can encourage TikTok users to recreate and add your brand hashtag to.”

“When creating a hashtag challenge, remember these top tips:”

  • “Create a share-worthy hashtag
  • Maintain a brand or product focus
  • Make it memorable
  • Use audio that is relevant
  • Set out clear rules for users
  • Continually promote your challenge at every opportunity”

“As a new and growing platform, TikTok is going to be essential for your marketing strategy, especially if your business targets a younger audience. So, get stuck in now and start creating your first piece of TikTok content this Christmas time!”

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

techround

 

Francesca Baker, Freelance Communications Specialist 

 

Francesca-Baker-PR-Communications

 

“Christmas is the time to let your hair down a bit and have fun with your marketing. Whether it’s behind the scenes insight to your working day, 12 highlights from across the year, or a fun advent calendar of your best bits of business advice, people are happy to learn more about the real you at this festive time. But don’t shoehorn a sales message in at all times. This is about building a relationship, not hard sales. Have fun with it!”

 

Emma Hull, PR Specialist at Aura Ads

 

Aura-ads-logo

 

“We all know that Christmas is the time for giving, but I’ve always noticed that more press releases are pushed out around Christmas than the rest of the year about how much companies are doing for their chosen charities. I’m all about giving to charity, especially homeless charities around Christmas and it’s great that companies do make an effort with those less fortunate, but when it’s obvious that some things are only done purely for pick-up in the press and for the company to get a little bit of brand awareness, it’s not quite the same.”

“There’s a difference in a charitable story getting picked up naturally, but when a company is pushing something out themselves about how much they’re doing just to help themselves out, it just doesn’t sit right with me.”

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

techround

 

Gemma Harris, MD of PR Agency Lineup Media

 

Gemma-Harris-Lineup-Media

 

“Christmas is a crowded marketplace. You have to stand out from the crowd. Use the personality of your brand throughout all your communication. Give it a name, hobbies, a personality. All your communications should be in the same style. Provide value – find out what your audience wants to know this Christmas and deliver it to them.”

“Be visual – video and images provide opportunities for people to engage and tag themselves in on social media (and then it will be shared with the network). Look at all channels for communicating your Christmas message. PAID, EARNED, SHARED OR OWNED MEDIA. Tailor Messages for Each Channel – your product is likely to attract several types of audience. You need to use the right message and channel that appeals to them. Choose a Christmas hashtag – and use it consistently across all your communication. Communicate with journalists early – as early as July for long lead press.”

“To generate press coverage for your business at Christmas, you need to rise above the noise in journalists’ inboxes and make it clear why the public will care about your story. Write your press pitch and consider, what the value of this information is to the journalist or editor you’re contacting? Why would their readership be interested in your business? How does it fit with their publication?”

“Research which types of press are most likely to cover your business. Once you know which publications to target, identify the sections, writers, and editors who focus on the topics related to your business or product.”

“Organise all of this research into your event media list and update it constantly with reminders on who you spoke to, which day. Follow that journalist on Twitter too and drop them a tweet before you call or email them. Follow up with them – persistence pays. Remember to target local publications and relevant event listings that require minimal effort. When telling your story, find the magic in your product, its teams, the organisation, the headliners, the audience. PR can help build a story that elevates your brand and brings an emotional draw to your business – especially at Christmas.”

 

Millie Henderson, Marketing Jr at Surge

 

Millie-Henderson-Marketing-Jr-Surge

 

“Here at Surge, our main tip to market your business for Christmas is to build excitement and anticipation for your offers. Black Friday is the perfect time to utilise email marketing. Use catchy subject headings to make your customers want to open your emails and take a look at your offers.”

“In addition, Google shopping and ads can be powerful for this time of year. By ranking #1 on Google Shopping for your keywords can result in more sales, as people typically spend less time browsing on black Friday and prefer to look for the first, best sale they see.”

 

 

Landon Ray, Founder and CEO at Ontraport

 

Ray-Landon

 

“MEGA SAVINGS ARE NOT THE ONLY WAY TO WIN THE HOLIDAYS”

“Retail giants Amazon, Walmart and Target all launched Black Friday deals earlier this month. For small businesses, offering big promotions and heavy markdowns is much less achievable, but it’s not the only way to earn customers during the holiday season.”

“Ontraport shares some great ways to connect with leads and customers:”

Get personal: With a personalised promo code campaign, you can show your recipients that you value their relationship by giving them a special discount or free item.”

Capitalise on urgency: Remind customers to shop early this year with time-sensitive campaigns that expire on a particular day and display a countdown timer on your webpage.”

Avoid cart abandonment: Implementing a cart abandonment campaign is crucial to securing your holiday sales. Sometimes a small reminder email is all it takes to convert a sale.”

Build relationships beyond sales: The goals should not be to only generate new sales, but rather to build awareness, engagement and loyalty that can be leveraged throughout next year. Formulate a plan to stay in contact with the new leads and customers from the holidays with a long-term campaign.”

 

Charlotte Sheridan, Director of The Small Biz Expert

 

Charlotte-Sheridan

 

“The key to creating a Christmas campaign that will be successful is to really set your objectives clearly before you start any marketing. If you’re a newer business, is this the ideal time to introduce what you do at a great price to grow brand awareness? If you’re an established brand, are you considering big Point of Sale displays to get shoppers excited? Dare I say it – is a Christmas campaign actually relevant for your business? If not – why are you doing it?”

“Christmas is a super exciting time for brands, with many making a large chunk of annual profits over the season. But it can also be the most expensive in terms of advertising – social media CPMs go up, Google cost per click increases, and prime TV slots are filled well in advance. Therefore it’s wise to plan budget carefully taking this into account.”

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

techround

 

Jennifer Shambroom, Chief Marketing Officer at Clickatell

 

Jennifer-Shambroom-Clickatell-CMO

 

“Based on the real-time, personalised, and relevant trends small businesses/retailers are experiencing, SMS marketing, Mobile App marketing, and social media marketing are the most lucrative marketing strategies you want to incorporate for a successful holiday season and new year. Implementing Chat Commerce platforms can also help develop the most effective strategies through collecting personalised consumer data and deploying AB testing for different strategies. See below for more details.”

“Incorporate Chat Commerce to allow for payments and marketing communications via chat (e.g., WhatsApp, FB Messenger, etc.). Chat Commerce platforms can utilise ongoing and cumulative data resources to understand how and when customers prefer to be communicated with – via email, SMS, phone, etc.”

“To Employ effective marketing strategies (such as the below) that utilise the aforementioned data, providing customers with personalised product recommendations, etc. that fit their wants/needs.”

“SMS marketing, using text messages to get messages directly to the customer, provides relevant updates to offers, discounts, promotions, new product availability, and can reach 85% of the world’s population. However, make sure you get permission first by giving them the choice to opt in or out! SMS marketing is widely used, extremely profitable when done correctly, and is especially effective when combined with time-sensitive deals or updates about user-preferred items. Once a brand successfully expands its messaging campaigns to engage with consumers for customer engagement, placing orders, managing returns, gathering feedback, etc. we’d recommend going the extra mile to incorporate Chat Commerce. Chat Commerce can offer a real-time response to shopping inquiries and lead to direct sales.”

“Next up, mobile apps make interacting with brands convenient and simple! In-app communication can provide real-time updates and customer support without the user needing to exit the app. With literally millions of apps now available, and mobile users increasingly spending time on apps, it’s crucial to meet them where they are with the information that is relevant to their specific needs. A great example of mobile apps is IKEA’s augmented reality app, which allows customers to see what an item will look like in their home.”

“Lastly, social media marketing mobile marketing go together like chips and dip. Social media users are on smartphones, tablets, and a range of other devices, so having a multichannel marketing strategy that reaches out to users on the platforms they use most is essential. Brand pages or accounts with brilliant customer interaction, gorgeous imagery, plus advertisements and gamification combine to make social media a potential marketing utopia.”

 

Nat Sharp, Director at Sharp Thinking Marketing

 

Nat-Sharp-Sharp-Thinking-Marketing-director

 

“Even if you operate in business-to-business or the service industry, Christmas is the perfect time to promote your business and stay forefront of mind with your customers. Here are some simple ideas to promote your business.”

Create seasonal content

“Give your newsletters and blogs a festive feel using bright colours and imagery.  You could also create a review of the year – look at what your business has achieved month to month or summarise industry trends.”

Send a Christmas card

“A card can be an effective way to thank customers as well as nurture new ones and say hello to old ones. It pays off to get a card professionally designed and printed. Always include a personalised message.”

Use corporate gifts

“Gifts can have a powerful impact on the opinion of a business especially those that tell a story and facilitate a deeper personal connection. In fact, individuals are twice as likely to recall an interesting story associated with their last business gift. Work out your budget and consider what your customers would like.   And even better if you can source a gift that has some creativity, meaning, and connection to their business.”

Give back to a worthy cause

“Why not sponsor a charitable cause or event. Not only is this an enjoyable and satisfying thing to do, but it will show customers that you’re a business that has strong ethics and values. If you do this, ensure you use PR to generate publicity.    Since the pandemic, research shows that customers expect businesses to give back to society and it has become an important part of the decision-making process.”

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

techround

 

Elma Glasgow, PR Consultant 

 

Elma-Glasgow-PR-consultant 

 

“Christmas is the UK’s peak season for marketing, including PR, with intense competition for your audience’s attention. Non-retail brands are suddenly competing against the giants of retail for newsletter open rates, and news stories which would be covered at other times of year are drowned out by the ‘noise’ of festive-themed content. So, what can be done?”
“Even if you have a PR budget but a small business, I’d recommend focusing on your own communications channels as that is where your ‘warm’ audience is. But if you decide to try to secure media coverage, first, think about how you want to benefit from Christmas PR. Or, if you’re working in the social or environmental impact sector, how your mission can be enhanced as a result of PR.”
“To increase your chances of coverage, homing in on titles which are the most appropriate for your kind of story and your audience, will save time and effort. Also, researching strong and relevant story ideas is essential. Here are some examples:”
  • “A launch of a shopping app which helps consumers choose and buy ethical, vegan Christmas products.
  • Tech which helps people deal with the stress of Christmas preparations or overindulgence!
  • Team up with complementary brands to provide a round-up of different products which make wonderful Christmas gifts.
  • If your calendar year results are looking positive, send it to industry titles to end the year on a high note.
  • An app that shows people where to find accessible winter nature spots for festive family walks.
  • Dive into some light-hearted brand stories too, such as conducting a survey on a fun subject such as the nation’s favourite Christmas sandwich (suitable for brands in the food industry); a story about any festive charity fundraising events to the trade and local press; quirky approaches to the staff Christmas party if people are still working from home.
  • Think beyond Christmas too; you can pitch an announcement of, let’s say, an investment round to the monthly or weekly print press in December for coverage in January – March.”
“Now you’ve read my advice, crack on with creating ideas of how you can work your way into the press this Christmas.”

Josh Bunce, CEO of Inurface Media

 

Josh-Bunce-Inurface-Media

 

“Entice. Use signage and window displays to encourage people in with exciting and visually appealing Christmas displays. Use bright lights and warm colours to bring people in from the cold and encourage them to shop with you.”

“Focus on clarity. People are often shopping on a timeframe and want to know if they can get what they are looking for inside. Highlighting and pointing people towards the Christmas targeted items in store from the street, using screens and displays, can ensure customers cross your threshold and don’t walk past.”

“Within the store offer additional interactions which people cannot get online and that make visiting the shop an appealing prospect. Interactive installs like photobooth experiences and in-store personalisation encourage people to stay longer and this in turn is likely to allow them to browse more of the products on offer. Highlighting the expertise of your retail team will also help encourage shoppers to seek out help if needed than giving up.”

“Adapt your normal messaging to fit with what people are looking for over the holiday season specifically. This might mean highlighting areas dedicated to stocking fillers rather than items under £10/ holiday entertainment rather than TV’s and electricals. Make these messages stand out and adapt them depending on time of month, customer type and deals available.”

“Ditch old decorations. Whilst tinsel and your favourite baubles might look great at home every part of the retail experience reflects the quality of the store. Stick to brand orientated cohesive Christmas displays, and only tech which looks sharp and is working at its best, that don’t distract from what you are selling by looking like you’ve raided Grandmas Christmas box or the storage cupboard.”

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

techround

 

Rosie Hall, Marketing Executive at Hable

 

Rosie-Hall-Headshot

 

“Christmas is a time that is filled with SO much commercialism, especially online and on social media. At the same time, emotions are running high and people love anything emotive; see John Lewis advert, for example. With it being the season of good will, partnering with a charity is a fantastic way to market your business during the Christmas period.”

“There’s so many different ways you could do this: you might donate a certain percentage of profits, partner with a local charity on some sort of product or initiative, or you could even give your loyal customers the option to donate when they buy from you.”

“As well as just doing something good for the world, these partnerships can be mutually beneficial; the charity gets more money and support for their cause and your business gets increased brand awareness, good PR and the ability to communicate strong brand values.”

 

Elle Nadal, Director of Marketing, EMEA at Iterable

 

Elle-Nadal-Marketing-Director-EMEA

 

“After a difficult 18 months for retailers, Christmas will clearly not be the straightforward end-of-year boost many in the industry will have hoped for. However, our research has found that consumers are ready to spend and embrace all the joy and excitement that Christmas shopping has to offer. It is now up to brands to, as much as possible, deliver an experience that delights and will keep shoppers coming back long into the new year.”

“Christmas this year will be more competitive than ever before. Customers have an unprecedented array of choice at their fingertips, and brands will need to go the extra mile to stand out. The brands that thrive this year will take customers on a transparent and individualised journey through the sales season. That means everything from personalised recommendations and promotions, through to honest updates about how supply chain concerns will affect their experience this year.”

“It is important to remember that we—marketers—don’t need to find a way to fix the supply chain. We just need to find a way to make the waiting less painful. Above all, make sure you’re not treating your customers as the “end of the line” in your supply chain’s model. Give them the attention they deserve.”

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

techround