Holiday marketing tips… three months away from Christmas?
Yes, my friends! Effective marketing takes time.
Plus, a 2021 study showed 63% of consumers start their Christmas shopping as early as September. So, not only will you get better results closer to the big day, but you’ll also reach those who are ultra-prepared for the holiday season.
To help you know what you should be doing with your online presence and marketing and when, this is your holy grail. You can even download our top X holiday marketing checklist now there are less than 100 days until Christmas.
For the purpose of this article, we’re going to assume you already have a website, Facebook Business Profile, Google Business Profile, Google Analytics, etc. Setup. If you don’t, this is your bonus tip — get it all!
Download your holiday marketing plan checklist or keep reading for a more in-depth guide.
The Ultimate 2022 Holiday Marketing Plan
Holiday Marketing to Start in October 2022
Check your NAP and citations.
NAP is marketing lingo for your business’s name, address and phone number. A citation is simply the name for anywhere your NAP is shown online. But why is it important to check your NAP and citations?
Search engines use your NAP to confirm they’re looking at your business whenever they find a citation. So, it’s crucial your NAP is the exact same anywhere it is shown online. And we mean everywhere as inconsistent NAP may mean you’re not reaping the benefits of some of your search engine optimisation (SEO) activities.
Why you want to update your NAP so far out from the holiday season is to ensure all the other things you do in the coming months can be attributed back to your business.
A few places to check your NAP for consistency:
Your website (including your header, footer, contact page and location pages).
Your online listings (including your Localsearch.com.au business profile).
Any social media pages (including Facebook).
Your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business).
Perform a website audit and update your website.
Again, we’re assuming you have a website, so if you don’t have one, it’s time to get building as you need a website as early before the holiday season as possible. Single-page website subscriptions are a quick, affordable solution to getting a website up fast without the stress.
Ok, now back to those with a website.
Unfortunately, websites are not a set and forget. They need plug-in and software updates, content refreshes, speed checks, optimisation for new search engine optimisation (SEO) best practices and more. It’s important to stay on top of your website maintenance so you have the best possible chance of ranking well on relevant search engine results, as well as pleasing potential consumers so they contact you.
Why you want to do this now is:
- Website updates take time to be recognised by search engines.
- If you’re about to launch ads (see below), you want your landing pages to be optimised for all the users who are about to see them.
If you don’t have a good SEO and/or website management service behind you, you will need to check every single page on your website for:
- Speed, using a page speed checker.
- A current SSL certificate (site-wide).
- Every image is below 150kb, is high-quality, includes alt text and is correctly named.
- Your content is unique and thorough.
- Your heading structure is following current best practices.
- Every plug-in is up-to-date, and your website is on the latest version.
- You have no pop-ups.
These are the basics, but you can request a free website audit with Localsearch to see what else you need to do (or we can do it for you).
Start your paid ad campaigns.
If you want to generate sales or enquiries from your Facebook and/or Google Ads over the months of December and January, you want to start your campaigns now.
For those planning to run Facebook Ads, you will want to run a brand awareness campaign for at least two to three months before you run any lead generation campaigns. Why you should run a brand awareness campaign before a lead generation campaign is because:
- The Facebook Ads platform needs time to learn about your audience to push your ads to the most relevant people (even if you’ve selected targeting).
- With new privacy regulations, Apple users must opt-in to have their data tracked. If they select no, Facebook will not be able to serve them targeted ads. As such, giving your ads time to learn about their audience is crucial for their success.
- If you were to run a lead generation campaign without having run a brand awareness campaign, you will waste marketing dollars while the platform learns who to best push your ads to.
Google Ads is similar; however, the campaign types are different to Facebook. Ideally, you want to start your ads as early as possible before the holiday season to give the Google Ads platform time to learn about you, your website, ads and audience.
Ensure you have an optimised Google Business Profile.
1 in 2 Australians who perform a search on Google for a local service or product provider will visit or contact a business that day. Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is one of the easiest, most affordable ways to get in front of these people.
Again, the reason you want to work on your Google Business Profile now is to give Google time to assess your updates and adjust your rankings to suit.
You should check your Google Business Profile for:
- Consistent NAP.
- Fully completed information and feature sections.
- New reviews to respond to.
- Answering FAQ.
- Setting up messaging.
- Regular posting.
Build your email database.
Email marketing is great for sharing information or generating leads on scale — if you have the audience. For example, you may wish to send out your holiday trading hours, any offers you’re running, information about things people should do before Christmas relevant to your industry and more.
Building an email marketing list takes time, hence why we recommend started at least, at the very minimum, 3 months out from the holiday season.
If you use a customer management system (CMS), like Salesforce, you should already have a database of your past and current clients. However, even if you don’t, you can create an email database in a program like Mailchimp or HubSpot.
Ensure you put a link to where people can subscribe to your email or newsletter list if they’re exploring your social media and website.
Tip: Remember to brush up on current email and SMS marketing regulations in Australia to ensure your email marketing is compliant.
Start publishing holiday-related blogs for your industry.
Like any search engine optimisation activities, new content on your website, including blogs, can take a few months for search engines to find and start to rank well in search results.
Using Google Search Console can help Google find your blogs and new content quicker, but ranking may still take time.
Nearly any business can jump in on blogging about the holiday season. All you need to do is think about the type of issues your customers typically have over the season or how you can help them (whether this is providing a service when others are closed or products you sell) and write about tips or solutions.
Remember, write to help users, not search engines. You will also want to avoid making your blogs sound like a sales pitch.
Some ideas for holiday season blogs include:
- Holiday gift guides.
- School holiday ideas.
- Tips for saving electricity/money/stress etc. over the holiday season.
- Recipe ideas.
- Answering a frequently asked question.
- What to do if ‘insert thing that tends to happen in your industry over the holidays’ happens over Christmas.
You get the idea.
Holiday Marketing to Start in November 2022
Remember to utilise your email marketing list.
Think about your email inbox as it approaches 25 December. You get slammed with emails with offers, right? The emails you do open tend to be from brands you know and trust already, ones with big offers or from a personal connection.
This means you want to be building trust with your email audience well before December. Start sending helpful or entertaining emails to your audience around once a week, depending on your industry.
You want to avoid over-emailing your audience or sending them unnecessary content, as you want to avoid people unsubscribing.
Pre-Christmas email ideas:
- Local holiday events coming up in your area (especially if your business is involved).
- Sharing any recently published blogs.
- A checklist or list of tips to help them with holiday shopping, decorating, spring cleaning, etc.
- New products or upcoming offers.
- Pre-holiday email-exclusive offers or discounts.
- Introducing your team who will be on-call over the holiday season.
Get ahead of your content creation.
December is going to get busy, so if you have a moment, use it to make some content to store for over December and January.
Blogs and most social media posts can be scheduled to publish, which is handy. However, be cautious of using external social media scheduling platforms as they have been known to impact the reach of your posts — so use them with caution.
Canva is a brilliant resource for templates for social media posts, stories, reels, blog banners and more for quick and easy filler posts too. The platform is beginner-friendly and even lets you make basic video edits.
Utilise social media post engagement to grow your following.
Growing your following on social media can be frustrating. However, there is a handy way to help grow your following on Facebook using your existing posts.
All you need to do is go to a post (or one of your ads) and click on the reaction number. Then, go through and invite anyone who reacted positively who doesn’t already follow your page. You’ll know who doesn’t as there will be an ‘invite’ button next to their name. That’s all you need to do!
As they have engaged with your posts already, it’s likely they’ll be interested in seeing more and giving you a follow.
Of course, the more people who follow your profile, the more people who see your posts. This is a big win when you start posting your holiday offers or updates in December (and for well into the future too).
Tease of an exclusive upcoming email-only offer to encourage subscribers.
Remember to keep prompting people to subscribe to your email list! The easiest way to do this is to add it into any blog posts and schedule in a post on social media every now and then.
It’s always good to tell people what they’ll receive for subscribing, such as if you share regular offers, new products, news, tips, etc. People want to know what they’re getting after all!
If you’re finding you’re not receiving many subscribers, try incentivising subscribing to the newsletter. It could be as simple as posting about email subscribers receiving an exclusive offer in December or even giving them a discount code for free delivery/call-out fee. Or you could drop a hint for an upcoming offer for December.
Explore other online presence boosting strategies.
So, in order to be found online, you need to exist where people are looking. The solution is to ensure you have an optimised presence in as many quality places online as possible.
However, while it’s good to have a website, be on social media, have an optimised Google Business Profile, be on quality online directories (like Localsearch.com.au) and other places online, you need to regularly be updating your content on each of these.
For websites, you want to be updating your page content with relevant, up-to-date information, as well as posting blogs. You also wanting to be utilising the posting features on Localsearch.com.au, Google Business Profile and on social media.
If you’re sick of checking your performance on all these platforms, you should have a look at Nucleus, powered by Localsearch. In this one platform, you’ll find results for all your marketing with Localsearch, saving you so much time logging in and out of all those different platforms. It’s that easy.
Get more reviews.
How’s your online reputation? If you answered not good or no idea, you still have time to turn it around before December and new potential customers look into if they can trust you.
The good news is consumers LOVE negative reviews — if you’re responding professionally to them. Ideally, you want to be maintaining around a 3.9 or above star rating. Even better, avoid a 5-star rating as much as you would a 1-star or 2-star rating — people don’t believe only good reviews are real.
Here’s what to do if you need to improve your online reputation:
- Respond to every single review, good or bad. Keep in mind the public will be reading your response, so show off your best customer service skills.
- Encourage your happy customers to leave you reviews across Google and Localsearch.com.au. You can do this by simply asking, or by adding a QR code or reminder on receipts, invoices or by sending out a link in an email or SMS.
- Take on negative reviews as feedback. While it’s hard, try not to take it personally. You can’t make everyone happy all the time, even if you are doing everything right. The worst thing you can do when you receive a negative review is react with your ego.
Holiday Marketing to Start in December 2022
Launch your lead generation paid campaigns.
So, you’ve been running your brand awareness ads on Facebook for a couple of months, now it’s time to rake in the leads.
For the best results, you’ll need to ensure you’re targeting the right audience with your ads and optimising your copy and images or videos to suit. Remember, appeal to a problem people will be facing and how you can help.
For instance, say you see an ad for fishing gear on Facebook as you’ve been hunting for some for a family member for Christmas. Which would you be more enticed by:
- Cheap fishing gear for sale in Fishertown! Come to Tom’s Tackle because we have it all.
- Giving the gift of fishing gear to your avid fisher but no idea what you’re buying? Come on down to Tom’s Tackle at 123 Fish Street, Fishertown and we’ll put together a custom fishing kit to knock their socks off!
If you need a hand crafting creative copy, drop us a message and our expert Facebook Ads team can help.
Update and publish your holiday trading hours.
Tired of phone calls asking if you’re open? Getting bad reviews saying you were closed when they visit? Whether you do or don’t, you can imagine how frustrating this would be.
The easy solution is to ensure you update your trading hours everywhere they’re listed for any holiday amendments, as well as publish a post wherever you can. You should also send an email to your clients/email list too.
Places you should post about any trading hour changes:
- Social media.
- Google Business Profile.
- Your website.
Schedule in content for the holiday period.
Remember, not posting on social media or a blog in a while can hurt how many people can find you and the performance of future content. The good news is, with the ability to schedule blogs and social media posts, there is no excuse not to be posting, even when you’re on leave or busy!
Posts to remember to schedule in this holiday season:
- Any trading hour changes.
- A happy holidays message.
- A reminder of any offers, sales, discounts, etc.
- A happy New Year’s message.
- If you’ll be open, a ‘we’re open’ message.
- Photos of your products or results of your services.
- A link to subscribe to your email list.
All of these posts can be pre-scheduled and work for most businesses.
Launch any holiday giveaways early in the month.
Giveaways are a great way to build audience engagement on social media. Whether it’s a product or service from your own business, a collaboration between yourself and other local businesses, or a gift card or hamper, choose something that your audience will love.
You want to give your competition time to attract as much engagement and entrants as possible, so launching a holiday giveaway the first week of December is ideal if it’s drawn the week of Christmas.
What you’ll receive in return for the giveaway is hopefully some new customers, maybe some new followers or, at the very least, a boost in engagement, which will help your future posts on the platform.
However, before you market your giveaway on Facebook or another social media platform, be sure to brush up on ACCC regulations and Facebook’s promotion policies.
Post on social media how you can help with last-minute Christmas gifts or holiday-season emergencies.
Overloaded fridges burning out motors. Family coming to stay backing up toilets. Flowers for the grandmother who has it all. New house builds wrapping up in December. There is a reason to tie in the holiday season for almost any industry.
Remember, use hashtags in your posts (especially on Instagram) targeted at what people would be searching for if they would be interested in that post. For example, if you are sharing a post about a product you have that would be a great gift for women, try hashtags like #giftsformum, #giftsforgrandma, #giftideas and so on.
How to Get Help with Your 2022 Holiday Marketing Plan
The key to a successful holiday marketing plan is to start early, solve a problem for consumers and get help if you need it.
Between your own holiday preparations and your business, you’re going to be busy enough during the holiday season.
Save yourself some stress of creating blogs, running ads and optimising your website and call Localsearch. Having worked with Australian businesses for nearly 30 years (as of 2022), we make it easy to get the results you need without the stress.
Request your free digital marketing quote today.