When should you start your Christmas marketing campaign?

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The chaos of Black Friday and Christmas is nearly here. You might wonder, “Is it still too early to start my holiday marketing?” The answer is no.

For marketers, the festive season is all systems go. While we don’t need to suffer Christmas music on repeat like retail workers, we need to start planning for Christmas months in advance.

From Black Friday to Christmas promotions, the holidays are a peak time for grabbing your customer’s attention. In 2022, the UK spent up to £20.1 billion on Christmas gifts. 40.6 million Brits participated in this gift-giving, so why chance missing out?

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about holiday marketing. Think of it as our gift to you.

When should I start marketing for the holidays?

Yesterday. Your Christmas marketing campaign should’ve been planned, strategised and ready for around September. And what about Black Friday? Even earlier. Your Black Friday campaign should be live now.

But don’t threat. Starting work now is your second best chance if you haven’t done it yet.

A comedic meme that includes a picture of Kevin James.

So why do you need to start so early? In today’s digital world, we are built to trust no one. Setting your Google ad campaign right in the heat of the holidays won’t work. You must be in the market now, nurturing customer relationships before pushing big campaigns.

Doing this will drive trust and brand awareness, which will help customers find you before your holiday campaign starts. Global Web Index (GWI) recently reported that 31% of internet users discover brands and their products on search engines. Other results show that 27% find them on social media ads, TV ads (30%), word-of-mouth (27%) and e-commerce websites (25%).

Targeting these avenues will encourage your target audience to choose you. But to do this, you must have a Black Friday and Christmas campaign. Thankfully, October is the latest to start one. So, you still have time to make an impact.

When do people start searching for Christmas shopping?

It’s all well and good telling you to start your Christmas marketing campaign, but does it impact you? If you’re an e-commerce brand, then yes. Using Google Trends, we investigated the search impact for “Christmas gift ideas” over the last five years.

From late August, people start to search for Christmas shopping. Yep, you’re still in the summer holidays and already thinking about Christmas.

Christmas shopping habits vary by industry, but around 54% of consumers shop for Christmas gifts before December (hint: Black Friday!). 25% will start at the beginning of December. As such, October is a prime time to begin your Christmas campaign to get noticed and draw attention.

How do you run a successful marketing campaign?

Your Christmas campaign strategy should be smart, data-driven and achievable. Following our simple steps for an effective campaign will do the trick.

1. Review last year’s performance

Do you know the marketing ghosts of Christmas past? Evaluate your previous efforts for the holiday season and identify where you went wrong and what resonated with your audience. A holiday marketing strategy should be driven by insight. Not guesswork. Reflecting on last year’s campaign will guide you in the right direction.

2. Set achievable objectives

For many brands, Christmas marketing is a time to increase sales before the end of the year. This goal might not apply to you. You may want to improve brand awareness, increase website traffic or generate high-quality leads. You must set clear and measurable objectives that meet your business goals.

Comedic meme showing Mariah Carey from her hit song "All I Want for Christmas Is You"

Don’t forget to consider how you’ll reach these objectives. Will it be through Pay-Per-Click (PPC), paid social media marketing or digital PR? As an integrated digital marketing agency, Trio can show you what services will work best.

3. Conduct competitor research

What is your competitor doing? Who are they reaching? And what keywords are they targeting? Thoroughly investigate your competitor’s website and social media channels and see if they have ads running on Meta platforms.

Effective competitor research will highlight potential gaps and ways to outperform them. This insight is crucial!

4. Research keywords and Google Trends

Want to set up a PPC campaign? Or improve your Google search ranking with SEO? You need to research relevant keywords and see which ones are trending through tools such as Google Trends or SemRush.

If you notice that the long tail keyword “Christmas gifts for dads” starts to pick up in mid-November, it’s time for you to start making some noise. Collect your keywords and use them for all ad content going forward.

5. Understand your target audience

A Christmas marketing campaign is only successful if you target your audience. Broad targeting is not it. Research your customer’s preferences, shopping habits and what channels they use daily. Personalise your ads, copy and offers to align with these needs and preferences.

If you’re a brand still finding its feet, knowing your target audience will get you far for your Christmas campaign. To get you started, we’ve outlined where you should push your marketing based on generations.

The most popular ways to target generations 

  • Gen Z: Social media, search engines and TV ads
  • Millennials: Search engines, TV ads and social media ads
  • Gen X: Search engines, TV ads and word-of-mouth recommendations
  • Baby boomers: TV ads, search engines and word-of-mouth recommendations

6. Plan your promotions and deals

Agree on what you want to sell and what type of discounts you’ll have in place. You may offer early-bird offers, exclusive deals or bundled packages. Your holiday marketing campaign must outline your calendar of when promotions will go out.

7. Create engaging content 

You’ve now got all this insight, so it’s time to combine it. Create a holiday content strategy of organic social media postsengaging blog articles and excellent graphics. Encourage user-generated content (UGC) and plan how to use paid marketing to boost engagement and conversions.

Seven steps to an effective Christmas marketing campaign seem easy. But it’s not. It requires time, dedication and a well-thought-out approach. Trio Media is here to help. We’ll get you on track for a happy holiday.

Should I use social media advertising?

Yes. Social media marketing will push your Black Friday and Christmas marketing campaign into your audience’s hands. From Instagram to TikTok marketing, these platforms are filled with customers waiting to be influenced. You can push online reviews and UGC, work with influencers and set up hyper-targeted ads.

Younger internet users, like Gen Z, now use TikTok as a Search Engine. Last year, Google Search’s Senior VP stated that 40% of young people use TikTok or Instagram to find places to eat. Although Google isn’t going anywhere, social media is growing bigger every day. Make sure to use social media marketing in your holiday campaign this year.

Should I use TikTok Shop?

TikTok Shop makes your customer’s shopping experience seamless. As a business, TikTok shop allows you to promote and sell your products to the broader TikTok community. There is no need for redirections, meaning higher conversions and sales in-app.

As a TikTok marketing agency, we can help your audience discover, interact and purchase from you using TikTok.

Drive results this holiday season with Trio Media 

Want to make a bang this holiday season? The Trio team is here to get you discovered and accelerate your marketing results. Contact the team today to get started.