In the good old days of Christmas shopping on the high street, it was easy to get in the festive spirit. Tinsel and Christmas trees on the shop floor, carollers outside, maybe even a hint of snow in the air. But, getting that feeling across through pixels is more challenging. Here, we will share seven Christmas marketing ideas to bring some festive performance to your digital campaigns. 

We’ll be focussing on eCommerce in this piece, as it is the industry with the greatest opportunity at Christmas. However, some of these ideas and tips will apply to marketers within all sectors.

1. Start with the basics

It’s absolutely crucial that you focus on getting the basics right before you start looking at Christmas-specific campaigns. 

This comes down to one very simple fact. Searches for your products themselves will far outnumber any rise in generic terms. 

Searches in all eCommerce categories grow during Christmas. Below, you can see how the rise in searches for ‘Gin’ during the Christmas shopping period far outnumbers searches for “Christmas gifts”

Google trends comparing search trends between Christmas gifts and gin

Searches for your products are, by definition, more relevant to your business than generic terms. Capturing these higher conversion rate terms should be your first priority. Don’t get lured away by the high-competition, vanity keywords before cleaning your house.

You can learn how to improve your performance with our guide to SEO for eCommerce and retail.

2. Consider your customer

Start planning for Christmas marketing campaigns by thinking about your customer.

Gifting is completely different from other marketing because your audience changes. You are essentially targeting the people who are buying for your usual audience. 

Who are your products realistically going to be a gift for? Consider some core demographics, price brackets, and relationships.

Price brackets are important. For products that typically fall in the £10-£15 mark, consider positioning them as ‘secret Santa gifts', or ‘stocking fillers’. People often have a budget in mind and want to browse within these price brackets. E.g. ‘gifts for under £10’.

  • Ensure you have price-filters on your category pages, if you don’t already
  • Have dedicated campaigns, landing pages and gift guides targeting key price-ranges.

Consider some common personas and relationships for whom people will typically buy your presents. Google Suggest is a great tool to brainstorm some of these, simply by checking each letter. I know our UX designer would be happy to see these listings.

Google suggest screenshot showing listing for 'gifts for u...'

If you have a group of products that would be great for university students, consider grouping them together and running a dedicated campaign.

3. Make a gift guide

This is where you can start using your target personas. 

Make a gift guide, or even multiple gift guides, based on the target audience you identified above. 

Once the work has gone into producing them, convert your guide into all relevant formats that capture your audience’s attention. Some ideas for a multi-format gifting campaign might include:

  • An SEO friendly blog article, with links to your relevant product pages. If you build this around a persona, you can make this content impactful all year round, not just for Christmas. According to Google Trends data, people search 10 times more frequently for “gifts for” keywords than they do for “christmas gifts for”.
  • Instagram stories are great visual tools to inspire. Just ensure you link to the product within the story and save to your highlights for the festive season.
  • A Twitter thread headed with your target audience. Again, link clearly to your products and use relevant hashtags.
  • A rich email template to send to your CRM list. If you have useful customer segments within here, consider personalising this to each of them.

Tie your campaign together by launching a Christmas section on your website linked prominently in your navigation. Feature all of your seasonally relevant products, and create festive subcategories. 

Make sure that, for all Christmas content, you:

  1. Keep the pages live (albeit hidden from your navigation) year-round
  2. Don’t tie these pages explicitly to one year (e.g. making the URL “yoursite.com/christmas-guide-2021”)

Otherwise, you may have to build your search authority from scratch with a new page every year.

4. Find the right trends

Every Christmas, there will be multiple viral products. Do your research and see how you can use, or get ahead of these trends. 

There are some great free sources out there. Google Trends is the obvious one for spotting viral moments. But, you have to know what you’re looking for. 

Pinterest for business is also has a fantastic resource with Pinterest’s ‘Surging Trends’

screenshot of surging trends on Pinterest

Social listening is also a fantastic way to understand what your customers are talking about.

Use this data to identify new product categories and digital marketing campaigns for Christmas.

5. Too many customers at Christmas? Save some for later

Retailers will often find demand at Christmas so great that they need to turn off all marketing, and even stop taking orders. 

There are a few ways you could get around this:

  • Set up a “I don’t mind when I get this” delivery option. If a purchase isn’t for Christmas, a customer might not mind simply waiting a bit longer.
  • Incentivise the customer to wait longer. Offer a discount or free delivery if they choose to deliver in January. Better still, give them a larger discount off their next order if they choose to wait longer.

Rather than turning off campaigns, you can keep them going.

You don’t have to lose orders just because you can’t service them right now.

6. Sale copy and structure

Christmas is also a time of sales and offers. We could do a whole piece on setting an eCommerce site for a sale. 

It is already a hectic time of year for eCommerce, even without sales. So, ensure that you have your sales copy and product structure ready to switch on across all channels when the moment comes.

If you’re setting up a PPC ad, your product will always be the first thing that appears on the search page.

search listing showing ads for products at the top and those that feature sales

So, make sure you have sales prices set up on your product feeds, as Powerhouse, NordicTrack, and Hydrow have all done above. Google does a lot to make these standout. 

Set up promotion extensions on Google Ads to run across all ads. 

Your lessons from every sale should be applied to every sale in the future. Test your ad copy on a channel that you can get quick results from. Apply the winning copy across every channel you can, from meta descriptions to your email marketing campaigns.

One slightly different idea is featuring the sale name within your product feeds. You can see this below, with multiple advertisers targeting “Black Friday” search terms within their product titles to trigger this search.

screenshot example of featuring the sale name within product feeds such as black friday deals

7. Re-engage your customers

Christmas is a great time for picking up new customers and increasing their lifetime value is an easy win for eCommerce.

How are you going to keep your customers after Christmas? Are there any nice touches you can add to your buying process to get them to come back? This could mean adding a festive thank-you note in all of your deliveries. You could even run a “thanks for supporting us this Christmas” campaign to all purchasers to stay front of mind.

Your January sales or promotions are a great opportunity to re-engage your customers from Christmas. You can be quite tongue-in-cheek, for example, an email marketing campaign such as “maybe now buy one for yourself” can turn Christmas gifters into repeat customers.

There are even things you could be doing before Christmas. You could retarget customers who bought from you this time last year. Hopefully, your product went down well, and they’ll be eager to gift from your range once again.

You can link your 1st party Christmas data with platform data across Social Media, Google, and Display to retarget at personalised times. Tying “bought a gift from us before” with “has close friends with upcoming birthdays” is an extremely powerful campaign.

Solid retargeting and CRM data are vital for this step. Make sure your CRM is well set up, and your new customer mailing lists are rock-solid. A Christmas customer can be a customer for life.

To wrap up

We’ve shared a few ideas to inspire your digital marketing campaigns this Christmas.

Remember, above all else, to focus on getting the basics right first. Your product needs to be front and centre before you go after any prestigious campaigns.

But, once this is locked down, you can improve your digital marketing performance this Christmas with:

  • Customer personas for that your products will be gifted from, as well as to
  • Gift guides in a range of formats based on your personas
  • Trends to leap on
  • Alternatives to turning off your campaigns
  • An attractice sales setup 
  • Encouragement for your new Christmas customers to come back after the festive season.

We hope you’ve found these ideas useful. If you’re interested in learning more, you can join our Insights Club, where you can personalise insights to your interests. 

Our experts are always on hand if you’d like a more in-depth personal analysis or a bespoke strategy. Get in touch with the team here, we'd love to hear from you.

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