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It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for sales! While it might not be the holiday season just yet, Facebook’s holiday shopping survey finds that one in five US consumers will make their first holiday purchase in or before October. Considering that 59% of people researched gift ideas on their mobile phones during the 2018 holiday season—which generated a record $126 billion in ecommerce sales—now is the time to deck out your brand with a bold holiday campaign. Before you get to work, we have a few tips on how you can maximize your campaign’s effectiveness to bring joy to you and your customers’ world.

Analyze What Worked and Didn’t Work in Last Year’s Campaign

Like Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, it’s important to look at the ghost of previous holiday campaigns’ past before pressing on to the future. Some questions to consider include:

  • What metrics didn’t you track last year that you’d like to be able to track this year? What do you need to do to make that possible?
  • What was your budget like, and what sort of return did you see?
  • Which channels had the best ROI?
  • How was your timing?
  • What were the main learnings or takeaways you had in the weeks and months following your campaign?

With these questions in mind, you’ll be able to improve upon the aspects of your campaign that didn’t meet your standards and excel in the areas that did.

Identify Your Goals for this Year’s Campaign

Once you’ve looked to the campaigns of yesteryear, it’s time to focus on the now. What do you hope to accomplish with this campaign? While the vision dancing in most retailers’ heads is to drive more sales, other goals that can complement this include:

  • Generating brand awareness
  • Building email lists
  • Driving engagement

With these clearly defined goals set for your campaign, you’ll be able to develop specific strategies to achieve them. Take for example, HBO. In the spirit of the season and with the intention of racking up subscriptions to their streaming service, HBO released its “12 Days of HBO Now” campaign. This promotion allowed current customers to gift their friends and family with free streaming access to 12 HBO show pilot episodes. Enlisting actors from these 12 popular shows to perform their own rendition of the “12 Days of Christmas” helped spark viewers’ interest and drive attention to the campaign, as well.

Set Up a Detailed Timeline

Ding. Dong. Ding. Dong. Sales bells are ringing. As the countdown to the holiday season seems to rapidly accelerate come October, the second step to accomplishing your goals is setting a clear and concise timeline that lays out when media schedules will run, and when social posts and direct marketing will occur. This will help ensure that:

  • No holidays are missed or overlooked
  • Consumers have enough time to engage in giveaway contests user-generated campaigns (UGCs)
  • Holiday shipping times will be met
  • Any influencer marketing or sponsored posts can launch in a timely manner

When creating a timeline, the goal is to note down all of the important dates in the upcoming months that tie back to your specific campaign goals. Once these ideas are solidified, it will make it that much easier to begin brainstorming your campaign creative promotions, design and copy.

Even though you haven’t started dashing through the holidays just yet, your team may want to incorporate post-holiday sales into your calendar, as well. These stats from the National Retail Federation give insights on the prevalence of post-holiday shopping:

  • 58% of holiday shoppers expect to return or exchange holiday gifts this year
  • 3 in 4 shoppers say they’re likely to make a purchase when processing a return
  • 27% of holiday shoppers plan to use their gift cards the week after Christmas
  • 39% of shoppers, ages 18-24, and 44% of shoppers, ages 25-34, watch for post-holiday sales and promotions

Vans is one company that incorporates a post-holiday incentive into their holiday sales strategy. With their “Bonus Bucks” campaign, Vans offers a $25 coupon with every $65 purchase, to be used after the holidays. They also use this campaign during back-to-school shopping!

Vans Ad

Create an Overarching Multi-Platform Theme

Insights, goals, calendar. Check, check, check. You’ve made this list and likely checked it more than twice and now it’s time to come up with some amazing creative to bring the whole thing together. Once you’ve decided upon promotions that will cater to your target audience, you’ll want to create a unifying theme for each platform you chose. This creative direction will help separate your campaign from your other day-to-day social posts and give your ads a recognizable edge. Trust us, you’ll have a blue campaign without one.

We created a multi-platform campaign for our Hawaii-based client, Greenwell Farms, which offered customers free shipping on all orders. Streamlining the offer and creating a distinct look for each platform, we ran the promotion on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and in emails, in order to reach the popular coffee farm’s wide-ranging audience.

     Greenwell Farms Ad

Gather Assets for Your Campaign

Once creative concepts are finalized, original and eye-catching assets will help you “sleigh” your campaign. To keep your content varied, you can consider adding in the following to engage shoppers:

  • Motion graphics
  • Surveys or Polls
  • Video
  • GIFs
  • User-Generated Content (UGC)

The tactic you choose will vary depending on whether you’re selling a physical or digital product, but in either instance shooting new visuals or reframing previous assets will help give your campaign a new edge.


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Look ahead to brighter things. We’re gearing up for 2019 with resolutions for the most full-force year yet! What are yours? Tell us ⬇ Look created by @artistrybylottie with Glitter in Pink Hologram. #Regram

A post shared by M·A·C Cosmetics (@maccosmetics) on

Last year, MAC launched a New Year’s campaign to spark audience interaction, while promoting their products. Using a blend of both their own photography and user-generated content (UGC), they asked their Instagram followers what their New Year’s Resolutions were and then posted select responses as the captions on their pictures leading up to December 31st. This was a fun way to showcase consumer content and utilize their own assets to avoid shooting a brand-new campaign.

Track and Measure Your Campaign Success

The final, and perhaps most crucial step, in driving holiday sales home? Tracking and measuring your campaign’s success. You’ll want to make sure that each of your posts linking visitors back to your website feature a UTM, or “Urchin Tracking Module.” This form of tagging allows you to make sure Google Analytics is tracking your social traffic with utmost accuracy. As you move forward with your campaign, you can use the UTMs as a tool to keep track of how many sessions, or visits, and users, or visitors, each campaign post brought to your site.

You can also check and measure the analytics for each individual social site as another way of monitoring what’s performing best and providing the most impressions, organic reach and paid reach. Capturing all of these insights and transforming them into a report once the holidays are over and your fourth quarter sales goals are met can be time consuming, but it will help you analyze and store metrics to use for your 2020 campaign!

If you find the process of analyzing, creating or tracking your retail campaign to be frightful, we’d love to be of assistance. Discover all of the delightful capabilities that Orange Label offers, such as social media marketing, brand design and analytics, here.

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Founded in 1972

As Orange County’s longest-standing, privately held response marketing agency, we have witnessed dynamic shifts in the world of marketing. Through it all, we have ensured our clients stay at the forefront of communication and technology, driving response and value with every new endeavor.