Crucial Campaign Strategy for the Holidays

Having a well planned and thought-out campaign strategy for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the Holiday Season is becoming more important to eCommerce every year with more people turning to online shopping than ever before. Whether you’re a large company that works with an agency of record or, if you’re an entrepreneur looking to start planning your first campaign, below you will find a lot of helpful tips to make the process easier for your agency or in-house team.

DEFINE YOUR BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS BEFORE DOING CAMPAIGN STRATEGY. OTHERWISE YOU ONLY HAVE IDEAS, NOT STRATEGY.

Related: Gear Up Your Email Marketing For The Holidays

Planning, Planning, and more Planning!

Leave lots of planning time and create a critical path showing all your campaign milestones and hand-offs. This is very important with the more “moving” parts you have to your campaign, especially if you are launching a 360° campaign. This will ensure you can see the whole picture. For example: your teaser campaign billboards launch a week before your in-store promotion and site take over. Now, you don’t have to be extremely detailed but you should have a high-level timeline in mind and let your agency or talented in-house Project Management Team build the detailed critical path.

critical-path-gantt

By defining your business requirements for the quarter it will then help you then focus in your strategy to reach your goals. We will be using this information to evaluate if our campaign was truly successful and to see what we can improve upon for next season.

When writing your planning documentation you want to be as detailed as possible, this way it can easily be given to an outside agency as a brief, or to your in house creative/strategy team to develop solutions to meet your business goals.

Related: Best Email Campaigns from Black Friday Cyber Monday 2014

Strategy Tips and Tools

If you’re doing your own strategy, you want to be able to pull as much information about your customers and target market. Look for those little nuggets of insight that you can latch onto to help drive strategy. If you can identify something that could be blocking them from converting, you can try to use a solution in your campaign to help with that. You want market and consumer history, facts and trends to produce new and meaningful insights. There are many companies you can use, or if social media is really your main driver, I would recommend looking to an insight tool such as sysomos. You can see what people are saying about your brand across all social media platforms as well as research what they are saying – good or bad – about your competition. This tool is great for getting insights to help create your content calendars for social media, and your Community Managers can use it in their toolbox all year around. Tools like these can also help you locate influencers, which can then be leveraged for campaigns or you can have them to become brand ambassadors for your products/services to help get your products out there for the world to see.

sysomos-heartbeat-sentiment

Another great strategy is using A/B testing on your eCommerce sites and CRMs. You need to be testing your message! Simple testing methods can really help conversion without costing an extra arm and leg. Sometimes just a few small changes can help you see the biggest results.

Site takeover is a great way for merchants to either get sponsors on-board or even get exposure for your site. For example, if you want to have your content seen by a bigger audience of user you can always purchase a site takeover for websites like The Weather Network, where millions of people use it daily.

Don’t Forget About Design Synergy!

Whichever strategy you proceed with you need to have design synergy throughout your campaign and site so that you’re driving consumers exactly where they expect to go. Check-out my previous blog post if don’t know what to look for. Keeping this in mind will help you have consistent messaging across all the channels you’re promoting campaigns on. This doesn’t have to be the the exact same messaging every time, but it should still have the similar tone and call-to-actions.

Related: Holiday Promotion Creep: a Self-Defeating Strategy?

BLACK FRIDAY & HOLIDAY SEASON

For shopping Holidays like Black Friday competition is fierce, so a newer strategy stores have been implementing is making Black Friday a week-long event versus just the one day. This is a similar change we saw happen over the years around Boxing Day. You could have your biggest sales day limited to the day-of, but still have smaller everyday sales to push conversion and reinforce anticipation of a much larger sales event later on in the week. Proceed cautiously, we’ve found Promotion Creep to be a self-defeating strategy in some cases.

When you’re developing your strategy and campaign you must know who your audience is, and where you can reach them with your messaging. For example: woman make up 82% of Pinterest users, so if you’re running a Black Friday / Holiday Season campaign you want a larger presence on the correct social media and buying platforms.

A SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN WILL HOLD YOUR BRAND VOICE AND PEAK THE CONSUMERS INTEREST. IT’S A BALANCE OF STAYING TRUE TO YOUR COMPANY BUT ALSO ADDING THAT LITTLE EXTRA SOMETHIN’ SOMETHIN’

duty-free-blackfriday-takeover

Again by using your analytics from your eCommerce site, you can determine which products people are checking out and spending time on but may not be converting due to cost. If you can identify these, it will make it easier to figure out which items you can discount but sell lots of to make your margins.

If your business requirement is to keep users continually coming back to your site during the holiday season, one great strategy that has popped up recently is having each day bring a different product category or particular item on sale. Think of it as an advent calendar of sales! This can also be tied into a promotional experience through your site or social, where users can gather points/ballots each day they visit leading up to a large discount, grand prize, big purchase, etc. etc.

The goal with this type of strategy is to tease what the sales will be coming next without fully giving it away. This plays into consumer’s impulse buys. Depending on your business model you can have some really high value sales for customers that will expire after 24-hours. This can also be really great to push items that you typically have a hard time turning over in inventory during the season.

Creating bundles is another great strategy in your eCommerce toolbox. Bundles are a great way to help control inventory, and helps to give consumers the incentive to increase their purchases during this time period. This is also a great way to increase the average transaction amount or value across your site. Again, I recommend strongly that you check all your analytics to help guide you in the creation of your bundles. You may find that consumers are constantly looking at a group of items as they browse your site that might not be obvious to bundle together. This works great for example if your retail category is fashion, as you can then bundle designer outfits from your lookbooks for customers to buy with one click. Bundles makes it really easy for the consumer to get exactly the right look from your collection.

ALWAYS HAVE A POST MORTEM AFTER EACH CAMPAIGN TO CHECK IT’S ROI AND IF YOU ACHIEVED YOUR BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS

Holiday season planning is revving-up for merchants everywhere. You need to start your planning now to be fully prepared. Trust us, even the most seasoned professionals can get caught-off guard. Make the process of getting your campaign strategy ready for the holiday season easier for yourself, your team, or your agency. There are milestones you’ll want to hit year-after-year and with the right tactics you can make the busiest season of the year a successful one for your store and your customers. It’s crucial to keep in mind everything that could come your way at the end of the year, stay on top of your business requirements with my tips for your campaign strategy. Comment below if you have tactics you’ll be using for the up-coming season!

Related: The Little Big Things : This Time it’s Personal – Microinteractions