11 Steps to Create Your Best Ever Holiday Marketing Campaign

November 8, 2016 Emma Cullen

Christmas and Black Friday are just around the corner, which marks the busiest season for many businesses. But if your marketing campaigns aren’t quite ready yet, or if you haven’t even started planning them yet, don’t worry! Just follow this step-by-step guide, which will help you to plan and execute your holiday marketing campaigns as quickly and smoothly as possible!

1. Set your goals

As with any digital marketing campaign, setting goals before your start is important. Goal-setting is essential as it allows you to see if your campaign was actually a success and why. Plus, if your campaign is a success it gives you something extra to celebrate at the office Christmas party!

When setting goals, find a balance of keeping them tough but achievable, and make sure they are very clear. Following a SMART goal template can be an effective way of setting goals for your campaign.

2. Set up tracking and analytics

Making sure that you have your analytics in place is a crucial step in your holiday campaign planning process. If you don’t track your campaigns you will not be able to measure their success or be able to optimise them once they are launched.

There are a number of different ways you can track your holiday campaigns. For example, you can use tools such as Google Analytics to see how much traffic your campaign is generating. But there is a whole range of tools out there which are designed to track whatever metrics you have identified in the first step.

At BannerFlow we use a combination of Google Analytics, Hubspot and other tools to track the success of our campaigns. We focus on a number of different metrics that focus on driving traffic to our site and content, engaging with visitors and generating interest in our solution.  

3. Decide on your target audience

Now that you’ve gotten some of the groundwork done, it’s time to dig into the campaign planning itself. A good place to start is deciding on who your campaign is for, i.e. who do you want to market and sell to?

Once your buyer personas and target audiences have been mapped out, you can start to build the campaign around them. If you haven’t done this already then it’s time to dig into any data you have about your customers and target markets to start building different buyer personas.

Once you have these personas in place you will be ready to start creating relevant offers for them via your holiday campaigns.

4. Plan your offers

Now that you have done your research it’s time to plan your offers. What you offer will depend on the type of industry your company is in. Whether this is discounts, free delivery or something entirely different, your offers should be well thought out and be relevant to your target audience. 

5. Create display ads

It’s time to start creating the display ads that will be included in your holiday campaign. When creating your banner ads make sure that you follow the basic principles of design, copy and conversion.

Use relevant imagery that viewers can relate to Christmas or other holiday events. If you are running campaigns in different markets make sure that you not only translate your banners into different languages but also use images that are relevant to the different holidays in different regions to make sure that you are creating the most effective ads, which will have the highest chance of converting.

Creating display ads doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. We use our own solution, BannerFlow, to design, create and manage our display advertising campaigns. 

6. Building landing pages

Now that you have a great set banner ads with your chosen offers on them, you need to make sure that you have a great page for your users to land on when they click your banner ad.

In many ways building a great landing page is very similar to building a great banner ad. You need to make sure that your design looks good, your copy is crisp and your call to action is clear. At BannerFlow we work closely with our design and UX team to make sure that our landing pages not only look good but also convert well.

One key thing to remember is that the content on your landing pages consistent with the content on display ads you have created. This will give the user a better experience because they will know exactly what they are getting when they click on the ad.

7. Create your emails

Next; emails. You shouldn’t neglect your current database full of customers and potential customers; email them to inform them about your holiday campaign

When you start to plan your emails, make sure you check out examples that will inspire you to create your best holiday campaign yet!

When we email our own database we always make sure that we segment people based on different factors and only send out offers and marketing communications to those who it will be most relevant for.

We do this for two main reasons; firstly, we want to offer our customers and contacts the best experience possible rather than just spamming them with irrelevant information. Secondly, we know that our campaign performance will be greatly improved if we only send relevant content our contacts. We use Hubspot to segment our database and send emails.

8. Create blog posts and other content

If you are like us, then you probably create content to accompany your marketing campaigns. The majority of our content are blog posts, but depending on your industry your content may be video based or interactive.

When creating your holiday content, there are some things you should keep in mind. Make sure that your content contains a relevant Holiday message, adds value and includes an emotional aspect. One great example of Holiday content that has emerged in the past few years has been the TV and online video ads that major UK retailers have been releasing. These videos are more than just ads, as they are not just showing products and prices, but rather, are valuable and entertaining pieces of content in their own right.

Creating content that supports your campaign can be a creative way of engaging users and help them to make the decision to purchase. 

9. Schedule social media posts

From one type of content to another, let’s talk about social media. Don’t forget to schedule your social media posts before your campaign launch! By scheduling your promotional posts beforehand, this means that once your campaign has been launched you can focus on following up on any messages from your followers and optimising your marketing campaign.

During Black Friday and the Christmas holiday season, social media can also be used very effectively to let your audience know about important dates such as final shipping dates before Christmas or any special events you might be holding during this season. 

10. Launch your campaign

Now that everything in place, it’s time to launch your campaign by publishing your display ads, sending out your emails and activating your landing pages! Before you launch, make sure that everything is ready by checking through all the different components of your holiday campaign. Send out test emails to your team and get someone to double-check your landing pages and text, and make sure everything looks good on mobile too!

11. Measure and optimise

Once your campaign has been launched, it’s time to start monitoring your campaign progress and making changes to improve performance where needed. You should be able to access all your data easily, as you should have set everything up in steps 1 and 2.

By monitoring your campaign from the moment you launch, you will be able to see if you are on track to reach your goals, this will also mean that you can optimise your campaign in real-time. Use this opportunity to A/B test your display ads and landing pages to make sure you’re always putting the best and most effective content in front of your audiences.

For example, if you see that your display ads have a low click-through rate, or you need to change some information on your ad, with BannerFlow you can easily update your banner ads, even when they are live. You don't need to republish either, as your updates are applied in real-time.

You can also use social media to start marketing in real-time which allows you to take advantage of any changes in the market or unexpected events, just like Oreo did in their Super Bowl Campaign a few years ago.

By optimising and measuring your campaigns from the start you should be able to maximise their success, and when the final numbers come in it won’t be a surprise, and you will know exactly how you reached your goals. Then you can replicate this successful formula in the future!

Conclusion: End your year with a bang!

So there you have it, the easy way to prepare, create and launch your Holiday campaigns! You can make your campaign creation process even smoother by using the right tools. Totally transform the way you are working with display advertising with BannerFlow and make it faster, easier and better. If you want to make sure that your display ads convert and generate more customers, download our ebook that's filled with information and practical tips. Your Holiday campaigns may very well be your last marketing campaign of the year, so make it your best and go out with a bang!

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