Like it or not, as soon as the pumpkins are all packed away (and in some cases, while they’re still on display) it’s time for high street retailers to bust out their Christmas marketing campaigns.
It’s easy to festoon your shopfront with fairy lights and your shelves with gaudy red-and-green signage, but what about your digital platforms?
With the rise of internet shopping, online retailers are up against some pretty tough Christmas competition. A 2022 consumer survey revealed that 78 percent of UK shoppers now prefer to buy their Christmas gifts online – a significant chunk of the market that won’t be swayed by a bit of tinsel and in-store seasonal cheer.
This also makes things especially tough for businesses whose products or services don’t immediately scream “stocking filler!” right off the bat. If you want to convince shoppers that a handheld vacuum cleaner is THE best thing to find under the Christmas tree, you’re going to need to do more than stick a bow on it.
But never fear. Whether you’re new to Christmas digital marketing campaigns or simply jaded by previous failed attempts, we’ve got you covered.
No matter how unseasonal your online service or product may seem, we’re here to show you that where there’s a will there’s a sleigh...
Bit of a tongue twister, admittedly, but Christmas marketing collaborations are all about inclusivity and embracing the feel-good factor of the festive season. It’s a time for getting together and sharing stuff – food, gifts, warm hugs – and a collaborative Christmas campaign taps into that feeling of good will to all consumers.
One example of a successful Christmas collaboration is Budweiser’s 2017 Prohibition campaign. The company promoted its alcohol-free beer in partnership with the Department for Transport’s THINK! Initiative to encourage people to celebrate the season responsibly and not drink and drive.
Another is London-based designer Cath Kidston who, for the last few years, has teamed up with everyone’s favourite Christmas confectioner Cadbury's Roses to produce a series of limited-edition Christmas tins. These collectable keepsakes have proved a huge hit and there’s now a thriving market for them on eBay – even empty ones!
Ways to digitally get onboard the collaborative Christmas love train include partnering up with influencers that align with your brand values or other online businesses that share your client base but aren’t in direct competition.
One-off digital experiences or live Christmas specials are always a big draw, too. Morrison’s 2020 collaboration with Dua Lipa, which saw the singer’s hit Levitating feature in Morrison’s Christmas commercial, also invited fans to access Dua Lipa’s online streaming event Studio 2054 using a special discount code.
Morrisons marketing director Alex Rogerson said: “This is a feel-good campaign... It’s been a difficult year for customers and colleagues, so we want to do our bit to make Christmas special for them.” Awwww!
Christmas is the perfect time for making those you care about feel special – and rewarding your existing customers with exclusive, digital ‘gifts’ will make you as well-loved as Santa himself.
Email or social media is the best way to spread a little cheer through your existing client base. You can treat your valued customers to special Christmas product previews, gift-list inspired newsletter content, and exclusive discounts, offers, and Christmas ‘gift cards’ using promotional or QR codes.
Spreading digital rewards over the festive season using a countdown campaign approach encourages recipients to open and even anticipate to your emails and posts.
Much like opening the doors on an advent calendar, your Christmas countdown should culminate in an ultimate reward or gift, giving your loyal customers something extra special to look forward to on the big day.
Competitions and giveaways are always great crowd-pleasers. And if you do it right, you can generate some organic festive content for your social channels too.
Inviting photo and video entries for Christmas competitions is a fun way to get people sharing online, spreading a bit of viral cheer, along with news of your fabulous brand and products, of course.
Choose a theme that reflects your company, service, goods, or brand values and let so-ho-ho-ho-cial media do the rest.
Gifts that spread joy are the best kind of Christmas present. So, what could be better than an ethically conscious festive campaign that gives back to other people and the planet?
The Body Shop’s Changemaking Gift Guide is a great example of ethical Christmas gifting in action. It helps shoppers choose eco-friendly gifts that are kind to the environment and incorporate Fair Trade products that help its suppliers gain market access and invest in social and environmental projects that benefit their communities.
The Changemaking range not only uses recycled packaging and sustainable practices wherever possible. It also ensures everyone across the globe who’s helped bring it to market – from the farmers who grow the ingredients to the artisans making the products – benefits from lending their unique expertise.
It’s the stuff of Christmas miracles and the perfect way to promote The Body Shop’s message along with its festive products.
There are several ways to show how your product or service supports humankind and the environment, either through community efforts, infrastructure, or sustainability. And posting these feel-good stories online as part of your digital ‘share the love’ Christmas campaign is as easy as (mince) pie.
Even before Scrooge saw the error of his ways, Christmas and charity have gone hand in hand. It’s the one time of year when people are more inclined to think about those less fortunate than themselves. Supporting a charity at Christmas is the perfect way to encourage people to shop with you. It shows customers you’re a company that cares and gives everyone the opportunity to support a good cause.
Choose a charity that’s close to your heart and the collective hearts of your client base. This could be a local charity if you’re a small business, one that aligns with your sector or core values, or a charity that supports a cause your customers can identify with.
Online gift experience retailer Red Letter Days partnered with Children Poverty Action Group in 2021. The company donated 10% of sales from its Merry Christmas Gift Box to CPAG, which helps support families living in poverty – a poignant pairing given these children often miss out on enjoyable experiences.
One of the most straightforward ways to support a charity with a digital Christmas campaign is to donate a percentage of the profits from the sale of select products or services to your chosen cause.
Remember, people like to feel they’re making a difference by supporting a charity and video is one of the most emotive ways to convey this. You don’t have to go out and spend a fortune on making a John Lewis tearjerker, though.
Simply sharing a video from your chosen charity on your website or social will show your warm-hearted customers the difference their special charity purchase is making, like this one from Save the Children.
Still struggling to come up with a Charismas digital marketing campaign of your own? Give the expert team at Formation Media a jingle bell and we’ll deliver one to you, gift-wrapped.