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Planning for Christmas as a Small Business

‘Tis the Season to be Prepared

Is it too early to talk Christmas? If you’re a small business the answer is ‘no’ and, if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to put your Christmas marketing plans in place. Whether you are a retail or non-retail brand, it is important that your marketing activity addresses your customer’s changing needs and behaviour at this time of year.

There is plenty of marketing ‘noise’ in the months leading up to Christmas which starts earlier year on year. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported a 1.5% drop in retail sales in December 2017 following a stronger sales month in November. Does this reflect a shift in consumer consideration patterns and behaviour following the UK’s adoption of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday? Many observers think so.

As a small business, how can you cut through the noise to implement a relevant and, more importantly, effective Christmas marketing strategy?

Back to Basics – Be brand relevant

Make sure your plan is relevant to your brand. Some of the most successful Christmas marketing campaigns focus on the company’s overarching brand values and how these align to the core message of Christmas. Think John Lewis – from the launch of the big-budget ad, through to their accompanying website landing page, social media activity and themed gifting. Each touchpoint is carefully thought through and offers an inviting and cohesive customer journey.

Black Friday – Should you take part?

Consider how you want to address the rising popularity of Black Friday and whether it should be incorporated into your marketing strategy. The answer here is not always ‘yes’. Despite a whopping 91% of UK retailers taking part in 2017, many big brands shunned the American-export, including Marks & Spencer. Your Black Friday offering does not necessarily need to include huge discounts but, as a small business, time-limited incentives could feature.

Still interested? Black Friday 2018 will take place on 23rd November.

Online & Mobile – Is your website ready?

Last year, Google reported that almost half of all consumers planned to buy online. Furthermore, ordering via a mobile device rose to 49.7% in the UK. The importance of having a website that is mobile-friendly and easily navigated has never been greater.

Social Media – Let’s talk

Crowdtap revealed that 67% of consumers purchased a gift they saw on social media. Twitter went on to report that 62% of shoppers tweet about their purchases. Are you listening to the conversation and responding to posts that are relevant to your business?

Ask yourself how consumers will find you. Research relevant hashtags and make use of the latest developments on social media such as Insta Stories to reach a wider audience. Running a PPC campaign on your chosen social platform can be a cost-effective way of reaching a very targeted audience (defined by location, age, gender and interests).

Social Influencers can also have a big impact on attracting new customers and sales conversions. Are there influencers speaking to your target audience who would be interested in partnering with your brand in the lead up to Christmas?

Product Selection – Standing out from the crowd

Consumers are bombarded with gifting options this time of year. Can you offer an exclusive limited-edition piece? Make sure you understand fulfilment deadlines from your supply chain and ensure these are clearly communicated to your customers with last order dates for guaranteed Christmas delivery.

Non-Retail Businesses? – Time to reconnect & reward

Christmas is the perfect time to reward customers, incentivise employees and reconnect with prospects through hosting and gifting. Start your research now to ensure you can secure your chosen venue and understand order deadlines for the personalisation and prompt delivery of gifts.

Community events can help to raise your company’s profile within your chosen location and target audience through sponsorship and/or raffle gift donations.

Do you need help developing a Christmas marketing strategy, PPC campaign or updating your website? Contact our team to see how we could help.