Marketing your eCommerce business for Christmas.

25th Nov 21

In the run-up to Christmas, every eCommerce business competes to attract potential customers. The earlier you start planning out your marketing campaign, the better chance you have of drawing more buyers to your online shop.

We take you through what your Christmas eCommerce marketing plan should cover. We will show you how you can go about creating a simple plan to promote your business over this period.

What should your Christmas marketing plan cover?

As with all retailers, you need to make sure you are properly prepared to take advantage of the busy run-up to Christmas holidays. Planning every part of your marketing is critical.

You really do need to cover everything you want to do. Think about any promotions or sales you want to run. You will need to decide when you want to send emails and who to. You will want to plan any content you want to publish on your social media channels and think through any website changes you might need to make. Then will come your advertising. Do you want to look at just local advertising or broader digital marketing – or a mix?

How to create your marketing plan

As with all plans, the starting point is your overall strategy. Define what your goals are in the lead up to Christmas. Consider how and what you want to communicate with your customers to achieve these.

The ideal place to start is to look at what you did last year – did you run any promotions? Did you send out emails? If so, when did you do it? Should you have done it sooner or later? How successful were they?

You want to decide on the key eCommerce marketing actions you want to take and when they will be most effective.

Audience

You are bound to have different customers pots. Have a look at those you might want to target, for example, the early, organised shoppers, returning customers, shoppers looking for unique and personal gifts or last-minute shoppers who might need fast delivery.

Marketing channels

You then need to plan which marketing channels will be the most effective way of reaching your different audiences.

Use emails to reach out to previous customers and encourage them to buy again.

Publish some blog posts about your more unique products (with the right SEO keywords) to attract shoppers searching for something different.

Paid advertising is a good way of drawing in new customers, so you will want to consider social media advertising or Google AdWords. You need to work out your budget for these options, then plan what advertising you can afford and for how long. Consider the objectives for each advertisement, particularly social media advertising. Think about what you want your customers to do and how to get them to that point in the easiest and quickest way. Make sure your social media shops are updated and priced correctly too.

Timing

Once you know who you’re targeting, you can work out the key dates to create your plan. The most important date will be your last order date for guaranteed delivery before Christmas, particularly with ongoing delivery issues this year.

Make sure you work back from each key date so you can plan out different targets for the coming months. These could include:

  • Early shoppers – late October
  • Black Friday/Cyber Monday shoppers – early November
  • Stocking fillers and small gifts – November/December
  • Last-minute shoppers (offering discounts to reduce Christmas related stock) – second week of December
  • Order deadlines – mid-December up to last order deadline.

So now you have specific targets, your channels and your timings worked out, you can create a marketing calendar of the exact actions you’re going to take and when you’re going to run discounts and promotions that fit in with them.

Within your plan, you will also need to decide when you need to make changes to your website, write any copy, ensure your images are updated and add discounts.

Next, plan your emails and blog posts to best promote your eCommerce business and relate these to the specific themes. This should also guide your social media posts and promotions. Make sure you share and promote your posts and offers regularly and consistently to reach your potential customers. As with most marketing, one post or a short promotion is unlikely to get you the results you want, so be prepared to repeat both.

Putting your marketing plan into action

With any marketing plan, you must be flexible. While you want to stick to the plan as much as possible and not let yourself get behind, you need to be able to move things around if something changes or the external environment changes, such as changes to postal times or the availability of courier delivery slots.

It makes sense to prepare some of your marketing in advance, plan and write your blog posts and emails now so that they’re ready to publish or send without taking too much time.

A quick and straightforward way to set up your eCommerce business marketing plan is to use a spreadsheet or an organiser like Trello or Asana – or just Google calendar. Add in your delivery dates, deadlines for content and as much detail as you need to. Online organisers like Trello make it very easy to build your plan simply and visually, and they will ping you a reminder if you remember to set a date for each task!   

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