The holiday season seems to start earlier every year, making it challenging for business owners to know when and how to advertise for the holidays. The last two years have seen a significant shift from traditional shopping spree kickoffs beginning the weekend after Thanksgiving to shoppers getting a head start dating as far back as August in some cases.
Shoppers are shopping much earlier this year to get ahead of shortages and shipping delays, with 83% starting before Thanksgiving. Of that, 83%, 19% planned shopping in August or earlier, 18% in September, 22% in October, 24% in November before Thanksgiving, and 17% during Black Friday or later.
Here are the top holiday marketing tips to get your brand ahead of the competition and at the forefront of your consumers.
Don't Advertise Too Early
While shopping has started earlier, it does not end earlier! The optimal time to begin holiday advertising is mid-November to ensure customers have exposure to your deals ahead of the shopping season. Don't forget to follow up by ramping up ads in late November.
Of course, timing is everything and the timing of your holiday advertising varies based on your platforms. For instance, social media ads and email marketing can start earlier, in early November, whereas search engine, display, and TV ads should start later.
Keep in mind that while ads should start around mid-November, you should begin planning much earlier to be able to buy any necessary media in September. It will keep you ahead of the game, organized, and prepared for all the media, content, and strategies you will need. It will also help to avoid paying higher last-minute prices when you make your mind up too late.
Start Small and Increase Later
Your holiday marketing should increase and change messaging based on the time of the season, appealing to the excitement and relevancy of the time and picking up urgency as the countdown gets closer.
However, you don't want to only count on the final days of the holiday season to attract customers. The closer to the holidays, the more people will be too distracted with the holidays themselves to pay attention to many ads.
Your marketing should be most involved after Thanksgiving into the middle of December, with social media and email starting much sooner than that. TV commercials and display ads can let your target audience know what's available at the time, but social and email can be a great way to give consumers a heads-up about your holiday deals while they're debating their gift options.
For many consumers, shopping is a secondary concern, and there's a backlash against over-selling. It's easy to get wrapped up in the magic of the holidays and align your products/services with the same magic — but be careful!
When you promise your product or service to be everything and more, you can suffer consequences if consumers find out that isn't the case, including:
- Losing a lot of customers (even ones who may have been a fan of your brand prior)
- Losing consumer trust and credibility in the industry
- Making your product or service look bad, despite being of decent quality. If it's comparable to a higher-quality product but a little less quality for slightly less money, there's a consumer segment for you. However, saying you have something you don't have can take all of that away.
Stay aware of the tone of your messaging when making customers aware of offerings, making sure you're not too pushy to maintain a balance between the two. You can indicate that your product has value without suggesting it has more value than it does. You need to find your middle ground!
The Holidays Are Busy, Plan Accordingly
The holidays can get hectic for businesses and consumers. Get ahead of the rush by preparing for what's to come and planning accordingly. While we all know this is easier said than done, it certainly isn't impossible. With the help of a media partner, you can align your marketing objectives with a solid holiday campaign that will help you reach those goals.