Positioning your Business for Success this Christmas
2020 has been a strange and difficult year for most businesses, and with recent events it appears that we are going to have to live with a degree of uncertainty for the unforseen future. At this point, it seems clear that the pandemic restrictions as well as personal attitudes are going to have a big impact on shopping behaviour for the Christmas season.
Nobody likes to start thinking about Christmas in September! And with the year we’ve had, it seems even worse to bring it up now. But in marketing terms, it is essential to get ahead of the game. While we’re currently focused on getting businesses back up and running, or even back to school activities – it’s worth bearing in mind that Christmas is a huge business opportunity for most, and that good marketing requires good planning. Good planning needs to start now.
Knowing that it is probably not going to be “business as usual”, now is the time to consider how to get the most out of the months leading up to the Christmas period and to get your plans in place around that. We are here at ePresence and ready to help you with all your seasonal marketing planning.
Case Study : PersonaliseMe (Quarter 4, 2019)
See how we were able to increase revenues and improve brand awareness for PersonaliseMe (aka The Baby Shop in Wilton), a gifts & clothing company in Cork. Read our Case Study
Don’t be late this year
With COVID-19 having impacted so much of the business year, many small companies will be hoping that Christmas shopping can help them recover lost ground. However, a successful marketing campaign requires time and effort – if you leave it too late you will limit your chances of achieving results. In the current harsh economic climate, it is especially important to stay ahead of the game. By being proactive, and considering your business goals for the festive period early, you stand the best chance of ending the year on a high.
A few points to consider
1 – What are your goals for the winter season?
What were your goals last year? Did you meet them? What do you need to achieve in Q4 to make this a good business year? Breaking your goals down into a step by step plan now will help to ensure that you have the necessary building blocks.
2 – Are you selling online?
If you are not currently trading online, what can you do to give options to your customers for the Christmas season? Could lack of an online presence be seriously limiting your business’s potential? Lockdown has emphasised the importance of the internet like never before. Companies that have maximised their online offering have maximised their chances of doing well despite the pandemic. Although getting your business online can feel daunting, there are options that can work for most business – from a full online store, down to click and collect, email or whatsapp ordering, etc. You need to look at what is right for your business and your customers.
3 – Online considerations.
If you do have online trading capabilities, how can you optimise these for the Christmas season? For instance:
- Does your website look attractive? Does it convey the messages that you want your brand to put across?
- Is your website easy to use? Can customers find what they want and complete their purchase as swiftly and simply as possible?
- Does your website work well on both mobile and desktop?
- Does your website offer a full range of products and options for your customers?
- If you are a store, service, or restaurant, could you sell vouchers online?
- Do you offer adequate online help and support for website users?
- How can you make it easier for customers to get involved with your business and complete purchases? What could you do to go the extra mile? Perhaps you could offer a range of different shipping options; simplified returns; appointment bookings to lend that personal touch; a click and collect service; or even one-to-one video consultations?
- Are you regularly reviewing website analytics to see what is and isn’t working?
Small mistakes can have a very negative impact online. Things like broken links, 404 errors and dead ends can really turn customers off. On the other hand, improving usability and site structure and engaging customers through promotional tools can bring big benefits. This can be further enhanced by having clear calls to action and highlighting your unique selling points.
4 – Where can we find you?
No matter how good your website is, it becomes irrelevant unless people are finding it. So it is important to consider:
- Are you appearing on search engines? Under which search terms is your business showing? Are you near the top of the listings? Here at ePresence we can help you navigate the tricky world of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This can make an enormous difference. What online advertising are you doing? What else could you be doing? Are there things that competitors are doing that you could take inspiration from? A Google Ad campaign could really boost your sales through maximising search. For some businesses where people may research or browse for a while before buying, a good remarketing campaign could make all the difference.
5 – Plan your marketing campaign. Ask yourself:
- Do you have a specific promotional plan? What information about your goals and your customers do you need to gather in order to make an effective plan?
- Are there key dates that you would like to centre your campaign around (for instance, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or others based on your specific industry)?
- How effectively are you using social media? What plans do you have to promote your business through your social media platforms? There are now so many platforms, from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, through to Snapchat and TikTok. Do you know which ones your audience use? There are many creative ways to build your social media presence, from competitions to polls, videos to adverts.
6 – Tracking and analytics.
Do you have tracking and analytics set up for your website? This is fundamentally important for a strong marketing campaign, for many reasons. It will enable you to assess which marketing approaches deliver the best results, and which can be abandoned. In the current environment it is critical to get the best return possible for your marketing budget.
Analytics can also provide great insight into user behaviour – what pages/products are people viewing, where are they spending time and why are they leaving your site. These insights can fuel continuous improvement in your online presence.
7 – Brand awareness.
The lead up to Christmas is a prime time to start a brand awareness campaign. It is vital to ensure that potential customers know you exist and what you have to offer well in advance of their purchasing decisions. If you can enlarge your prospective customer base by gaining email addresses for a mailing list, or likes on Facebook, then when you come to advertise your products, your greater reach will deliver greater sales. Time really is of the essence here; the festive season is highly competitive, and those businesses that plan well ahead will be the ones who stand out from the competition.
8 – Website infrastructure.
Finally, your successful marketing campaign will hopefully lead to an influx of Christmas traffic. It is essential that your website has the infrastructure to properly cope with extra business smoothly and efficiently and that you have support that you can rely on when it counts most.
A stitch in time, saves nine.
Good marketing requires time and preparation. As you can see, in the online business place, there are many opportunities and a little planning can lead to enhanced results. There are so many opportunities to make the most of between now and the end of the year. Halloween, Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are all possibilities for trading and chances to promote your business. With efficient planning now, even small efforts can make a very big difference to your bottom line. Take the first step and contact us at ePresence. We will have a chat with you to understand your business needs, and then our team will help you assemble a strong marketing plan for the coming months. We’ll support you every step of the way, and give you the best options for how to finish the year on a high.
Get in touch with us today on +353 (0)21 2362901 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
John Brennan is director of ePresence Internet Marketing. He is an experienced management consultant, specialising in Digital Marketing, Business Development, Product Development and Innovation Management.
Owner/director of ePresence, John also lectures in Digital Advertising and Analytics at Cork Institute of Technology.
John has an Electronic Engineering Degree from Cork Institute of Technology, MBA from University College Cork and Executive Training at Kellogg Business School, Chicago.
Before setting up ePresence, John held various roles such as Software Engineer, Director of Engineering, Director of Product and Program Management, Vice President of Product Development and General Manager in world leading organisations such as Apple, IBM, Snap-on Inc. and FMC.
John combines his technology know-how, management experience and customer focus to help his clients achieve online success.