How to Optimise Your Digital Marketing Strategy for Christmas in the Coronavirus Pandemic

Perry Pearcey Headshot

Perry Pearcey

14th October 2020

With Christmas creeping up on us as it always does, we have to accept that as marketers this year it has been a strange time for us all. With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting the whole world for most of the year, we’ve seen lots of changes in what we’ve had to do and indeed what we’ll be doing for the rest of the year, especially in the lead up to Christmas.

While you might not be feeling very festive at the moment, people are already doing their searching and shopping for Christmas online so we’ve put together some tips that could help you in the lead up to Christmas. 

Here’s our list of tips, quick wins and advice for your digital marketing leading up to Christmas 2020. 

Get The Most From Your Marketing Budget

Not all businesses have the kind of money that John Lewis have for spending on their Christmas retail marketing. With lots of companies tightening their budgets this year, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting the most from your allocated spend.

Social media is a powerful and largely free tool in your arsenal as a marketer. Keeping your social profiles active doesn’t cost anything except for time, which while still valuable isn’t going to eat into your budget. There are also tools out there like Facebook’s Creative Hub which is ideal for helping you to plan more interesting and engaging content to get the most from your time.

Brand building is absolutely key to people perceiving your company as someone that they want to buy from, especially in the wake of the global pandemic, and social media is perfect for engaging with your customers in the lead up to the Christmas period. 

If you don’t have the budget or resources to dedicate to a PPC campaign then email marketing is still an effective way of communicating with the market, especially to your existing customers who you want to retain or upsell to. With marketers seeing an increase of 78% in email engagement in a recent survey, now is a great time to be using email to sell your products. This is especially true if your business targets the millennial market, 73% of whom say they prefer their communications from businesses to come via email.

Do Your Digital Marketing Research

Of course, you already know that you need to do this - that’s why you’re here - but it can be a daunting task. However, it’s absolutely key to ensure that you’re researching your market and keeping up to date with changes in trends, the Coronavirus outbreak and how it affects you, online shopping, your customers and their needs, social media platforms and a host of other things which will help you and your business to thrive and prosper as we move into a key buying period. 

There is a plethora of tools and resources out there that can be used to keep you up to speed. Our SilverDisc blog provides regular digital marketing news and advice for you, but you can keep up with rising retail categories with tools like Google Trends, for example, which may help you to spot something that you’re able to offer or hadn’t thought about in the lead up to Christmas.  

The old adage of “measure twice, cut once” is just as applicable to digital marketing as it is to carpentry, except in this instance you’re measuring endless customer data and potential targets, while your ‘cut’ is spending your marketing budget. 

Look at New Audiences For Targeting

It’s always important to make sure that your marketing efforts are focused on the right audience, but even more so as online activity continues to increase during the Coronavirus pandemic.

50% of Baby Boomers (age 57-64) and 72% of Gen X (age 38-56) say they’re spending more time on their mobiles in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Further to this, 34% and 44% respectively say that they expect to shop online more frequently when the pandemic is over, so it’s safe to say that there is a much larger target market online for you if your business or products are geared towards shoppers of these ages. 

It might sound simple, but it can be a quick win for you to fix technical things on your adverts and product pages that these increasing users report as giving a negative user experience when they’re searching online. Simple things like increased font size on your adverts or product pages, or dedicated adverts targeting Boomer browsers could be the difference between a conversion and a bounce.

Talk About Your Covid-19 Experience as a Brand

It is impossible that you and your business have not been affected by Covid-19. Whether it’s with stock, staff, processes, or a host of other changes that have had an impact, we have to accept that we live in a different world currently - a world that may be changed forever.

However, this is a great time to engage with customers on a level that everyone understands - we’re all in the same boat, after all. The shared experience and challenges that Coronavirus has brought can actually be a useful tool when building your brand reputation. 

Explain to customers and potential ones what you’ve done as a company over this period. Don’t be afraid to speak about the difficult times and be open with everything you’ve put in place to support both your staff and your customers. People have shown increased confidence in brands who have positively handled the pandemic, so don’t be shy in sharing your story with the world. 

Social media can be your most powerful asset here. Don’t just write a blog post; use video, have staff speak about how you’ve handled the situation positively, try to leverage customer response if you can. In the age of Youtube, Tik Tok and Zoom we’ve all become attuned to video content creators and consumers. It doesn’t have to be a perfectly polished piece of art; keeping that candid feel can help you to get across the personality of not only you and your people but, importantly, your brand.

This approach can be particularly useful to smaller businesses who often rely on that more personal feel but even big brands benefit from the increased confidence from their customers by showing their human side.

Look at Local Targeting For Your Adverts

Local advertising is an easy way to not only display to core audiences but also to keep your marketing spend down in this prime purchasing period.

Geo-targeting adverts is an easy step and is absolutely key if you’re a business that only delivers a service locally or has limited physical locations. It can be a huge waste of your budget to advertise all over the country. Those funds could be better allocated elsewhere, optimising your overall spend.

With Covid-19 restrictions in place across the country, shoppers are less likely to visit a store and browse your products when looking to purchase. Google data reports that local convenience and availability has become a key priority for online shoppers, with 65% saying they will confirm an item is in stock before going to buy it. 

If you already have the function to display your stock levels online then make sure that you keep it updated in the coming months, especially if you get new stock coming into your stores. If you don’t have it then look at if you can implement it as soon as possible to help you to capture more of that local business.

With 67% of shoppers saying they intend to shop at more local businesses, it’s an ideal time to think about using geo-targeted adverts if you’re not already.

Prepare For Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday on 27th and Cyber Monday on 30th are on their way in November and these prime shopping days will be a little different this year. With Covid-19 restrictions in place, nobody is going to be sad not to see those videos of hordes of shoppers descending zombie-like upon retail outlets, but it is going to mean that more shoppers will be going online for their deals than ever, meaning that online retailers need to be more ready than ever this year.

Make sure that you’re prepared for these huge shopping days with some deals aimed at your customers. The zeitgeist of Black Friday has changed - it’s not just tech products like smartphones and tablets that fill up the product lists of sales for Black Friday anymore. Last year mattresses, coffee machines and Lego were among some of the top offers displayed over these days so it’s an opportunity for retailers of all kinds. 

Make a unique landing page listing the deals you’ll be offering over these days so it can be shared in advance to build interest. If customers know there’s something they’ll be looking for and they know you’ll be offering it then you’re already ahead of the competition. 

If you sell through Amazon then ensure that you’re prepared for the increase in traffic. If you’re making the most of Amazon Black Friday deals, you can really capitalise on your sales by considering something like free shipping or reduced costs on the day. Simple changes can make a huge difference in the competitive online shopping environment. 

Use your social media for promoting deals to your followers, using the hashtags #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday to help expand your reach. Offering unique social promotions throughout these days and leading up to them is an effective way to build engagement throughout this period. 

Customers will be looking for all sorts of products, especially as Christmas gifts, so as a marketer there is still time to ensure that you have some offers, adverts and campaigns in place to capitalise on these increased purchasing times.  

Reach Out to Experts

We all have limited time on our hands and sometimes it helps to outsource your time to an agency to help you manage all of the above, and more. This can be useful not only for smaller businesses that will often have more limited budgets and want to get the absolute most out of them but also for larger brands who may find that they’re branching out into unexplored territory and need support in their endeavours.

A good agency will collaborate with you and bring their combined experience to your business to drive you forward and get the results that you need to hit your targets this Christmas.

You can read more in our blog post “Why Use A Digital Marketing Agency” where we explore the benefits of outsourcing some or all of your digital marketing to a team of dedicated experts. It could be the difference between hitting your targets and not in 2020 and beyond.

If you would like to speak to us about any aspect of your digital marketing don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to see how our team of strategists can help you to achieve your business goals.

Free eBook For Online Retailers

Download our Navigating the Biggest Challenges for Online Retailers eBook now for insights into AI and Machine Learning, Personalisation, Automation, Voice Search, Big Data and more.

Download eBook

Like What You've Read?

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to receive our latest blog posts and our take on the latest online marketing news