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  • Marketing experts crack Christmas code and reveal how to generate last-minute festive sales 

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    While eCommerce businesses should have planned in advance of the festive season, it’s never too late to implement new tactics to improve a brand’s Christmas marketing strategy to generate last-minute sales before the New Year ends. We spoke to marketing experts to gather the top trends eCommerce brands should be taking advantage of NOW before the end of 2022…

    Digital PR 

    For eCommerce brands with Christmas discounts and deals galore, taking advantage of shopping journalists is a good way to generate last-minute coverage and referrals to your site. Mollie Haley-Earnshaw, Account Manager at Wild PR, highlights: “The festive season is the peak period for gift guides, with journalists covering the best gift picks from a range of brands and across various budgets. For the eCommerce industry, it’s important to maximise organic efforts to support sales of hero products.

    “Gathering the best discounts and products and forming a press release which covers off key details, such as product information, creating a bespoke media list and sharing this content with relevant journalists looking to pull together gift guides is a sure-fire way to place yourself in the festive online conversations before it’s too late.”

    Being reactive to the news agenda is another tactic eCommerce brands should consider ahead of the New Year. Communication experts at Wild PR recommend paying attention to the news cycle during the lead-up to Christmas, considering how you could comment on topics relevant to your eCommerce business.

    Twitter is also your best friend during this period. Monitor the #journorequest hashtag, and you can guarantee you will find an opportunity to get your business featured in the media.

    For example, an eCommerce brand that sells ethical products should consider commenting on how to be sustainable during the Christmas period, when the plastic and packaging waste produced is considerably higher.

    PPC 

    Integrated marketing agency, Fishtank, comments on the last-minute PPC tactics brands can take advantage of before the year ends. Fishtank highlight that the time between Christmas and January is called Q5 and is statistically the cheapest time to go big on social adverts whilst achieving outstanding results.

    Fishtank adds: “High-quality visuals, including images, gifs and videos, are key to success during the holiday season. With so much competition, make sure your brand stands out from the crowd.”

    Another PPC tactic to consider before year-end is reviewing past data. If eCommerce brands can analyse past performance and understand what worked best last year and what didn’t, this will help narrow down your focus and help optimise your budgets better.

    Fishtank also recommends creating bespoke ad copy and implementing A/B testing for various Christmas-themed messaging, ensuring that target keywords are mentioned in the headline and description to increase the relevance of the ad copy.

    Creating scarcity is another way to tap into last-minute shopping stress. In the PPC ad, an eCommerce brand should aim to emphasise fast shopping options paired with a product deal. Additionally, adding a timer to a display ad with a countdown to Christmas will help create a sense of urgency among consumers, encouraging them to buy.

    Commercial Director at Circus PPC, Ahmed Chopdat, expressed how important Q4 is for eCommerce brands. The paid media specialist commented: Push PPC as a key marketing channel as this is where you can get instant results. The one channel you can rely on to be able to manipulate to help make up for lost sales in other channels is PPC, so it’s essential that not only you have it switched on during the Advent period, but that it is appropriately optimised.”

    Content 

    Usually, when customers are browsing your site in December, they’re taking part in some last minute shopping. For some, this could be considered stressful. To make the user experience stress free, eCommerce brands should drum up content that provides concise information on the products they’re interested in.

    Examples include taking gift guide press releases and turning them into blogs, utilising user-generated content to drive campaigns to make them relatable, and making content shoppable; particularly on social media.

    When drafting gift guides and blogs for a site, eCommerce brands should ensure that they’re keyword-rich to boost organic traffic. Engaging in on-page SEO will help search engines understand the content of pages so they can provide shoppers with the appropriate results. User intent should also be considered when drafting copy.

    For example, if an eCommerce business knows its customers will be looking for inexpensive gifts or shopping last minute, then drafting gift guides with headings such as ‘gifts under £20’, ‘last minute Christmas gifts’ or ‘gifts with next day delivery’ would be catering to the users intent.

    Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a powerful tactic to get your online store in the spotlight. Many might believe that SEO only works when a strategy has been in place months ahead of the festive season, however, there are SEO techniques that can support last minute exposure.

    Keywords are key players in SEO, and are pivotal in bolstering eCommerce sales. Ideally, brands will begin to work on their Christmas SEO in the summer. However, while updating your online store with last minute  festive content, optimising landing pages, product pages, and blogs with seasonal keywords will assist in getting your eStore in the search results.

    Creative 

    Landing on a website during the festive season and seeing pages come to life with Christmas-infused branding is a great way to engage potential customers. Fishtank suggests: “Add interactive seasonal elements to your website e.g. a Christmas gift hunt or falling snow across your website, adding a Christmas hat to your logo, adding festive website banners that feature holiday exclusive discount codes.

    “An eCommerce brand could also add a holiday landing page that can feature exclusive holiday discounts and products for that season.”

    Social media

    Lastly, ramping up social activity is a foolproof tactic to undergo to generate those extra Christmas conversions. In December, potential customers love to engage with Christmas-themed content, such as advent giveaways and competitions and Christmas countdowns. To drive traffic to the site, it’s important to include a clear call to action (CTAs) with delivery deadlines, so it initiates a sense of urgency within the customer.

    Running paid ads across social media platforms should be another consideration for eCommerce brands. During December, shoppers will be looking for the best deals and information on the products, and by setting up social advertising, an eCommerce store will expand reach and target people at the right place in the buying process.

    Other festive social ideas include creating engaging visuals, utilising reels and video, incentivising UGC, and collaborating with influencers.

    Wild PR also highlights that engaging in off-page SEO with social media is an effective way to generate leads, yield brand exposure, and engage audiences. Using social media will support the reach of your new festive content and will encourage more clicks to the online shop.

    Ahmed adds: “Some channels, such as SEO, take longer to get desired results, so the earlier you have an idea of the messaging you’ll be using, the better!”

    Katrina Cliffe, managing director of Wild PR commented: “Online exposure doesn’t happen overnight, which is why businesses need to crack the Christmas code early and ramp up their festive marketing campaigns before it’s too late. Ideally, this would be done during the summer months in the first instance, but sometimes it doesn’t work that way. Ultimately, these tips are the fundamentals to leveraging that extra bit of festive exposure while you still can.”

    “If your Christmas strategy is already well underway, but you’ve forgotten about prepping for 2023, it’s time to get started. Before the end of the year, we really encourage eCommerce brands to tackle their large dev tasks, delving into technical SEO, optimising content and nailing your PR, social, and PPC strategies with the aim of getting ahead of competitors to kick off the New year.

    “Another quick win to take you into 2023 is offering first-time buyers of your eCommerce store a unique discount that only activates in the New Year. This is a great way to generate repeat customers.”

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    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien