8 Key Marketing Tips for the 2021 Holiday Season

The 2021 holiday season is nearly upon us. And, with the holidays comes a flurry of activity for retailers and service providers of all kinds.

The good news is that according to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast, holiday sales this year are projected to increase by 7% – 9%. In the report, Deloitte points to a consumer base that is eager to experience a normal holiday season and is willing to spend money in order to do so.

With pocketbooks opening back up and consumers ready to embrace holiday spending, businesses need to prepare by ensuring they are reaching the highest number of potential customers possible. The holidays offer an incredible opportunity to grow your reach and increase your end-of-year profits. But doing so will require a strategic approach to holiday marketing tactics.

The following eight key marketing tips will help you prepare for the 2021 holiday season ahead, allowing you to tap into the great potential of this end-of-the-year sales push.

1. Tighten Up Your Omnichannel Experience

The pandemic created a shift in how customers expect to interact with businesses. During the lockdown, consumers learned how to navigate communication and interactions across multiple channels. And, as they grew accustomed to this “new normal,” they began to shift their expectations around the experiences they had.

Today, customers anticipate a true omnichannel experience when they interact with businesses. They want to be able to reach out via social media, browse product catalogs online, and pick up items at a convenient location.

A great example of this is how grocery stores adapted during the pandemic. With customers unable to spend time in a brick-and-mortar store, grocers around the globe responded by launching websites, apps, and other online platforms to make it easy to shop digitally and pick up groceries either curbside or have these groceries delivered to the customer’s front door.

Regardless of what product you sell, make sure that you are ready to deliver a quality omnichannel experience before the busy holiday season kicks off. What that experience looks like for your business will have a lot to do with your specific sales funnel. But, for every business, it should include:

  • Multiple channels for your customers to interact with your team — think social media messengers, chatbots, phone calls, texts, emails, etc.
  • A seamless transfer of customer data — if your customer reaches out to your team via one channel, that interaction needs to be carried over into other channels. No one wants to go through the experience of repeating a problem or request at each new touchpoint.
  • A consistent experience — whether visiting your store in person or interacting with a sales team member online, make sure that your customers receive consistent messaging and that your brand is clearly identifiable.

Before you launch any marketing tactics this holiday season, make sure you understand your customer’s unique demands in 2021. This year will look a lot different than last year and most likely quite different from the years prior to the pandemic.

Do some research into your industry to look for key trends. Ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • What are my customers searching for this holiday season? For example, in the auto industry, the odds are good that many customers are concerned about inventory and are searching for reliable inventory data in the area around them.
  • Where are my customers starting their research? In most cases, the answer is going to be online. But make sure to take note of any industry-specific trends like an uptick in searching for apparel through Instagram or increased demand for live shopping.
  • What are my customers’ fulfillment expectations? In many cases, consumers have changed their behavior permanently regarding picking up orders or receiving shipments. Make sure you understand how your customers expect to receive products and goods to ensure you offer the right options at checkout.

The answers to these questions will help you design your marketing strategy, ensuring that you meet your customers’ needs this holiday season.

3. Build Out a Robust Set of Content to Deliver Value to Your Customers

The holiday season is hectic. Most people will be balancing family obligations, normal workloads, and extra social commitments.

During this time, one of the best things you can do regarding marketing is to provide fast, personalized value for your customers.

This is where the right content can help increase sales conversions. Rather than making your customers do all the hard work, build out content that will deliver immediate value, leading to sales.

For example, the busy 30-year-old professional who needs to purchase a toy for their nephew but has no idea what an 11-year-old boy wants is the perfect target for content that provides a quick list of your top sellers for pre-teen boys.

What are your customers’ pain points this holiday season? Learn them and find a way to deliver content that solves those problems efficiently.

4. Make Sure to Advertise Online Options

Along with their cheery outlook for retail spending, Deloitte’s 2021 holiday predictions include a projection that eCommerce sales will grow by 11% – 15%, year-over-year.

With so many consumers turning to the internet to make their holiday purchases, be sure that your holiday marketing campaign highlights your online sales options.

Not only should you be directing customers to your online options, but you should also be ensuring that your online storefront is easy to navigate and makes the purchase process simple.

There is no better time than right now to assess your online shopping system. You can do this through two methods:

  1. Test it out. Take your storefront and online shopping cart for a run. Do you notice any areas where it is difficult to navigate? How hard is it to finalize a purchase? Does your shopping cart work well on a mobile device?
  2. Run the metrics. Take a look at how your online storefront has been performing in the past. Do you see any trends in your metrics? For example, if you notice that 80% of your shopping cart abandonment takes place on mobile devices, it might be a key indication that you have some work to do with your mobile experience.

5. Prepare the Whole Team

The holiday season can bring a sudden influx of new customers to your brick-and-mortar location and to your digital storefront. With this increase in traffic comes an immense opportunity, but you have to be ready for it.

  • Make sure that your whole team is ready for the holiday season.
  • For your marketing team, make sure they have everything they need to kick off paid ad campaigns and set up meetings for weekly reporting on metrics.
  • For your sales team, make sure they are aware of any deals or promotions that your marketing team might be offering. This will help ensure continuity for your customer’s experience.
  • For your customer service team, make sure they are equipped with any extra scripts they need to keep things moving quickly and efficiently during an uptick in calls or chats.

6. Run Targeted Campaigns

If you currently run digital ad campaigns, don’t rely on those campaigns during the holiday season.

Make sure to set up specific, targeted campaigns for the holiday season. You will want to run ads that offer all of the following:

  • Holiday specific copy and imagery
  • Special deals and promotions for the holiday season
  • Product highlights that are relevant to the holiday season

Not only is it far more effective to run a holiday-specific campaign at this time of year, but it can also ensure that your metrics do not become muddy. During the holiday season, you should naturally see an uptick in sales. By keeping your ad campaigns separate, you can measure the effectiveness of your holiday campaigns year-over-year. This will be key in helping you learn and adapt next year.

7. Set Up Specific Benchmarks to Measure

As you enter the holiday season, make sure that you have set up specific benchmarks that you will measure throughout the season. These should be different from your normal monthly goals and should reflect the change in sales during the holiday season.

For example, if you sell pet products, you might set up a goal of increasing the number of new customers by X% during the holiday season. This metric could then be tied to a specific ad campaign you are running that targets an audience segment on Instagram looking for holiday dog gifts.

Make sure that every campaign you run has a specific goal in mind and that you have implemented the right instrumentation to measure your progress. If you have a marketing team running your campaigns, make sure to set up a cadence for ongoing reporting. This will also allow you to learn in real-time, adapting your strategy as needed.

8. Keep the Momentum Going with a Follow-Up Strategy

The holidays can bring a massive influx of potential new customers to your business. But, not all of these new leads will convert to sales, which is why it is important to keep the momentum from the 2021 holiday season going into the new year.

Make sure that you have a follow-up strategy for leads that didn’t close. For example, if a customer visited your website multiple times during the holiday season but ultimately abandoned their shopping cart with a few products inside, reach back out to that customer in January with a promotion.

Be sure to also follow up with customers that did make purchases during the holiday season. A simple thank you note sent to their inbox can go a long way in creating long-term brand loyalty. A month later, you might then follow up with an additional call to action, such as inviting them to follow you on Instagram. From here, you can begin to use these new leads to feed your ongoing marketing campaigns.

Get Ready for the Holiday Season with J&L Marketing

The 2021 holiday season looks to be a bright one. The only question is, are you ready? If you need help tightening down your marketing strategy for the holiday season ahead, our team is here to help.

At J&L Marketing, we are passionate about helping clients use digital marketing strategies to reach both new and old customers during the busy holiday season. From helping you set up holiday-specific campaigns to assessing your current online experience, we will work with you to ensure that you get the most out of this festive time of year. Reach out today to learn more and to set up a consultation with our marketing experts.

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