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Last-Minute Christmas and Holiday Season Marketing Tips for Retailers

With less than two weeks until Christmas, we’ll wager there are still a lot of mobile marketing teams asking themselves if there’s anything more they can do to boost their holiday sales – even at this late stage. Well, guess what? The answer is a resounding yes, and we’ve got you covered!

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You know the Big C is just around the corner when you start seeing trees light up the neighborhood and hear “Last Christmas” and “All I Want for Christmas Is You” ringing out of the doors of every store on a seemingly never-ending loop.  

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But although Christmas is so close and the holiday season is in full swing, it’s never too late for some last-minute tips to make sure you’re on top of your Christmas marketing game. 

So, grab a few mince pies, get the team around the table, and run through the tips below – we’ll bet there’s something you can quickly implement that’ll ensure you’ll have the best Christmas yet. 

Tip # 1 – Help last-minute shoppers  

There are those (really annoying) people who have their Christmas shopping done by the end of July. Then there are those who manage to leave it until the very last minute despite best intentions. Last year, the largest increase in eCommerce sales was on December 23rd. An increase driven largely by the fact that the brands we shop with offer next-day delivery.  

Bottom line? It pays to keep campaign momentum going until Santa’s preparing to wind down by the fireplace with his mince pie and sherry. Here are a few quick ideas to capture those late to the party:  

  • Run a push campaign promoting printable gift-cards  
  • Post last-minute gift ideas across your social channels  
  • Push hard on best-selling items, and if you’re offering next-day delivery, shout about it!  
  • And go all-in on your location-based marketing efforts to capture shoppers out pounding the pavements and frantic to find that special gift for their mother-in-law  

Pro tip: This is the perfect time to ship a location-based campaign that hits your customer’s smartphones when they’re near your store. Think “Top 3 gift ideas that are waiting in store for you NOW (we’ll even wrap it for you)!”, “This holiday’s best-sellers – with a 20% discount on everything if you visit us in-store before the end of the day”, or “Grab a gadget for grandad in-store, and bag a free mystery stocking-filler for the kids.”  

You get the idea. Create that all-important sense of urgency, make it easy, and make it compelling!   

Tip # 2 – Make merry on social  

When it comes to the holiday season, most of us turn to our social media feeds to source gifts, hunt for bargains, and partake in some good ol’ holiday cheer. But while selling across your social platforms will undoubtedly be a big focus, some of the best Christmas campaigns over the years have been those that lean towards creating connections and building community in the run-up to the big day.  

Not only does this build a sense of involvement and fun among your customer base, it’s also a great way to capture a new audience, introduce them to your business, and (if you’re doing it right) encourage them to stick around.   

There are a ton of ways you can do this:  

  • First things first – make sure your page looks festive! (See Tip #2)  
  • Run a Christmas Giveaway or competition that gets everyone involved (caption competitions, awkward Christmas family photo competitions, best Christmas decorations, a Christmas cocktail competition etc.) – and make the prizes worthwhile (the more shareable, the better!)   
  • Remember to use DDLs (Deferred Deep Links) to capture the audience that doesn’t have your app  
  • Run a Christmas Countdown with a daily time-sensitive product offer  
  • Post a humorous Christmas Checklist and invite followers to chip in  
  • Run a first “Merry Christmas” post on the big day itself – the first follower to post Merry Christmas wins a big Christmas prize 

And, of course, your social channels are the perfect place to connect and communicate directly with customers to answer any questions they may have about your products and services, so be present (no pun intended)!  

Tip # 3 – Sprinkle a sense of urgency  

Customers are far more likely to purchase when there are consequences for missing out on Christmas deals. Creating a sense of urgency throughout your mobile campaigns is a quick and easy way of capturing customers feeling the pressure of the Christmas shop. So, go ahead and plump for a “12-days-to-Christmas” countdown, an “ends-at-midnight!” cut-off for your bargains, or a specific timeframe during which holiday shoppers can redeem your offers. 

You’ll also want to sprinkle your campaigns with strategically placed FOMO copy. We’ve all received push messages like “Only 5 more in stock”, “App-only BARGAINS! ” and “Buy before it’s GONE!! ” simply because they work. And don’t be afraid to get liberal with the exclamation marks and capital letters at this time of year!  

Make sure you include all of the above in all your campaign creatives for the jolly season. If it looks urgent, shoppers are far more likely to pay attention. Bright colors, sparkles, and flashes can be distracting, but they’re also very effective at creating a sense of urgency and compelling a purchase. So, you have our permission to go wild with red and green!  

Tip # 4 – Add some sparkle  

Every mobile marketer knows that the most successful campaigns rely on creating an emotional punch – and never more so than during the “most wonderful time of the year” (why do you think there’s such a fuss when a big brand releases its big Christmas ad?)! So, although it seems like a no-brainer, it’ll pay to ensure your app is pimped up to the nines in terms of eliciting a festive look and feel. Never underestimate the feeling of warmth, nostalgia, and overall good vibes that a sparkly, warm landing screen can elicit!  

“Christmasing” up your app’s icons and color themes (gold/white, red/green) or your app-store listing is a great place to start – the same goes for your campaigns. Whether it’s a touch of sparkle, a jingle of bells, or a sprinkling of snow, your push and SMS campaigns at this time of year need to hit the sweet festive spot your audience is looking for – and expects. The good news is that these are relatively easy updates to implement and could pay dividends between now and the big day.  

 Tip # 5 – And demonstrate your app’s value beyond the holiday season  

It’s a sad fact of marketing life that most customers who make a purchase from your store during the holiday season won’t return once the festivities are over. But hanging on to these customers matters. Acquiring a new customer is between five and twenty-five times more costly than retaining an existing one, and selling to a customer you already have has a success rate of 60-70%.  

It’s time to think about how you’re going to woo these Christmas shoppers and convince them you’re not a one-hit-wonder:   

  • Offer perks and rewards to first-time Christmas shoppers, think of extra points on your rewards program or extra discounts to use in your January sale  
  • Offer shipping deals throughout January when they’ll be back to spend these rewards and coupons  
  • Send them a push or SMS with offers on related products  
  • Give them incentives for liking and sharing your festive content across social media  
  • Invite them to sign up to receive info on special offers, or to VIP in-store events, and win-big competitions  

And before the Christmas tree’s down and the sherry’s back in the booze cabinet for another year, it’s a good idea to run a holiday wrap-up campaign that primes new customers for the big deals you’ll have coming down the pipeline early in the new year. This keeps everyone engaged, builds a sense of anticipation, and ensures you’re on the hit list when the whistle blows at the start of sale season.   

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  

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Bob Lawson

Bob Lawson is Director of Mobile Offerings at Optimove. He joined Optimove early in 2022, when it acquired Kumulos, the company he co-founded. Kumulos was a market-leading Mobile and Web Messaging Platform serving a broad range of industries. Bob has spent more than 18 years in technology, particularly Mobile MarTech. He has held commercially facing roles in start-ups, scale-ups, and large enterprise businesses, particularly in Mobile Technology. Before working in the Tech space, he spent 15 years in Financial Services, most recently as Marketing Director of one of Europe’s largest Fund Management Companies.