For most businesses (hey, for most people), Christmas is normally the busiest time of year. But nothing is normal this year (*shakes fist at 2021*). Every industry, household and individual has been affected differently, so it’s hard to predict what Christmas during Covid-19 is going to look like. What does this mean for your Christmas marketing action plan? Will people still be shopping during a recession? Should you just write the whole thing off and start planning for 2022 instead? Here are our thoughts on the matter…
Should I wait and see if people are actually spending at Christmas time?
Christmas is still going to happen. It might involve more families gathered around Zoom than usual, and yes, potentially less spending from customers. But it’s also safe to say that we’re all going to need a bit of fun and frivolity this year. Taking a ‘wait and see’ approach with your Christmas marketing could mean you miss out on valuable opportunities to anticipate your customers’ needs.
Starting now means you’ll be able to stay agile, by building in time to run A/B tests, and optimise your campaigns once you see what’s working. It will also allow you to do some social listening to anticipate how your customers are thinking and feeling, and adjust your offering accordingly.
For instance, with purses strings tightened, it’s likely that customers will be more concerned with value than ever. Will you run any pre-Christmas sales, or partake in Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Particularly with the shipping and delivery delays that have been caused by the online shopping boom during Covid-19, shoppers will want to make their purchases earlier in the season to ensure they arrive in time. So, leaving it to the last minute to decide to run a sale isn’t going to cut it this year.
What can I do to make customers feel more confident about purchasing?
Do an audit of your digital presence to make sure customers can get all the info they need before making a purchase. A survey from Facebook shows that the number of Australian shoppers who message businesses about online purchases during the holidays has grown from 2018 – 2019.
Setting up a messenger bot or making sure your team are on-hand to field questions from customers will go a long way towards making them feel more confident about their purchases. As will making sure that your website is up to date with shipping and product information. This is also a good chance to make sure your conversion tracking and lead nurturing sequences are working nicely, so that potential customers don’t fall through the cracks in the busy Christmas period.
Can I take the same approach to my Christmas content as last year?
It depends on your business and offering. But we think it will pay to be sensitive, and put a little extra thought into your content this year. Is your Christmas content normally centered around groups of people gathering, hugging and having a festive ol’ time? Particularly for those in Melbourne, who still don’t know what kind of gatherings will be allowed at Christmas, that type of content could be irrelevant at best and insensitive at worst. It’s time to get creative.
For a while now, consumers have been increasingly concerned with the social responsibility of businesses. A recent study from Facebook showed that 26% of Australian shoppers had encouraged others to buy a product after learning about a business’ values or repsonsibile practices. So this year, focus your content on making your customers feel good about their purchase. Highlight the ways in which your business has had a positive impact, either before or during the pandemic. It’s also a great time for brands with an Australian-made product to focus on how customers can directly support their local community by buying Aussie made this Christmas.
Also think about content that’s going to take the stress out of purchase decisions for your customers. Could you put together a gifting guide showcasing gift ideas at different price points? How about video content or a livestreamed online shopping event to showcase your products in detail? This could help customers who might still feel nervous about visiting a physical store, but also want to make sure they’re getting a quality product when ordering online.
Can I give Christmas marketing a miss and just start again in 2021?
In a word, no. Evidence from previous recessions shows that companies that put a halt on their marketing to save costs in the short-term often end up being less profitable in the long term. Yikes. Even if you’re a service-based business who typically closes over summer, putting a Christmas or end of year marketing action plan in place could mean that you’re top of mind, and ahead of your competitors when things pick up again. It takes time to build an audience and nurture leads (particularly with customers being more conservative with their purchasing), so setting things in motion now means you’ll be able to hit the ground running in 2021.
In short? Yes, you need a marketing action plan for Christmas this year! Now is the time to start, because planning ahead will mean that you can be more responsive the roller coaster that is 2020. It’s going to be about thinking outside the box, and looking for ways to make your customers feel confident about their purchases, and setting yourself up to start 2021 off on the right foot.
If you need some help putting things in place for your 2020 Christmas marketing, our new mini strategy workshop is perfect for you. Just click below to book now.