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Crush Q4: The Holiday Advertising Expert's Guide


A woman wrapping up Christmas gift in a red background.

As the calendar races through its first three quarters, there's an undeniable shift in the air when Q4 comes knocking. For all retail businesses, it's reminiscent of the grand finale of a fireworks show – the moment when all eyes are on the sky, and expectations soar higher than ever.


Why the hype, you ask? Well, Q4 is not your run-of-the-mill business quarter. It's the make-or-break, now-or-never stretch where every retailer is on a mission. It's the last hurrah, the final sprint, the ultimate showdown to rack up those sales and shatter those revenue goals for the year.


In reality, many companies treat Q4 like its own special time. It's when things get more intense, competition heats up, and the potential rewards are even bigger. Think of it as a season where retailers prepare for a big battle with a special budget just for Q4 and a sprinkle of holiday magic!


As we approach the end of the year, entering the fourth quarter and the holiday season without a carefully crafted plan can greatly affect your prospects for success. It's essential to emphasize the importance of thorough planning and preparation during this crucial period.


So I guess the question here is, where do you start?


Preparing for the holiday season boils down to several essential factors:


How To Prepare For The Q4?

A Christmas gift wrapped in silver in a blue background with silver ornaments beside it

Set Your Budget


Defining a budget is a crucial step in preparing for any advertising campaign. It means deciding how much money you want to spend on your marketing efforts. This budget should cover various things, like the cost of creative services if you don't have your own creative team, and your advertising expenses. Setting a budget upfront gives you clear limits and a plan for your campaign.


It's important to know that different advertising platforms have different costs. Some, like email ad banners, may need less money but might not work as well as platforms like Facebook or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. These can cost more per click but can give you better results.


Also, some platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, are great for image and video ads. When you decide your budget early on, you can plan what kind of content to make and where to spend your money for the best campaign.


Know Your Goals


Besides deciding on a budget, it's vital to clearly define your goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to track how successful your campaign is.


Your brand's goals can vary, such as making more people know about your brand or getting customers to consider buying your product. Your KPIs should include specific measurements like:


Views: The number of times your content is seen by your target audience.


Clicks: The count of users who interact with your content by clicking on it.


Impressions: The total number of times your content is displayed.


Reach: The extent to which your content connects with your intended audience.


Engagement: The level of user interaction with your content, including likes, comments, and shares.


Click-through rate (CTR): The ratio of users who click on your content in relation to the number of times it's displayed.


Conversion: The percentage of users who take a desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.


Acquisition cost: The expenses associated with acquiring each new customer or lead.


Align Your Promotions with Those Goals


When it comes to mapping out your promotions, it's crucial to align them with your specific goals:


Boosting Revenue

  • Offering limited-time discounts on high-margin products.

  • Implementing a loyalty program that rewards customers with discounts for repeat purchases.

  • Introducing upsell and cross-sell offers during the checkout process to increase order value.


Increasing Transactions

  • Running flash sales or daily deals to create a sense of urgency and drive impulse purchases.

  • Providing quantity-based discounts (e.g., buy one, get one 50% off) to encourage customers to buy more.

  • Launching referral programs that reward customers for bringing in new buyers.


Protecting Profit Margins

  • Using bundling strategies to sell complementary products together, maintaining individual product prices.

  • Offering value-added services or extended warranties with products to justify higher prices.

  • Implementing dynamic pricing strategies to adjust product prices based on demand and inventory levels.


Highlighting a Specific Product

  • Creating exclusive bundles that include the featured product along with related items.

  • Running targeted ad campaigns focusing solely on the highlighted product.

  • Providing detailed product information, user reviews, and demonstrations to showcase its value.


Careful planning and tailoring your approach to your goals can make a significant difference in your holiday season success.


Craft an Outstanding Landing Page, Not Just a Good One

A Santa Claus looking surprised at the camera

Landing pages are invaluable tools for boosting sales, especially during the holiday season. These pages are created to help convert customers for various purposes, including direct sales, email collection, market research, and lead generation. The most effective landing pages should offer a seamless and quick checkout experience.


When crafting your landing page, consider these best practices:


Simplify and Streamline


To boost conversions, eliminate distractions such as too many links, clutter, and competing offers. Keep your content short and sweet. Start with an attractive image, an irresistible call to action (CTA), and a noticeable "buy now" button. Be descriptive while keeping the copy succinct, as some visitors are ready to make a purchase immediately.


Optimize Page Speed


Your landing page should load in two seconds or less. Slower loading times can result in lost sales. Ensure your page is optimized for speed, and seek assistance if needed.


Utilize Multiple CTAs


Incorporate various CTAs with different messaging to appeal to different types of buyers. Your initial CTA can emphasize pricing or create a sense of urgency, while additional CTAs can focus on specific product features or establish emotional connections with potential customers.


Employ High-Quality Images


Customers are drawn to captivating visuals, so balance your concise copy with high-quality images. If you're selling a product, showcase it from different angles and feature images of people using and enjoying your product or service to help buyers envision the benefits. Use images strategically to avoid overwhelming the page.


Incorporate Video


A brief video can enhance the emotional connection with customers and create excitement or urgency. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a short video can convey even more.


Highlight Urgency


During the holiday season, manufacturing constraints, product availability, and shipping times can be unpredictable. Clearly communicate these facts to your customers, emphasizing scarcity and order deadlines. This instills a sense of urgency while managing customer expectations.


Link Landing Pages to Ad Campaigns


Integrate your landing page with your advertising campaigns to monitor their performance effectively. Install tracking pixels on your site and set your landing page URL as the final destination for your ads.


When connecting your landing page to your ad campaigns, ensure consistency in branding, messaging, and imagery to reassure customers they've reached the right destination.


Prepare Your Website for Traffic

A woman on her bed surrounded by gifts shopping online on her laptop

As previously discussed in this article, the loading speed of your website pages is very important. I’m sure you’re aware of how hectic malls become during the holiday season. From finding a parking spot amidst the frenzy of holiday shoppers to navigating through crowded stores and enduring long checkout lines – it can be quite a frustrating experience.


Now, imagine if your website offered a similarly frustrating experience to your users during the holiday rush. To avoid that, it's essential to get your website in tip-top shape for the expected surge in holiday traffic.


Additionally, unlike brick-and-mortar stores where customers are physically present and might tolerate inconvenience, online shoppers have countless options just a click away. Therefore, it's crucial to make sure your website doesn't push potential customers away because of a poor user experience during this important season.


Here's what you can do:


Speed Test: Run a speed test to ensure your website loads quickly. Slow-loading pages not only deter potential customers but can also harm your search engine rankings.


Discuss Capacity with Your Web Host: Talk to your web hosting provider about your server's capacity and estimate the incoming holiday traffic. If necessary, request an increase in capacity to handle the load.


Consider a Content Delivery Network (CDN): Implementing a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can enhance load times and provide a smoother user experience. Some CDNs even keep your site running if your server encounters issues behind the scenes.


Improve User Experience (UX): Ensure your website is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Check that calls-to-action and forms are easily accessible, and that the checkout process is seamless, efficient, and free from glitches. Everything should be intuitive and straightforward for users before the holiday rush.


Optimize Product Descriptions and Titles: If your website features product descriptions and titles, consider refreshing your keyword research. Incorporate relevant keywords that can help your products stand out to potential shoppers.


For instance, if you're selling gifts for kids, ensure your website reflects this in its content. Make sure any changes you implement will remain live for at least a month or two, and use paid media for promoting shorter-term promotions.


Messaging

A man smiling and thinking of a strategy for his holiday copies

Simplicity is key. In the holiday season, competition is fierce, not only for you but also for your customers. Everyone is vying for their attention, time, and money. Don't make them struggle to grasp the benefits.


Once you've defined your offer, consider who it's meant for and why it's valuable. Be clear about what's in it for your potential customers. Keep it straightforward.


You must craft effective messaging that will reach your target audience and convince them to make a purchase. Your messaging should be persuasive and in tune with the holiday spirit. You want to ensure that you don’t come off as too salesy.


One straightforward way to do this is by reflecting on what has previously been successful for you and expanding upon that foundation.


Get Ahead Of The Game

A person looking at data and pointing towards it with a pen

The secret to a successful November and December lies in getting a head start during September and October.


Every year, brands kick off their advertising efforts earlier, and that's because everyone wants to gain an advantage. Although it may seem a bit bothersome, that's precisely why we plan and initiate our campaigns early.


Here are the main reasons why starting early pays off:


  1. Advertising is more cost-effective in September and October compared to November and December.

  2. It's less expensive to target people who have previously visited your website.

  3. Advertising yields better results during September and October.


Now, let's take a closer look at each of these points.


Save on Advertising Costs in the Off-Peak Season


It's less expensive to run advertisements during the less busy times of the year. In September and October, there is less competition for ad space, so the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) is lower compared to the peak holiday season in November and December.


Now, you might wonder why more businesses don't advertise during September. That's because they often don't plan and prepare ahead of time. They're not ready to launch their advertising campaigns, so they end up having to pay more later on when the holiday rush begins. This means they have to spend more money to both target new customers and retarget previous visitors to their websites.


However, you can avoid this situation. You can start your advertising campaigns early, especially those aimed at finding new customers. By doing so, you can build up a solid audience of people who have shown interest in your products or services before the holiday season kicks in. This way, you won't have to pay as much later on when advertising costs tend to rise.


Retargeting Costs Less


Retargeting people is more cost-effective than finding new ones, which might surprise you if you're looking at your Facebook Ads manager. Even though retargeting can have higher CPM (cost per thousand impressions) and CPC (cost per click), it's ultimately cheaper for a couple of reasons.


First, consider how often your ads are shown to the same people. Even though the CPM might be higher, you're getting in front of the same audience multiple times. This might seem counterintuitive, but data shows that it's actually a good thing. People often need to see something several times before they decide to make a purchase.


Repetition builds familiarity, and familiarity builds trust. This is backed by something called the familiarity heuristic, a cognitive bias that makes us trust things more when they're familiar to us.


The second reason retargeting is cost-effective is the cost per conversion. This means the cost of getting someone to actually make a purchase, not just clicking on an ad or seeing it. Retargeting ads tend to have a lower cost per conversion, which means you're spending less to make an actual sale. And that's what really matters – getting a good return on your ad spend (ROAS).


Early Advertising Effectiveness


The effectiveness of early advertising might seem puzzling when most people aren't planning to make purchases until the sales frenzy of November hits.


The key lies in prospecting and engaging them ahead of time, particularly during September and October. By getting potential new customers to join your email list well before the holiday season, you have the opportunity to introduce them to your brand through a welcome flow or brand onboarding.


This early engagement allows you to communicate your brand's value and build a connection. You can address and dispel their concerns, doubts, and uncertainties effectively. By the time they start shopping, they've already become familiar with your brand, its values, and how it aligns with their needs and aspirations.


In contrast, if you only reach out to them when they're in buying mode, they won't have had the chance to get to know your brand deeply. They'll still be in the decision-making phase, trying to decide whether or not to make a purchase.


The goal is to shift their mindset from "Should I buy?" to "What should I buy?" Early engagement and browsing help facilitate this transition by allowing you to communicate your brand's unique value proposition more effectively.


Final Words


As you embark on this journey, keep these guiding principles close:


Approach each phase thoughtfully and engage actively. Embrace learning and adapt as you progress.


Don't delay until the holiday rush approaches. Start now to analyze, plan, and lay the groundwork for a prosperous year.


With these principles lighting your path, seize the opportunities before you and make this year truly exceptional. It's your time to shine. We wish you a joyful and prosperous marketing season!




SO, WHERE DO YOU FIND THIS PARTNER?


Well, aren’t we glad you asked! We at DigiCom are obsessive data-driven marketers pulling from multi-disciplinary strategies to unlock scale. We buy media across all platforms and placements and provide creative solutions alongside content creation, and conversion rate optimizations. We pride ourselves on your successes and will stop at nothing to help you grow.






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