For many brands, Christmas is the most crucial sales period, with between 50% and 80% of total sales often generated in these last few weeks of the year. That also means every year, brands should create strategic Christmas marketing campaigns to increase their holiday turnover and boost brand awareness.
However, Christmas 2022 will be a bit different from previous years. Due to Covid-19, consumers’ behaviors have changed, and any new habits formed at this time are likely to shape trends for this season and beyond. How can brands overcome these new challenges and boost sales during the holidays this year? If you’re looking for answers to this question, we’ve got you covered.
In this guide, we’ll provide useful advice from marketing experts to help you create an effective Christmas marketing strategy for 2022. We’ll also include practical tips just in case you need some inspiration or want to try something new.
Excited? Let’s jump in.
9 Tips to Ace Your Christmas Marketing in 2022
1. Understand Consumers’ Changing Behaviors
When it comes to Christmas marketing, we often look at what we did last year, jot down what worked, and use those consumer insights to develop marketing campaigns for the upcoming holiday season.
This approach isn’t necessarily wrong, but before you make any decisions for Christmas 2022, there’s something important you should first explore: the way consumers are shopping online.
The pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives, and consumer behaviors are no exception.
A recent Facebook survey found that changes in shopping behaviors are popular, especially among Gen X and Boomers, with 80% shopping online since Covid-19 happened. Almost half of the respondents expressed that they would be inclined to shop online more frequently even after the outbreak is over — with the highest percentage being Millennials at 45%, followed by Gen Z at 44%, Gen X at 42%, and Boomers coming in last at 34%.
In another survey, Numerator found that 73% of consumers “expect Covid-19 to impact their 2022 holiday celebrations”, with 38% expecting the impact to be “moderate or significant.” Furthermore, about 80% of consumers reported that they plan to shop online for Christmas gifts in 2022 — something brands should keep in mind.
Because of these changes, Steven Lord, a Marketing Manager at Digital Next Australia suggests that businesses should “use historical data with caution.” He continues, stating:
"Data is one of the critical tools in your commercial artillery, but it’s going to be a lot more useful alongside other insights - cultural trends, ethnography, demography, and behavioral studies, to name a few.
"Of course, historical data will tell you that Black Friday and Christmas are going to go gangbusters. But insights will tell you that consumers have been spending big all year, are facing financial uncertainty, and that one-off spending occasions are not receiving much traction — globally.
"So, invite your data insights and business intelligence team to the meeting, but don’t forget to bring a sociologist too."
So, to craft your 2022 Christmas marketing plan, keep yourself updated on the latest news with brand reports, consumer surveys, and holiday trends and you’ll be in a good position to better understand your potential customers’ mindsets.
2. Start Early & Make It As Easy As Possible
If you haven’t thought about your plans for Christmas 2022, you should get moving. Otherwise, you’re sure to be left behind.
According to Pinterest’s 2020 Holiday Guide: "When you reach people first where they make their plans, they’ll reach for you first when they make their purchases."
So, when it comes to holiday marketing, here is a rule of thumb: Start planning early. The sooner you think about your Christmas campaign strategy, the more of an advantage you’ll have.
Specifically, you’ll have more time to:
Analyze historical performance, target audiences, industry trends, etc.
Brainstorm ideas with your team and run A/B tests to discover what works best
Keep up with changes in the market and make necessary adjustments
Ensure you’ll have the most profitable Christmas sales ever by preparing in advance
To ensure you have enough time and resources to perform all these tasks (and more), you should start planning your holiday marketing as soon as possible. And, as Karyn Parkinson, the Director of Unstoppable eCommerce, suggests — keep up the communication.
“Christmas is a hectic time of year and no doubt will once again see shipping delays. Keep your customers up to date with expected lead times and prompt them to buy early to avoid disappointment.
“If things go south and packages get delayed, contact your customers before they contact you. This way you’ll impress them with your service and prevent things from heating up.”
And Karyn’s second tip? Make gift giving as easy as possible:
“Make it easy for customers to shop for their friends and family by offering beautiful gift wrapping and hand-written cards. This way they can purchase from you and have you ship their gifts directly.
“This is a huge incentive for the millions of last-minute shoppers out there. You’re saving them time and effort, and they’ll be more than happy to pay for the convenience.”
Source: For Dignity Website
3. Optimize Your Website for Conversions
Decorating your website for the holidays could be a crucial part of your Christmas marketing strategy. Why? Because decorations with colors act as visual cues, evoking a warm and fuzzy feeling for visitors when they land on a website — and that’s what people crave.
Give it to them and they’ll be more inclined to remain on your website and buy their holiday gifts in your brand. For example, you can make your homepage all about Christmas, as Pandora does:
Source: Bulldog Digital Media
Or, learn from Arbonne and create your own gift guides. Remember, not all shoppers know what they want — some need guidance to navigate the online experience, regardless of generation. Arbonne does a great job of providing shoppers with an attractive, festive landing page full of options sorted by price, as seen below.
Source: Arbonne Holiday Collection
You can also add a Christmas tab to the menu header so shoppers can see it right away when they land on your website. This makes it easier to navigate and find what they’re looking for.
Pro Tip: Remember to do your best to make online shopping feel like real-life shopping. Provide clear information about payment methods, delivery/returns policies, product quality, etc. In doing so, you can help consumers feel more comfortable and confident when making a purchase from your brand in 2022.
4. Create a Real Reason to Buy With Deals and Offers — But Don’t Go Overboard
This year, consumers seem to be ramping up their Christmas shopping budgets. According to the survey data from Numerator, 59% of consumers plan to spend over $200 on Christmas purchases — that’s the highest of all holidays.
However, you should still make the best of this increased budget and reel potential consumers in with great deals and offers this year. Keep in mind, 89% of consumers do expect inflation to impact their 2022 holiday shopping, so they’ll still be looking for good deals.
When creating your Christmas marketing plans, ensure that you’re providing consumers with real incentives to buy from your brand. For many, this can be achieved by providing a discount, promo code, free shipping, or anything valuable to potential customers.
For example, last year, Jurlique presented customers who spent over $120 or more with a limited edition Jurlique Christmas candle — an attractive offer for those considering shopping with the brand.
Another way to incentivize shoppers is to create bundles or specialized gift baskets that allow them to test out more of your products. For example, if one product is a best-seller, but you’d like to introduce consumers to your other offerings, consider taking a page of our Stonewall Kitchen’s book with their 2021 “Favorite Flavors Gift” basket.
Source: New York Post
By offering up a bundled gift basket with an array of products, you can entice consumers to try out new products that, perhaps, they hadn’t previously considered.
In the words of Katt Srinivasan, the co-founder of SneakQIK:
“You need to stand out from the crowd, as everyone's going to be marketing big.
“Consumers expect big discounts, so don't think you can get away with a modest discount. You need to attract customers and drive sales. Not drive customers away. So get your big discounts out. If you can't, just being a non-participant will earn you better respect.
“The best thing to try this year is to promote something very special that's never been done before. And keep it for a very short time as a sense of urgency together works well.
“Besides remember, to expand your channels and collaborate with your partners to leverage their traffic as well maybe even a special exclusive discount just for them.”
This year, consider new, creative ways you can offer consumers value when they purchase from your brand, as it’s a great way to set yourself apart from the competition.
However, Karyn Parkinson warns brands not to go overboard with their sales, stating:
“Q4 is a busy time for eCommerce, there’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then Boxing Day.
“If you run a sale for each, then you’re basically going to be on sale for 2 months straight. This can tarnish your brand and teach your customers never to buy anything full price. The last thing you want is for a customer to wait because they know that you’ll have a sale soon.
“Consider running one main sale during Q4 and, then you can have smaller promotions throughout the period, such as free shipping.
“When you do have a sale, be sure to clearly communicate with your customers that this will be your last or biggest sale of the year.”
5. Create Buyer Personas for Your Christmas Campaign
In 2022, you can’t afford to be shooting blind with your holiday campaigns. You need to know exactly who it is you’re targeting.
In the words of Ebony Vaz, the CEO of Above Promotions: “Knowing your customer is the number one priority in creating a marketing plan for your business, whether it’s the holiday season or just the ordinary days.” Ebony goes on to explain:
“You should be able to create different buyer personas to identify who is your ideal customer, and who is not your customer. You can craft better stories and sales pitches when you know your customer profile and what makes them tick.
"If you know your buyer personas, you can set up more effective parameters for your online ads, thus, yielding a higher ROI.
"Persona + Persona’s Interest + Persona’s Preferences = Higher Conversions”
Ebony was kind enough to provide us with some incredibly helpful checklists and tips for marketers to use this year when setting up their Christmas campaigns. She stated:
“You should have the following:
Basic Marketing Channels
Project Management Tool
Content Scheduling Tool
Holiday Campaign Ideas for B2B and B2C
holiday feelings of sharing & generosity
spending time with loved ones
ending the year on a good note
pushing people to accomplish business or personal goals before the end of the year
or setting themselves up for a successful new year.
Create a gift guide
Run a holiday cross-promotion with another business
Host tutorials or classes
Create a contest-style campaign to encourage engagement
Persuade customers to ‘give back’ to their community. Show them how your business can help.
Share user-generated content that displays the spirit of the season
Highlight the staff and their accomplishments through the year or thoughts on the holidays
Host an event to bring together customers or bring them together with their interests or communities
"No matter the B2B or B2C Campaign Ideas you use, keep your persona and their interests in mind for ultimate success.”
6. Personalized Christmas Campaign Emails
Email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing channels. And with just a few simple steps, your emails can feel a lot more personal.
In case you don’t know, today’s shoppers expect a personalized shopping experience. According to Octane AI, “80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences.”
Furthermore, “98% of marketers say personalization advances customer relationships.”
Clearly, personalized marketing can improve your campaigns and help deliver the results you’ve been striving for.
For example, consider haircare brand Function of Beauty’s Christmas email design, which sported the friendly header “Did you forget someone?! Don’t worry…”
According to Drip, the brand “goes above and beyond to make its gift card option as visually appealing as possible. What’s more, they explain the benefits of giving a gift card, such as convenience and flexibility, rather than focusing on it being a last resort.” It’s personalized, fun, and a great example of successful retargeting.
So, here are a few tips to personalize your emails this Christmas season:
Using the recipient’s first name is the easiest and simplest way to personalize an email
If a shopper has left some products in their cart, send a friendly reminder
Send an email with the products a shopper looked at without purchasing
Use automated behavioral triggers for your email campaigns. A trigger campaign can be based on content or product interest, or it can also be a follow-up email from a live chat conversation. If you want it to be completely automated, you can send an email asking for feedback.
Finally, we’ll close out this section with some expert advice from Emily Goodwin, the Digital Marketing Coordinator at Neon Supply:
“One thing to steer clear of in holiday campaigns has to do with your email marketing. Service providers continually strengthen their spam filters, so you need to know what triggers it.
“Avoiding spammy words and emojis in your subject line is key. Words like ‘buy’, ‘clearance’ and ‘as seen on’, writing in all caps, and excessive exclamation or question marks can all trigger spam filters.
“Although emojis can improve open rates, overusing emojis in the subject line can also put your email directly in the spam folder. You want to select a single emoji and place it strategically so it motivates your recipients to see what’s inside.”
7. Make Sure Social Media is a Part of Your Plan
Christmas is a time to get creative with your social media campaigns. With 4.62 billion social media active users worldwide as of January 2022, you have a huge opportunity to convert more customers and drive sales throughout the 2022 holiday season.
But to get there, you need to learn how to do Christmas marketing right on social media. Here are some ideas to get you started:
User-Generated Content: Encourage followers to share their Christmas stories or photos and use your brand hashtags in exchange for free gifts or discounts.
Run Giveaways & Contests: These activities can be run on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Don’t be afraid to make fun videos and share them on new channels like TikTok. As long as the content helps you reach your audience and satisfies them, you can be creative in whatever way you want.
Create an Advent Calendar: Once it’s ready, share it on Instagram. You can use it to make a daily competition and ask followers to like or comment on your post for the chance of winning.
Pro Tip: Some people use social media trolls to increase engagement. But be careful when doing that during Christmas because it can harm your message and your brand reputation.
8. Run Paid Advertising Campaigns
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) on Google is effective.
In fact, 49% of surveyed shoppers said they use Google to find new items or products. This makes Google Ads an ideal way to reach consumers at just the right time — when they’re actively searching for gift ideas and products.
Besides, when you advertise with Google, you reach people across platforms, including Google search engine results pages, YouTube, Gmail, and Maps. Plus, with the PPC model, you’re only charged when someone takes your desired action — like clicks to your website.
Sounds good, right? But around Christmas, you need to put extra effort into your campaigns to ensure you’re ranking for the right keywords.
According to Petra Odak, the Chief Marketing Officer at Better Proposals, you should “spend a few extra bucks on promoting your offer with paid ads - it will make sense if you target the right audiences.”
To have a successful PPC Christmas campaign in 2022, you should:
Have clear goals in mind: this means you understand what you want to achieve, who you want to reach, which products you want to promote, and how you want to do it.
Research keywords thoroughly: Review your previous campaigns to see which keywords work. Also, check out your competitors’ ads and find out which keywords they’re ranking for.
Create a well-designed Christmas ad: Consider adding a little Christmas glam to your copy to achieve a higher position on search engine page results.
Optimize your website: ensure it’s accessible and easy to navigate across devices.
9. Apply Marketing Psychology Principles
Marketing psychology anticipates shoppers’ behaviors by understanding humans’ cognitive biases. As consumers, we’re all irrational, and our decision-making is mostly driven by those innate biases.
You can apply marketing psychology principles to optimize ad campaigns, email marketing, and website copy to drive purchase behavior. For example, Wool and the Gang used these principles in its 2021 Christmas email campaign, with the subject line “Order today for Christmas delivery 🎄”.
According to Drip, “this is one of the emails you find in your inbox when it’s almost time for Wool and the Gang to ship the last Christmas orders. It’s a straightforward call to action that nudges people to place their orders right now.”
Drip goes on to explain:
“In the email, Wool and the Gang drives urgency without overwhelming potential customers. The animated GIF and lighthearted design help lighten the mood for what could otherwise be an overly salesy email.
"The message is loud and clear, as well: if you want to get your gifts in time, place your order today. No fake scarcity or guilt trip—just logistical facts.”
While some brands may choose to try and scare consumers into making purchases (i.e. “This is your LAST CHANCE!”), Wool and the Gang took a more subtle approach — which many consumers prefer, as it’s generally considered to be a bit more dignified.
In 2022, consider using these 3 important marketing psychology principles:
Social Proof: Consumers tend to adopt the beliefs or actions of a group of people they like or trust. You can take advantage of social proof by showing reviews, ratings, testimonials, etc. to build trust with shoppers.
Scarcity: The more rare the opportunity, the more valuable it is. Apply this psychology principle by showing a countdown stock on product pages.
Urgency: Let customers know a deal is about to end by using a countdown timer. This will give them a little push to take action immediately. You can apply this principle in many places like pop-ups, web pages, emails, or ads.
Like the last two Christmas seasons, Christmas 2022 will be different from years gone by due to Covid-19’s lasting impact. However, there are some things that haven’t changed — people love to give gifts to their loved ones and they’re still looking for great deals.
This year, take inspiration from our above tips while building your Christmas marketing campaign to find out what works best for your brand. And don't just stop at Christmas — you can apply this advice to all your seasonal marketing campaigns to take them to the next level and drive results.
Updated by: Cory Schröder on 20.10.22