Check out these 35 strategic holiday marketing tips, and tap into the massive online shopping potential of the 2020 season.
Three-quarters of online shoppers will do more online shopping this holiday season than ever before, and experts predict an 80% increase in Cyber Weekend shopping.
You’ll face massive competition, though, since nearly all businesses have spent the past year preparing their infrastructure, inventory, and marketing campaigns for the coming weeks.
Will you get a piece of those holiday shopping dollars?
You have a much better chance at increasing your holiday sales by reading this guide.
COVID will affect every aspect of brand marketing and sales during the 2020 holiday season.
Approach your campaigns wisely, and you can dramatically increase your sales.
The tips, data, and examples below are critical to helping you understand how to connect with 2020 holiday consumers and increase your sales despite the pandemic.
Bookmark this article now, so you don’t miss out on tips, examples, ideas, and information that can make your 2020holiday campaigns a success!
In this article, you’ll learn how to increase your sales during the 2020 holiday season:
How Covid Will Affect Holiday Shopping
COVID’s impact on holidays will be widely felt across the globe this year.
Some are even calling it “COVID Christmas.”
Social distancing, quarantine, and health issues will impact nearly all aspects of long-held holiday traditions.
In-person events, family gathering, religious services, and in-store shopping will experience a steep decline compared to previous years.
Gift-giving will be one of the few traditional holiday activities left intact, thanks to advancements in online shopping and delivery over the past five years.
Analysts expect that most consumers will cut their spending this season, however, online sellers will get a bigger piece of the pie than brick-and-mortar shops. Ecommerce brands can expect a massive boost of potential and, possibly, sales.
Experts predict that the 2020 holiday season will be the biggest online sales event ecommerce has ever seen.
- Nearly 75% of U.S. shoppers said they plan to do more online holiday shopping this year than they did in previous years, according to a ThinkWithGoogle survey.
- Barron’s predicts an 80% expected increase in Cyber weekend online sales 2020 – a record $51.1 billion in ecommerce sales — compared to 2019.
- 62% of shoppers plan to do all their holiday shopping online this year, according to a survey by Redpoint Global.
The surge in online shopping doesn’t mean your holiday sales are a slam-dunk, though.
The competition for holiday shoppers will be fierce.
Now, you’re competing with more local businesses than ever before.
Additionally, many of the national chains and businesses that survived 2020 — brands you’ll compete with for sales — are marketing wizards who were able to quickly pivot to technical and marketing needs when the country went into lockdown and distancing mode.
Although experts predict an extraordinary increase in holiday sales, you shouldn’t let your team get too comfortable.
You’ll need to outsmart and outmarket your competition to get a piece of those 2020 holiday shopping dollars.
We’ve got you covered!
The tips, examples, and resources below will get you up to speed and competing with your toughest ecommerce rivals this holiday season.
You’ll find out how to improve your messaging, product promotions, campaigns, technical functions, and more.
2020 Holiday Marketing Begins With A Human Connection
This year, brand messaging could make or break your business.
Brands that succeed will find ways to acknowledge the loss and uncertainty of 2020 in a way that helps consumers feel better.
Whether your messaging brings hope, joy, humor, nostalgia, inspiration, a spirit of giving or unity, or the promise of better health, your ability to connect with consumers on an emotional level may be as critical as the quality of the products you sell.
Gimme The (Good) Feels
To connect with audiences in 2020, your brand must create experiences that build relationships.
This year, you need more than quality products and services to reach consumers. The tips and examples in this section will help guide you in the right direction.
Tip #1: Show your audience that you understand them.
Ignoring the COVID crisis and the struggles of your audience may give your audience the impression that your brand is oblivious to their struggles.
This year, 70% of people are willing to shop exclusively with retailers and brands that personally understand them, according to a Redpoint survey.
Make it a priority to acknowledge the crisis and prove that you care about your audience. We share tons of positive, uplifting examples throughout this article.
Tip #2: Create campaigns and messaging that deliver a positive emotional “punch.”
Joy, humor, inspiration, remembrance, and happiness are some of the positive emotions that fit well into marketing campaigns.
Build content and campaigns that make your audience feel any of one these, and you’ll likely earn their loyalty.
Lego’s 2020 “Rebuild the World” ad provides that personal connection while acknowledging the sacrifice kids are making during the pandemic. The under-2-minute video shows children breaking down the walls of their homes to enjoy an adventure through the world of Legos.
Tip #3: Bring on The Joy!
Incorporate joyful moments into your advertising, like this one from Amazon about a young ballerina who triumphs despite the challenges of 2020.
Tip #4: Acknowledge the hardships of your audience.
Many people made unthinkable sacrifices this past year, including essential workers who risked their health, and teachers & students who struggled through virtual learning.
Consider acknowledging the people you admire in your brand marketing.
In the example below, you’ll notice that Aldi does this with a brief message at the end of its commercial that reads “Merry Christmas and Thank You all key workers.”
Tip #5: Sprinkle in some fun.
Finding ways to bring light humor or silliness into your campaigns can be an excellent way to break the ice and connect with your audience.
For example, Dick’s Sporting Goods video “Run, Run, Rudolph” shows a distribution center where products come alive, packing and shipping themselves, in the absence of people.
Tip #7: Use audience-appropriate humor.
If you can connect with your audience through humor, you’ll make instant friends.
For example, Arby’s deep-fried turkey pillow seems like it must be a joke.
The pillow is real and currently for sale on its own website. It was released to promote the brand’s seasonal deep-fried turkey sandwich.
Tip #8: Tell stories.
You can share stories through written content, images, or videos.
Storytelling is an excellent way to form a human connection that 2020 audiences crave, and it’s making a huge comeback this season.
For example, the must-see Bouygues Telecom video shows a father and son’s bad-dancing holiday tradition throughout the years.
The video ad puts less emphasis on selling, and more focus on building a heartwarming human connection.
Good storytelling doesn’t require high-quality video, big productions, or even fancy words.
A simple photograph or one-line caption can tell a big story, when it’s done well.
There are countless ways to connect with your audience on a personal level while still keeping a positive attitude and putting the focus on your brand and its products.
Encourage your team to review how other brands are doing this and brainstorm unique and creative ways to help your brand connect on a personal level.
2020 has been an emotional year for every region across the globe.
Brands that can elevate their audiences’ state of mind this holiday season will gain their attention and appreciation.
Add A Human Touch To Your Digital Content
With Covid restricting or minimizing holiday gatherings this season, consider how your business might fill the gap by creating experiences for your customers.
Tip #9: Use live video to interact with your audience.
Give your audience the opportunity to interact with your brand in real time on social media.
Tip #10: Plan a virtual live holiday event.
Virtual events will replace most in-person events this season, so why not plan a live event for your audience?
For example, Kitchn food magazine’s virtual Thanksgiving Food Fest, held on Instagram, features two full days of virtual Thanksgiving activities led by editors, well-known cooks, and bakers.
Facebook and Instagram both provide the platform, tools, and resources you need to promote and stream live virtual events.
B2B brands might consider live virtual events such as webinars or virtual trade shows.
Tip #11: Create an exciting unboxing experience.
If you sell multiple products, make your brand stand out by creating holiday bundles that provide a delightful unboxing experience. Remember to make them camera-ready for social media!
For example, a simple finishing touch like stickers and cards with festive brand messaging can make your products stand out.
Tip #12: Build online communities.
If your brand hasn’t built an online community, group, or forum, consider creating one on a social media platform such as Facebook, Instagram, or Reddit.
Tip #13: Pump up the user-generated content. #ShareMe
Use contests and giveaways to encourage your audience to share your content with their friends and followers on social media.
Need ideas for user-generated content campaigns?
Get tips, instructions, examples, and more in our 2020 guide to reposting on social media.
With most people forgoing events and in-person gatherings to stay safe this year, brands have the opportunity to fill in some of those gaps by adding a human touch to their holiday marketing campaigns.
Use Social Media Marketing For Your 2020 Holiday Season
Below are tips and resources to help you build relationships, raise brand awareness, boost engagement, and sell products on social media.
Tip #14: Learn to create engaging Stories on Instagram and Facebook.
The Stories format is a wild success for brands on Instagram, and is catching on with Facebook audiences as well. Stories allow you to promote products, events, and more using a fun and interactive format.
Find out how to use all the tools and features of Stories formats, plus get creative ideas, engagement tips, and view tons of examples, in the following Sharelov guides:
- Ultimate Guide to Instagram Stories for Business in 2020
- The Ultimate Guide to Using Instagram Stories Stickers
- Ultimate Guide to Instagram Stories Highlights
Tip #15: Schedule your posts strategically.
Publish your posts when they’re most-likely to get the highest engagement from your audience.
We analyzed hundreds of reports and expert opinions to bring you the best time to post on the top four platforms – Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and LinkedIn.
You can discover tips and ideas for posting around work-from-home schedules, plus tips and ideas for engaging your audience, in the following Sharelov guides:
- Best Times To Post On Instagram 2020
- Best Times to Post on Facebook in 2020
- Best Times To Post On Tiktok 2020
- Best Times To Post On LinkedIn 2020
Tip #16: Use social media advertising to reach new customers.
Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok provide advanced audience targeting so you can quickly reach people that fit your customer profile.
You can learn all about advertising on different social platforms, and view step-by-step guides, in Sharelov’s advertising guides:
- Facebook Advertising Handbook 2020
- The Complete Guide to Instagram Ads in 2020
- Complete Guide To TikTok Ads In 2020
- All You Need to Know About Advertising on Pinterest in 4 Easy Steps
Tip #17: Jump on the TikTok bandwagon!
TikTok’s intention to “Make Your Day” works thanks to all the users who post videos that spread joy through dance, challenges, and music. TikTok is an excellent match for this holiday season, because it allows people to unite through creativity (with a large helping of “silly”).
Find out how to create engaging content for Tiktok in our Marketer’s Guide to Brand-Building on TikTok.
If TikTok’s not your thing, check out the Instagram version, called “Reels,” an Instagram format that lets you create short-form videos similar to what’s on Tiktok.
Tip #18: Check your social media analytics daily.
Checking your insights daily can help you respond to the unique demands of the 2020 holiday season.
Good news! Social media analytics interfaces have become more intuitive and informative over time.
We’ve got several guides to help you understand how the analytics work on different platforms — and how you can use them to increase your sales and engagement.
- The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Analytics 2020
- Ultimate Guide to TikTok Analytics for Brands 2020
- The Complete Guide to Pinterest Analytics
There’s an even easier way to access analytics, especially if you like to check them daily (which we recommend, especially during the holiday season).
Sharelov’s got the most visual, quickest, easiest social media insights on the planet.
You can quickly view, analyze, and share Instagram and TikTok insights with your team and clients from within your Sharelov dashboard. Why not sign up for a free trial right now?
Tip #19: Get your social media specs and size requirements in advance.
Posting media with the best sizes and specs for each platform will help your content look its best.
You can access updated platform suggestions in our Complete Guide to Social Media Image Sizes for 2020.
Tip #20: Engage with your audience daily.
Responding to comments and reviews helps build trust and connection with your audience.
You can learn all about how to generate engagement through comments, how to manage the commenting systems, and how to respond to comments in our ultimate guide here:
Although the guide is focused on Instagram, you’ll find plenty of tips and tricks to boost your engagement on any social media platform.
Tip #21: Learn to work Instagram.
Instagram’s platform provides countless tools and features to boost your holiday sales on its platform.
If you haven’t built a sizable audience on Instagram yet, we can help you get up to speed with the following Instagam guides:
- The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags 2020
- 22 Tips to Create the Perfect Flat Lay Images for Instagram
- 4 Steps to Mastering Instagram Video Marketing
- 15 Ways to Get More Instagram Followers
- How to Write the Best Instagram Captions
Promote Your Products With These Ideas
From campaign launches and promotions to ordering, logistics, and technical needs, you can expect customers to take a quick pass if their shopping and purchasing experiences don’t meet their expectations (remember, the competition is huge this year).
Tip #22: Offer free shipping.
90% of consumers say free shipping is their #1 top incentive to shop online more often. Orders with free shipping average about 30% higher than those without. 58% of consumers will add more items to their cart in order to qualify for free shipping.
Tip #23: Provide fast shipping.
According to the results of a study by Digital Life Index, fast shipping is the #1 reason consumers choose which brand to shop with.
Tip #24: Get your product videos and how-to content ready.
31% of people are more likely to buy from brands that provide educational materials such as product videos and how-to content.
Tip #25 Offer gift wrapping.
Last-minute trips to buy gift-wrapping supplies are more of a challenge this year, so make it easy on your customers by providing gift-wrapping services with their purchase.
Tip #26: Package products together in holiday-themed bundles.
For example, EatGourmet’s “Old Time Coke Snack Pack” packages several products together to increase sales and provide a visually appealing holiday package.
Tip #27: Promote gift card sales.
After-holiday returns will be a bigger challenge this year, since many people won’t want to go to brick-n-mortar stores to make a return.
Many gift recipients are unsure or hesitant when it comes to shipping returns. You can solve this problem by encouraging your customers to purchase gift cards.
Tip #28: Provide a wide selection of product suggestions.
Use data from your customers, emails lists, and website to curate personalized suggestions for shoppers.
Campaign Tips For The 2020 Holiday Season
Here are a few tips to help you elevate your campaign strategies this season.
Tip #29: Send pre-season thank-you cards.
Send out “Thank you for being a customer” cards to connect with people who’ve purchased from you during the year. You can include incentives and discounts as a thank you.
Tip #30: Take advantage of social shopping.
Shopping on social media has developed rapidly over the past couple years, with services such as Facebook and Instagram shopping and Instagram Live Shopping. Don’t restrict your social media campaigns to promotions — you can sell directly on these platforms!
To learn more about how to use all the features and tools on Instagram, check out our ultimate guides here:
Tip #31: Add some holiday cheer to your profiles and website!
Add a festive touch to your social media profiles and website, and while you’re at it… make sure that all your profiles are consistent in messaging and branding.
Consistent profiles help build trust with customers and reassure viewers that they’ve reached the right place.
Find out how to create an Instagram bio that engages new viewers.
6 Tips to create the perfect Instagram Bio in 2020
Tip #32: Use email campaigns to tailor messaging to different generations.
You can cater to the types of content, style, and products favored by different generations when you use segmented email campaigns. Email marketing campaigns are an excellent way to boost sales during the holiday season.
Adding a festive appearance to your branded content and profiles perks up your appearance. Remember to use the tools and resources from all your platforms to accelerate your holiday sales!
Check Your Back End
Get ready for high-traffic and sales this season by giving your website, shopping experience, and content a technical check-up.
Tip #33: Up your mobile-friendly game.
By now, your site is hopefully mobile-friendly so that people can enjoy browsing and purchasing your products from their phones and devices.
Talk with your technical team about any pending updates, and ensure that your mobile versions are prepared to handle heavy traffic.
Tip #34: Strengthen your technical response time. Make sure that your backend team is prepared to flex to new demands and problem-solve as quickly as possible.
Tip #35: If you’ve been procrastinating on polishing your website’s UX, do it today.
Many businesses have spent the past months scrambling to adjust the usability of their websites while also trying to meet inventory demands.
If your user experience has taken a back seat to technical issues, inventory challenges, and crisis management — now is the time to give a little more love to your overall user experience.
A Unique Opportunity For Marketers
The 2020 holiday season presents a unique opportunity for brands that are willing to flex their marketing muscles and create unique, targeted campaigns.
Approach your campaigns with sensitivity to build relationships with consumers, and strengthen your marketing tactics and sales experience to increase your sales this season.