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The holiday season is a stressful time for marketers. It is where many companies start to turn their years into the black (profitable), and it’s also a crucial period for businesses to maximize their marketing efforts. Efforts for the entire year, and even previous years, should have a direct impact on how well your digital marketing does in Q4 2023, and while some are predicting a slow Q4 in 2023, a well-planned marketing strategy can really turn expectations around. This blog post will explore the essential elements of planning a successful 2023 holiday digital marketing strategy. Whether you’re an e-commerce store, a local business, or a multinational corporation, having a well-thought-out strategy can make all the difference in achieving your marketing goals. In the following sections, we’ll review the trends and lessons from the previous year, and discuss the importance of using your past data, planning budget and promotions, and executing your 2023 holiday digital marketing strategy.

Analyzing Previous Year’s Holiday Digital Marketing Efforts

There is no reason to start from scratch when it comes to holiday marketing planning. Unless your company is new, you should have data, and experience from previous years that can be extremely valuable to having a successful Q4 in 2023. Take some time to analyze and review the past year and consider the following:

  • Analyze Your 2022 Holiday Data: Begin by collecting and analyzing data from your 2022 holiday marketing campaigns. Examine metrics such as website traffic, conversion rates, social media engagement, email open rates, and sales figures. Identify which campaigns or strategies performed well and which ones fell short. Consider also analyzing general marketing data, either in your market or in social media marketing in general.

  • Identify Key Takeaways: Consider what worked and what didn’t during the previous holiday season. Were there specific content types, promotions, or channels that generated the most engagement and conversions? Were there any unexpected challenges or successes? Take note of these key takeaways.

  • Competitor Analysis: It’s also essential to analyze what your competitors did during the 2022 holiday season. Look at their campaigns, promotions, and messaging. Identify any strategies they used that seemed to resonate with your target audience.

  • Customer Feedback: Review customer feedback and comments from the previous year. Were there recurring themes or issues that customers mentioned? Did any positive feedback point to specific aspects of your holiday marketing efforts that customers appreciated?

  • Adapt and Apply Insights: Based on your analysis, adapt and apply the insights gained from the previous year to your 2023 strategy. For instance, if you found that certain types of content or promotions were highly effective, consider incorporating more of those elements into this year’s plan. If you encounter challenges, think about how to address them and avoid similar issues this time. Make sure that tests from the previous year are not re-tested, resulting in wasting time and money on something you should have learned from last year.

Planning Early For Holiday Digital Marketing 2023

Planning a successful holiday marketing strategy in 2023 involves more than just the basics. It’s about combining your organic and paid marketing efforts strategically and having creative assets ready to roll out across all platforms. No matter how prepared your company is for the holiday season, there will always likely be some changes or audible calls. It is not too late to get a jump on the planning, but remember, the earlier the better. Having an idea of what promotions are going live at what time, and what messaging goes behind the promotions is crucial to make sure that no matter which platform your current or potential customers are on, the messaging has the best chance to lead to a sale. Here are the top priorities when planning for your sales:

  • Synergy between Organic and Paid Marketing:

    • Holiday marketing success is often achieved when your organic and paid marketing efforts work in harmony. Your organic (unpaid) efforts, such as social media posts, content marketing, and SEO, can set the stage for your paid campaigns. Your organic content should create anticipation and build awareness around your brand and holiday offers. Paid advertising can then amplify these efforts, reaching a wider audience. If you are not as familiar with which platforms would fit your brand better, learn more about which platform you should be advertising on.

    • Consider creating a content calendar that integrates both organic and paid content. This helps ensure consistency in messaging and timing across all channels.

  • Preparation of Creative Assets:

    • One of the common pitfalls in holiday marketing is the last-minute scramble to create and deploy creative assets. To stand out in a crowded marketplace, you need to have your creative content prepared well in advance. This includes graphics, videos, copy, and any other promotional materials.

    • Having your creative ready allows you to maintain a consistent and cohesive brand image across all platforms. It also gives you the flexibility to make adjustments and optimizations without rushing or compromising on quality.

    • Holiday landing pages are crucial for making sure that there is a seamless feel from a click on a holiday ad to a page that can drive someone to purchase your product. Make sure that landing pages are planned ahead of time, with clear and specific copy and good CRO practices.

  • Content Versatility:

    • In today’s digital landscape, your holiday marketing strategy needs to cater to a variety of platforms and formats. Whether it’s social media, email, website, or advertising, your creative assets should be versatile and adaptable. This flexibility ensures that your messaging can effectively reach and engage your audience, regardless of where they are online.

    • Consider developing a creative library with different versions of your assets, optimized for various platforms. This approach streamlines the process of rolling out your content and maximizes its impact.

By combining organic and paid marketing efforts and having your creative assets ready in advance, you can ensure a well-coordinated and effective 2023 holiday marketing strategy. This proactive approach not only saves time and reduces stress but also positions your brand for greater success during the holiday season. Remember, preparation and synergy can make all the difference in a highly competitive digital landscape. If you have assets that were successful in previous years, re-create them to fit the current year’s promotions to save yourself even more time. 

Planning Promotions and Budget For The 2023 Holiday Season Marketing

The success of your 2023 holiday digital marketing strategy heavily relies on your paid advertising efforts. Effective budget planning, accurate promotion durations, and careful product availability management are essential to ensure your campaigns are both profitable and customer-friendly during the holiday rush.

  • Platform-Specific Budget Planning:

    • Each advertising platform has its own unique strengths and audience, so it’s crucial to allocate your budget strategically. Analyze the performance of each platform and consider where your target audience is most active. Distribute your budget accordingly to maximize your ROI. No one knows your audience and products better than you do, so be sure to allocate the money where you’re the most likely to capitalize on the money spent.

    • Keep in mind that many platforms become more competitive during the holiday season, driving up the cost per click and impression. It is crucial that the promotions you choose are drawing enough to capitalize on that increase in cost per click and impression.

  • Accurate Promotion Durations:

    • One common mistake during the holidays is running promotions for longer than the actual discounts are available. This can lead to customer frustration and confusion. Ensure your promotions are accurately timed to match the availability of discounts and deals.

    • Use a content calendar to keep track of promotion start and end dates across all platforms. Regularly update and communicate these dates to your audience to create a sense of urgency. Making sure that the promotions are clear and easy to obtain is crucial for conversion rates.

  • Product Availability Management:
    • For E-commerce and physical products, product availability is critical during the holidays, as customers expect their purchases to arrive in a timely manner. Ensure that products heavily discounted in your holiday promotions are either in stock or can be quickly restocked. Leverage your inventory management system to track stock levels and reorder products as needed. 
    • Clearly communicate availability and shipping times to customers on your website and during the checkout process. Setting realistic expectations for delivery can help manage customer satisfaction.

Consider Making A Special Promotion For Email List Subscribers Or Fans Of Your Brand

Offering a special discount to your email list is a meaningful way to show appreciation to the customers you’ve already earned. Your email subscribers are a valuable and engaged segment of your audience, and by extending an exclusive discount to them, you not only acknowledge their loyalty but also incentivize them to continue their patronage. This gesture can strengthen the bond between your brand and your customers, fostering goodwill and encouraging repeat purchases. It also demonstrates that you value their ongoing support and loyalty, creating a positive and lasting impression that can extend well beyond the holiday season. Such acts of appreciation often lead to increased customer satisfaction and brand advocacy, as your customers feel acknowledged and rewarded for their loyalty.

Plan For Success, But Be Ready For Unexpected Issues

Insights we’ve discussed throughout this guide underscore the significance of using data from previous years, planning early, and carefully coordinating promotions and budgets for each platform. However, it’s always good to remember that even with the most careful planning, unexpected challenges can arise. The holiday season is known for its surprises, whether in customer behavior, market dynamics, or external factors. Marketers that succeed are the ones that can take the unexpected events, and get the best income possible from them. Make sure you are putting your best effort forward this holiday season in your digital marketing efforts. Remember to take notes and lessons learned so that you can make the holiday season easier to plan for in the coming years.