We are not sure where the year has gone, but July 2nd marked the halfway point of 2021. We are now officially in Q3. And here’s the big question: have you started planning your holiday marketing strategies?
We know, we know! You don’t like thinking about the holidays this early in the year (in all honesty, neither do we). However, this year it’s more important than ever to start planning and executing your holiday and end-of-year marketing now. Last year, we wrote about our top 5 reasons to Start Your Holiday Marketing in July, and while they are still relevant, changes to the marketing industry have actually made starting your holiday marketing in July even more important.
So, what’s changed?
First, Apple’s changes to their IOS mean that retargeting via Facebook ads is harder than ever. You can no longer rely on Facebook’s Pixel to pull in the same amount of customer data for your retargeting ads based on website views or clicks. This was a huge blow for a lot of small businesses who really relied on Facebook ads for the majority of their marketing. This year, you should consider moving some of your marketing budget to other digital ads platforms (like Google, who was not affected by the IOS changes). You should also spend time — and money — building your own marketing funnels and email campaigns.
Second, in previous years, summer was a bit of a slump marketing-wise which meant that ads were cheaper and experimentation with new audiences, new campaigns, new copy, new products, etc. was less expensive. This summer, the usual price drop has not occurred. Now, not only are ads not going to be cheaper this summer, they are only going to get more expensive as we get closer to the holiday season. This means that you need to be even more strategic for your holiday and end-of-year marketing. Planning needs to begin now so that you can optimize your marketing budget rather than wasting your money on poor performing ads and hastily thrown together strategies later.
Has anything stayed the same?
Good marketing strategies still take time. As much as we think we would love to have the next viral product, not only is that not realistic, it is also very rarely sustainable. A solid 6 month plan gives you time to develop your long-term goals with enough wiggle room to make adjustments if something isn’t working.
If you begin to develop a relationship with your audience now with a smart long-term strategy, by the time Q4 and the holidays hit, your ideal customers will not only know who you are and have a rapport with your brand, they will be excited about your upcoming sales and releases. You can snag both the early birds who are done with their holiday shopping before Halloween even rolls around and the last minute shoppers who need to snag a deal the week before Christmas. You won’t need to rely on the algorithms or paying-to-play because you will already be in their inbox.
It’s not that holiday ads, whether on Facebook or other digital platforms, don’t work, because they definitely do, and they should absolutely be a part of your overall holiday marketing strategy. It’s that they cannot be your only strategy. You cannot rely on ads alone for a successful Q4 and end-of-year, especially after the changes that 2021 has brought.
Small businesses need long-term holiday marketing strategies. This year more than ever. Your marketing efforts in Q3 can set you up for success in Q4 but only if you have an actual plan and keep your overall business goals at the forefront of your strategies.
If you aren’t sure where to start with your holiday marketing, you can check out our #30DaysOf Holiday Marketing, #30DaysOf Planning, or our Editorial Calendar for some solid tips. If you need more direct help with your marketing, schedule a free consultation call. We love helping small businesses go from marketing chaos to powered-up sales.