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How to Create a Holiday Marketing Campaign: A Step-by-Step Guide

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How to Create a Holiday Marketing Campaign: A Step-by-Step Guide


The malls are decked with holly, your inbox is filling up with holiday-themed promotions, and you’ve deemed it socially acceptable to start listening to your favorite holiday playlist on Spotify… or maybe that’s just me. 

Either way, the holiday season is here, and marketers are gearing up to finish off the year strong. But just like shopping for gifts, planning your holiday campaign is something you don’t want to shove off until the last minute.

There’s going to be a lot of spending going in over the next month or so, which is why it’s important to have a plan for reaching your customers and prospects before your competitors do.

Haven’t started planning your campaign yet? Don’t panic.

We’ve mapped out a comprehensive guide with everything you need to launch a holiday marketing campaign this season. From offer templates to free holiday-themed stock photos, we’ve peppered this step-by-step guide with resources designed to get your campaign up and running right away.

1. Decide on a campaign theme.

While creating content has become ingrained in the day-to-day lives of most inbound marketers, launching a campaign is a little different. Unlike a tweet or an infographic, campaigns require you to align all of your marketing channels around one specific goal or message.

Holiday campaigns — like all campaigns — typically run for a concentrated period of time. Depending on your industry, they can start as early as October and often spill over into January.

Now that you know what you’re in for, let’s not waste any more time. Below we’ll kick off this process by walking you through establishing your campaign and offer.

2. Choose your campaign goals.

Before you start creating an offer, you need to determine what it is that you’re looking to achieve. What is the ideal outcome of this campaign? 

Once you define your focus, you can begin to create goals that will be used to benchmark your campaign’s performance once it’s wrapped. Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART goals, for short). Here’s an example of how to structure this type of goal:

Generate [number] leads focused on [topic/product] by 2021-12-14T12:00:00Z

Depending on what you want to get out of your campaign, your goals might look something like this:

  • Generate 1,000 leads who are interested in our annual holiday sale by December 5, 2021.
  • Generate 5,000 sign-ups for our holiday shopping app by November 30, 2021. 
  • Collect $50,000 in donations for charity XYZ by December 20, 2021.

To help you better align your marketing efforts with SMART goals, check out this free goal setting template. You can use this template to summarize your goals, calculate your greatest marketing need, and set deadlines.

3. Define your target audience.

With goals in place, the next step is to define your target audience. The more information you can gather about the people you’re trying to reach, the better. Where are they hanging out on social media? Do they prefer to consume information on their desktop or mobile? This will help you make smarter marketing decisions when it comes time to create content and plan promotions.

If you already have a few buyer personas in place for your marketing efforts, you’ll want to start by narrowing your focus. Does your campaign pertain to all segments of your audience? If not, you’ll need to immediately weed out the folks who you don’t want to include.

If you don’t already have buyer personas or would like to create campaign-specific personas, we recommend you check out our free buyer persona templates. These templates will make it easy for you to build out and organize your persona data.

4. Create an offer.

The offer that you create will serve as the center point for all of your campaign initiatives. Typically offers take shape in the form of ebooks, whitepapers, templates, online courses, videos, tools, etc. You can also choose a digital e-gift card from somewhere like Rybbon. While there are a lot of options to choose from, we advise you to run with an approach that makes the most sense for your intended audience. 

Think about it: If you know the people you’re trying to reach are typically strapped for time — particularly during the holidays — you might want to create a set of easy-to-use templates instead of a lengthy ebook, right?

If you decide to take the ebook route, we can help — you can download our free, customizable ebook templates. We’ve already taken care of the design element, so all you have to do is focus on writing the content. And if you’re in search of some compelling visuals to use throughout your offer, download our 250 free holiday stock photos here

5. Create a landing page.

Once your offer is created, you need to provide a place for it to live. This is where the landing page comes in. 

Considering your landing page is the page that you’ll be driving traffic to, it needs to be convincing. Here’s a list of some of the essential elements you should include:

  • Compelling headline. This is how you’re going to capture the attention of potential visitors. For tips on how to craft the perfect headline, turn to this guide.
  • Interesting visuals. Your landing page shouldn’t just be a jumble of text. Think about how you can provide visual context for your offer.
  • The benefits of your offer. This typically takes shape in a bulleted list. The goal here is to drive home what the visitor can expect to get from this offer, and why it matters.
  • A form. This is how you’ll collect information in exchange for the offer. Keep in mind that there’s no magic number for form fields. In fact, the amount of information you need to ask for on a form will vary from business to business. That said, if you don’t really need a piece of information, don’t ask for it.

If you need some more guidance as to what goes into a great landing page, check out this roundup of 19 brilliant landing page designs

6. Design a promotion plan.

“If you build it, they will come,” said no marketer ever. Now that your content has been created, it’s time to figure out how to get the word out. Here are some of the promotion tactics you should be implementing per channel: 

Email Marketing

If you already have a list of people you know will be interested in your offer, that’s great. If you want to slice and dice your database to go after a more specific group, you should take care of that segmentation first. For HubSpot customers, it’s easy to segment your database using a smart list in the Lists App. (Here’s a resource to help you get started.)

During the holiday season, we’d argue that segmenting your list is more important than ever. Due to the increased number of incoming promotions and the limited amount of time busy shoppers have, well-targeted emails will often take priority over mass messages. 

Once you’ve squared away your recipients, you can kick off the actual email creation process through platforms like Sendoso. Here are some noteworthy elements to keep in mind while crafting your email:

  • Subject line. Focus on what the offer solves. Check out this helpful post for tips on improving your subject lines.
  • Body copy. The body of your email should be short and sweet, much like the copy on your landing page. This is also a great opportunity to incorporate personalization using personalization tokens. Here are some great examples to get you thinking about personalization opportunities. 
  • Sharing Options. Don’t forget to add buttons to your emails that allow recipients to quickly pass your offer along to their network. 

Check out HubSpot’s Template Marketplace to find an email template that fits your needs. 

Blogging

Once you’ve sent an email to get your offer on the radar of your intended audience, it’s time to build out your reach even further. Blog posts serve as an effective campaign element for attracting people to your offer, and can be approached in a couple of different ways. 

One way to use your blog to promote your offer is to create a simple “promo post” — that’s what we call them, anyway. This post is typically a very focused piece offering a quick introduction to the offer, advice on how to implement it, and a compelling CTA to drive people to the landing page.

example of a holiday promo post

According to a 6-month analysis of HubSpot’s Marketing Blog run by my colleague, Ginny Soskey, promo posts proved to be the most effective lead generators out of the seven post types we typically publish. While this may vary depending on your industry and audience, it’s certainly a type we’d encourage you to explore on your own.

Promo posts aside, it’s also a great idea to add a CTA for your offer to a post that aligns with its subject matter. You can create an entirely new post and revisit older, related posts to swap out their CTAs. This way, if people who reach the end of your post are looking for more information or a deeper dive into the subject, they can click through to the offer.

Social Media

Now that you have some tangible promotional material in place, you can start promoting it through your social media channels. Whether you share the related blog post or a link to the landing page, be sure that you’re switching up the messaging so you’re not repeating the same tweet or Facebook post over, and over, and over…

You’ll also want to tailor the post to the platform you’re posting it on. For example, maybe you create a teaser video for your offer to promote it on Instagram and then use a colorful visual when you serve it up on Twitter:

The holidays provide an interesting opportunity for businesses looking to explore platforms they wouldn’t typically try. With busy consumers looking for holiday help and inspiration in all corners of the internet and social media, you may find that it’s worth promoting your campaign on a wider variety of platforms. 

Wherever you’re sharing your content, you’ll need a place to organize and plan your distribution strategy. For that, check out this free social media content calendar

PPC

Paid advertising can be a great tool to boost some of your inbound efforts — especially around the busy holiday season.

If your budget allows and you know there’s search demand for your offer, you may want to experiment with putting a little money behind some of your campaign assets to promote them on social media. For advice on how to create successful paid advertising campaigns across the three main social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn — check out this guide.

7. Create lead nurturing paths.

What will happen to your leads once you’ve generated them? And once the holidays have come and gone, what will they mean to your business?

Before you launch your campaign, it’s best to design a plan for qualifying and developing your leads once they’ve filled out your form.

Email Segmentation

With marketing automation software, you can use email nurturing to keep leads engaged with your business and move them closer to a sale. 

Before you can begin creating emails and workflows, you need to take another look at your list to determine if there are opportunities for segmentation. Dividing your list of leads will make it easier for you to deliver more contextual follow-up emails, which will help you separate yourself from holiday inbox chaos, and ultimately help recipients see the value in your relationship.

Email Nurturing

Next, determine what content you’ll use to nurture your leads. You can narrow your focus by honing in on what your goals are for this nurturing process. Do you want them to turn these people into sales? Subscribers? Are you looking to direct them to a particular page? 

For your campaign, it might make sense to re-engage those leads with helpful, related resources.

And to track your progress, make sure you set a goal for your workflow. If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can do so in HubSpot’s Workflow App, which makes it easy for you to gauge the performance of your email sequence. 

8. Take the campaign live.

Now that you’ve got everything in place — offer, landing page, blog promotion, nurturing workflows, etc. — it’s time to take your campaign live. 

We recommend issuing a “soft launch” before you initiate any promotion, as this will provide you with an opportunity to run through all of the steps yourself to ensure that everything is functioning as it should be. If you can get a few colleagues to fill out the form and run through the stages too, it’ll be much easier for you to spot any glitches or missed marks. 

Once you know everything is sailing smoothly, it’s time to kick up promotion and start driving traffic to your landing page. 

9. Measure and report.

This is the final — and arguably the most important — step in the process. Once your campaign has had some time to gain traction, you’ll want to dive into its performance and see what you can learn from it. 

Remember those goals we set all the way back in step one? Now is the time to determine if you actually hit them — and if you didn’t, identify what might have prevented you from doing so. Analyzing where people dropped off in your workflows, blog posts that flopped, or areas of your offer that fell a little flat might reveal what held your campaign back from reaching those numbers. Take note of these details, and use them to inform your next campaign strategy.

If you need some help defining what numbers you should actually be concerning yourself with, check out this introductory guide to inbound marketing analytics. This resource will walk you through how to effectively analyze the following: your website and landing pages, search engine optimization, paid search, blogging, social media, email marketing, and lead nurturing and automation.

Creating a holiday marketing campaign isn’t all that different from creating a marketing campaign during the rest of the year. The main difference lies in the themes and offers you create. Although the process is similar, these campaigns usually have different goals and expectations because people are more likely to convert during this time of year.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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ActionIQ rebrands and launches CX Hub

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ActionIQ rebrands and launches CX Hub


Enterprise customer data platform ActionIQ has announced the launch of a new product, CX Hub. The company has also rebranded as AIQ. The CX Hub is designed as a set of modules offering self-service access to customer data, allowing users to build audiences and orchestrate experiences at scale.

After eight years of growth as a CDP serving B2C, media and other sectors, the changes represent a “new approach to our product and brand,” said CEO and co-founder Tasso Argyros in a release. The modular framework will ingest data from any source, integrate with any activation channel, and also allow components to be used with a third-party CDP.

The modules. CX Hub is comprised of four solutions:

  • Customer data platform.
  • Audience center.
  • Journey management.
  • Real-time CX.

The Hub is also designed to be accessible to business users with a friendly UI and extensive automation capabilities.


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Why we care. This is a significant development in the CDP space — a space that has been transforming rapidly, with many of the early established CDPs being acquired and ingested by more extensive suites such as digital experience platforms.

ActionIQ, one of the leading B2C CDPs, is now describing itself as “the leading CX solution.” It seems to be future-proofing itself by extending its capabilities across orchestration and execution channels, not by acquiring or building those solutions, but by seeking to provide modular integration between its (or a third-party’s) customer data management tool and orchestration and execution channels.

Sometimes we wonder how many independent, traditional CDPs will be left standing a year from now.

Read next: Deep changes in the CDP space


About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.



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Old Navy to drop NFTs in July 4th promo update

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Old Navy to drop NFTs in July 4th promo update


Old Navy will update its yearly Fourth of July promotions by saluting the metaverse with an NFT drop, going live June 29.

In honor of the year they were founded, the retailer will release 1,994 common NFTs, each selling for $0.94. The NFTs will feature the iconic Magic the Dog and t include a promo code for customers to claim an Old Navy t-shirt at Old Navy locations or online.

“This launch is Old Navy’s first activation in web3 or with NFTs,” an Old Navy spokesperson told MarTech. “As a brand rooted in democratization and inclusivity, it was essential that we provide access and education for all with the launch of our first NFT collection. We want all our customers, whether they have experience with web3, to be able to learn and participate in this activation.”

Accessible and user-friendly. Any customer can participate by visiting a page off of Old Navy’s home site, where they’ll find step-by-step instructions.

There will also be an auction for a unique one-of-one NFT. All proceeds for the NFT and shirt sales go to Old Navy’s longtime charitable partner, Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Additionally, 10% of NFT resales on the secondary market will also go to Boys & Girls Clubs.

Support. This activation is supported by Sweet, who’s played a major role in campaigns for other early NFT adopters like Burger King.

The Old Navy NFTs will be minted on the Tezos blockchain, known for its low carbon footprint.

“This is Old Navy’s first time playing in the web3 space, and we are using the launch of our first NFT collection to test and learn,” said Old Navy’s spokesperson. “We’re excited to enable our customers with a new way to engage with our iconic brand and hero offerings and look forward to exploring additional consumer activations in web3 in the future.”

Read next: 4 key strategies for NFT brand launches

Why we care. Macy’s also announced an NFT promotion timed to their fireworks show. This one will award one of 10,000 NFTs to those who join their Discord server.

Old Navy, in contrast, is keeping customers closer to their owned channels, and not funneling customers to Discord. Old Navy consumers who don’t have an NFT wallet can sign up through Sweet to purchase and bid on NFTs.

While Macy’s has done previous web3 promotions, this is Old Navy’s first. They’ve aligned a charity partner, brand tradition and concern for the environment with a solid first crack at crypto.


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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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Are you still using spreadsheets to manage your work? Take our poll

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Are you still using spreadsheets to manage your work? Take our poll


Earlier this year, revenue orchestration platform LeanData released a report suggesting that lead management remains a “heavily manual” process. Based on a survey of more than 1,700 sales, marketing and operations professionals, the results showed that, despite all the talk of digital transformation, the number two challenge for revenue teams was too many manual processes and not enough automation (the number one challenge was insufficient pipeline).

LeanData, which partnered with Sales Hacker, Outreach and Heinz Marketing in conducting the survey, is interested in that result, of course, because lead management is precisely the process they offer to automate. We were struck by the contrast with Scott Brinker’s recent statement that we are arriving at a post-digital-transformation era: “(C)ompanies are no longer planning to become ‘digital.’ They are digital.”

And then we got the results of our 2022 MarTech Career and Salary Survey. Among the surprising nuggets to be mined from our findings was that 77% of respondents identify spreadsheets as the tool they spend most time (10 or more hours a week) working with. That doesn’t mean that spreadsheets are a marketer’s most important tool, but it does suggest that manual processes remain a key part of daily life for marketing managers and staff.

We wanted to extend the opportunity to all our readers — B2B, B2C, agencies — to give us a reality check on spreadsheet use. MarTech is marketing, we like to say, and certainly today’s marketing is fundamentally data-driven and digital. But is it too soon to say that marketers are working in a digital and largely automated environment?

Download the 2022 MarTech Career and Salary Survey here


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About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.



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