Step 3 in a kick-ass Holiday Campaign is promotion. Now that you’ve figured out what you’re doing and you’ve got all your ducks in a row it’s time to shout it all from the rooftops!
In this week’s episode we’re going to walk through how to figure out what sales you should run in your business, how to actually promote them to your customers, and my favorite way to manage graphic needs for an eCommerce business during Q4.
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This is the third and final episode of the Holiday Campaign Series where we’re covering the 3 Ps of Campaign execution. In the first episode of the series, we talked about planning, and in the second episode, preparation. In this episode, we’re talking about promotion where we cover your sales, email marketing, paid advertising, and your graphics.
These are in a VERY specific order so if you haven’t checked out the first two episodes in the series, you know what to do!
Prefer to listen to this episode? Click here
What sales should you run during your holiday campaign?
Go back to the campaign recap and decide which past promotions performed the best. Is there anything worth repeating?
Ultimately, the simpler, the better—especially this year. Consumers are going to be bombarded with sales messages, so make it super simple for them and you.
Generally, I find a straight percentage discount off a purchase is the biggest revenue driver, but there are always other options like a discount off a specific collection or specific items you’re trying to move. Buy one get one deals are a good way to increase your AOV.
It’s a delicate balance between what your margins can afford and making it enticing enough for people to take advantage. You’re likely to have a lot of competition this year, so think carefully.
Also, if you’re reselling other people’s products, see if your vendors have any special deals. Often you can get better wholesale prices, so you can offer discounts without eating into your margin.
What about Black Friday deals?
If you’re using different discount codes for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I suggest having both codes active for the entire time to limit customer service issues. Time zones still confuse people.
Plan your sales, but leave room to react
My goal for you here is to map all your promos out ahead of time, but leave yourself space to react. Especially if you have seasonal merchandise that doesn’t move as quickly as you expect or a promo doesn’t drive as much revenue as you’d hoped. You might want to increase your discount, increase your marketing, or even just extend it a day or two to get your customer’s attention.
Email marketing: get the most out of your promotions
To make sure these promos are effective, your customers need to know that they’re happening. And my favorite way to do that is with email marketing.
Up your email frequency during the holiday season so you don’t get lost in the inbox. If you’re not already emailing your people regularly, start doing so by the beginning of October so you can get them used to receiving emails from you. You don’t want to just show up in their inbox on Black Friday weekend if they haven’t heard from you in months.
Commit to at least sending one email a week between now and Black Friday weekend.
Incentivise joining your mailing list
Once you get closer to the sale, you can start teasing your promotions. This is a great incentive to mention while you try to grow your list between now and the holiday season. Studies show that the majority of holiday sales come from customers that engaged with the brand before the holiday season. So if you haven’t been putting much focus on growing your list, now is a great time to do that. People LOVE exclusivity.
Give sneak peeks to your best customers or your entire list to create excitement and have them refreshing their inbox waiting for the signal that it’s time to buy. I know a lot of us worry that if we tell them too early, they will wait to buy… but they’re probably waiting anyway. So don’t get too caught up in that.
If you have limited stock in popular items, give your email list early access to the sale, before you advertise it on your website or social media.
Email doesn’t always have to be a hard sell
You can send newsletters and information related to the holiday to keep your brand top of mind for the customer throughout the season without always asking for the sale.
Resend emails that don’t get opened
For your big sale days, make sure you’re resending those emails to people who didn’t open it the first time and that you’re sending last chance emails as well. Not everyone is going to take action right away.
The good news is, you can set up all those resends in advance in
If you want a video walk-through of how to do that, along with more support around everything we talked about throughout this series, get your hands on the Holiday Planning Mini-Course I created. For only $47 dollars, you get my epic planning guide along with walk-through videos and worksheets to help you plan out your best holiday season yet. Plus, it comes with lifetime access and I’ll be updating it every single year!
How to use advertising to get the most out of your holiday campaigns
If you’ve never done ads before, you probably don’t want to start during the holiday season on your own. If you’re hell-bent on doing it, either start with remarketing ads only, or hire an expert. Don’t waste time and money learning during your busiest season.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re already doing advertising.
Update your bids
While I’ve heard some ads experts say your CPAs can go down during the holidays, it doesn’t hurt to prepare for increased competition and increase your bids a smidge.
Adjust your ads
You’ll also want to make sure you’re adjusting your ads during the season based on your product availability. There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than seeing an ad for something that is sold out.
Update site links
If you’re doing Google Ads, make sure you’re updating your site links with seasonal collections like your gift guides. Experiment with adding seasonal keywords to your campaigns like “the best gifts for mom under $100.”
Double down and show up
In addition to your email and paid advertising, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting in front of your potential customers as much as possible throughout the season. Of course, you don’t have to be in all the places—be strategic. Show up where your customers are at and double down on what has worked for you in the past. Go ALL IN on these channels. Create content around your gift guides and season items. Create content related to your product around holiday in general and create FOMO and urgency into your marketing as much as possible.
If you’re a health and fitness brand, you can talk about how to stay on track during the holiday season, or how to get back on track after it. No matter your brand, you can speak to finding time for yourself in the craziness of the holiday. Think hard about who your customer is and what matters to them. Tell your own relatable stories, share your plans for the holidays. Don’t overthink this, just speak human to human.
Connect with complementary businesses
The holidays are a great time to connect for a giveaway, shout each other out in emails or in gift guides. Tap into your network or start looking for people you might partner with now and start engaging with them on social. You want to make sure you already have a relationship with them before you hit them up with an ask.
The essential graphics you need for your campaign
Graphics are at the end for a reason. Because this is what will keep you stuck. Most people I know get caught up on the design of things. Because it’s so much easier to hide behind this… I get it, I’ve been guilty of doing this too—but I promise it’s not worth it.
Yes, design matters, but everything else matters more.
That being said, you want your graphics to reflect the season. It keeps people in the holiday spirit!
Now that you’ve got all your promos and emails mapped out, start thinking through what graphics you’ll need to support this. You’ll want to infuse some holiday cheer into all of your emails, your social media posts, and if you have the bandwidth, I’d update your home page images to match the season as well.
I usually use Trello to organize all my graphic needs. I’ll create a card template so I know for every promotion I need an email graphic, an Instagram post, a story, a Facebook post, etc. And then I store the final graphic on the card so I can access them from anywhere on the go.
Keep your designs simple
When you’re creating these, make sure you’re including all the necessary information the customer needs, including the exact date and time, with time zones that your deal expires.
If you’re not super talented with design and don’t have access to a graphic designer, keep things simple! It’s very easy to go over design getting too fancy with font and colors to the point where the customer doesn’t even know what it says. If you’re not already using Canva, it’s a great place to start. With a bunch of built-in templates and overall ease of use, it’s worth it to get the pro version as well, it’s only $12.95/mo so you can save all your brand colors, upload custom fonts, get unlimited access to their stock photos and create animations. If you’re not already using Canva, click here to check it out.
Prioritise what is right for your business
Now, here’s the deal. We talked about A LOT of things throughout this series. And it might feel overwhelming. But remember, you don’t necessarily have to do ALL THE THINGS. Do what’s right for your business right now.
And if you want more support planning your holiday season, get your hands on the Holiday Planning Guide. Seriously, for $47 you’ll make that investment back in one email to your list. If you have the freebie I gave away last year, know that this is an updated and more robust version with accompanying videos, including the actual walk-through of how to schedule your emails in advance in