What You Should Be Doing Now to Prepare for 2018 Holiday Marketing

For many businesses (especially those in the retail sector), the last quarter of the year is when the most sales are generated. If you didn’t take our advice back in August and start planning your 2018 holiday marketing campaign, you still have time to put together a strategy to end the year strong.
More Consumers Than Ever Will Make Purchases Online During the 2018 Holiday Season
Marketers can’t ignore the shift in consumer preference to purchase products online versus in brick-and-mortar stores. This can be evidenced by a record $6.59 billion spent on Cyber Monday in 2017 and a 14.7 percent increase in online purchases during the 2017 holiday shopping season. With these statistics, marketers need to place a lot of emphasis around their digital marketing efforts for the 2018 holiday season.

Considering the critical role that the internet plays in helping consumers arrive at a purchase decision, businesses are planning to spend more money than ever on their digital holiday marketing campaigns in 2018. When considering all of the aspects of digital marketing, it’s anticipated that the bulk of the spending will go towards search and social media marketing this holiday season.

Personalized Content and Tailored Experiences Are Key for 2018 Holiday Marketing
Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence and digital technology over the past year, a noticeable 2018 holiday marketing trend will be personalized content that is tailored to the end-user. With so much data available, marketers have the opportunity to tap into these consumer statistics and target their audience in a way that they never have been able to before.

Simply repurposing content and campaigns from the 2017 holiday marketing season will not cut it with consumers this year.

Your Checklist to Prepare for the 2018 Holiday Marketing Season
The majority of consumers are turning to the internet to research products and services before making purchase decisions, and more consumers than ever will make purchases online during the 2018 holiday marketing season. Here is what you can be doing now to end the year strong:

1. Revamp Your Website.
Many businesses become so focused on creating engaging, high-quality digital ads that they don’t consider what will happen once the targeted customer clicks through to the website.

Is your website capable of supporting the influx of visitors that it will receive during the holiday shopping season without negatively impacting website performance? Is your website mobile-friendly and does it create a positive user experience for those that prefer to surf the internet from a smartphone or tablet? Are your ads directing prospective customers to landing pages on your website that have been optimized for conversion? Before you can implement your 2018 holiday marketing strategy, you must ensure that your website is capable of helping you to drive sales.

2. Look for Opportunities to Incorporate AI into Holiday Marketing.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the hottest digital marketing trends of 2018, and this is a trend that is not going anywhere anytime soon. By incorporating AI into your marketing efforts, you can create a more personalized and humanized experience for customers despite their interaction with your business taking place online.

If you’re fairly new to the concept of AI and find it overwhelming, creating a Facebook Chatbot is a great place to get your feet wet with this technology. Anyone can now build a Chatbot into Facebook Messenger, which can automate conversation in real-time and create a more personalized experience for prospective customers. As a marketer, you can build a Chatbot to answer common questions that your target audience has. You can also create a Chatbot to make it easier to take orders. For example, 1-800 Flowers allows users to place an order in a Chatbot without having to call the company.

Research projects that 35 percent of all retail sales during the 2018 holiday shopping season will be related to recommendations from AI.

3. Brush Up Your Instagram Page.
Social media will continue to be a big driver in holiday shopping sales in 2018; however, Instagram is predicted to be a key driver of sales. The native advertising approach that Instagram requires businesses to use resonates with users as they don’t always feel that they’re watching an advertisement on this social platform. Your Instagram page is a powerful way for you to showcase your products and services with visuals. After all, the human brain processes imagery 60,000 times faster than text.

4. Be Prepared that Black Friday Will Trump Cyber Monday in Digital Sales.
Surprising to some, Black Friday online sales in 2017 actually exceeded Cyber Monday sales, and we can anticipate that this trend will continue in 2018. Something to note is that many businesses are starting their Black Friday sales before the actual shopping holiday. While Black Friday for 2018 is not until November 23rd, some businesses are already offering pre Black Friday sales.

5. The More Granular You Are With Choosing Keywords, The Better.
The algorithms for search engines are constantly being enhanced to deliver the most relevant and useful search results to users. With this being said, the more granular and specific you are with choosing keywords for your holiday marketing campaign, the better. For example, instead of targeting keywords such as “holiday” and “Christmas,” you’re better off targeting keywords that are more intentional and provide value as they relate to your business.

While it’s not too late to begin planning your 2018 holiday marketing campaign, it’s important to realize that your competitors are already a step ahead of you. Take the time now to nail down a strategy that will help you to end the year strong.

Partnering with a digital marketing agency like New York Ave can help ensure that you’re taking advantage of the latest digital marketing trends while also serving your audience with content that resonates with them. Contact us to learn how we can help you with your 2018 holiday marketing campaign.

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