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Image of a man tying a bow on a Christmas present -How to build an ecommerce Christmas campaign - Copify blog

How to build an eCommerce Christmas campaign that will boost your sales

Having a solid ecommerce Christmas campaign will help you see off the competition this year and reap the rewards.

It’s that time of year again. The TV schedules are crammed full with Hallmark Christmas movies and debate is rife on this year’s Christmas ads from the big name brands. But what do you do if you have an online store or business and you don’t have the budget to create an ad for TV that’ll rival the Coca-Cola Christmas ad?

Well, as with marketing at any time of year, you need a plan. So grab your hot chocolate and don your Christmas jumper as we guide you through the steps involved to build an eCommerce Christmas campaign.

Table of contents

  1. When do I need an ecommerce Christmas campaign?
  2. How to start building your ecommerce Christmas campaign
    1. Consider your customers
    2. Choose the right products
    3. Decide where to promote
    4. Know how to promote
  3. Vital preparations before your Xmas campaign
  4. Set up your ecommerce Christmas marketing campaign
    1. Know your campaign dates
    2. Find great images
    3. Plan and schedule your content
  5. When it’s all over…

Do I need an ecommerce Christmas campaign?

A man scrutinising a laptop - How to build an ecommerce Christmas campaign - Copify blog

Arguably every ecommerce business needs a Christmas campaign. Christmas is the biggest gift-buying holiday of the year and a targeted marketing campaign can help you to position the correct products at the most suitable audience to make more sales and boost your coffers into the new year.

Even if you sell practical goods and not traditional ‘gifts’, you could still benefit from an uplift in sales at this time of year as customers are actively in the buying mindset. It’s also a great opportunity to run a sale to encourage interest.

Regardless of your niche, before we get into the details how to build your Christmas campaign, here are a couple of tips:

1. Don’t try and do this without a plan

You might have some success if you wing it, but you’ll have far more if you know what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it.

2. If you can, start as early as possible

The first mentions of Christmas in marketing emails tend to start around the end of October, which is when many people begin their Christmas shopping. It’s best if your plan is done and ready to go well before you need it, so you aren’t rushing and trying to cram things in at the last minute. Not only that, but you do need to do some prep on your website and elsewhere for this and if you leave it till the last minute, it could go horribly wrong.

Read our post on how to create a marketing plan

How to start building your ecommerce Christmas campaign

If you ran a holiday campaign last year, you’re in a good position as you can go back through all your previous analytics and results to see what worked and what didn’t. Use this information to help you plan for this year and you’ll have a head start.

If you’ve never done this before, don’t worry. You can still do this and collect data from this year to help you with next year’s planning.

What you need before you begin forming your eCommerce Christmas campaign is a thorough look at your customers, what products you want to promote, and where and how you’re going to promote them.

1. Consider your customers

A woman shopping on a smartphone - How to build an ecommerce Christmas campaign - Copify blog

With Christmas selling, you’re not just looking at who will want to buy your goodies as presents, you’re also looking at who might want them as a gift, and who might do both.

If you sell handmade cakes, fudge, chocolate, or similar items, for example, you might get people who will buy several items to hand out as presents, but who will also decide that they really have to have some of your dark chocolate Jingle Bell Bars, packed with cranberries, walnuts, and pecans for themselves, too.

Work it out. Who are you selling and marketing to? The gift-giver, the gift receiver, or someone who might buy for both reasons. If you’re wondering why you should target people who want your items as a gift, well, have you ever made a Christmas list? Many people do to give family and friends an idea of what they’d like, and you want your goodies on it!

Why does it matter who you’re selling to? Because your marketing may be different for each audience and it needs to be tailored to them.

2. Choose the right products

Don’t try and promote every last thing you sell. Choose products that fit in with the time of year, that make great gifts, and that suit the holiday theme you’re going for in your marketing. Think about the best way to market each one as a part of your campaign.

3. Decide where to promote

As will all marketing campaigns, go where your customers are. If you sell Christmas food aimed at creating a traditional family Christmas, you won’t do as well on LinkedIn as you would if you sold the same Christmas foods packaged as corporate gifts. It’s back again to the starting point of every marketing plan – who is your audience and where do they hang out?

4. Know how to promote

Again, this comes down to your audience. Are they the ‘bah humbug’ types who’ll join in a bit but prefer something a little less ‘in your face’? Do they love absolutely All The Things about Christmas and start getting excited for next Christmas the minute this one is over? Are they sophisticated, childlike, elegant, glitzy, kitschy? What’s their style? Will they run a mile if you overdo the schmaltz and the nostalgia or is it their favourite thing ever?

That’s how you figure out how to promote your Christmas items. Find out what they want and give it to them wrapped in a package that’s perfect for them.

Your next step is to choose goals for your Christmas marketing. Make them measurable and achievable. Perhaps you want to increase your newsletter subscribers by 200 in December or sell 1000 boxes of your award-winning triple chocolate panettone. Whatever it is, write it down so you can tailor your campaign around it.

Vital preparations before your Xmas campaign

Now you’ve got the basics down, here’s where you really do need to make sure your reindeer are in a row!

Before you do another thing, check your website. Look at how easy it is to find products on your site, how easy it is to navigate, and how easy the checkout process is from the customer’s point of view. You don’t want to fall down at the last minute with a website that isn’t well designed.

Next, check your hosting and make sure you have enough bandwidth to handle increased traffic over the run-up to Christmas. You don’t need your site overwhelmed just when everyone is trying to buy, so handle this now.

Then, check your stock to ensure good stock levels and/or ingredients, materials and time to make enough stock. Don’t run out of your bestselling items on December 5th!

Finally, check the last posting days for Christmas, and make sure you let people know the final day they can order from you. You can also use this to create urgency in your campaign.

Set up your ecommerce Christmas marketing campaign

There are a few important things to remember when you’re ready to launch your Christmas campaign:

1. Know your campaign dates

Christmas advent calendar doors - How to build an ecommerce Christmas campaign - Copify blog

Decide when you’re going to launch your campaign and when you’re going to end it. Again, it can help to look at last year’s data, if you have it, to see what you did then and if it worked. Look at the dates you chose last year and the length of the campaign and see if it began to tail off towards the end. If so, you may want to run a shorter campaign this time.

Your final day may well simply be the last possible day to still deliver your goods in time for Christmas or you might choose a date that fits in with when you want to finish for the holidays.

Don’t forget your customers after this period though. When it’s no longer possible to buy your products in time for Christmas, you can still post quality content in the form of tutorials or general interest pieces on ways to enjoy the holidays. This will help you carry a strong and trustworthy brand image into 2022.

2. Find great images

If you don’t already have good images and graphics, get some professional photos taken of your products and either use a tool like Canva to make your own Christmas-themed graphics or hire someone. Do this in plenty of time so you aren’t trying to generate graphics on the fly!

3. Plan and schedule your content

Get yourself a calendar and plan in when you’re promoting each product via which channel (social media, email, blog) and what sort of content you want to go with it – video, audio, graphics, text.

Take a look at these Christmas marketing ideas to get some inspiration for your content.

Again, get everything created in advance and schedule it out ready to go if you use an app, such as CoSchedule or MeetEdgar for your social media.

While you’re there, schedule your emails too and make sure you send at least 2 – 3 per week during your campaign. You’ll get lost among the rest if you only send one email to promote your Christmas campaign.

All this scheduling really does save time and effort and means you can focus on snaffling mince pies and Christmas chocs while you count your sales, instead of scrambling to keep up with posting.

When it’s all over…

Christmas takes a lot of planning, but then it’s over in a flash. That is until next year… So don’t let go of everything you’ve learned from your ecommerce Christmas campaign of 2021.

Go through your analytics from your website, email software, and social media platforms and look at where you got the most traffic from and your conversion rates. Have a look for where things didn’t work quite as well and see where you can improve next time. You might want to take a look at our post on how to measure your content’s success.

After that, it’s probably time to celebrate and enjoy a good old turkey (or veggie) dinner with all the trimmings!

✏️ To make a success of your online shop all year round, learn how to do digital marketing for an ecommerce site on the Copify blog.


Header image: Bruce Mars

Embedded images: LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Bruce Mars, Elena Mozhvilo

Gill Fernley

The director of her own copywriting firm, Gill writes B2B and B2C content for SMEs and digital marketing agencies. She has a background in performing arts and writes conversational, direct sales copy for businesses on a range of topics. She’s also a keen writer of chick lit.

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