It’s that time of the year again when all brands gear up and craft compelling holiday marketing campaigns to finish the year on a higher note of sales. Every brand wants to arrive at this holiday marketing race and be the first with the most competitive force across multiple channels and platforms, compelling marketing campaigns and offers by investing significant share of their resources. Moreover, holiday sales can comprise up to 30% of annual sales, and with that no company wants to leave any stone unturned. 

Now accomplishing around one third of the total yearly sales in a span of 30 days is highly challenging and can only be achieved by thorough budgeting, marketing planning and an almost impeccable execution process to make the most of the marketing budget. And all these start with a flawless marketing budget for holiday marketing campaigns, taking account of all the costs, branding and marketing objectives, sales goals and analyzing the current performance of various products or services in the digital landscape, identification of marketing channels to focus for holiday campaigns and many others. But, one thing at a time – so, let us begin with working on following three tips to plan and use marketing budget for holiday marketing campaigns one by one.   

1. Analyze the holiday marketing budget

The first step is to perform a thorough analysis of your marketing budget and the remaining amount of the yearly budget which can used in year-end holiday marketing campaigns. As marketers discern the amount they are left with, they will be able to perform the next stage of analysis – the performance on ongoing and past marketing efforts to determine the revenue generated from current and previous campaigns. Google Analytics can be an ideal analytics tool and marketers will be able to understand the performance and revenue yielded from previous and present marketing campaigns by taking a look at the ‘Acquisition’ tab on the Google Analytics tool. Identify the top performing marketing campaigns, marketing channels where campaigns are performing the most and yielding conversions – where paid campaigns or organic efforts. Channels that are generating more conversions and ROI, should be primary choices for holiday marketing budget. Marketers need to follow what the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends in terms of holiday marketing investment; organizations should ideally invest around 7% of their total revenue on marketing campaigns when they are making less than $5 million in revenue. So, the question is how much is too much or just right for your holiday marketing efforts? 

2. How much should you invest in holiday marketing compared to standard marketing spend?

Marketers often allocate a considerable amount of holiday email campaign budget in order to beat cut-throat competition during this year-end peak season. Therefore, marketers need to be careful of spending excessively in these holiday campaigns to gain higher customer outreach and better engagement than their competitors. However, it is best to wait until Thanksgiving is near before marketers ramp up their marketing spends. So, what is the ideal proportion or percentage in which they should increase their marketing investment? Industry marketing experts recommend that marketers can invest somewhere around two to five times more than their usual year-around investment in marketing campaigns. Hence, they should also have a meticulous plan and strategies to make the most out that swollen marketing budget. That’s why marketers should plan every aspect of campaigns well ahead of the time of launching their holiday marketing campaigns including crafting the most compelling designs, landing pages, forms, messages, time slots, offers as well as the marketing channels where targeted audience can be targeted and engaged. Along with these, marketers should also work around the keywords, including top trending and least competitive ones based on the current and upcoming holiday trends as well as the sales goals and results to expect from the campaigns.

3. Invest more in email campaigns.

Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels to heavily rely upon during the holiday season for generating the highest amount of return with the lowest possible marketing spend. Hence, marketers should start working on the holiday email marketing campaigns by strategizing, designing, developing, A/B testing and continue to test after the launch of the holiday campaign to see which group of audience is responding and how they are responding to your holiday campaigns. Use these campaign insights to divide and personalize different variants of the same holiday email campaigns to smaller segments of prospects and customers to more strategically and effectively target your audience. 

We recommend to our clients to design their holiday emails in ways that underline the most popular product or service features and that are most likely to resonate with each group of audience. Also, marketers should remember that emails are found to be relevant to prospects’ and customers’ needs when the messages are highly personalized to their requirements and expectations, beyond just subscribers’ first names. If your emails are still not performing as intended even after personalizing messages, you need to work on the day and time when email open rates are the highest and also take account of subscribers’ preferred email frequency as they mention in the email preference centers or subscription management centers. Marketers need to send emails in the right frequency and at the right timing to significantly improve the prospects of email delivery, email opens and engagement.

Another key factor in determining holiday marketing budget is setting the right goals. You need to set a realistic goal considering various factors of success and ROI such as the amount of investment in your holiday marketing efforts, previous and current campaign performance and market saturation among many others. Once you can identify your goals and metrics, you can start building and developing more ROI-driven holiday marketing campaigns you can build.

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