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4th November 2020

How to Stand Out From The Competition At Christmas

minute read

In the current circumstances, getting into the Christmas spirit might feel like a bit of a challenge. But there are plenty of reasons for businesses to be cheerful. As we listed in our rundown of business predictions for Christmas 2020, over half of customers aren’t going to let a second lockdown dent their spending plans. 

When customers prepare to open their purse strings, businesses will vie for their attention, and there’s no time of year more competitive than Christmas. This year however, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the business landscape.

With non-essential shops shut across the country, it’s no longer sufficient to simply add a bit of tinsel to your shopfront, mark down some products, then wait for the customers to flood in. With lockdown-battered businesses competing online for every penny from wary customers, you’ll have to work extra hard to stand out.

We’ve compiled a few tips to help your business stand out from the crowd this Christmas:

1. Come across as a brand that understands

After such a difficult year, the prospect of Christmas 2020 feels particularly vital. People want to come together and celebrate with the most important people in their lives.

That’s not to say that this year will see people ditching the big spend and searching for the non-commercial meaning of Christmas. There’s no shortage of people willing to buy, but to win them over, you’ve got to think about yourself as a brand

This year, you need to put empathy at your brand’s heart, and show customers that you grasp the extraordinary nature of what we’ve been through. We’d recommend positioning yourself as a brand that understands these two things in particular:

  1. How anxiety-inducing this year has been for your customers 
  2. The heightened emotional significance of Christmas in that context 

In practice, this means balancing your sales-focused advertising with messaging that lets customers know you’re on their side. 

2. Tell your story with sponsored content 

To communicate messages that go beyond the direct sale, find a format that gives you enough space. Even if your store is temporarily shuttered, you can still, and should, tell a good story about your brand. There’s one advertising format that really lets you weave a narrative: sponsored content.

Sponsored content lets your business feature in a full-length, professionally-written article, published alongside regular editorial content in a quality publication. This connects your brand’s story to the things your audience cares about, while also demonstrating your expertise. 

For instance, a haberdashery might publish suggestions for Christmas-themed crocheting. Or alternatively, a venerable neighbourhood bakery might highlight a surprising link to local history. 

When such pieces appear in a locally popular publication, like a local news website, they’re more likely to chime with your audience’s interests. After all, wouldn’t you rather spend your money somewhere with real local pedigree, rather than on Amazon? 

3. Make your website sparkle

When your shop closes, your digital presence becomes your window to the world. Right now, it’s never been more important to have a top-class website that will help you stand out from the crowd. 

When people first look into a business that’s caught their attention, they’ll almost certainly turn to its website. Your top priority here is to make sure your site smoothly conveys the most important points of information that customers need. 

Don’t make basic fact-finding arduous for potential customers this Christmas; put your delivery options and contact details upfront and centre on your homepage, and link to information about your plans for reopening as and when they take shape. 

Set up a separate Christmas landing page for products, services and information and clearly communicate your business’s Christmas offer. Check out the JPIMedia Christmas landing page for inspiration. 

Don’t forget to add a few festive touches to the layout of your website. Something as simple as a bit of seasonal imagery can go a long way in conjuring up that Christmas feeling.

4. Rejoice in your online advertising

Your business message won’t land if it’s chucked about indiscriminately. Clever advertising today is targeted according to who customers are and the kind of businesses they frequent.

Christmas is great for niche businesses, with more people searching for that particular perfect gift or service. Paying for ads on Google lets you target nearby customers searching for words and phrases relevant to what you sell. 

Remember - Christmas is a competitive time to advertise, so the more precisely you can target, the better the return you’re likely to see.

7. Make your Christmas (marketing) your own

Christmas can too often feel like a purely commercial event rather than a celebration of family and unity. Injecting a bit of your own festive spirit into your efforts could help you push ahead of competitors.

Personalisation is the key in all your business’s communications here. Always personalise the subject line and body of your emails and maybe even send handwritten Christmas cards to important customers.

Though a lot of festive marketing takes pretty similar forms, standing out from the competition at Christmas is very much possible for local businesses, even during a lockdown. 

Your empathy as a brand in the current circumstances and your unique selling points are the bedrocks of your success here, so make the most of them. Whatever you pride yourself on, find out what makes you special and shout it from the rooftops.

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