Unwrap the secrets of full-funnel marketing this holiday season

October 3, 2017


Being an eCommerce store owner around the holiday season can be ho-ho-horrible -  but it doesn’t have to be! After all, 92% of holiday shoppers go online to research or purchase gifts. So in order to make the upcoming holiday season a lot less stressful, it’s important you create a comprehensive marketing strategy.

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This is the perfect opportunity to grab your piece of the fruitcake, as a whopping 41% of online shoppers will purchase from a new retailer this holiday season.  Brand loyalty is not as important to holiday shoppers as one might think!

With that in mind, as you develop your marketing strategy it’s crucial to take your customer’s journey into consideration and map out your sales funnel.

What is a sales funnel?

There are three main stages to every sales funnel: Attract, Convert, and Re-Engage. To run a successful holiday campaign, you must have content dedicated to engaging customers at each stage of the funnel. 

If you’re looking for one specific marketing channel to double down on this holiday season, we suggest social media. Did you know that in 2015, eCommerce sales coming from social media grew a whopping 202%?

To get you started, we’ve outlined the content and ads you need to snag customers at each phase of your sales funnel.

Stage 1: Attract

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The Attract stage of a sales funnel is one of the most critical. Without this stage, nobody knows your company exists, and it’s next to impossible to land new customers. It also means no one will be excitedly unwrapping your products this holiday season.

According to TeamWave, the first viable vendor to reach a decision maker has a massive 74% chance of making a sale if they present the information the right way. This means putting your best (and not most expensive) products forward.

You want to provide fun, informational content that entices customers to learn more and visit your website to peruse their options. Even if you consider yourself a bit of a Scrooge, lean into the holiday spirit a little bit!

Here are a few easy ways to increase both traffic and engagement:

  • Switch up your existing cover photos on social media and change them to something festive. Change your website too if it’s easily done.
  • Launch a holiday-themed contest or giveaway.
  • Create a gift guide.
  • Write or post about holiday-related topics of interest to your audience.
  • Offer a sale.
  • Plus, easiest of them all, be merry and bright by wishing everyone a happy holiday season! 

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Prospecting campaigns

Additionally, it’s important to attract new customers to your site by launching prospecting campaigns. Prospecting helps attract new audiences who are likely to convert and become customers. To get the attention of shoppers during this phase, the most effective ads you can use include the following:

  • Lookalike audiences that target those who resemble your top customers or are similar to your best customers: this is a fantastic way to drive new eCommerce traffic! Additionally, you should target audiences similar to your website visitors to promote eCommerce sales. This way you’re pulling in new potential customers that resemble those who have already expressed an interest in your brand or products.
  • Know exactly what (or who) you’re looking for? Create targeted audiences that are segmented based on demographics, interests, and behaviors online. This helps encourage high-quality and specific traffic to your site.

So many people concentrate their efforts on retargeting ads, but you need to bring in prospective customers and spark interest before there’s even anyone to retarget!

That’s why prospecting is so important. Plus, with the statistic we mentioned earlier (with 41% of customers purchasing from a new retailer), prospecting is essential for the holiday season.

On a final note, during this stage you should focus on all the different ways your products can fit into a shopper’s life to make that great first impression.

By helping them envision who they’re buying it for, it’ll increase your chances of making the sale. Who doesn’t love the idea of seeing their niece scream with excitement when they walk in the room with a new puppy that they didn’t tell her parents about. You need to embed impactful emotional images with your product at the forefront to make a real impact.

Stage 2: Convert


The Convert stage is where you take interested prospects and transform them into customers. It’s what earns you sales and, ultimately, keeps your business afloat. How well you convert customers during this phase has a direct and pronounced impact on your eCommerce sales and bottom line.

For holiday shoppers, this is where you want to create a sense of urgency, “Christmas is ONLY ‘X’ days away!” or “Our Hanukkah sale ends TODAY!” This is the stage of your funnel that’s the most lucrative, so it’s essential that you focus a big part of your energy into conversion efforts. Really push your best products, any sales you’re having, or special offers.

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Retargeting ads and email marketing will be your saving grace throughout this stage of the sales funnel.

The must-have retargeting ads to line your store up for massive conversion rates include:

  • Dynamic Product ads (DPA) create a carousel ad that shows potential customers products they have already viewed, but not purchased. It’s helpful for promoting re-engagement or coaxing that on-the-edge customer into a purchase. After all, they know they want that product, sometimes they just need a little reminder. These ads are crucial for holiday shoppers that are scrolling around comparing products and prices on a variety of sites. Keep your products top of mind with a DPA campaign.
  • Sometimes we’re just about to click ‘Confirm Order’ when our phone goes off, or we hear an unexplained crash in the kitchen. Afterwards, it’s easy to forget that we were just about to pull the trigger on the perfect gift for Aunt Barb. Fortunately, you can run Abandoned Cart campaigns that target all of the customers who left the site before they finished making a purchase, allowing Aunt Barb to end up getting that ceramic cat planter after all. Campaigns like these are ideal for decreasing your abandoned cart rate and driving more eCommerce sales: think of them as the ultimate safety net that helps you keep people from bouncing permanently.


Email Marketing

So now that your advertising is top notch, let’s talk about the factor that will push your holiday sales over the edge: email marketing. While sometimes it can be difficult to cut through the noise, 70% of people learned of holiday promotions through email. And on Black Friday it generated the most sales with 25.1% of the share.

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Try some of the email types below promoting and/or offering the following to your subscribers:

  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales
    • These two days alone account for a large portion of retailer’s annual revenue, so make sure your campaigns are ready to go! 
  • Customer Loyalty
    • Surprise and delight your loyalty or reward members with a special gift or promotion just for them.
  • Refer a Friend
    • Give current subscribers a deal if they refer a friend, or pay for a gift subscription.
  • Last Minute Deals
    • In 2015, the average shopper had only completed 53% of their shopping list two weeks before Christmas.
  • Post-Holiday
    • Help customers spend their newly acquired holiday funds.

One crucial factor to remember? A subject line that packs a punch and catches the eye of readers, whether it be a witty line, a tempting offer too good to pass up, or a holiday emoji, will make all the difference to your open rates. 

Stage 3: Re-Engage

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According to HelpScout, you have a 60-70% probability of selling to an existing customer, and only a 5-20% probability of selling to a new prospect.  Do you have new products, a holiday sale or a particular holiday message you want to convey to your returning customers?

Capitalize on those who have already expressed an interest in your brand or product. These people have already drunk the eggnog, they might just need a gentle nudge to be reminded of the awesome stuff you have to offer. If you have a loyalty program, this is the stage you want to engage its members and show your appreciation. This can mean special offers just for them, encouraging referrals, and offering additional rewards for previous or frequent customers.

There are lots of great, easy to use tools that can help you automate and manage your loyalty program. Take for example Smile.io: a streamlined platform that allows you to easily manage and make changes to your reward program in one place. You can run a points program, referral program or VIP program, separately or together.

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In addition to creating quality content that brings back and praises your fan base, we suggest re-engaging them using retargeting ads. Create an audience that includes your top and most engaged customers with specific messaging or offers that are exclusive to them, same goes for your loyalty program members. It will show your customers how much you value their continued devotion, and provide them even more ammunition to post a glorious review raving about your products and customer service.

Full-Funnel Marketing for eCommerce


Repeat after me: attract, convert, re-engage. If you follow our strategy and effectively map your marketing efforts to each stage of the sales funnel, we guarantee you’ll jingle all the way to the bank this holiday season!


About Vantage
Vantage is the leading provider of eCommerce advertising and analytics. Vantage offers powerful, predictive analytics and advertising powered by artificial intelligence to analyze data and build responsive marketing campaigns in real-time to help retailers be more successful. With more than 75 million customer profiles analyzed that have made over 30 billion in retail purchases, Vantage has helped over 20,000 merchants in 123 countries around the world drive profitable, performance eCommerce.

Visit www.gotvantage.com to learn how you can begin using your retail data to find more customers and grow your business.


Topics: eCommerce News

Amy Statham

Written by Amy Statham

Amy Statham is a data-driven marketer at Vantage where she helps to develop new growth strategies and informative content for ecommece businesses. You can find the latest ecommerce insights and tactics on the Vantage Blog updated bi-weekly.

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