Should you go festive on your website - how far is too far and how will your audience take it?

Sam McGuire
  • Sam McGuire
  • Senior Digital Designer

Are you someone who dusts off the Christmas decs box the minute the clocks change? Or do you shrink from twinkly paraphernalia and keep all areas strictly bauble-free? Whatever your views on Christmas decorations you should give some thought to your website. Does it need some festive cheer? And if so, how do you get the balance right?

It’s all about value

The first question you need to ask is: will a festive update to your website add value? Will it:

  • Attract customers?
  • Make your message relevant to the season?
  • Make your existing message stronger and more enticing?
  • Freshen your site in a way that boosts audience engagement?

If are running an e-commerce site, then the answer will almost definitely be yes. E-commerce needs to go festive.

Remember, your website is your shop window and as such you need to dress it up. Big name department stores like Selfridges and Harvey Nichols have made marketing mileage from their Christmas window displays for decades, and you’re hitting the same customer buttons when you apply similar seasonal imagination to your web design.

It can be a brilliant way to build your brand identity and create a winning user experience. How you do it will depend on:

  • what your site is intended for
  • the tone of your website
  • the action you want site visitors to take

 Brainstorming with your digital design agency will get the imagination and ideas flowing.

Simple but Santa-friendly

A festive website doesn’t have to mean an expensive or time-consuming web re-design. There are plenty of simple options that can tweak your website into something more productive for Christmas. Sometimes subtle is a better approach. Think about simple tweaks such as:

  • Dressing up your logo to make it festive.
  • Swapping your hero image for something more festive. (Your hero image is the large banner image and text on your home page. It’s what makes the first impression on visitors and is a big factor in visitors choosing to stay on site or go elsewhere. A seasonal change gives you scope for freshness, interest and engagement. It’s also a brilliant brand identity tool.)

Be useful

Being festive isn’t all about snowflakes, sprinkles and Santa hats. It’s also about building customer loyalty and encouraging purchases through helpful information and clear guidance. Use your website to give customers information on things like your Christmas and New Year opening hours and the last date for which you can guarantee delivery.

Be practical

Christmas can be a stressful time, so it’s essential that businesses deliver on their promises. That includes handling enquiries, dealing with returns and getting goods to customers on time. So, before you go big on seasonal marketing with your website, think about whether your site will be able to cope with an increased number of visitors.  Plan accordingly and you’ll build customer satisfaction, loyalty and recommendations.

Be responsive

Is your website mobile ready? If you haven’t yet upgraded to responsive web design, this is another very good reason to do so. Think about your site visitors – are they likely to be spending the Christmas period putting in extra time at their desktop? Or are they going to be scrolling their smartphone while they’re on the commute, taking a lunchbreak or sipping mulled wine on the sofa at the end of the working day?

If your website isn’t responsive, you could be missing out on hundreds of potential customers who are visiting sites on their mobiles.

Christmas greetings

Christmas is an excellent time of year to build relationships with customers. Sending some sort of greeting that shows your appreciation for them and which sends them good wishes can really increase customer engagement and buy-in. If you use it cleverly, it will keep your business in the forefront of their minds and encourage them to share information about your business with others.

Use your website for a digital take on the traditional Christmas card. A video, animated card or game can all be something that is shared with others on social media, as well as making an impression on site visitors and building your brand identity.

Christmas is a time for giving, so use your website to give customers what they want. Seasonal website design is affordable, and you’ll get plenty back in terms of ROI. A warm message, helpful information, great service and a responsive site – get the website right and you’ll find that seasonal magic will do the rest.