Chinese New Year Marketing Ideas: Winning Tips and Tricks

Chinese New Year Marketing Ideas: Winning Tips and Tricks

Time to break out the fireworks! As February approaches, so does another widely celebrated holiday: Chinese New Year. February 12th ushers in the Year of the Ox, and with it the beginning of the new lunar year. Here, we’ll break down what this holiday can mean for your business, and how to meaningfully incorporate Chinese New Year celebrations into your marketing campaigns.

Table of Contents

#1 Celebrating Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, is a two-week festival that marks the first day of a new year on a lunar calendar. This period closes with the Lantern Festival, which always falls on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Each year is assigned an animal from one of twelve on the Chinese zodiac on a rotating cycle, and each animal is associated with specific traits. While the holiday is widely celebrated in Asia, there are observers all across the globe and marks a significant occasion for many families and friends to come together and welcome the new year.

#2 Getting started

Before beginning to map out your marketing strategies, it may be helpful to first identify your audience and the themes of Chinese New Year that you want to focus on and let them guide your campaigns.
Data matters here too! Questions to consider can be:
Keeping in mind the various ways people celebrate and what this holiday signifies can lead to messaging that better resonates with site visitors and lead to more long-term engagement.

#3 Expand your audience

While Chinese New Year is widely celebrated in Asia, its influence has spread across the globe, with millions of people worldwide hosting their own versions of this holiday every year. Now’s the time for your marketing to go global (if it hasn’t already)! When you’re creating your campaign audiences, don’t feel like you need to limit your marketing to one particular region.

#4 Launch holiday-specific product sets

A significant celebration for many, Chinese New Year may call for the introduction of themed products and gift sets. If you are in a position to do so, consider adding new product listings that incorporate visual elements related to the holiday, and items that customers can give as gifts. Ideally, it may be helpful to introduce these items within the context of a site-wide Chinese New Year celebration, so if you can accompany their launch by complementary promotions and messaging, all the better!

#5 Virtual red envelopes

One of the more highly ranked search terms and an especially popular custom is exchanging red envelopes and packets with money, also referred to as “lai see”. As more and more consumers are turning to digital methods of giving these red envelopes, your online store is in a unique position to be able to facilitate this exchange. In the context of your business, you can offer subscribers the opportunity to send their friends and family a discount or an amount off of their purchases from your e-commerce store. This way, this initiative can function both as a referral program, and a relevant activity that is in sync with Chinese New Year celebrations. 

Virtual red envelopes

#6 Gamified experiences

As friends and family wish each other a lucky new year, you can help give them a head start with some gamified pop-ups and discounts. Incorporating the element of luck in your promotions can not only encourage more user participation but also directly aligns with one of the themes of this holiday. Ideas to consider include mystery offers and bundles, or a chance to win a significant percentage off or a free gift with purchase. When applied to your pop-up, this can also be an effective way to gain more subscribers, as a gamified sign-up form can lead to more user interaction. For customizable and season-specific pop-ups, you can get started with Socital here

#7 Resources

Aside from promotions, this can also be a time to provide subscribers relevant content that can help them with their preparations. Even if you are not directly offering discounts, you are adding value by either educating your followers on what this holiday can mean, or contributing to making their celebrations a little more festive.
Some resources to consider are:

#8 Nominate friends and family giveaways

First and foremost, Chinese New Year is about celebrating and gathering with loved ones. While this may look different this year, you can still build on the idea of community and launch activities that encourage interaction not only with your business but also with each other. One strategy that combines both is setting up a giveaway where friends and family can nominate each other to win items or services from your online store. This can help generate buzz around your products, introduce customers to new items from your inventory, and provide the opportunity for people to win gifts for their loved ones!

#9 Host a contest

For another strategy to interact with your followers and increase brand awareness, consider hosting a social media contest to celebrate the holiday. Feel free to get creative with your prompts! This method is also useful in helping your online store gather user-generated content, which can be repurposed with permission to further validate your site to future visitors. If you’re focused on Instagram, a hashtag contest is a way to go. Pick a unique hashtag for those entering to use that won’t get lost among other posts on the feed, and encourage participants to comment and tag friends to help spread the word.  
P.S. Need a pop-up builder that helps pick contest winners among email subscribers? Check out Socital here.

#10 Double-check shipping dates

During Chinese New Year many are getting gifts for their loved ones, making delivery dates time-sensitive. It’s also a period where some suppliers may not be able to fulfill last-minute orders. Ensure that you have a game plan when it comes to shipping and reach out to them beforehand to verify their schedules. Based on your suppliers’ capacity, add a few days as a buffer and then notify potential customers of the cutoff dates for Chinese New Year deliveries. As a bonus, you can also launch a free shipping promotion to encourage more visitors to check out!
Double-check shipping dates

#11 Explore mobile payment gateways

This strategy is a little more specific and especially relevant if you are primarily targeting consumers in Asia, but given that 90% of consumers in China’s largest cities rely on mobile payment platforms Alipay and WeChat Pay as their main payment method, it may be useful to consider adding other popular payment gateways those visiting your site can use to fulfill their orders. For example, if you’re hosting your online store on Shopify and you’re based in the U.S., you can add Alipay as an additional payment platform to make checking out easier. In any case, no matter your audience, providing a range of payment methods and optimizing your online store for mobile browsing can increase your conversion rates, and keep visitors more engaged with your site.

#12 Encourage storytelling

Everyone who celebrates Chinese New Year has their memories associated with the holiday. Using social media to encourage followers to share what Chinese New Year means to them and how they usually ring in the new lunar year is a valuable way to hear directly from people engaging with your page. While it can sometimes feel a little trickier to personalize content when you’re communicating as a business, it doesn’t have to be! This is where influencer collaborations can be especially useful. To take your marketing a step further, consider partnering with a content creator who celebrates the holiday so that they can share their version of it. From a promotional perspective, it can increase brand awareness, but it is also a way to directly connect with followers on a much more personalized level.

#13 Messaging Matters

It’s not just about hosting promotions! Even if you don’t launch Chinese New Year sales, you can still incorporate the holiday’s themes in your marketing content. Consider sending a celebratory newsletter to your subscribers, or drafting a blog post that goes into more detail about the holiday for those that would like to know more. The goal is not to water down the meaning, but to provide accessible content that will enrich consumers’ understanding of Chinese New Year and design a more relevant site for those who celebrate.
If you’re looking for more themed tips on how to market your online store, you can check out all our seasonal e-commerce guides here. Happy selling and Happy Chinese New Year!

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