The holidays are upon us and, along with it, the holiday shopping season. Your customers are ready to spend some money. Is your business taking full advantage of the opportunity?
Most businesses do incorporate the holiday season into their marketing strategy. But the vast majority of the holiday season marketing doesn’t stand out in any way.
When you consider the fact that consumers are bombarded with advertising messages all year round, it is no wonder our minds skip over the vast majority of those messages. Advertising overload increases exponentially during the last six weeks of the year.
So what do you do? What can your company do to ensure that your messages stand out and are seen by your target audience?
Here are 7 tips to get you started:
Plan Your Holiday Marketing Early
Probably the one thing most responsible for “average” holiday marketing and advertising campaigns is failure to plan. If you want your campaign to generate outstanding results, you should start planning for your holiday marketing in July. It should be ready to launch in early November – ready for you to pull the trigger at exactly the right moment.
Most businesses don’t think about their holiday marketing campaigns until it’s too late. The result is an “average” campaign with “average” results.
If you didn’t plan ahead for the upcoming holiday and it is too late to do it right, consider planning and launching a campaign for the next one. For example, it might be too late to start on a Christmas campaign this year, but don’t forget that New Year’s is right around the corner. If you can come up with a creative marketing twist that connects your brand to New Year’s resolutions and motivates your customers to take action, you could kick start 2019 with a bump in revenue.
Promote Your Brand
A lot of businesses post a stock photo on Facebook or send out a postcard with someone wearing a “Santa Hat”. They might offer a holiday discount. Maybe they will even generate sales from the discount offer. But how does that promote your brand?
An exceptional holiday marketing campaign will continue your ongoing brand-building efforts and layer in something special for the holidays. If you (the business owner) are the brand – you should be the one wearing the Santa Hat. If your brand is defined by your logo or a product, maybe the Santa Hat should be on that. Make sure you incorporate this into a Google My Business post so that when people look up your company, they see your holiday ad. But don’t stop there.
Take a page from REI’s #OptOutside campaign. It is a brilliant example of a holiday marketing campaign that builds on an existing brand strategy – connecting REI with customers who love the outdoors.
Any offer you make for the holidays should be consistent with your brand messaging. It is your job to make it more special. Connect your brand’s message to the holidays and to your target audience.
The holiday season is a season of giving. If you or your company actively gives back to the community or to specific causes, now is the time to double down.
Patagonia is a great example of this. The company has tied its brand to the environment and social responsibility with its ongoing commitment of “1% for the Planet”. It doubled down on that strategy with its “Urgent $10M Gift to the Planet”. I’m betting that Patagonia’s campaign will pay big time dividends.
Reward Your Loyal Customers
It is well known that it is much harder to bring on a new customer than it is to get a happy customer to buy from you again. The holidays are the perfect time for you to show your appreciation for your existing customer base.
That means that you should be targeting offers specifically to existing customers and, to the extent you can, make sure that each customer receives an offer that is specifically relevant to him or her.
Email Marketing Combined with Retargeting
Email marketing can be your most effective marketing strategy. But, for that to happen, you need to keep a solid, segmented list and you must think creatively about how to use it – especially during the holidays.
In addition, you should reinforce your email marketing with a retargeting campaign. Given the huge audience on Facebook and Instagram, I would focus on those platforms for your retargeting. Upload your customer database to Facebook and target that audience with ads that reinforce your branding and email marketing campaigns.
Special Holiday Offers
Everybody does holiday discount offers. You should too, but don’t stop there. Consider a special holiday giveaway. You can promote it on social media, Google display advertising and your email marketing.
But don’t just follow the lead of others with a percentage discount. Consider running a holiday giveaway. After all … ‘tis the season of giving. Get into the spirit. Give to your favorite local charities and promote that to your target audience. Consider a special gift to existing customers or a campaign that rewards people who like or share your posts on social media.
The point is, use this time to turn heads and make a splash.
Don’t Forget Print
Advertising dollars are flowing into digital like never before. Your customers are online and you should be, too. Online spending exceeded $6 billion on Black Friday alone. But don’t forget about print marketing.
Most of your competitors probably only focus on digital. You can stand out with an effective holiday print marketing campaign. An oversized postcard promoting a special offer or a special event just for your current customers will catch their attention. Make sure it is a beautiful image and a great offer that will cut through the clutter. Your existing customers will love the fact that you are thinking of them and rewarding their loyalty with a special offer.
And print is not just about postcards and brochures. Signage or posters in your office that highlight the offers your customers got online and in the mail creates consistent messaging and shows your customers that you are buttoned up.
Make the Holiday Season Your Winning Season
Your success during the holiday season is only limited by your ability to think creatively and to plan. Don’t let the opportunity to make this holiday season the start of something special for your business.
Written by: Dan Goldstein.
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