Align your marketing with consumer interests and ideals for maximum impact.
Making the most of the holidays as a marketer is all about presenting your A-game, and that means planning ahead. It’s no secret that shopping is a cornerstone of the holiday season. End-of-the-year festivities are often paired with slashed prices and selfless giving opportunities—Cyber Monday emerged to complement Black Friday, Small Business Saturday is meant to show support for local businesses, and Giving Tuesday shines a light on charitable donations.
Is your website ready for the increased holiday traffic? Do you have multiple marketing channels prepped to share your seasonal message? Are you playing it safe this year? Here are some tips to help you have a successful holiday season.
All Eyes Are On Your Marketing
Advertisers should take advantage of the fact that more consumers focus on seasonal marketing (ads, social media campaigns, online markdowns, etc.) in search of the best deals and discounts around the holidays. Lower prices and freebies tend to turn eyes, but that’s par for the course. It’s your job as a smart marketer to find ways to shine brighter than the competition, in both your marketing and your message. What makes your business, your brand, and your products more desirable?
Businesses can expand their holiday marketing in more profound ways than a simple “SALE” sticker, and it’s critical to find the sweet spot that sets you apart. Start early, plan ahead, and employ different tactics and strategies across complementary marketing channels.
Traditional Marketing Channel Musts
No matter how many avenues you advertise through, a consistent, easy-to-share message is your best bet. Basic holiday marketing musts are almost tradition, and it’s wise to make sure you have these channels covered:
- Social media
- E-mail marketing
How you tailor each of these channels to your holiday needs and consumer desires is up to you, but each can be an important piece of your overall seasonal marketing puzzle.
Non-Traditional Marketing Strategies to Boost Holiday Sales
The most successful aspect of e-mail marketing, social media posts, and content strategy during the holiday season can be your ability to align with user interests and ideals. More than any other time of year, people are responsive to emotional content, heartfelt messages, and sincere brand outreach. Genuine seasonal sentiment is surprisingly effective.
- Philanthropy: People love to see businesses give back, and if you spotlight your philanthropy in your holiday marketing, people will notice. Charitable giving isn’t only for consumers, and if you spread a little joy by donating to a worthy cause, it can do wonders for your business. Don’t gloat, but be humble, and let people know your business has others in mind this holiday season. Better yet, give consumers an opportunity to join in your giving with a portion of each purchase.
- Facebook Live: Businesses have jumped on the live broadcast bandwagon with Facebook’s Live feature, and it’s perfect for holiday messages. Consumers can join you in real-time, ask questions, share seasonal stories, and get to know you and your brand. Utilize Facebook Live to promote your holiday marketing channels, but remember that sales come second. You want to establish a relationship with consumers to not only secure that holiday sale but also gain a life-long customer in the process.
- Hashtags: Hashtags have become the keywords of the social media world, and the right hashtag can make or break a marketing message. It may seem silly, but your hashtags can be as robotic or human as you make them, and consumers are smart enough to know if you’re tossing hashtags at their social media wall hoping something will stick. Use hashtags sparingly, but pick a few relevant, powerful ones to help drive your message home.
Brands That Hit the Holiday Bullseye
Different businesses have found different ways to leverage seasonal success, and there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. In the end, tactics that succeed tend to be those that (again) appeal to sentiment and focus on the human element. Depending on the market, different promotions can yield great results, and Tracey Wallace (for Hubspot’s marketing blog) shared an insightful infographic that highlights memorable seasonal advertising strategies throughout the years. Standouts include Coca Cola’s iconic polar bears, Hershey’s holiday bell Kisses, the M&M’s run-in with Santa, and Budweiser’s Christmas Clydesdales.
Be Real, Be Human, Create a Connection
Memorable holiday marketing boils down to the relationship you create between your brand and the consumer. Remember, you’re not just looking for a hit-and-run sale this season. You want customers to remember you next year and the year after that. Be sure to cover all the traditional channels and toss in a few non-traditional tactics, but above all be real, be human, and create a connection.