Now that the holiday season is in full swing, holiday marketing is in full bloom. Since retail sales during the holiday period typically represent 20% of total yearly sales, it’s an important time for all businesses. At the same time, the sheer volume of holiday-themed commercials, jingles, and advertisements can create clutter. How do you step up your holiday marketing game to really engage your customers?
Think Outside The (Gift) Box
Let’s face it: during the holidays, you’re going to face much stiffer competition than during the year. That means to appeal to your customers, you have to not only make them care but provide them with an incentive to buy from you. For most customers, that incentive is either a low price or convenience. In a marketing sense, that means your holiday marketing has to stand out to your audience. Think of ways to creatively and succinctly communicate the message that shopping with you this holiday season is better than shopping with a competitor.
That also means the holiday season is a great time to ramp up your inbound marketing-especially SEO. Take a look at your keyword performance, what keywords are trending, and which keywords are driving sales. Review last year’s metrics, assess KPIs like page loading times and performance, and even consider creating a special holiday-themed landing page. Importantly, you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. If you think of a creative way to express the benefits of shopping with you, by all means, for it!
While holiday marketing typically starts with Black Friday sales, it can stretch well into the beginning of January. That means you shouldn’t feel limited or confined by time. On the other hand, time-based sales incentive the customer-with a gentle urgency-to buy now. Combine the two to create promotions that appeal to your audience but don’t necessarily fit the constrictions of your competitors’ promos. For example, if a major competitor has a big sale through Christmas Eve, consider stretching yours to the day after Christmas-or even New Year’s.
Holiday Marketing is All About Value(s)
The goal of holiday marketing is no different than the goal of marketing in general, which is to establish meaningful relationships with your audience. With that said, the main distinction is the setting. As holiday marketing is set during the season of Santa Claus, Christmas carols, and snowmen, beach-themed ads would confuse your audience. However, the one important part of holiday marketing that often goes overlooked is creating value. How can you communicate value to your audience?
It can be as simple as sprucing up both your brand’s presence-both physically and digitally-to a more festive display, or something more direct-like showcasing how much customers can save buying from you versus the competitors. Whatever you choose, you have to create value for your audience, or they simply won’t care. Importantly, that value exists on a number of different planes-price, convenience, customer service, etc-so be creative!
While creating value for your brand is unequivocally important, it’s equally important to utilize the holiday period to express your intrinsic brand values. In other words, holiday marketing is a great time to show your audience what your brand is really made of. The more you spread good cheer and give back to the community, the more it shows your brand is more than just a place for customers to buy a product or service. It shows you’re engrained in the community, which is a cornerstone of creating the all-essential relationships with your audience.
Holiday Marketing Ho-Ho-Nos
While there are ways to improve your holiday marketing, there are also ways to hinder it-for instance, waiting too long to implement your holiday strategy or sending too many emails. Those pale in comparison to the single biggest mistake brands make around the holidays: not understanding their customers. The single most important thing you can do in terms of holiday marketing is to understand who you’re marketing to. The better you understand who you’re creating content for, the more effective that content will be.
We’ve already mentioned it, but don’t simply look at what your competitors are doing and try to emulate it. Holiday marketing is already a hyper-saturated concept, so to clutter the airwaves with recycled content is a major no-no. Instead, take a look at campaigns from previous holidays, pinpoint what worked and what didn’t, and go from there. Creative marketing and marketing analytics will always win you more points than copying your competitors.
Start Spreading Good Cheer
If you haven’t implemented your holiday marketing strategy, what are you waiting for? Get out there and spread tidings of comfort and joy to your customers, create value, avoid the pitfalls of copying your competitors, and have a safe, happy holiday season!