The holidays are the perfect time to leverage the nostalgia of your customers. Their feelings of the season can help you build a deeper connection, trust, and credibility. It’s true that it is difficult to think about the winter holidays when it is still the middle of summer. In reality, though, approximately 40% of consumers start their holiday shopping well before Halloween.
In fact, the analytics uncovered in Google Trends show that searches for ‘Christmas Gift Ideas’ start steadily appearing in August! So, if you start planning now and begin to slowly roll out your marketing strategies over the next few months, you’ll put your brand in an excellent place to make the most of the winter shopping weeks.
Tie into Key Emotions
Consumers often make buying decisions not based on logic but rather subconsciously, based on their feelings and emotions. With the added emotional atmosphere, the holidays elicit for many people, a successful holiday marketing campaign will seek to connect with the target audience in a very personal way to tap into those feelings floating just beneath the surface of consciousness. Focus your holiday campaigns on feelings that fit with a particular holiday like giving back, or gratitude. Other areas to concentrate on are friendship, being home for the holidays, goodwill, and so on.
For more on this topic, see our blog article: A Glimpse at the Psychology of Marketing
Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing continues to be an excellent means of building awareness, acquiring leads, and pushing conversions so include this strategy in your holiday marketing plans. Consumers can access email directly from all of their devices making it the most efficient form of direct communication. Timing is important so be sure to create a well-rounded campaign that offers ample notification of upcoming holiday sales as well as messages regarding promotions being currently run. Include in your campaigns a communication like “only 12 hours left” to entice last-minute shoppers.
Use Social Media to Connect with Customers
The promotional potential of social media is limitless with a strategically thought out and executed marketing plan. By using your existing online channels, it will be easier to connect with your target audience.
Facebook audiences will respond best to holiday content if you invest time and effort in building meaningful relationships throughout the year. Facebook Ads are relatively inexpensive, easy to tailor to specific buyer personas and offer a number of ways to push content out to particular segments of your followers and prospective customers alike.
Pinterest is probably the most powerful social network in regards to influencing holiday purchases. This is the platform to which consumers turn for inspiration on fulfilling wish lists and other gift ideas. Instagram is another visual social network critical to inspiring consumers. It is an excellent channel you can use to showcase how your products and services benefit the lives of your current customers.
Build Buzz with Contests and Giveaways
To really engage with your followers, host giveaways and contests. These cost-effective methods will also help you attract new followers and build excitement for any upcoming holiday events and specials. Find fun and creative ways that are relevant to your brand but also play into the holiday spirit of the season. Anything that creates user generated content is an added bonus as it provides you with content to use in future campaigns.
Campaigns That Are Easy-to-Share
People will share content that helps them express an opinion or emotion. They share content they think will help them be heard and understood in some sort of self-validation effort. You exponentially increase your brand’s reach when you create and post shareable content. To do this, you need to know how your target audience uses various social platforms and what types of content your followers are sharing. This helps to understand what they value and consider high-quality so you can aim for similarly formatted content.
It goes without saying that to make content shareable it is essential to include social sharing buttons. Be sure the buttons are easy to locate and clearly presented. Also, consider simply inviting people to share something. Make it a call to action button.
Consistency Across All Channels
Omnichannel marketing is a strategy the offers a seamless experience regards of the channel a customer uses to interact with a brand. In order to utilize omnichannel marketing, brands must provide a consistent communication process to current and potential customers across all channels. The attention to detail and retention of information exchanged during engagement, regardless of the channel, lets consumers know that the brand values their time and their businesses. One study found that brand taking advantage of omnichannel marketing strategies retain almost 90% of their customers compared to an average 33% retention rate for companies with weak or nonexistent omnichannel strategies.
Segment Your Target Audience
Audience segmentation allows you to create optimized ad experiences for each group within your general target audience. Marketing segmentation is done most successfully when you understand who are your current and potential customers. Consumers in different parts of the buyer’s funnel require different messaging. Visitors can also be groups based on their previous purchasing behaviors. If you build profiles around your customers throughout the entire year, it’s easy to segment your audience for holiday marketing campaigns.
Get a Quick Start to Your Holiday Marketing
While countdowns can make some people frantic, most enjoy looking forward to holidays and will appreciate the reminder of the looming deadline. You can feature a countdown on your website and include the current day’s count when you push out email communications and social media posts. Consider pairing your holiday countdown clocks with an “Item of the Day” or featured product suggestion. This strategy can also help funnel customers towards higher profit or overlooked products.
Gift Guides and Grouping
Include holiday gift guides on your website, in email communications, and on social media posts to spark clever buying ideas for customers. Offer the gifts in categories of specific recipients like teachers, work colleagues, family members, service professionals, and so on. Provide a variety of price points in the gifts you include to broaden the potential pool of customers. Put together and showcase groupings of complementing items such as dog leash, collar, and bandana, or golf tees, towel, and driver cover. Weary holiday shoppers will appreciate that you’ve done their thinking for them!
Reminders for Last Minute Shoppers
Social media posts and email reminders aimed at last minute shoppers are a fantastic way to make sure your customers don’t forget someone on their holiday shopping list. These reminders should be pre-written and scheduled well before Black Friday. Create posts for specific markets such as grandparents, grandchildren, pets, and more. You can offer even more value by including suggestions on gift groupings (as mentioned above).
Thank You Notes
Be prepared for the holidays by taking advantage of opportunities for engaging with and increasing customer loyalty throughout the year. One way to do this is with thank you notes. While such things are not a bad habit for purchases year-round, early fall is a great time to craft special thank you notes with pre-holiday messaging. In your communications, promote upcoming holiday activities and sales. Encourage customer loyalty by providing a special discount to be used during the holiday season or a dedicated pre-holiday shopping window that offers current customers the first chance to purchase holiday priced products or services.
So, ignore the summer weather and start planning your holiday marketing campaigns. The holiday season is an exciting time for shoppers and brands alike but it is also a time when consumers are overwhelmed by everyone’s marketing efforts. The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing would love to help you ready your brand for the holiday season and figure out how to best stand out from your competitors who are also preparing to push out emails and social posts and get festive on their websites. Contact us today to get started!