The holidays are usually a make-hay time for marketers. One simply can't miss the opportunity of catering to the shoppers' inflated appetites (not to mention that salespeople often whet those appetites themselves).
So, what does your marketing plan include this season - another boring sale? If you are up for something different this year, here are a few ideas for flavoring your festive content with holiday cheer the right way!
Set your goals
First off, while planning your content marketing activities for Q4, think of which categories of customers you'd like to engage. Think whether your marketing activities at Thanksgiving/Christmas will be centered around:
- People who don't know about your brand
(You need to raise brand awareness)
- People who've heard about you, but are still hesitating
(You need to increase conversion rates)
- Existing/return customers
(You need to build client loyalty)
Depending on which category or category you target, you can then adjust your holiday marketing plan accordingly.
Ask them what they want
Struggling to decide which items to put on sale this year? Ask your audiences!
A quick opinion survey would, first of all, show that you care. And second, it would help you better tailor your holiday offer to your customers' needs.
For example, War Gaming didn't even have to do it themselves this year, because a community member started a forum thread asking other gamers what they'd like to get from the company for Christmas. Looks like the gamers' attempt to take the matter in their hands!
Let them know it's urgent
Another way to increase your holiday special's effectiveness is to add the urgency element to it. This is not new to most marketers: you can either provide only a limited number of product copies for a sale, or run a 24-hour deal, etc.
Thing is, if you give people ample time to consider your offer, they may end up never going for it. The reason for this is simple - everyone has a special deal during Christmas. At the same time, it's natural for people to give priority to things that require immediate attention and to put aside things that can wait.
So, how can you hint to your prospects that they should hurry up? One possible solution is to structure your sale/offer. By "structuring" I mean creating a mnemonic pattern that makes it easy for people to memorize your deal's conditions.
For example, Hallmark Channel is having the Countdown to Christmas program this year. They will be premiering 2 new movies each Saturday and Sunday through December 15th, and will end up streaming 12 original movies total. By the way, check out their holiday-styled countdown clock:
Anticipate their difficulties
As a rule, everyone is under pressure during the holidays. Marketers, salespeople, shoppers - pretty much anyone aware the holidays exist.
So, if you want to stand out among other jingle-bell deals, you could do it by being anticipative of your customers' difficulties. This may prove to be a deciding factor that lets you win the battle for the consumer.
For example, you could highlight the information about your shipping/delivery terms on the site, make gift certificates easy to find, provide gift shopping advice - just try to put yourself into the shoppers' shoes.
Victoria's Secret did it rather elegantly. The company has a separate page where their Christmas Delivery Guaranteed conditions are specified:
Give your holiday content exposure
Most likely, you are going to have at least some holiday-themed content on your site. Why not optimize it for popular seasonal keywords?
To determine which keywords people are looking up on Google during the holidays, you can either use Google's free Keyword Planner or utilize Google Trends, a service that shows the popularity of keywords throughout the year.
Holiday content optimization is especially important for e-commerce stores.
Include something for regulars
Remember we spoke about the need to organize something for your existing customers, not only for would-be-clients? By designing a deal for return customers during the holidays, you build a better bond with them and increase their loyalty.
That said, try to think of something useful and/or fun for your regulars. This can be something that lifts their spirits or helps them cheer up others.
For example, Macy's created a gorgeous text editor one can use to write a letter to Santa Clause, share it on Facebook or Twitter, or print it out.
Another example is that of a Christmas card template developed by workSMART, a website that provides employee rights advice. No wonder their custom holiday card includes a link to a Christmas Survival Guide designed for those treated unjustly by their employers during Christmas season.
What about an after-Christmas deal?
They say that roughly 10% of Christmas presents are brought back to the stores, while last-year stats from the UK demonstrate that the average adult normally receives 2 unwanted Christmas gifts a year.
Is there an opportunity for marketers in this? Of course there is! Besides, one needs to mend the budget breech made by returned merchandize.
What you can do for those disappointed by what they've received for Christmas is organize a sale shortly after Christmas.
So have you just gotten new holiday content ideas?
[Via Social Media Today]