For many small businesses, the Christmas holiday season can never come early enough. With customer engagement, brand building, and sales opportunities galore, coupled with increased consumer spending, Christmas is the perfect time of year to release fresh new marketing content.
Even the most self-proclaimed ‘mundane’ and unsexy businesses have the chance to get creative. And you will find that customers are much more receptive to your marketing messages around this time of year. Yet, with such hectic marketing schedules to keep, many companies are getting organized and planning their tactics well ahead of schedule.
While it is good you know the need to produce quality holiday content, if you haven’t planned exactly what you will be doing and when, you might be left with a bag of proverbial coal and lackluster sales by the time the holiday rolls around. So, here are a few tips to help you craft better marketing messages and publish more engaging holiday content:
Know your audience
Knowing your target audience inside out is one of the smartest ways you can guarantee your marketing content will be well-received, and more importantly, acted upon. Start by revisiting, or creating, buyer personas for your customers, to understand their priorities and needs over the festive period. Then you can familiarize yourself with their online purchase habits and how your previous marketing has influenced their buying behavior. Build your content marketing strategy around this information.
While you don’t want to be that company that launches a Christmas giveaway in October, when December rolls around you should have planned and written all holiday content and identified where you will publish it. This way, if other business fires come up that take priority, you are still on track to release it.
Be prepared to make changes to your content too. Current events and pop culture influences the media world, so if something happens to make your content irrelevant, or can improve upon it, change it! It’s all about timing.
An Econsultancy report reveals that, “While Cyber Monday is often touted as the peak time for online shopping, so-called ‘Black Friday’ saw 22% more visitors – this is a stark comparison to 2012 where Cyber Monday saw 20.8% more traffic.” Ecommerce companies thrive over this period. “Amazon’s sales were up 63% and eBay’s up 84% from last year’s Black Friday, while on Cyber Saturday/Sunday there was an increase of 46% for Amazon and 20% for eBay compared to last year’s ‘Cyber Weekend’.” While e-commerce benefits from increased sales brick and mortar companies should also anticipate increase retail foot traffic in November to late December.
To catch early bird Christmas shoppers, it’s important to start sowing content seeds in November and ensure you are at the forefront of your organized consumers’ mind. Make a quick and dirty marketing calendar running up to Christmas, and include special events, local and nationally that you can align your brand with – then publish content during those times. Keep in mind, time of day impacts online information consumption too with emails being mostly read in the morning, Facebook and Twitter generating the highest traffic in the afternoon and Pinterest users becoming most active in the evenings. (Source: Social Marketing Writing)
Choose your marketing platforms wisely
eDigitalResearch and IMRG research found “(96%) will shop online this Christmas, with 48% purchasing at least half of their Christmas shopping on the Internet” and “44% of smartphone owners will consider doing some of their Christmas shopping from their mobile device.” This means that your online content must be mobile-friendly, with robust incentives to drive customers back to your company website.
Carefully consider the platforms used to share your content – especially when it pertains to social media, since some will work better than others. A 2013 IBM Holiday Benchmark report found “Facebook referrals converted sales at nearly four times the rate of Pinterest.” Most importantly, use data as a guidepost and keep in mind that some platforms will inherently work better for your target, so choose wisely.
Don’t be a scrooge
Believe it or not, Christmas doesn’t have to be all about sales. The holiday season is the perfect opportunity for businesses to build their brand and a loyal customer base. If you have a small marketing budget consider ways to really shine on social media. Start conversations with customers while tweeting during a popular Christmas TV program, post relevant content that speaks to their challenges and concerns. Use this time to refine, or define, your brand voice.
Remember, a customer is for life, not just for Christmas! So, create engaging marketing plans that your customers enjoy responding to, while centering on their unmet needs first. Often, when you increase your customer-centric activities, conversion rates will follow suit.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Suzanne Yates is writing on behalf of Bring Digital, a Bolton UK-based digital marketing agency that specializes in design, development, SEO and content marketing, offering bespoke services to a wide range of clients across an array of different industry sectors. Connect with @bringdigitaluk on Twitter.
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