Holiday promotions are starting to appear everywhere, and soon we’ll be buried in non-stop special offers, holiday events and messages that encourage consumers to shop ‘till they drop. In the midst of the annual holiday overload, how do you make sure your holiday campaigns stand out from the crowd?
Product manager for icontact.com, Jenni Williams, has come up with 10 steps for creating holiday marketing campaigns that shine. Whether you’re still putting your holiday promotions together or putting on the finishing touches, these tips will help you kick it up a notch.
- Revisit your goals. Are your strategies taking you in the right direction? Also, are your goals enough of a stretch?
- Revisit your budget. Under-spending can be short-sighted. The old saying is true: Spend money to make money.
- Have you compared with last year? What worked and what didn’t? If something worked well, do it again.
- Make key dates the pillars of your campaign. You know the big three—Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday—but there’s also Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, and the week between Christmas and New Year’s, all big shopping times.
- What’s your offer? Be creative and unique. Frame them to set your business apart from competitors. Put offers out on social media.
- Integrate! Be sure all your channels are consistent and working together.
- Follow a messaging schedule. Changing out messages keeps things fresh and interesting. Create and keep a calendar that integrates them all.
- Build your lists to reach new customers. Ask customers for their email addresses at checkout, both in person and online.
- Keep the conversation sparkly! Maintain customer engagement throughout the season. Offer incentives or a contest, if you can.
- Build in an event. This doesn’t have to be elaborate. Have an “off hours” holiday preview shopping event, or special “men-only” after-closing shopping hours during the week before Christmas.
For more inspiration, check out 10 ways brands stand out during the holidays at offerpop.com. Here you’ll find a terrific (and brief) compendium of how real-life brands use things like sentiment, personalization and wish lists to differentiate themselves during the holidays. Brands featured included The Gap, Skype, Barneys and others.
One of the best ways to engage with customers during the run-up to the holidays is through email marketing. Jewelers.org offers three holiday email marketing tips garnered from Constant Contact. These can be adapted by any business in any sector and will keep your emails from getting lost in crowded inboxes:
- Emphasize shared values. Consumers like to support businesses that support good causes and similar values.
- Make your content compelling. Use photos or videos. Focus on gifts and tips for packaging them together. Highlight trends.
- Help customers with their planning. Take the burden off customers by offering to match gift suggestions to people on their list. Suggest stocking stuffers and ways to break through for the hardest-to-buy-for recipients or that person who has everything.
More and more of your customers will be shopping online. So it’s time to make sure important elements of your holiday PPC campaigns are in order, too, writes co-founder Greg Yevich of Operation ROI. You’re putting things in place that will increase the chances that consumers will shop with you.
- Look closely at your key words. Create a separate holiday keyword list—you can use it again (and build on it) in future years. Use a combination of “timeless” holiday key words (presents, gift ideas, Hanukkah gifts, etc.) and keywords that reflect trends or technology specific to this year. Include keywords for “micro holiday events” like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas Eve.
- Consider some unique URLs—just for the season. Can you easily create special landing pages for holiday merchandise or the new product you’re introducing? A special URL could be newproductname.com/BlackFriday.
- ‘Decorate’ your landing page. It’s really no different than decorating your brick and mortar space, and you’d never skip that!
- Set campaign end-dates. In the midst of all the holiday bustle, businesses often neglect to set end dates for their promotions. Make it automatic so you won’t be stuck doing it manually.
Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net