For many businesses, the rush that comes at the end of the year simply takes them into survival mode, and as a result, their marketing efforts can fall by the wayside. However, it is possible to have a coherent and easily actionable marketing plan to carry you through the rest of the year and into the next.
Marketing for the Holidays
Plan Your Campaigns
Of course, this may be “too little, too late” for some, but planning ahead as much as you can is always helpful, no matter the occasion. Many large retailers begin planning for the holidays even six months in advance, but your business may not need that much preparation time. By simply taking out a monthly calendar (you can print off a monthly one if writing it down helps you visualize better), you can look at what you need to do now, and during each week leading up to the main holidays in December and January.
Furthermore, planning shouldn’t be reserved for the holiday season. Books like “The 12 Week Year” can help you start planning your marketing goals (and beyond) on a quarterly basis, which can help you stay on top of your promotion and branding all year long.
Post Sale Reminders
If you are having a seasonal sale, it can be difficult to keep customers’ attention. They are often overwhelmed in the days after Thanksgiving and before Christmas and Hanukah, so it’s important to publish sale reminders without being pushy when marketing for the holidays. This approach will often vary by what your audience is most attracted to.
For instance, if your email newsletter has healthy open and click-through rates, posting a sale reminder there may get more attention than your Twitter account, which only has 25 followers. However, if you do have an active social media presence, many companies are now using their cover photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to include a unique graphic of their holiday sales. It’s important to follow your audience where they are most active.
While saying thanks is something businesses should be doing all year long, giving around the holidays is a great way to thank your customers and employees for a great year. Many businesses elect to do giveaways of their most wished-for products before Christmas and Hanukah so they can be given as gifts.
This can be a great way to give away your products to those who want or need them, while also increasing your brand exposure in a positive way when marketing for the holidays. Create a few social graphics promoting the giveaway, and then use a Facebook page app or a service like Rafflecopter to collect entries (make sure you follow all applicable terms of service on each social media site).
In addition, if your company is active in donations or giving to non-profits, pledge to donate a certain amount to a charity for specific product sales, or give employees a paid volunteering day so they can help contribute to food pantries or soup kitchens. Many companies also hold office food and toy drives to make sure their communities are fed and happy during the holiday season.
These types of initiatives can always be shared in the company blog and social media, and it helps the audience get a better look into what your company is passionate about. This is especially the case when the cause is directly related to your company. For instance, an outdoor apparel manufacturer like REI could donate sleeping bags and coats to the homeless shelters in each store’s local community. Or, a tech start-up could donate time and funds to Girls Who Code, which creates programs to foster girls interested in STEM careers.
Try New Channels
A big holiday push is a great reason to try new online platforms that you haven’t branded yourself on yet. While you don’t want to overwhelm your team, if you’ve been meaning to try a PPC campaign or start publishing blog posts more than once per month, the end of the year can provide motivation to finally implement these projects going into the new year.
New channels can pay off in a big way by giving you more exposure when marketing for the holidays, which can help not only further holiday sales, but also provide you with a jumping off point for the first quarter of the year when it comes to planning.
Tie-Into The New Year
The first quarter of the year is something that occasionally falls off a company’s radar when they are trying to get through the holiday season, but tying the New Year into your holiday marketing efforts can make a big impact on your sales. For example, many healthy living and fitness companies have huge New Year’s sales because the number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight.
With 45 percent of Americans stating that they usually make a New Year’s resolution, when marketing for the holidays, crafting a marketing campaign about making a change in the coming year can help your company begin the year strong.
Your holiday marketing strategy doesn’t have to start in July, but with a little planning and a strategy that includes expanding your presence, staying active on your most engaged channels, giving back, and look ahead to the New Year, your company can enjoy a great holiday season.
Deer Decorations Photo via ShutterstockMore in: Holidays