Keep It Authentic
Make sure your marketing campaigns match your usual vibe to ensure your season’s greetings sound genuine. If your business maintains a serious corporate atmosphere, now is not the time to crack a few jokes on Twitter. This could potentially cause a PR nightmare! Stick to sincere and gentle messages so your customers feel like you really mean it.
On the other hand, if your blog and brand voice takes a carefree and light-hearted tone, being too sentimental or serious can strike your viewers as odd behavior. Make sure you are consistent with your brand values. This will seriously build trust with your audience.
Choose A Theme
Having a theme for your marketing strategy shows a message of consistency through the season. For instance, a theme I might chose for this year is staying warm. So how could I infuse that through all the fall and winter holidays and stay true to my brand? Lemme tell ya… there’s nothing better than a hot cup of coffee on a damp and breezy fall morning while planning out my weekly schedule, snuggling under a hand-knit blanket on a snowy day while creating Pinterest images on my laptop, or sitting next to a fireplace while researching the best Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and Small Business Saturday deals.
The theme sets the mood, but still plays into my brand of time management, graphic design, and amazing deals. It also plays into a coffee house vibe while still focusing on the holidays between Halloween and New Year’s. I could even potentially take it further into Valentine’s Day if I wanted to, which I will start considering next month when I’m planning out that holiday
Tell A Story
I don’t mean you should read “Twas the night before Christmas” to your customers, but simply share a story. Pretend like you’re writing a TV series, and tell the story throughout your marketing campaign. Keep them engaged and wanting to know more… kind of like a cliff-hanger. Email subject lines would compare to the episode titles. Let your creativity shine!
There are many ways you can give back: to your employees, customers, community, and even other businesses. Volunteer or host a fundraiser for a charity or cause. This can be done at a physical location within your community, or online by donating a portion of your profits. Another option would be to sponsor a holiday event like parades and races. You could also cross-promote with other brands and business to build up shared brand awareness through giveaways, contests, and discounts.
A few years ago I was walking around in a small town in Florida. There are many small business boutiques, antique shops, and restaurants in this area, and one thing I found pleasing to see was a cross promotion between some of the businesses. An antique shop and coffee house exchanged discount coupons for the each other’s business after a purchase was made over a certain amount. A spa and a salon went in together on a pamper session giveaway through Facebook. This is an awesome technique to pull in the same target audience to both businesses at the same time.
DON'T Change Your Branding
The holidays are a tempting time to go all out. You know the deal… change your logo colors and switching up fonts to be more festive. This seems like a harmless change, but it’s one you should avoid like the plague. Random changes to your logo, colors, font or any part of your branding shows inconsistency and is extremely confusing to customers.
Instead make your brand work WITH the holiday! Look for ways your colors, fonts, and logo can be implemented into a theme. For example, my colors are shades of brown and blue with coffee and chalkboards. I can easily merge the blue with snowflakes and snowmen, warm coffee by a fireplace, and holiday doodles on a chalkboard. My friend, Frankie from White Stag Knits, could easily implement sweaters, stuffed animals, gloves, and hats or a stag in a snow covered forest for his knitting blog. Just look at this adorable marketing campaign!
However, there are some exceptions to this rule! If you have a seasonal product that has its own label (like a Frosted Snow Blossom scented lotion would have its own product label design), you would still keep your branding intact with this change because your logo and brand colors wouldn’t change. The fonts and colors are limited to the product itself. Ultimately, you’ll want your customers to still recognize your company brand at a glance, not spend time trying to figure it out. That takes time to process, and “ain’t nobody got time for that” during the holidays.
DON'T Go Overboard
A lot of companies roll out big sales and huge discounts for the holidays. This is nothing new. This is a great idea, and can be beneficial if executed in the right manner. Don’t push your promotions so hard that you overwhelm your audience with it. After all, who really wants to be bombarded with a bunch of ads from the same company? Their inbox is already flooded with store promos and sale ads… break it up a bit and you’ll sure to be noticed. Just keep the Pareto principle (aka the 80/20 rule) in mind to stay on track through the holiday season.
DON'T Ignore Current Customers
During the holiday season, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the mindset of gaining new customers, but we can’t forget about our current customers either! Instead, find a way to thank them this holiday season and reward them for their loyalty. Make them feel like they are part of an exclusive club by offering early sneak peeks or early access to promos and sales, feature their stories on social media channels, and send invites to customer-only events via Facebook.
DON'T Conduct Surveys
Customers are more worried about getting done their shopping, meal planning, and sending out holiday cards to family and friends. Surveys take time to fill out and your customers are less willing to share them during the holiday season. It’s best to wait until AFTER the holiday chaos settles to ask your customers about their experience.
DON'T Wait Too Long!
What’s the worst thing you can do to sabotage your holiday marketing efforts? Waiting. It may seem silly to start planning for the holidays in early October, but now is the time to do it. Make sure you give yourself time to prepare and strategize so you can focus on exactly what needs to be accomplished. Start setting goals and deadlines now. Gather together all your resources so you can have everything done BEFORE the holiday marketing season starts in November through December. This will give you more time to put out all those little fires that are bound to happen along the way.
While there are many things to consider for marketing during the holiday season, it really only boils down to a few main points – stay true to your brand, be consistent, and build trust with your audience. What steps have you taken to launch your holiday marketing campaigns this year?
Oh, one last thing before you go…
Get your Holiday Marketing Cheat Sheet!
I really don’t want you to forget these amazing holiday marketing tips. Please grab a copy of the Holiday Marketing Tips printable cheat sheet that you can reference while planning your content for the holiday season!