Another holiday season is upon us and if you run a business, that means opportunity is in the air. The National Retail Foundation (NRF) projected that sales could reach $105 billion over the months of November and December 2015 – and that’s exclusively online! While that particular forecast pertains to the retail sector, businesses in just about any vertical can prosper from the seasonal greetings the holidays have in store. It’s all about the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.
Whether you operate in IT or the hospitality field, a little creativity will go a long way in hitting a holiday marketing home-run!
1. Get in the Spirit of Giving
The holiday is a time for giving. Get into the spirit by treating your audience to something they don’t have to pay for. In my latest business venture, I’ve come to learn that people absolutely love to try it before they buy it. Put the word out that you’re offering a free ebook or a complimentary service across your website and social media channels, and watch the conversions multiply. Make sure you put together a spectacular sample offering so prospects are treated to something they will feel compelled to spend money on shortly thereafter.
2. Host a Holiday Event
Holiday cheer in the air signals the perfect time to host a special event sponsored by your firm. Wine and dine prospects in hopes of both sides getting to know one another better. Invite existing customers and show them a swell time to say thanks for all the support. Get a headstart by throwing your bash before Thanksgiving or get 2016 off on the right foot with a New’s Year party focused on moving business forward for every one in attendance. Keep things simple with a pot-luck style luncheon or go all out with a fancy schmancy evening gathering. The sky is the limit!
3. Team Up With Local Players
Surely you want to think twice about any partnership initiatives that might send customers to the competition. On the other hand, teaming up with a local business could be genius. Contact a couple of companies and collaborate on some ideas that will benefit each partner. Tell prospects from the region that if they sign up for your disaster recovery consulting, they’ll receive a free iced latte from the local cafe. While you obviously don’t need to be in the same field, these partnerships work out better for all parties involved when built around a valuable exchange.
4. Get Involved in the Community
The holiday season is the perfect time of year to be seen and heard in your community. Find a charity that is near and dear to your heart and get involved with the cause. Take relationship building and engagement to a new level by encouraging your customers to volunteer as well. A generous discount or incentive so sweet it produces child-like glee could be all it takes for customers to donate a moment of their time for the cause. Be it a CEO handing out turkeys or members of the IT team participating in a Christmas tree decorating competition, getting involved in the community is all upside for your company.
4. Make a Strategic Holiday Connection
The cool thing about holidays is they give you chance to spice up your marketing approach with some ideas that are outside the box, yet relevant at the same time. One concept that is immensely popular around this time year of is “12 Days of” take your pick. This one works great with a sale, contest, or even an event. Each day, you offer a nice discount on a different item, give people a chance to win a different prize, or reveal further details on the big shindig you have planned. A classic holiday theme like this can boost intrigue, audience participation, and revenue if you play your cards right.
5. Cross Your Channels
A multi-channel mentality is needed in an age when people change outlets like they change their underoonies. Tackling multiple mediums works because it helps you reach an audience across different platforms while allowing customers to interact via whatever channels they’re most comfortable with. Let’s take a look at some examples of how the multi-channel approach can be leveraged in a holiday marketing program:
Pay-per-click to physical connection: The modern PPC game is custom fit for multi-channel marketing. For example, AdWords now makes it possible to integrate coupons that customers can print out and use at your physical place of business. Features like Click-to-Call further merge the physical and digital channels by allowing customers to dial up your business right from the ad box.
From print to web: Business cards, brochures, and other traditional media pieces are primed for cross-channel marketing. Print a 10 percent off coupon code on your holiday catalog customers can use for an even bigger discount when shopping for gifts on your website. A tandem like this works because while shopping online has become the norm, many people still hunt for products and savings offline.
The social event: Twitter in particular in buzzing with activity during mega events. Your extravaganza may not draw a crowd the size of CES or I/O, but it can generate some worthy chatter. Create a keyword for your holiday event, and ask guests to mention it in a hashtag when discussing the happenings across their social media channels. The simplest hashtag can be a powerful engagement builder when put into action.
6. Educate Your People
Some of these ideas are seasonal deals. Others can be permanent cogs in an ongoing marketing plan. An initiative that educates and informs your audience might be just the ticket. Start by calling it something like “How-To Holidays”. Each week leading up to New Years Day you can roll out a blog post, podcast, or video that features expert commentary on a relevant issue prospects and customers might find valuable. Get with your team and comb the community forums for ideas, and you can run this campaign month after month!
7. Plug In Some Pop Culture
The world of pop culture is drenched in themes that may compliment a holiday marketing campaign. Use classic films like A Christmas Story to tell your company’s journey in the industry. Cleverly weave in concepts from Frosty the Snowman or The Little Drummer Boy and reinvent your marketing message. Of course you have to somewhat tread carefully in today’s politically correct world. But as long as you keep it tasteful and true to your identity, borrowing pop culture cues from movies, songs, or books can be a fun and effective way to draw eyes to your brand.
8. Start a Referral Program
The elves have Santa’s back. Maybe your holiday marketing campaign can involve some little helpers who pitch in by sending business your way. You can recruit these soldiers with an incentive-driven referral marketing program that compensates those who help you generate direct leads. Cash is nice, but people love free stuff, so a gift card for some place cool might do the trick. Vendors like ReferralCandy offer tools that allow you to easily create custom referral programs that can be distributed across email, social media, mobile apps, and beyond!
It doesn’t really matter what industry you file your taxes under. Sprinkling some holiday spirit into your marketing plans is amazingly effective and easier than you probably think. A touch of creativity and a dash of creativity will contribute to producing a meaningful marketing program that keeps your audience engaged during the holiday season.