A well-thought-out holiday marketing strategy can help you cheer up established loyal customers, gain new customers and boost your brand awareness.
Americans celebrate many different holidays throughout the year. Autumn and winter are particularly rich in vivid and exciting events, for example, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve follow one right after the other. In addition, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have recently become holiday traditions. Many people wait for these days to find the best deals and save money on holiday shopping.
The infographic below provides a list of the key US holidays.
To get ready for the holidays ahead, you should lay out an effective content marketing strategy and launch holiday promotions for your brand in advance. The Clever team has some helpful tips to make the most of the festive periods, many of which can be used all year round, to increase sales and grow your brand.
It is no secret that the weeks leading up to the holidays are the biggest weeks of the year for retail sales. In fact, Black Friday got its name because it is the day that puts most retailers in the black, and they really begin to turn a profit. Being in the right place at the right time is an art that can help you build a great brand image and hit high holiday sales.
To maximize sales, it is important to identify the high points of the shopping season and deploy your strategy accordingly. Providing high-quality holiday content can help you attract new customers by tapping into the holiday spirit when shoppers are in spending mode, looking for the perfect gifts for friends, coworkers and family members.
Seasonal marketing trends can be divided into two categories:
- Annual trends. This category includes holidays and events that recur annually, like Easter, New Year, back to school, and shopping for summer. You know when they take place and what your target audience expects from your brand. For annual trends, it is easy to draft a content marketing strategy, prepare all the necessary materials, and publish them according to a set schedule.
- Sporadic trends. Events falling under this category are hard to predict, since they are triggered by unexpected factors. Your content marketing strategy should be flexible enough to quickly adjust to customer demands. If you act more quickly than your competitors and are the first to supply demanded content, you can take advantage of these events to move your brand forward.
Whichever category you find yourself working with, your main task is to impress prospective clients, awaken their emotions, build trust, and initiate a friendly conversation that evolves into a warm long-term relationship.
Planning Your Content Marketing Strategy
Take the following steps to make your holiday content marketing campaign run smoothly:
- Set goals in advance. Before moving in a certain direction, you should first have an idea of your final destination. What results do you want to achieve? A better web image? More calls and orders? Something else? A clear vision of your future success will keep you from getting sidetracked.
- Draw links between your brand and seasonal demands. Which of your products would be most relevant during the holiday period? How will your products satisfy the needs of your customers, make their lives easier and happier, mitigate negative outcomes, and elicit positive emotions?
- Bring order to your campaign. Once you have an idea of your goals and how to achieve them, develop basic documentation and a reporting system to streamline your efforts and make them more effective. Use a spreadsheet to organize all your targets, deadlines, necessary resources, and participants in each event. Also, compile detailed specifications to quickly acquaint your coworkers with the project. Include a brief table of contents for the marketing plan that lists the most important stages and explains the details of each stage.
- Scan your competitors’ content. There is no point in regurgitating boring old topics that have been overworked in the past. Study content from other companies in your niche, define the best practices you would like to use, and look for as yet unsatisfied demands and gaps you can fill. Use this approach to create your own unique and effective content marketing formula.
- Identify patterns in seasonal demand. This can be easily done with the help of a convenient and free tool called Google Trends . The program scans frequently used search queries for different languages and locations, and displays any trends detected on graphs.
The screenshot below will give you a better idea of how Google Trends works. It depicts fluctuations in customer interest in Halloween costumes over a five-year period.
This service can help you estimate the peak demand times for your product or service (if it is seasonal), as well as the peak level of customer excitement leading up to various holidays.
Prepare your content in advance and publish it when demand approaches its peak. Use the same method for your email marketing content strategy and for sending notifications about promotional offers.
Know Your Target Audience
When planning content marketing events, every business wants to encourage certain customer behaviors. To stimulate your target audience to take certain steps, you should know who they are, and understand their needs and desires. If your products or services match customer expectations, you will be able to arrive at a common understanding and hit high sales.
Draw a profile of your average client. Define which actions you want them to take and what marketing tools are likely to drive desirable actions. Try to walk in their shoes to understand what they think and talk about, what problems they face, and what will make them happy.
If you do not communicate with your clients personally on a regular basis, consult with your sales managers and marketing experts, to get some perspective from people on the front lines.
Also, analyze your old content. Which publications brought you expected results? Which ones proved useless and why? Did you send clear messages to your target audience in your publications? Were your messages written in an appealing and easy-to-digest language?
If you are unable to answer the above questions, or if you think everything is fine, but your results are still unsatisfactory, hold a survey and contact your audience directly. Also, you can conduct marketing research with a focus group representative of your target audience.
Choose the Right Content Delivery Channels
The specifics of your content depend upon which channels you plan to use to deliver information to end-users. Messages published on social media should differ from those sent via email. Promotion on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, branded blogs, and other online platforms require unique types of content marketing, so don’t try to use the same approach for every outlet.
Determine the web habitat of your target audience to ensure you send promotional messages to the right environment. For example, if you work in the beauty and fashion industry, online platforms for photo and video content would be a good choice. If you sell various types of equipment, opt for video reviews. If you are a lawyer, detailed case studies and blog articles will help demonstrate your expertise.
Most Effective Content Types
There are several key formats for wrapping your promotional messages in five-star content.
Informative blog articles show your target audience that your intent is to deliver value, not just break sales records. Use your blog to establish trusting and warm relationships, answer your clients’ questions, and address their concerns.
Most experts agree that 1,000-2,000 words is the optimal length for blog posts. However, you make them shorter of longer if it better suits your topic. There is no point in filling your blog with fluff or skipping important details, just to fit the standard word count.
Your content should be published at regular intervals so your followers develop a habit of reading it on certain days of the week. Also, it is recommended to conclude each post by asking users to share your content on social media.
You cannot expect your prospective clients to blindly buy into bold claims you make about your brand on your website. Real-life examples of success are more likely to gain their trust. A case study provides the perfect format for showcasing your brand and the value it brings to satisfied customers. Consider writing a blog post, creating an infographic, or doing a podcast that explains how you helped one of your customers solve a problem and achieve their goals.
This type of content gives your potential customers an idea of how you will serve them, and demonstrates that your brand is reliable and trustworthy.
Avoid boring and textbook-like content at all costs, especially when writing about serious topics with a technical bias. People are reluctant to read long dry texts when the web is full of vivid and entertaining visual content. Infographics offer a great solution for conveying the key concepts of an otherwise dull topic in an appealing and stylish way.
You don’t need to be a professional designer to create a visually appealing infographic. There are scores of online services that offer interesting templates and easy-to-use tools.
Videos bring your brand to life in a way that engages and interacts with prospective clients. When viewers can see your face, read your body language and hear your voice, they feel like they know you on a personal level. Many customers prefer to watch a video rather than read a long article. Of course, this content type requires more effort on your part, but the result will be worth it.
Recording audio interviews and expert conversations on topics relevant to your business is another great way to engage potential clients who don’t have time to read lengthy blog posts. They can listen in the car, at the gym or while working around the house. A well-delivered podcast can help you build a following for your brand and establish you as an expert in your niche.
The Clever team has some additional tips to help you succeed at strategic content marketing:
- Your content should have a branded look. Develop a unique style to create a memorable logo, posts, and videos. Publish professional attractive photos of your beautifully packaged products to greatly boost your brand awareness.
- Use your five-star content to deliver information about enticing discounts, free gifts, interesting promotions, and engaging contests.
- Gauge the performance of your content. Analyze the reactions of your followers and to determine whether they are reacting in the ways you would like them to. Also, use UTM tags to assess the efficiency of your social media posts, SMS, and emails containing links to your website.
- Post content consistently. Avoid long and erratic pauses between posts. Develop a schedule and strictly stick to it. Experiment with different intervals and times of day to find the perfect formula for engaging your audience and delivering new information. Take advantage of the many free analytic systems and tools available on the web.
- Prepare your audience for an important event or promotion with intriguing messages, to warm them up and build anticipation before the event takes place. It is ineffective to broadcast a holiday promotion on the holiday itself.
- Evoke positive emotions and find ways to make your followers laugh, but don’t overdo it. Use humor in a way that lifts your customers’ spirits without being offensive or rude.