Holiday Marketing Ideas: 10 Ways for Your Business to Stand Out
The holidays are without a doubt one of the most important events of the year to all businesses. Every business is taking great efforts with their marketing campaigns so they boost their sales as much as possible, so competition is fierce.
There are ways that will help your business stand out from the crowd no matter how large or small it is. Small businesses may actually have a better shot at standing out over the holidays than big businesses. Here are ten holiday marketing ideas to help your business shine brightly.
1. Plan early
Every business should view the holidays the same way major brands view the Super Bowl. The likelihood is, major brands are already planning next year’s Super Bowl campaign long before the current year’s Super Bowl even airs.
Planning your marketing campaign should involve:
- Gathering facts, figures and statistics on your previous campaigns and those of competitors.
- Deciding what specific promotions you want to run and the specific audience you want to target.
- Researching outlets, ROI for each outlet and potentially even vendors to help you create, plan or run specific operations.
When should you start? Early spring is not too early to start planning your holiday campaign. That is, if you didn’t already start right after the last holiday season.
2. Set specific goals and targets
You can’t know if your campaign is a success unless you set very specific targets you want to hit. The more specific you are about the targets you want to hit, the easier it will be to plan specific campaigns to hit them.
You will also need the right tools in place to help you track your progress and tweak your campaign as you go. It’s not enough to just send your materials out and hope for the best.
You need to actually track your campaign while it is in progress. If you aren’t already using robust analytics, this is also a good time to get them in place to track this year’s targets and goals.
3. Choose a theme
One of the most important elements of your holiday marketing campaign is to have consistency across all channels. To do this, it’s best to decide on a specific theme for your campaign that will unify the experience. Your theme should actually involve a number of different elements for maximum consistency.
You can choose a slogan for your campaign, a time period, a color theme, or even a specific tie-in such as kids or baby animals. The more details you nail down, the more likely your campaign is to remain consistent. This is particularly important if you are running multiple campaigns, to have them evenly laid out in both a digital and brick and mortar store. Ensure that all your stakeholders are on board with this – from designers to employees.
4. Make it as personal as possible
When it comes to personalization, small businesses definitely have an advantage. They generally have a smaller client or customer list, they often know many of their customers by name and possibly most important of all, they often have actual physical addresses of most of their clients and consumers.
Larger businesses use automation to personalize their emails, by utilizing tools that will fill in the recipient’s first name. Smaller businesses should follow suit – you won’t diminish personalization if you use automation. Such tools will help you get a clear idea of what each customer likes and dislikes by gathering relevant data and presenting it in a clear way.
This will actually help you send even more personalized greeting cards or small gifts to the homes of your clients or consumers. As with everything in business, look for ways to get the most bang for your buck. Make it as personal as you possibly can within the time constraints and budget you have to work with.
5. Aim for the most effective channels for you
On average, less than 30% of all emails are ever read. SMS marketing boasts a whopping 98% open rate, with direct mail marketing lagging not far behind. If you are trying to attract customers to an entirely new business, then social media campaigns may be best for you.
The most effective channels will always be those where the majority of your customers and targeted audience is.
Choosing social media will not be enough, because you have to differentiate the exact platform where your customers are. For some, this will be Facebook, while others might focus on Instagram. This will also influence the type of content that you will prepare for your holiday marketing efforts.
6. Use technology
Technology and personalization do not have to be the enemies of each other. Technology can help you compile a list of addresses to send out personalized greeting cards, print out postage right from home and can even allow you to have them picked up right from your home for delivery if you have a home-based business.
Technology helps you streamline processes, automate your email campaigns and push notifications. In addition, you can also automate regular, mundane tasks and free up time for the additional influx of holiday responsibilities.
If you are expecting an additional strain because of increased sales and inquiries during holiday seasons, invest in additional support staff such as a virtual receptionist, chatbots, or additional customer service support.
Whatever you decide to do, technology can help you achieve it.
7. Remember that marketing is about establishing a relationship
Holiday marketing should not just be about getting people to buy over the holidays – particularly if you do not own a retail business. Holiday marketing can be just as much about building and establishing a relationship that will bring you sales for the rest of the year.
Customers might love your products and services, but the most important aspect to have a good, prosperous relationship with them is to really have a connection. This can be done through proper branding – they should look at you as someone they can rely on.
You can do this by actively engaging with them through social media, allowing a peek behind the scenes through videos of daily activities or even preparation for holidays, and so on.
8. Be prepared for increased traffic and sales
There is nothing worse than putting a great deal of time and energy into a marketing campaign that turns out to be a stellar success – only to not have the personnel, inventory or infrastructure in place to deal with the windfall your campaign brings.
Running a business is always a delicate balance of having enough of everything you need on hand to meet demand without overstocking or having too much. If you don’t have enough, you lose business, if you have too much, you lose money.
Perhaps one way to prevent this is to study the Agile approach and the Kanban method and develop a system in advance that can help you deal with the massive ebbs and flows of holiday traffic.
Preparation is Key
It is never too early – or too late – to start planning your holiday marketing campaign. Running a late campaign is better than not running one at all, but one that is planned out well in advance is most likely to bring the best results.
There is an old saying that applies to many fields and situations, but holiday marketing it definitely one of them: good, fast, cheap – pick two. If you want a great, inexpensive marketing campaign, you’re going to have to start planning it early. If you wait too long, you can still have a great campaign, but it’s going to cost you.