Ho-Ho-Holy Smokes, How do I Market During the Holidays?

The holiday season is upon us. For some, this means decorating their entire living space and listening to that holiday playlist on repeat. For others, it simply marks a time for them to kick back and relax before the new year comes. For marketers, on the other hand, there is A LOT of work to be done prior to and during the holiday seasons. Creating campaigns and strategies, analyzing markets/trends, creating content, and scheduling everything at appropriate times are just SOME of the things marketers are currently doing to ensure both themselves and their clients are digitally ready for the holiday season.

Whilst some people think getting into the holiday spirit the day after October is too soon, marketers think the opposite. In fact, most marketers are creating and preparing their holiday strategies well before. If this is your first holiday season in marketing or you are just looking for ways to vamp up your strategy, here are some tips for you:

Overdo it on the whipped cream, but not on the content

Let’s be real, we overdo a lot of things during the holiday season- spending, decorating, drinking way too many holiday drinks because “they will be gone way too soon.”

When it comes to your digital and social strategies, overdoing it can be just as detrimental as underdoing it. It is the season for getting your brands voice out there and ultimately selling what you have to offer, however, don’t push your message, products, or services on people aggressively. If you are sending out 20 social posts a day about how great of a gift your product would be, chances are, you’ll find more people clicking away. Remember, consumers are already bombarded with ads and offers during this time, you don’t want to push them over the edge.

Tam’s Tip: Pushing out a little more content than usual is typical and necessary, but don’t double down on everything. Remember, everything you put out has to provide value. Quality > quantity.

Don’t do a complete 180

Brands and businesses tend to let loose during the holiday season and become more lighthearted with what they post. This shows their audience that they are genuine, personable people, which is a good thing, of course. However, just like content, you don’t want to overdo it. If your business is a high-tier law firm who maintains an extremely professional image online, posted a bunch of quirky jokes out of nowhere may confuse your audience and it may even come across as disingenuine. This doesn’t mean that businesses like these should refrain from holiday fun online, but do so tastefully and always keep your core values and message in mind.

Tam’s Tip: Don’t just flip the switch to holiday content once the season arrives. Keep a good mix of your regular content + holiday-themed content. You don’t want to lose sight of the message/image you are giving to your audience. Have fun, but always remember the image you want your brand to give in the long run!

Plan ahead, way ahead!

Marketing is all about planning. Without proper planning, things can get out of hand and there could be significant ramifications. The holiday season is huge for marketers; consumers come out of the woodworks looking for new products and services to gift and more and more people turn to the digital world. Because there is such a vast increase in consumers, marketers thrive on the holiday rush.

Planning ahead is ALWAYS necessary, but more so when it comes to crucial times such as the holiday season. Planning ahead allows you to properly analyze the markets you are aiming to target, current trends that could boost your strategy, consumer behaviour/feedback, and much more. Planning too close to the holiday season (or not planning at all) could lead to a disconnect between you and your audience because you haven’t fully analyzed their wants and needs over time.

Tam’s Tip: I typically like to start planning my holiday marketing strategies after Halloween. The months leading up to the holiday season allow you to study key demographics/trends and create relevant content. Planning at this time will allow you to have everything ready so you can easily execute when the time comes!

You have to pay to play

The digital world is saturated with consumers eager to buy new and exciting things they stumble upon. Of course, this means the digital world is also saturated with businesses looking to cater to these consumers. Standing out during the holiday season can be quite tricky due to this, ergo, you may have to fork over some $$ if you want to see some good results. Paid ads during the holidays are a great way to ensure your brand is being seen by your target demographics who are looking to make a purchase. Branding efforts should be continuous, however, during the holiday season, you want to focus your attention on lead generation due to the demand for gifts.

Creating paid ads during the holiday season is not much different than creating ads at any other time. You want to make sure you include an enticing caption, a captivating visual (i.e., an image, a video, an infographic), any discounts/sales you may be offering, a strong CTA, and a link that brings your customers to a relevant page. Of course, you’re going to want to sprinkle in some holiday cheer so don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to your lingo or imagery.

Tam’s Tips: Think lead generation. During the holiday season, individuals tend to make quick purchases based on what catches their attention. Your ad should entice them to make a purchase. As I said earlier, don’t neglect branding, but think of generating leads first!

Bonus: Inclusivity

Whilst some brands solely pander to Christmas, others like to stick to a more neutral approach. In the past, we have seen brands get into some hot-water due to the fact that they did not pander to all holidays being celebrated at this time of year. This is completely up to every individual brand. However, if your brand/businesses audience is a wide mix of religions and ethnicities, you may want to consider utilizing terms such as, “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings”. Again, this is completely up to each individual brand/business, but certainly, something to consider!

The holiday season is upon us and with that being said, go out there, enjoy the festivities and create some kick a** marketing strategies!

Seasons Greetings!

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