The holidays are basically here. So to help you cut through the holiday marketing clutter and win customers (you may even get a vacation out of it), I will show you a step-by-step framework for a creative, content-focused, holiday campaign, that will move the needle and help you generate more leads than you have in the past.
I seriously heart the holidays. From October through January 1st, I am basking in the glory of holiday cheer and festivities. However, it is also a very stressful time of year for both customers and businesses. And in order to avoid going crazy this year, you must have a plan in place that does not include throwing out promo codes and spamming customers on social media. With everyone under an insurmountable amount of pressure, the question you should ask yourself is, “How do I make purchasing from my business a fun, easy and pleasant experience, so my customer wants to buy from me?”
Amazon always leads the pack in this area. They know how to do everything right, and it is definitely the easiest place to buy gifts or anything else that is needed for the holidays. They really understand the basic needs of their customer, which is making it less stressful to shop, and having everything you need at your fingertips within 2 days or less.
Now, most businesses do not have the bandwidth or resources to accomplish what Amazon is doing. At least not yet. But let it serve as an inspiration, and pull cues from them when it comes to addressing what the customer really wants from your business during this time of hustle, bustle, and mayhem.
This brings me to the question we all have. There is so much noise around this time of year, how do I truly stand out? Always give value first. Make your potential customer smile. Be human. Surprise and delight them.
But, before we get into examples of great holiday campaigns and the framework for planning a great campaign, let’s look at the numbers first. This will provide a good foundation for your approach.
How are people shopping this year? Well, according to PwC’s 2016 Holiday Outlook, shopping on mobile devices will increase by 25%. Generation Z is into mobile and social shopping. No surprise, here. They prefer more tangible products than Millennial parents who prefer experiences, but they are also shopping mobile as well, and planning their gift-giving ahead of time. And there is always a deal somewhere. Forbes says, “Low price is the top priority for 83% of shoppers, followed by the lure of deals and promotions (65 percent).” And “In the spirit of the season, a substantial majority of shoppers (75%) are donating cash, toys, food, and volunteer hours to their favorite causes. Of those donating cash, the average contribution is $244.”
Based on the stats above, where do you think your core customer falls? Are they majority Gen Z or Millennials? Do they care more about sustainability or giving back rather than a promo code? Are you able to provide heavy discounts around Black Friday or Cyber Monday?
Here are two examples of holiday campaigns that really do a great job with creative content that people want to share.
Although a little controversial, the #MulberryMiracle video is spot on. It is funny, and it highlights one of their best selling handbags. When a video makes you laugh, it can also make you want to take action - like sharing on Facebook with your friends, or hopefully, shop that particular brand.
And since it is Halloween week, I HAD to highlight LUSH Cosmetics freaking (no pun intended) genius #lushoween campaign. If you follow me on Instagram, I posted one of their uber-creative videos. Check out the engagement!
Using a mix of creative video and photographs really helps to spread the word fast. But, you can’t forget to include some type of offer and call-to-action. The above brands had the customers attention, and if they included a great offer, more leads would roll in.
Setting up a kick-a** campaign.
Before you sit down to map out your campaign, and utilize resources, make sure your content has a goal or objective to either solve a problem that usually happens around the holidays (ex., easy last-minute packing guide for the minimalist traveler), or offering a deal that is truly what your customer wants (50% off all liquid lipsticks for 48 hours). Or lastly, identifying how you can make your target audience’s lives a lot easier (offer a list of products that can be shipped within 2-days along with free returns or free wrapping).
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, the fun part begins! There are a few things to consider when setting up your holiday campaign plan. Identify if your focus will be Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Take a look at what’s trending this holiday season, and if it falls in line with what you offer, create some language around those particular trends.
Tap deal websites and apps.
Many customers are searching a ton of apps and sites for the best deals, so it’s imperative that you have a presence on a few that are relevant to your business. I highly recommend you include free shipping or a dirt cheap 2-day shipping if you can afford the hit.
Sweepstakes and contests are always fun.
Do you want to create a sweepstakes or contest during this time to get your leads (potential customers) and current customers super excited? Maybe collaborate with another brand or service, or media outlet on this. Refinery29 is always running contests with brands, but also tap into smaller niche publishers as well.
Map out your calendar.
Plan your calendar around right after Thanksgiving dinner when everyone is on their mobile devices and laptops. Consider the time-zones of your most engaged audience and frequent buyers. Remember, everyone is in a good mood around this time, so milk it. And even for those not in a good mood, and possibly home alone, they will want to get in some good retail therapy too.
Let someone else do the work, but you have to pay for it.
Collaborate with an influencer that aligns with your branding. This can take some of the pressure off posting consistent social content during the campaign. Circling back to incorporating a sweepstakes or contest, create one that enforces user-generated content (UGC). In real life speak? Require customers to create a piece of content to be entered to win. And kick it off with a paid influencer, requiring the influencer to post once a week over a two-week period. Voila, watch the leads roll in!
Distribution is key.
Now you want everyone to see all the hard work you put into creating your compelling content and offer. Having a well thought-out plan on how you will get the word out about your holiday offerings is probably the most important part. Decide when and where you will post on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest. And don’t forget about setting a little money aside to do some Facebook and Instagram ads. Boosting a post your influencer created, along with your 50% off code on all dresses or liquid lipsticks, will make a huge impact. Just remember to optimize your call-to-actions and landing pages, so you can successfully turn your leads into paying customers.
The holidays don’t have to be overwhelming. Once you take inventory of your creative financial resources and staff hours, you can create a really cool and effective campaign no matter how limited or unlimited your assets are. You can capitalize on holiday spending and get more customers.
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