Preparing for the holiday season can be exciting or anxiety-inducing for even the most seasoned marketer, and it’s no wonder; there are countless trends to take into account, virtually millions of messages to compete with and year-end goals to meet before the new year. However, as the holiday season approaches, you and your organization need not hook onto every holiday simply because it’s there and you can. Instead, choose to be strategic about how you put together your marketing campaigns around this time of year. For help honing in on that strategy, we’ve broken down our do’s and don’ts of holiday marketing campaigns.
Don’t: Rely on your gut feeling
When we market, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking emotionally or intuitively—we think we have all the greatest products, services and content! However, the more strategic you are looking at your target audiences and the type of content and campaigns that work (and don’t work) will help you develop great campaigns throughout the holiday season.
Instead, DO: Use your data. One of the most important steps in determining your short- and long-term goals—and the specific tactics you are going to implement to accomplish those goals—is to analyze your current marketing efforts for what works and doesn’t work, which messages are reaching your audiences where they are most receptive to them, through media they are actually using. When it comes to creating a campaign (regardless of when it takes place), don’t forget about your data. Instead, do ensure that you’re tying each tactic to the tangible numbers that brought you there, for the highest possible ROI. Need a starting point? Check this out.
Don’t: Make your holiday marketing the same as everyone else
We are already living in an age where we are inundated with messages everywhere, as consumers and content creators and everything in between—even before the holiday season takes over. Once Thanksgiving hits, that factor triples. Take a look at the subsequent “holidays” themselves: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday; every single one of which was born entirely from marketing efforts, but is now a keystone in its respective space, the likes of which yearlong marketing plans are built around.
Instead, DO: Figure out where you fit.Forbes predicts that consumer spending over Black Friday weekend will grow by 47% year over year. Cyber Monday 2016 hit a new record with $3.39 billion spent online, according to data pulled by Adobe. In 2017, more than $300 million was raised online through Giving Tuesday initiatives. READ: Don’t be the same as everyone else, or you’ll get lost in the clamor. Decide which trends are relevant for your brand to jump on or if those attempts just won’t translate well to your publics. Instead, do find a way that your organization is different from the rest, that is genuine and authentic, whether through the specific impact your nonprofit makes, or how there’s no one else like you.
With that being said, there’s one important caveat, though…
Don’t miss out on all the warm fuzzies of the holiday season
Don’t shy away from sending out your big asks for fear of getting lost in the noise. The holiday season is an extremely lucrative, impactful time.
Instead, DO: Do capitalize on the giving spirit that runs rampant this time of year and create campaigns around some of that. For instance, if you’re a nonprofit or a member-based association, think of year-end giving campaigns. If you’re a for-profit, think of ways to encourage customers to make a purchase that supports a great cause or provides for someone else at the same time. There are countless ways to take your piece of the holiday giving pie, such as through email marketing, social media content (both organic and paid), year-end fundraisers and donor galas, traditional holiday mailers and more.
Don’t leave your call to action up to interpretation
A vague call to action isn’t going to inspire anybody to do what all your marketing dollars are paying for.
Instead, DO: Make it as easy as humanly possible for your audiences to give you what you want. In other words, it is imperative to the success of your marketing campaign to have a clear, concise action item that your audiences are inspired to complete.
Don’t marginalize through your verbiage
It’s Marketing 101: Know your audience. Don’t use exclusive language that might offend or ostracize certain members of your audience or audiences.
Instead, DO: When in doubt, go the PC route. One of the most relevant example we see in America today is to say, “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah”. Unless of course you have numbers to back up that your audiences solely celebrate a particular event or holiday, in which case, by all means. Another idea here in the Midwest is to use a general winter theme with your campaigns (snow, cold, candy canes, etc.)
The holiday season is quickly approaching and to stay relevant you may want to jump on holiday marketing campaigns. With some guidance you can navigating this impactful time in a way that can boost your organization’s brand reach and footprint—in a non-invasive and healthy way.