You may not be ready for Christmas music and holiday decorations, but that shouldn’t apply to your marketing. If you don’t have a holiday marketing strategy, this could be your last chance before things get busy and you run out of time for marketing.

Whether you’re building a massive holiday campaign or something small, these tips can help you have a successful holiday season. Remember to connect with people instead of just throwing ads and discounts in their faces. Think about the businesses you buy from and the relationships you have with them.

Start with a Good Customer Experience

The holidays can be stressful for everyone. The best thing you can do is help relieve some of that stress from your customers. Aside from discounts, you can offer useful information to help your customers get through the season (recipes, gift-giving guides, relaxation tips). Let your customers know how your products/services benefit them in a way that makes sense. Don’t be forceful towards an audience that doesn’t have a strong need for what you’re selling.

Keep it Simple

If this is your first or second holiday marketing campaign, don’t feel pressured to make it into something huge. Take small steps and stick to the basics. There’s no need to completely change your message for the holidays. If you’ve built a reputation with your customers, you don’t want to throw that to the side. Simplify your marketing with one idea, one benefit, and one emotion in each message.

“The IDEA is an outcome your product/service/gift can supply, the BENEFIT is what the buyer gets (not necessarily the recipient in the case of a gift), and the EMOTION is what draws them in and helps them remember.”
– Mike Wittenstein, Founder & Managing Partner at StoryMiners

This gives you a focused message instead of trying to cram too much into an ad without addressing any of these factors.

Express Gratitude

Customers have many choices for their holiday shopping, so let them know how valuable they are to your business. Many stores offer discounts to return customers (5% off your next purchase, $10 off between now and Christmas), which can help bring in repeat business. You can also add a personal touch with small holiday cards (business card or postcard sized, no need for a fold), with a handwritten message on each one. Think of (or find) 3-5 different greetings you can put on each card and get them ready ahead of time to give out to each customer. A simple, thoughtful act can mean a lot to someone.

Start Marketing Planning Early

Ideally, you’d want to start your holiday planning as early as September, with marketing rolling out in October or November. Many people like to get their shopping done ahead of time, and you can encourage them to buy early with enticing offers. This can give you a headstart on holiday earnings and possibly spread out the surge of holiday purchases to keep from getting overwhelmed closer to the holidays.

Offer an Incentive

Like we stated earlier, you can include a discount for a future purchase when someone shops with you. You can also offer something free when a customer spends over a certain amount. A free gift when someone spends over $50, or free shipping on orders over $75, whatever works for you. Partner up with another business and figure out what discounts you can offer to the other’s customers and other ways you can help each other.

Keywords for SEO & PPC

Make sure you’re targeting the right keywords for the season, “the perfect gift for…” You can also create a few blog posts to showcase your products, “Gifts for Her,” “Gifts for Him,” “Gifts for the Kids,” or “Gifts for Pets.” Finding the right gift is always tough, so anything you can do to help your customers will make it easier for them to do business with you.

Get into the holiday spirit on social media. Show off your decorations, get a video of the crew singing carols, or come up with your own version of Elf on a Shelf. Provide some light-hearted entertainment to add some variety to your marketing. It doesn’t always have to be about sales, products, or services. Focus on making a connection with people you can relate to.

Show, Don’t Tell

Showing your products is a great way for customers to make confident purchasing decisions. If customers can’t come to your physical location, can they see your product or service on your website? Ideally you’d want to let customers view your product from every angle. If you don’t have the time or budget to create a full line of virtual products in 3D, make sure to get a few high-quality photos from different angles. Give your customers a good idea of what they’re buying and how it can be used in their life.

Take some stress out of your holiday marketing by starting now and keeping things simple. Find ways to make connections with your customers instead of bombarding them with ads. Help your customers get through the holidays and they’ll be more likely to remain loyal to your brand.

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