Keep customers engaged during the holiday frenzy by creating a memorable, branded holiday experience.
The holiday season poses a major opportunity and a major challenge all at once:
Consumers are generally prone to engage with different brands, make more purchases, and spend more money. Your competitors will take advantage of this, doing whatever they can to engage your target audience with their marketing campaigns. Your marketing efforts must stand out and add value for your audience while getting them into the holiday spirit.
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways to make this happen.
Tell an Epic Story
Storytelling has shifted into an essential tool for marketers over the past few years. Mix in the sentimental nature of the holiday season, and it becomes a no-brainer:
Telling an engaging, feel-good story enables you to reach your customers on a deeper level and connect with them during the holidays. And while many Christmas commercials lose their novelty by mid-December, the truly thoughtful and heartfelt narratives never seem to tire. These stories also tend to get a ton of social shares, as well.
The above tearjerker (with a lighthearted ending) was viewed over 33 million times within a single week during the 2015 holiday season. Emotions always run high around the holidays. A well-timed, powerful story can encourage your audience to enjoy their holiday that much more.
Keep Them Coming Back
With so much going on throughout the holiday season, your audience is bound to miss out on offers and marketing initiatives (both from your brand and others). So, the question is:
How do you make sure they don’t miss a single thing from your brand throughout the season?
Instill a sense of FOMO within them—and do it on a daily basis.
Create a calendar of daily events, activities, or promotions to keep your audience engaged. Krispy Kreme’s Dozen Days of Doughnut campaign featured daily promotions, giveaways, and offers (and allowed customers to engage with the brand via multiple channels).
If you’d like to space things out a bit more, you can also opt to put on weekly contests throughout the month of December:
Because you’ll have something new and exciting to offer your customers at regular intervals over the month, they’ll be much more inclined to continue checking in with your brand throughout the holiday season.
Make Gift-Giving Easy
As the holidays roll around each year, companies see an influx of consumers making purchases for others, rather than for themselves. These individuals, however, may not exactly be all that knowledgeable about your products. Sure, grandma might know that “little Johnny is obsessed with Pokemon,” but that really doesn’t help her all that much when it comes time to decide on the gift. If she doesn’t know what she’s looking for, she’s probably going to leave your store without converting.
This is why gift guides are essential for engaging your gift-giving prospects. Furniture, decor, and accessories company CB2, created a guide for specific customer segments:
Another way to make things easier on your gift-givers is to allow your current customers to make a wish list directly on your site. The recipient asks for gifts specifically from your brand or store, allowing gift-givers to take a more intentional and focused approach when engaging with your brand. Givers know exactly what they’re looking for, increasing the chances of making a purchase.
It’s also worth noting that by helping your gift-giving “non-customers” find the right present for their loved ones, they’ll feel more comfortable shopping with you in the future, as well. Even if they don’t have much use for your products, they’ll give you their business if it means they always find the best gifts to give their friends and family members.
Bring Your Audience Together
The holiday season is a time for people to come together and share traditions and experiences. No matter how diverse your audience, your customers all have one thing in common:
There’s no better time to tie this common thread a little tighter than during the holiday season. To bring your audience closer as a community, you need to provide prompts that facilitate engagement and discussion, and also provide a platform for the engagement to take place. The most efficient way to make all of this happen is to focus on social media. Since you’ve likely already built a community on your various social media channels, create campaigns aimed towards getting them more involved with each other (and your brand, overall).
In 2017, Starbucks released a colorless holiday-themed cup, prompting customers to color it in and post their art to Instagram using the hashtag “#GiveGood.”
Spotify and Sonos took a similar approach in 2016 with their #PlaylistPotluck campaign. The premise was simple: Participants gain access to a community-wide playlist by contributing songs for the playlist using the hashtag on social media.
The holiday season is a time where many of us are looking to reach out to others. In using your brand to forge common ground for your audience, you’ll help build an inspired community that lasts long after the holidays have ended.
Create a Movement
Tap into the true meaning of the holidays and build a community around a charitable or otherwise wholesome cause. Again, social media provides the perfect platform for you to spread awareness of your initiative, and to get your audience involved in the process.
WestJet famously created its “12,000 Mini Miracles” campaign in 2015, prompting its Twitter followers to commit 12,000 random acts of kindness in just 24 hours.
The campaign was a clear success right from the start. WestJet generated nearly triple the amount of user-generated content it was aiming for—as well as over $2 million in earned media exposure. If you want to take a radical approach this holiday season, take a page from REI’s book and actively dissuade your customers from participating in the consumerism side of the holidays. The company’s annual “#OptOutside” campaign aims to connect customers who opt out of Black Friday shopping with each other and to share UGC relating to the campaign:
In both of these cases, the brand isn’t the focus: the cause is. As is always the case when undertaking a charitable cause, authenticity and integrity are the keys to a successful “holiday spirit” campaign. While getting some extra exposure and business for your brand is an added bonus, your campaign should stay laser-focused on one thing: making the world a better place.
In this article, we left out strategies for putting on sales, discounts, and other money-related offers throughout the holiday season. While such tactics can spur sales, they’ll have little bearing on your audience’s engagement levels once the promotion ended. In contrast, developing “bigger picture” holiday campaigns enables you to reach your audience on a much deeper level. While your customers might appreciate a quick flash sale or similar promotional offer, they’ll find more value in campaigns that truly enhance their holiday experience.
This article was originally published by our friends at PostFunnel.