Getting Into the Holiday Spirit!
Hey guys! Merry Christmas! ... Wait, is it not December yet? Well you might have thought it was since they are already trying to sell it to you, #AreYouReady? You are most likely to see lots of ads about Christmas gifts, Christmas shopping, etc. Some are trying to sell you things like the new and improved iPhone, cause we all know you totally need a new iPhone already, Right?
But isn’t this the new normal? Every year, with the access to new technology and new communication platforms, it’s seems like holiday shopping seems to come sooner and sooner. It’s in your face way before the holiday gets here. And not only with major holidays, but also with some other ones you might have never even heard of. Ever hear of #GrandParentsDay?
Holiday Marketing - How do we Use it? Who Should Use it?
Companies are marketing their products all year round, especially during the September and October months when people start thinking about holiday shopping. Businesses many times capitalize on these holiday preparation times with good deals and sales. But, having good deals is not enough if your customers are not aware of them.
That is why companies go the extra mile to get the attention of their customer base. In this new age of technology, companies can get much closer to their customers than ever before.
Some ways businesses advertise directly to the consumer are with blog content, Instagram models, Facebook ads, YouTube ads and (insert drumroll here) the almighty #hashtag.
You can see how we’re called the hashtag generation; everyone is always hashtagging something. A picture of your food - #LookAtMyLunch, a picture of your dog - #GoodestOfBoys, the nice makeup job you did - #InstaMakeup... and so on. It has become the normal thing to see even on regular television. Take the hit show Dancing With the Stars. They have a pretty rocking hashtag, #Dancingwiththestars. On a side note, who remembers when this ‘#’ meant the number sign? (Talk about #ThrowBackThursday)
You see lots of new hashtags everywhere. We also have less known holidays that have hashtags, like #CousinsDay and #SlurpeeDay. Some companies took these hashtags to a new level, by using them to make their own holidays. 7 Eleven, Burger King and others have branded their own made-up holidays. (#WhatElseCanwe#forFun?)
The Benefits of Hashtagging the Holidays Away!
What are the benefits of using holidays as a marketing tool to advance your business? Holidays are something that small and big businesses can use to advertise themselves and reach their target audience. When it comes to holidays on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you can find post after post of what people are up to.
People post about what they are buying, what they are eating, where they are going, how they are getting there, etc. This is the sharing society we live in where people want to let others know about what they are doing all the time, and companies can take advantage of that to advertise their product.
I think it is a good strategy...or maybe I am just easily charmed by it (the marketing is working then, isn’t it?).
Most companies big and small are trying to market their product and keep up with the times. The goal of using holidays when marketing is to make their holiday special Trend in social media outlets. For example, twitter has a left side bar where you can see trending topics. During the holidays, people are always tagging what they are gifting, how they are dressing, and the products and services they are using.
Being part of or using existing trending topics will increase your reach to your target audience. People like to be involved with hashtags and the topics that are trending, so once your customers get a taste of your product/brand they will market them for you using hashtags - making them brand ambassadors. The best type of promotion is word of mouth and hashtags are all about discussing the things that people find interesting and worth sharing. People will share what they are passionate about, so use that to reach a larger audience.
Step Aside Sun Tzu - We’re About To Build Our Holiday War Strategy
Early marketing is a good way to stay ahead of your competition. Some key ways to do this are:
- Look at your competitor’s marketing strategies; see how others market themselves as an example of what seems to work. What gets the audience connected with the products? What people like, comment on, etc.
- Run an A/B tests. Try two different approaches and compare them side by side. What worked better?
- Create a calendar of holidays that can help you market your product. Looking at what holidays could help you branch your product to new audiences.
- Engage your audience with emotionally relevant content. What moves the customer? What kind of emotion drives the costumer to the product? For example, Memorial Day sales usually use the US flag. They use this to get people involved, by playing on their patriotism and reminding them of those who serve/d in the armed forces. Companies also use touching moments to market their brands. Like soldiers coming back from deployment to see the family they have not seen in years, the birth of a child, and much more. Most of the time people seem to have a positive response to these messages, as long as you aren’t exploiting anyone.
- Use your buyer personas to hone in on what could appeal to your target audience. Starbucks and others have used the hashtag #bestfriendsday to market their drinks, offering a two for one special so you can have a cup of coffee with your best friend. Isn’t that fun? Starbucks new the old adage ‘let’s grab a cup of coffee’ would resonate with their audience. It’s them telling their customers to ‘catch up, see your old friends, stay connected to each other’. Some companies experience a positive response from the public when they use those interesting and engaging tags.
- Some hashtags don’t have to be specific to your brand - they’re simply useful for content sharing. Sometimes things line up together. For example, if you are selling chocolates you don’t always have to reinvent the hashtag, by simply putting #HappyValentinesDay with your product you should get the message across.
Let’s take a pretty generic scenario. My local gym markets their brand by using their social media page to show people their facility, their trainers, and their tips for healthy eating. They also have videos of training camps they have available and classes they do. Let’s use my gym as an example.
What’s a good angle? Considering that the holidays are literally stuffed with food - perhaps you can use New Years to your advantage. People make resolutions to get back in shape after indulging with their friends and families from Halloween to New Years. It’s no secret that gym membership sign up soars after January 1st.
But that’s basic. Every gym does that - don’t they? It seems to go in a cycle. Get fit for your New Year's resolution and then get fit for summer and your bikini body. Play that on a loop for eternity and you’ve summed up marketing for gym memberships.
It’s time to pepper in some originality. Let’s capitalize the fact that so many people sign up for gyms at the beginning of the year, but end up dropping out of their exercise regimes pretty quickly. Most are lucky to continue exercising after February. This is a common problem.
Perhaps make a video or post highlighting this issue - let people know you care by inviting them in on the long haul. Encourage and coach. Adopt this coaching tone in your branding. You can set up the hashtag #CampCommitment and tie it to a new training camp starting at the first of the year. Couple the workout routine with coaching/counseling sessions with a trainer to ensure longevity and you have a brand new offering!
Set yourself apart by taking on the pain points people have with gyms. It’s a better business model to have long-term customers rather than a huge influx of newcomers who peter out. Why? Because those long term clients who get results sing your praises - and we already talked about the power of word of mouth marketing.
All in all, inbound techniques work for the holiday season just like they do all year round. However, the holidays ad some fun and levity to your content. The trick is to stand out from all the other Santa-inspired themes. With some research and creativity you can create an awesome holiday marketing campaign.