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6 Marketing Do’s and Don’ts for the 2015 Holiday Season

6 Marketing Do’s and Don’ts for the 2015 Holiday Season

Whether you love it or hate it, we’re officially approaching the holiday season. I know you’re hearing the bells ringing, Christmas music in the store and cringing when you see those commercials on TV and rolling your eyes at going into storage to untangle the festive garlands, but with only two weeks before Thanksgiving, four weeks before Chanukah, and six weeks before Christmas, now is the time for marketers to take advantage (and hopefully you've planned ahead this year). 

For a marketer, the holiday season is a great opportunity to do something unique and fun to heighten visibility and create engagement. And it’s not just for retail stores; all businesses can boost revenue and customer loyalty before the end of the fourth quarter. Read on for tips to help your business stand out among your competitors and delight your customers by tying the holidays into your marketing planning process:

1. DO give your customers valuable content.

The most valuable gifts you can give your customers this holiday season are time and knowledge. We all know the holidays can get a little stressful (okay, that might be an understatement). Providing tools that help make your customers’ lives a little easier can leverage your brand well into next year because it shows you care and appreciate them. Tools like checklists and calendars can help clients start planning for 2016. Complimentary stock photos give them a head start on their own marketing planning. And how-to videos offer quick tips and tricks on any number of topics that can be aligned with your brand and products.

2. DON’T overwhelm your customers at this time of the year.

Consider how many emails you receive on a daily basis. Now, consider how many emails you receive around the holidays. Between coupons, gifts, and sales, that number probably increases quite a bit. Customers do want to hear about special offers—a 2013 survey by Wanderful Media found 82 percent of Black Friday shoppers wanted to receive email updates about Black Friday sales—but you don’t want your email to get lost in the shuffle. Watch your email engagement when you increase your sending frequency during the holidays. If you notice an increase in unsubscribers and a decrease in click-through rates, it’s clear your campaign is not being received well. Take another look at your marketing plan and maybe cut back on the frequency, change up the timing, or offer a break from the holiday updates with your regular newsletter.

3. DO welcome everyone.

November and December are special months that include many different opportunities for celebration. Focusing on one holiday over another excludes you from a wonderful chance to connect with additional customers in an open, welcoming dialogue. Make sure your marketing plan treats everyone with respect and courtesy. Another option is to focus on philanthropic goals in the spirit of this time of year. Show customers that you care about more than just revenue by raising donations for local charities or donating to a cause you feel strongly about. Giving back is something everyone can appreciate.

4. DON’T forget about social media.

People love learning about new, creative holiday promotions during the early winter months. Take the time to utilize the major social channels to get the word out about your deals and further promote your brand. Post your well wishes on Facebook, tweet about discounts on Twitter, and create pins to advertise seasonal products on Pinterest. Give your current customers reason to interact with you on social media to help your content reach a wider audience. Make it easy for customers to share their wishlists and purchases on the various social platforms. For new customers, run retargeting campaigns on Facebook and Twitter by implementing a tracking pixel across your site to showcase products they’ve currently researched to stay top of mind.

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5. DO go mobile.

Up to 84 percent of customers research products on their phone before and during a shopping trip—and 33 percent said they’d use their phone for shopping. Finding ways to reach those customers is hugely important, and your marketing plan should account for the differences between mobile shoppers and desktop shoppers. Use responsive design for your emails to optimize the mobile experience. Offer in-store promotions that can only be viewed on a mobile device. And make sure any mobile ads aren’t interruptive but actually are reliable sources of information that lead customers to click.

6. DON’T forget about next year!

Your holiday marketing planning process should serve as a strong ending to the year and jumpstart 2016. Because so many people are moving their shopping online, traffic is higher and offers a great opportunity for you to test new marketing plans. Experiment with new CTAs, different landing page layouts, or email segmentation. You’ll then know for next holiday season what works and what doesn’t. You can also retest these plans in January after the rush to see how your current customers respond. And don’t neglect your current customers—asking for information about your business and your products can give you valuable insight into what needs to be addressed when you start the process of planning your marketing in 2016. Don’t forget to say thanks afterward with a personalized card or thoughtful, useful logo gift. They can speak volumes about your appreciation and serve to delight and inspire.

Make sure your marketing process is set up to take full advantage of one of the busiest times of the year so you don’t get left out in the cold. Use this time to put the spotlight on your people, company culture and pay credit where it’s due. Following these tips will ensure you start 2016 off just right! For more holiday marketing tips, check out an article from last year on 5 Things You Should and Shouldn’t Tweet From Your Company Holiday Party.