It’s time to start launching your holiday campaigns. Holiday marketing presents a great opportunity, since the festive spirit of the holidays moves consumers to actually look forward to merchant communications via email, social media, search, TV, and even direct mail elements.
Consumers have come to expect integrated multi-channel shopping as the new normal. As you start shifting your mindset to see your whole marketing process from your customer’s view rather than focusing on the tools, you’ll strike the delicate balance between brand consistency and customized messages based on the medium used. This becomes more important as you sensitize yourself to the fact that not all of your customers celebrate the same holidays.
So, how can you get the most traction, boost online sales, and connect with a diverse marketplace in your campaigns this holiday season?
Email marketers are vying to be among the top holiday messages consumers receive. But in that rush, be sure to take care of the basics.
According to Responsys’ Retail Guide to the Holiday Season 2011, “In preparing for the upcoming holiday email season, first thoroughly examine what happened with your 2010 holiday email campaigns.” “Reviewing last year’s holiday email performance is a great way to prepare for the upcoming season,” says Heather Blank, vice president of strategic services at Responsys. “It will re-immerse you in the holiday mindset, provide the opportunity to plan ahead based on previous successes, and help you strategize to avoid any errors made in the previous year. Be sure to start your review early so you have plenty of time to incorporate more cross-channel strategies into your plan.” In addition to reviewing your own past holiday emails, look at what your competitors and peers did.
Also remember these tips:
- Target key shopping days
- Craft subject lines that stand out among the clutter
- Be aware of consumers’ views on a sudden increase in mailings
- Use pre-holiday messaging
- Add social and local elements into your design
Mobile apps are hot among technologists and consumers alike. But for the 2011 holiday season, the investment required to develop a branded mobile gift guide or holiday shopping app may not be worth it. “Mobile tactics such as SMS, optimized sites and QR codes are a better use of budgets rather than developing an application for holiday shopping, since…consumers are probably too busy or do not care enough to download a separate, branded app for this season,” according to Luxury Daily.
To gain traction with mobile consumers this holiday season, a better way to connect with customers is to piggyback on previous apps you’ve made by adding holiday products to them. This ensures customers see your promotions, rather than creating and developing a new mobile app for already busy and overloaded shoppers to download.
Additionally, since more consumers will be making purchases via mobile, ensure your m-commerce site is optimized and can handle the increased traffic.
Carefully moderate your use of tools in sharing social media content. Holidays are a time for personal connection, and overreliance on social sharing tools can result in your brand losing its “personal touch.”
However, judiciously used, social analytics tools can help you connect better to consumers. Get to know which social networks your customers prefer, and connect with them regularly via customized messages for each network of followers, as well as by personally engaging with your audience.
- Pay close attention to social conversations and feedback in social networks.
- Reward your audience on your Facebook or Twitter profile for their positive feedback about your brand by surprising them with a special holiday gift certificate or thank you note.
- Integrate social media into your offline activities by adding holiday party photos, customer pictures, and other fun activities to your wall.
Search is still strong for consumers. Geo-targeting can be especially powerful during the holiday season, with or without a retail store.
Additionally, spend a little time with Google Insights to uncover what’s trending with consumers. Insights will help you discover the little tweaks you need to make in your holiday messaging. Begin research and testing now, before the major shopping wave gets underway.
For your holiday campaigns, pay special attention to testing calls to action, offers, incentives, etc., and make adjustments quickly to gain the most traction with customers.
Finally, get started planning and launching your holiday campaigns now, if you haven’t already. Make sure your paid search is integrated with organic, social, and mobile to be sure your message resonates with customers in whatever platform they prefer.
Jason John is Chief Marketing Officer, Digital for Publishers Clearing House, a role in which he is responsible for the development and execution of overall ... read more
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