8 Tips for Running an Effective Digital Holiday Marketing Campaign
By: Leamon Crooms
At a personal level, the holidays are the time of year to slow down, spend more time with family, and appreciate the little things. Professionally, the holidays are the time of year to up your game and get your share of the November-to-December nationwide shopping spree. One way to do this is to run an effective holiday digital marketing campaign.
It’s the Most Lucrative Time of the Year
Just how lucrative is it? In a matter of weeks, the American economy sees $3.19 trillion in revenue thanks to everyone purchasing holiday gifts, as well as little “holiday” purchases for themselves while on the hunt. That’s a lot of zeros! Nowadays it’s easier than ever for smaller brands and local businesses to see the impact of their holiday marketing. Holiday marketing campaigns can take place completely online while reaching thousands—even millions of people—yet staying within a small business budget. Getting the results you want means executing the campaign for maximum benefit. How can this be done? With just a few tips for running an effective holiday social media campaign.
Tip One: Start Early
How early should you start? It’s best to start planning as far back as September, or even earlier. If this means you’re already a few months behind the ideal timeline, you’ll want to dig into your holiday digital marketing planning as soon as possible. While more time is better, it isn’t too late to pull together something great. Focus on the holidays and special days that are still ahead—maybe that’s Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the 12 Days of Christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Next year you can start planning earlier in the year and include other days if you wish, such as Halloween and Day of the Dead.
Tip Two: Make a Holiday Hashtag
Or several hashtags, in fact. Different types of hashtags tend to perform well on different social media platforms, and some platforms see more success when multiple hashtags are used in one post. Creating a branded holiday hashtag or two can double your holiday social media campaign engagement, giving you better engagement and profits throughout the holiday season.
Keep in mind that the word “branded” is key to making this campaign a success. While you can use generic hashtags such as #happyholidays, #gobblegobble, and #2019 on platforms like Instagram, these aren’t the hashtags that will generate significant results for you. You’ll need special hashtags that incorporate your brand, relate to your brand, and are used consistently across social media platforms.
Tip Three: Run a Contest
People love to enter contests, especially festive ones. They’re hoping for the thrill of winning. The beauty of an online contest is that the prize doesn’t need to be anything too extravagant. Sure, people get more excited by a free vacation than a few product samples, but you can easily find the middle ground and still get incredible holiday marketing results.
Our suggestion? Frame the contest around the idea of gifts. Whether the prize is a product or service from your company that can be given as a gift or as a gift for the winner, this is the season of giving. This makes the contest festive and exciting to take part in.
Tip Four: Toss in a Free Gift with Purchase
This is a classic holiday marketing campaign strategy. Head to the nearest department store and you’ll see numerous signs encouraging customers to purchase a specific product by offering a second, smaller product as a “free gift” with purchase. This tactic can be risky, however—by giving away something for free, you won’t be making any profit on that “free” item. You must be very calculated in what the free gift is in order for this method to be a success. Some ways to make this work for you include:
- Making the free item a gift card or certificate, which encourages buyers to purchase from you again in the future
- Giving multiple samples as the gift rather than something full size
- Setting a specific dollar amount that must be spent in order to receive the gift
- Offering a small service for free, one that takes minimal time but encourages further spending
By doing the needed math ahead of time, you’ll find an option that encourages customers to spend more in order to get that little something extra.
Tip Five: Go Interactive
Chances are the majority of the content you create is static in nature: your audience interacts by reading, liking, and sharing your content. Making content interactive can be difficult but guarantees that the novelty factor won’t wear off as quickly. To get the best results from your holiday social media campaign, be certain to work several interactive elements into your plan.
Interactive content has been found to generate twice the conversations of static content and up to five times the page views, but it also takes more effort to create and manage on your part. Here are some inspiring ways to incorporate interactive elements into your holiday digital marketing:
- Make a holiday-themed quiz
- Ask your audience to vote on which product or service they would most like to receive as a gift
- Post holiday-themed questions and ask your audience to respond to them
- Prompt your followers to describe their typical holiday experience using a GIF
While there are many more options you can employ, don’t be afraid to get creative. Just make certain that whatever option you select, you’ll be able to tie it into your business.
Tip Six: Look to the Legends
When crafting your marketing campaign, take time to study the masters of the craft. Look at past holiday campaigns from traditional media as well as digital campaigns—both will give you vital insights that you can apply to your own holiday marketing. Keep in mind that these should simply serve as inspiration—directly copying a successful campaign won’t get you the results you want to achieve (since each business is different) and—in fact—could get you into legal trouble. Some holiday marketing campaigns to glance at are:
- John Lewis Holiday Adverts: This one is a yearly holiday tradition in the UK. John Lewis releases one memorable holiday-themed advertisement every year and entire nations wait with bated breath for it. They’re masters of storytelling, something which you may be able to harness in your own campaign.
- Tide’s #scaredstainless: This Halloween campaign from 2013 is one of the earliest successes in social media marketing by a major brand. Launched on the now-defunct Vine, the company created six-second clips based on famous horror films, spotlighting their products in each one. It was fun, relevant, and perfect for the platform they used.
- Walmart #wellwishes: With this holiday campaign, Walmart took advantage of the giving spirit and turned it into both profit and charity. Every time someone purchased a Kraft product, a dollar was donated to the Children’s Miracle Network. Customers were compelled to spend because they could also feel good about their dollars adding to donations.
- HotelTonight #visitdontstay: Not everyone loves spending extensive time with their family members over the holidays and acknowledging this politely can be difficult. HotelTonight managed to pull it off with a funny campaign that spotlighted holiday awkwardness while offering their service as the solution.
Don’t limit yourself to these ideas and be sure to use them as examples of ways to implement your own marketing plan. Think about the holiday campaigns you’ve loved throughout your life—from the Coca-Cola polar bears to Starbucks holiday cups. If you can draw inspiration from something you love, chances are you’ll be able to create something incredible.
Tip Seven: Keep Marketing Best Practices in Mind
Just because your campaign is holiday-themed doesn’t mean the rules for marketing change. Your campaign still needs to abide by marketing best practices. These include:
- Selling your brand just as much as you sell your products and services
- Utilizing data-backed tactics
- Keeping an eye on your metrics and adjusting as needed
- Selecting the social media platforms best suited to your brand
- Not neglecting your website or email lists
- Incorporating mobile marketing
- Focusing on search engine optimization
- Considering partnering with influencers and networking online
Ultimately, a lot goes into a successful marketing campaign, whether it’s digital or otherwise.
Tip Eight: Get Help if You Need It
Are you feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone. There’s a reason larger businesses and multi-national corporations have marketing teams—because successfully gaining new customers can be hard work. Whether you need someone to take over the entire process or just a little guidance along the way, there are marketing consultants ready to assist you with your digital marketing strategy. For the best results in Arizona, for example, select those who specialize in Arizona marketing as they’ll understand locals the best.
In need of some assistance with your social media strategy this holiday season? Turn to the experts at StratGrow for comprehensive marketing assistance.