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Thoughtful Communication Always Wins at Holiday Marketing

Effective holiday campaigns don’t always require a huge budget, but they do require exquisite communication.

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BY Molly Reynolds - 10 Oct 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Well folks, the air is a little brisker, the leaves are changing color, and pumpkin spice lattes are making their way back into our lives. This can only mean one thing. Tis the season to be a marketer!

From the day after Thanksgiving, all the way up to the new year, money is burning a hole in everyone's pocket. In recent years, Black Friday, the mega sale day the day after Thanksgiving, has been a bit overshadowed by Cyber Mondays, it's "online-only" counterpart in the whole "Bricks Vs. Clicks" showdown. But as a marketer, you certainly want to capitalize on both.

When you're marketing a startup, budgets must be efficient. So before you blow your entire budget on a fireworks show with dancing reindeer, consider fine-tuning the basics with thoughtful communication.

Simpler campaigns that add a little flare to traditional marketing methods can be exceptionally lucrative and actually enhance your company's reputation. Here are a few good examples.

Using Share-worthy Social Media

Utilizing creative social media campaigns is one very effective way for a company to bring it's A-game during the holiday season - that is, if you approach it thoughtfully.

WeWork's #wwgiftguide Campaign last year was a great example of this. The global co-working and office space company used their own magazine to spread news of what they called a "Holiday Gift Guide: Best Gifts with a Personal Touch." Over a period of two weeks, they introduced four segments with themes that included "gifts with a personal touch", "gifts to get the party started", "gifts for the family", and "gifts for the digital nomad."

The best part was that each gift guide featured products from a WeWork member's company, helping to support the community of creators that use their spaces. They capped the campaign by asking people to share on Twitter what they would be gifting with the hashtag #wwgiftguide.

This was a very successful way of showing (and showcasing!) their support for their members. As you develop your own campaigns, think about how you can create a win/win situation for your company and your customers.

Making a Bigger Impact with Email

Email is still a very useful marketing tool. It's true, many businesses abuse the privilege of having a customer's email address, overloading inboxes with more deals than they have time to take advantage of. But there is research that shows those annoying emails are not only expected but anticipated during the holiday season and consumers respond to them differently because they are looking for the deals the emails are advertising. In fact, data shows that when sent at the right time, holiday sale emails generated an open rate of about 15.5 percent, up from 14.2 percent for all other emails.

Shopify's offers some pretty excellent insight into awesome holiday email campaigns for business. Here are the Cliff Notes:

  • Keep It Simple. Consumers value directness, especially when discussing a sale. All they want to know is when and how much off. So a subject line announcing the sale or discount and resulting email with a clear call to action is all that is required.

  • Go Bold and Animate. Fun and entertaining emails will stand out amongst the throng of other sale emails. Engage consumer right away with animated gifs and wacky image animations. Using unconventional imagery, that mirrors the style and tone of your brand, is a great way to draw consumers in and engage with your email.

  • The Freebie. Some businesses in the past have scored big by advertising a free gift coupon in lieu of a store or site-wide sale. This is a great tactic for those businesses that may not be able to afford to lower their prices. By offering a free gift with a minimum purchase, it allows smaller businesses to participate in the holiday sale season, and it entices customers to spend more while still allowing them to feel like they got a deal. Win, win.

Communicating Like Your Customers

It's not enough to simply know who your customers are, you have know them so well you can accommodate the way they behave.

USA Today reported that last year's Black Friday saw Millennials racking up more than $1 billion dollars in mobile sales. So businesses are pushing to reach them in their holiday campaigns. Promoting your business and sales through Snapchat is a great way to target Millennials. Last season, Apple, Beats by Dre, and Drake partnered up and launched a Sponsored Lens Snapchat campaign the day before the biggest shopping day of the season, giving Beats access to Snapchat's 150 million daily users.

Another unique way to engage millennials is by launching holiday-themed Chatbots to engage with them this holiday season in their messaging apps and on their mobile devices. A chatbot with a good holiday-themed script takes advantage of the customer's excitement over the holidays, creates convenience and more purchasing opportunities, and builds a stronger bond between users and brands.

TK Maxx, the UK version of TJ Max, nailed it with this holiday "chatbox" styled ad. Chatbots allow consumers an immediate opportunity to engage with a brand and also serve the dual purpose of offering efficient customer service support, which is always a bonus during the holidays.

As you navigate your holiday campaigns the biggest checkbox on your list should be delivering strong, thoughtful communication on every channel. Basics, when done well, can produce extraordinary results.