By Kelsey Tweedly
Are you in the thick of developing your
marketing plan and marketing budget for the upcoming year? As if that’s not enough, businesses also need to begin thinking about its holiday marketing strategies. I’m excited to share with you some holiday marketing tips, to get you into the spirit and help with this process, which could be an arduous task for some businesses due to time and marketing expertise challenges.
The holiday season is an ideal time to promote your brand because everyone is in the giving spirit and are likely to be more open to new partnerships, products and services. The other benefits include being able to play on holiday messaging and good vibes, which will make your holiday marketing campaign memorable. Also, you’ll be hitting businesses right before the new year when they’re in a “new beginnings” mindset.
This is my favorite time of the year to share marketing strategies that have made the Creative Marketing Alliance (
CMA) annual holiday card, which is scheduled for distribution in early December, a success. Its 2017 holiday card recently received awards from NJCAMA and NJ Ad Club. The company has been creating its uniquely-branded card for more than 25 years. There’s a different theme each year, which has included a coffee break last year, as well as a champagne pop to celebrate CMA’s 30th anniversary, rock n’ roll, superheroes and the CMA staff’s favorite holiday ornaments. Fun photos of the company’s employees are intermingled throughout the design. The combination of creativity and people reinforce CMA’s branding and corporate culture.
I’ve included some holiday marketing ideas below, to help promote your brand:
1. Utilize email marketing
If you have to choose one
digital marketing channel, I recommend email marketing. It’s an effective way to reach your target audiences, not only throughout the entire year but especially during the holiday season. According to Emma’s 2018 Email Marketing Industry Report, 59 percent of marketers see the most ROI from email and 25 percent of marketers plan to increase spending on email in the upcoming year. In addition, 68 percent of B2B marketers said that email is their most effective digital channel. These impressive statistics don’t surprise me. Emails go directly to the intended user and can be shared simply and quickly. The user also can easily act on an email and contact you, if interested. Another advantage is the ability to bring the user to an interactive landing page, so the marketing piece can be viewed electronically. This page also presents an opportunity to engage in conversation and/or collect information, for future marketing efforts.
CMA follows up its printed holiday card, after it’s mailed, with a digital version that users can interact and engage with on their desktop. Each year, CMA strives to make the digital execution of the card interesting, dynamic and interactive, by producing a platform where users can be a part of the conversation. Some years, the digital email was an animation of the printed card. Last year CMA created a microsite, which showcased its staff, their individual personalities and favorite coffee cup. This tactic made it easy to share on social media. It also gave the holiday campaign more of a personal and
integrated marketing communications approach, which assures that your message is being delivered to your target audiences, regardless of how they interact with your brand—whether it’s through , social media or digital marketing. public relations
2. Incorporate soft-sell messaging into holiday marketing
The holiday season is a good time to incorporate more subtle, soft-sell messaging into your holiday marketing. This will evoke a favorable emotional response, which will correlate your brand with the season. The premise of the soft-sell strategy is that decisions are based on emotions and feelings, which lead to a higher response rate.
CMA implemented a soft-sell message and design strategy into its holiday card last year. Since it’s the largest direct mail piece CMA produces all year—targeting more than 2,000 prospects, influencers and current clients—the company used it as an opportunity not only to offer holiday greetings, but also to showcase its services, which were subtly incorporated into the creative concept. As a result, CMA received positive feedback and a high response rate. In fact, Innovative Commercial Interiors (
ICI), one of CMA’s new clients this past year, credits CMA’s holiday card for moving them down the sales funnel.
3. Employ gifts and special offers
If it fits within your budget, think about distributing a token gift along with your printed piece. The gift should complement the theme, reinforce your branding and include contact information. The benefit of the gift is if it’s unique and something that can be used all year round, the recipient will have a “take away,” which can serve as a constant reminder of your business. When considering a gift, to keep costs down, choose one that can be mailed with the marketing piece and won’t require considerable additional mailing costs. Another idea is to provide a special offer. Depending on your business, it can include free delivery, a percentage off, free initial report/trial/consultation and more. Think about your USPs and how you want your customers to come through your sales funnel. Finally, be creative!
Last year CMA included a light-weight coaster, with a coffee stain on it, to match the same stain on the envelop of the card to grab people’s attention. The coaster was decked out with CMA’s branding, catchy wording and a call-to-action. It displayed, “The coffee’s brewing and so are the ideas. Let’s talk. (contact information).”
4. Coordinate the timing for maximum results
Timing is everything. I’m sure you’ve heard that many times. In the case of holiday marketing, it’s especially true. The stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the busiest time of the year. The last thing you want is to have your marketing in the middle of that and get lost. As such, when planning your holiday marketing strategy, it’s best to time the launch for early-December. This also will avoid the last-minute Christmas and New Year’s rush.
5. Build excitement and anticipation each year
If you’re consistent and have successful holiday marketing campaigns under your belt, customers will look forward to receiving your holiday marketing piece year after year. Getting attention is half the battle for direct-response marketing. If you’re able to get on your current and potential customers’ radar, especially during the busiest season, your response rate will increase. We’ve found that to be the case with CMA’s holiday card. Its current and potential customers ask staff months in advance if they will “spill the beans” and reveal what the holiday card theme will be for that year.
While a holiday marketing campaign might not be a business’s biggest initiative or selling proposition each year, it’s something that helps to make your business more relatable and memorable. It also can be a conversation-starter with customers and prospects, on top of offering an opportunity to show a different, more personal and fun side of your business and its staff.
Are you scheduled to begin working on your holiday marketing to promote your brand?
Contact us today, to get started.
Kelsey Tweedly is a marketing associate at CMA, an award-winning, full service marketing agency, that builds reputation, relationships and return on investment.