The holiday season is approaching fast, and this year, more than ever, developing an effective marketing strategy should be one of the main priorities of your business.
Usually, the holiday season is one of the most successful times of the year. This year however, due to the ongoing pandemic, the holiday season is more unpredictable. Getting the attention of your customers and convincing them to purchase your products is going to be more difficult than ever. People are going to have tighter budgets, different shopping habits, and a general uneasiness about the future.
To best position your brand this holiday season, we recommend that you create an entirely new marketing campaign just for this new holiday season.
As you begin to create a new marketing plan, be sure to follow these tips to better ensure your success.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Invest in Marketing
We understand that money may be tight, and investing in a department such as marketing may not be priority number one for your business. Anytime a recession hits, businesses across the country tend to micromanage their money and make rash decisions.
One common mistake many businesses make when a recession hits is to cut spending. Usually, the marketing department is one of the first departments to face budget cuts but this should not be the case, especially during the holiday season.
This holiday season, investing in your marketing department will go a long way. If many businesses commit to cutting their budgets, as is expected, your brand could all of a sudden be the only voice in an empty room. In other words, you will be the only company with an active marketing campaign while all your competitors slashed their budgets.
If money has been tight and you don’t know if you will have enough to create a holiday marketing plan, consider using a business loan to gain access to funds for your marketing department. A business loan will allow you to create a powerful marketing strategy without having to worry about cash, at least until your profits start rolling in from the season. Before applying, make sure you know some important information about your business, such as both your personal and business credit scores.
2. Figure Out How Extensive Sales Can Be
Usually, flash sales and huge price cuts are the driving force behind many holiday marketing efforts. This year, you will need to see exactly how much you will be able to discount products before offering these promotions.
The holiday season would not be the same without sales, so you need to still offer them. This year, try to think outside the box when coming up with sales tactics as driving down your prices too far during a recession could negatively affect your bottom line, which could end up hurting your business.
Before just slashing prices, meet with your analytics, finance, and product teams to calculate what the lowest selling price you can put on products, while still turning a profit. You may realize that margins are tighter than ever.
If your margins are too tight to offer up traditional sales, you can still offer other sales alternatives that are attractive to customers. Something as simple as offering free shipping, or an added bonus gift can help win over potential customers this shopping season.
When creating a holiday business plan, make sure to still offer sales, even if it is in a limited capacity.
3. Start Marketing Early
In the past, big days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday have dominated the holiday shopping season. In 2020, these huge shopping days will likely see less action due to a number of reasons. In fact, almost half of Americans have stated that they are sitting this Black Friday out due to health concerns.
With people sitting out Black Friday, the timeline of the holiday season has shifted. Customers are looking to get their shopping done earlier than ever for a number of reasons. The main reasons for the shift in buying behavior are:
- Customers are fearful for their own safety
- There is a lack of holiday cheer or normalcy to the season
- People are worried about missing out on sales if another shutdown occurs
With a huge shift in the holiday shopping season, there will need to be a shift in your marketing strategy as well. Going with the classic “Thanksgiving and on” holiday marketing approach will not cut it. You must start marketing early if you want to be effective this year. Getting in front of prospective shoppers early and often will help keep your brand top of mind this shopping season.
4. Focus on Digital Marketing Channels
The strongest marketing messaging will do nothing if it falls on deaf ears.
This holiday season, instead of doing the same circular ads and local television spots that you always do, think outside of traditional marketing tactics and try to come up with some fresh digital marketing tactics. Your brand will benefit from adapting to the times, as even when the pandemic is over, consumer behavior will have changed forever.
To best capitalize on the modern digitally connected landscape, try incorporating some of these digital marketing strategies into your holiday marketing plans.
Make the Transition to Video
Using videos in your online marketing efforts this holiday season will only help your brand recognition. Video marketing allows your brand to directly show consumers why they should be using your product or service. Keep in mind that video marketing does not always need to be live-action; an animated product video can help showcase your product, in a cost-effective and stylish way.
Have an Increased Focus on Social Media Marketing
Right now, more people are turning to Facebook, Instagram, and other social media accounts for their news, entertainment, and other information. If your brand has not made a concerted effort to be more active online, now is the time to. Social media marketing allows your brand to be more emotional and conversational, which is perfect for the holiday shopping season.
Optimize Your Website
With the uncertainty currently surrounding brick and mortar retail, creating an efficient online shopping experience should be a priority of your company heading into the holidays. Experts estimate that eCommerce will be at an all-time high this shopping season. Having a reliable eCommerce storefront is a must if you want to remain competitive this year and in the future.
If your company is not utilizing technology in your marketing efforts, you may find yourself behind the competition.
5. Continue to Be Festive
It would be an understatement to say that people are feeling a general uneasiness about the world around them right now. As a brand, you must be the light in their day, especially around the holidays.
While most of this article has been detailing every way that this holiday season is different, there are still some things that should remain the same.
No matter where your marketing efforts go, make sure to remain festive in your messaging. Having witty, emotional, and timely messaging can still elicit a response from your customers, even in this weird holiday season.
As you develop your marketing strategy, think of some ways to be festive, without being over-the-top. You want to capitalize on the holiday season, but not annoy your customers. Something as simple as a logo reimagining, or a fun holiday video can help build a lasting relationship with your customers.
If you remain positive as a brand, your customers will have a positive emotional response when thinking of your company.
6. Over Explain New Procedures
One thing that we can all agree on is, COVID-19 has made things very difficult. New health guidelines are constantly being unveiled, expert opinions are always changing, and something new is discovered almost every other day.
With the hyperfast COVID-19 news cycle, it can feel impossible to keep up. The best thing you can do this holiday season is remain as connected to your local health officials as possible, and provide constant updates to your customer base whenever you can.
As you learn more about health guidelines and how they will pertain to the shopping season, you should be communicating the information to your customers. Keep them updated as to any policy changes that may impact their shopping come this holiday season.
A great way to keep your customers informed is through your marketing channels. Your social media outlets will be the easiest way to communicate with your customers in real time. When announcing any changes, consider using an animated video to catch your customer’s attention. An animated video will allow you to easily deliver all the information you need in an appealing video.
Customers are searching for a straightforward shopping experience this season. Keeping your customers informed via your marketing channels will only improve your brand sentiment in the long run.
7. Donate to a Charity
As mentioned before, the holiday season is a time for compassion and cheer. As a brand, marketing efforts should be focused on creating a lasting emotional impression on a consumer during this time of year.
One way to connect with your customers on a more personal level is by donating to a charity. Giving to charitable organizations shows your customers that you care about the common good of the community around you.
This year more than ever, people need assistance. As a business owner, you can inspire others to give back to the community.
Run a marketing campaign where a certain percentage of sales from a certain product are donated to charity. The campaign will inspire people to buy that specific product which will allow you to donate more money to an organization of your choice.
When running a charitable campaign, make sure that you are doing so for the right reasons. If you are not serious about being a socially responsible business, then do not try to appear to be one. Consumers will be angrier at a company that donates to charity for the wrong reasons, rather than one that does not donate at all.
In passing, this holiday season is unlike any other and your marketing plan will need to address that. If you sit around and try to run the same promotions as in years past, your business may suffer.
Work with your marketing team to create a powerful marketing plan that addresses the changes that we all have gone through.
Also, fill out the attached form if you are interested in hearing more about our animated video capabilities and how you can integrate them into your marketing strategy moving forward.