This article was written by Jignesh Shah
Whether you’re trying to close Q4 deals or set the stage for 2016, you should start planning a holiday marketing campaign now. More than 80% of business in Q4 can occur during the last two weeks of December. Holiday campaigns are a great way to nurture the deals in the pipeline that you want to close. Holiday marketing can also help grow your pipeline into 2016 as it sets a solid foundation for sales and marketing plans as they head into the New Year. This is a perfect time to do something unique and fun to gain visibility and create engagement. This is also an effective way to spend any funds left over from your 2015 budget!
In this blog I’ll walk you through how to determine the right type of holiday marketing for your audience and share 5 tips to make you stand out to your customers this holiday season.
Focus Your Holiday Marketing
Targeting the right people is key to an effective holiday campaign. To accomplish this, think through who you should target and what you want to accomplish with them. Start with the following categories:
- Bottom-of-the-funnel prospects: The goal with this segment should be to keep their attention on your business as they work through the purchase. Effective campaigns should create goodwill and engagement opportunities that sales needs to stay in touch and get the deals closed.
- Middle-of the-funnel prospects: These are prospects who are actively evaluating your product. Holiday marketing should keep you on their radar and help put your product on their short-list for purchases in 2016.
- Existing customers who are up-sell and cross-sell targets: Holiday marketing should focus on making them feel valued and appreciated.
- Customers you want to nurture as advocates for references and recommendations: Reaching out to them during the holidays is a great way to thank them for their help and encourage them to continue to be your advocates.
- Partners you want to build stronger relationships with: The holidays are a great time to recognize and reward partners for being on your team.
Top 5 Tactics to Make Your Business Stand Out During the Holidays
The biggest holiday marketing challenge is finding a way to stand out among the flood of postcards and email greetings your customers will receive and duly ignore. Price promotions may work in the consumer world, but they usually don’t work well for most B2B businesses. Price promotions certainly do not work with existing customers and early prospects who are not ready to purchase immediately.
So, to be successful this holiday season, your campaign must show genuine appreciation for your customers and must engage with them in a memorable way. This should be the driving force behind your holiday marketing campaign.
With that being said, we have compiled a list of 5 high-impact holiday marketing tactics that will make your business stand out among your competitors and delight your customers this holiday season:
1. Send gourmet food and wine
Sending high quality food and wine to top customers and partners is a classic and effective holiday marketing tactic. For maximum impact, choose items that can be decorated with your logo and easily shared around the office. For example, send cupcakes with your logo as a topper. Your gift will be memorable, shared with other influencers and consumed over a period of time, leading to excellent exposure.
Although this tactic is effective, it can be expensive and tricky to execute if you are targeting a large number of recipients. It also requires a lot of planning and lead time for large quantities: one to two months or more if you personalize the items. So, reserve these gifts for your top customers and partners.
2. Give the gift of relaxation
As fun as holidays are, they often are accompanied by stress, and your customers deserve to unwind after a busy year. Send them small, thoughtful gifts to help them relax during this hectic time of year. Entertain your customers with iTunes, Amazon, and RedBox, help them unwind with spa gift certificates, or send them to Starbucks and Panera to get their coffee and munchies fix. By presenting a small gift, you can instantly cut through the noise and create valuable engagement. These gifts can easily be sent to thousands of customers using digital gift cards and marketing automation. The relatively inexpensive nature of the gift also makes it suitable for middle-of-the-funnel and bottom-of-the-funnel prospects (sending prospects expensive gifts can feel awkward). You can even have sales give the prospect a call when they claim their gift. To make the experience more engaging and memorable, use your own landing pages and send the gifts via your own email. You can extend the impact of these gifts by making it easy for your customers to share the moment on social media.
3. Mail personalized postcards with a digital gift
This tactic combines the best of physical and digital gifting while remaining inexpensive. Use a printing service to print and mail customized postcards that include a link to a landing page where the recipient can request or claim a small gift card. Email gift cards using marketing automation as the requests roll in. Not only do you grab attention with a physical gift, you convert that attention into engagement by including a digital gift. You can also keep track of who received their gift and when. Campaigns like this are great for getting in front of prospective as well as existing customers, but may be more complex and expensive than purely online campaigns. To ensure success, be aware of printing and mailing lead times.
4. Make charitable donations of their choice
It is important to show your customers that your company cares about more than just making money. This will set your company apart from the competition. Share your commitment to philanthropy by empowering your existing customers and partners to give to a cause they care about. Your philanthropy builds goodwill and shows care for the community, as well as sets you apart from your competition. Accomplish this by hosting a donations microsite where you create matching donations. Another similar option is to send charity gift cards to your customers, which allow them to donate money to a charity of their choice. Your customers will want others to see their selfless act, so be sure to make it easy for them to share the moment on social media, thus giving your company more visibility and brand awareness. Making a donation is a highly engaging experience and an excellent way to gain brand exposure while making a difference.
5. Supply valuable, evergreen content
The most valuable gifts you can give your customers this holiday season are time and insight. Your customers will deeply appreciate time-saving tools, such as stock photos, specialized industry calendars, and how-to videos. Stock photos will give them a head start on their own marketing campaigns, while industry calendars will help them plan out 2016 in advance. How-to videos can provide fast and easily digestible tips and training to help your customers do their jobs better. Be sure to align the content with your brand and product value proposition, but do not let your campaign come across as promotional. Keep in mind that it usually takes time and money to create truly evergreen content. However, your customers will appreciate the creativity and effort you put into thinking about their needs. This tactic will set your company apart from the competition by showing your customers you genuinely appreciate and care about them.
Don’t forget to integrate social media! Support all of your holiday marketing efforts by posting about them to your social networks—and get your customers to post about them, too! For example, if you send them gift baskets, encourage them to tag your company in a social post where they show it off. You can also start a mini-social media campaign around how your partners and top customers help others around the holidays. To easily track any activity around your social media campaign, create a memorable hashtag and strongly encourage your partners and customers to use it.
Remember, your holiday marketing should serve as a strong ending to the year and as a springboard into the next. The relationships you build and strengthen now will serve you well into the New Year.
Which of these tips resonates the most with you? Have you run a really successful customer holiday marketing campaign? Let us know in the comments below!