Marketing during the holiday season can be a source of celebration or stress for any business manager, sometimes both in equal measure. While some customer-facing businesses thrive in the peak retail season; services, trades, and business-to-business outfits may find that customers are disappearing, sales are down, and enquiries dip, especially over Christmas and the New Year.
So, what can you do? Many businesses will start to wrap up their marketing efforts for the year, but wait, not so fast! Here are some tips you can use to sail through the season and start your new year with a strong foundation.
Don’t scale down your marketing efforts
When the market dips, the knee-jerk reaction is to reduce market spend and reach. However, this can be a really detrimental practice which puts you behind the eight ball when kicking off again in the new year. Keep your marketing budgets steady, or even plan to increase your spend, as this will ensure you reach customers who are still around. It may help you get ahead of your competitors who have chosen to do the opposite.
Don’t underestimate the power of downtime
Even if your clients and customers are on holidays, it’s entirely possible that they are still working, planning, and strategising for the year to come. If you continue to run your marketing over the holiday period, then you’ve got the opportunity to be at the forefront of your customers’ minds. Enquiries may slow down over the Christmas break, but brand recognition and searches for services are at an all-time high, simply because people have more time on their hands.
Don’t limit yourself
Keep this very important factor in mind – it’s not Christmas everywhere. If you’re a business that advertises around the world, remember that there are several countries that don’t celebrate Christmas. This means it may be business as usual for many of your audience.
There are also different religions with their own important dates and festivals to consider. You may need to check details of public holiday dates in your target location. For example, Australia does not have public holidays for the days of Hanukkah.
So, double-check your target markets and locations. Although some doors may close, others stay open!
Share personal style content
If you’re using social media marketing strategies, now is the time to let your audience see behind the scenes. By showing the ‘human side’ of your business, you can foster loyalty and build a sense of relationship with your customers.
Design content strategies around any festive events you’re planning, or any charitable pursuits that you’re passionate about. Create ‘meet the team’ opportunities. Let your customers see the people behind the company. This will benefit you when it’s time for them to make their purchase decision. The more strongly connected your customers feel to you, your brand, and your team, the more likely they’ll remain loyal and continue engaging with you.
Everyone needs a break, but making sure that you are still available in some way to your clients will raise you above your competition. Find a sustainable option for your business and team that will help your own people and your clients feel supported.
This could come in a number of forms: run a skeleton staff, hire a phone answering service, create a reduced-hours roster. If you can, make sure to respond to your clients over the break. Have someone check your inboxes at least once per day so that you can quickly address any concerns or queries your customers may have. You’ll become a front-runner in the eyes of your public.
In addition to this, communicate to your audience what your Christmas plan is. By creating expectations and meeting them, you build trust in your brand. You can send out e-newsletters in the months or weeks leading up to the holiday season, and when the time comes, don’t forget to turn on your out-of-office responders!
Be generous to your top clients
Nothing builds a relationship, professional or otherwise, like a thoughtful present! Take the time and spare the expense to create a small gift, card, or voucher for your most loyal customers. This will let them know that you appreciate their custom and that you’re excited to work with them in the new year.
These are just some ideas of how you can manage your marketing over the holiday season. At Vine Street Digital, we start talking to our clients about Christmas marketing plans as early as September. We love creating all sorts of interesting campaigns for the holiday season! Have a chat with your marketing professional to see what might be the most suitable course of action for your business. Happy holidays!