It’s (almost) that time of the year again.
There’s a special kind of joy and excitement that comes with the holiday season. It’s a time for giving and receiving, a time for togetherness, and an opportunity for businesses to bank in on the holiday spirit.
The holiday season accounts for 20 percent of the retail industry’s annual sale and last year, $3.45 billion in sales were made during Cyber Monday alone–making it the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history.
With the ease and convenience that comes with shopping online, it’s no wonder that online holiday sales have increased significantly and are expected to grow even further in the following years.
Don’t allow your business to fall behind–keep up with the technological times and connect with your customers by celebrating the holiday spirit in the digital space. Here are online marketing tips you can leverage for the upcoming holiday season.
Add mystery and anticipation to the mix.
When people anticipate something, dopamine–a chemical released in the brain that causes excitement–is released. Apple has been using the element of anticipation to successfully create hype around their product for years.
They would get people talking about their product on the days leading up to its release by announcing a release date, then teasing people with a series of announcements and blog posts.
Cards Against Humanity, on the other hand, is an example of a brand that succeeded in using the element of mystery in their strategy. The popular party-game brand pulled out all their products from their website during Black Friday of 2014 and left “a box of bullshit” on sale for $6.
Thinking it was a mystery box, 30,000 people bought the item. They were in for a surprise as they really had bull shit–literal cow poop–delivered right at their doorstep.
You can incorporate these tactics into your own marketing strategy by putting a countdown on your website leading up to a sale or product announcement, or by offering your own discounted mystery boxes–but this time think of putting actual goods from your shop instead of crap!
It’s a good way to clear your holiday inventory and increase sales at the same time.
‘Tis the season for sharing.
Share the holiday spirit with your customers by getting them to participate in your campaign. What better way to connect with them than involving them directly?
Take it from Elf Yourself by Office Max, an interactive website where people could upload photos of themselves or their friends and see them as dancing elves.
The campaign has been received well since its conception in 2006 that it “has become an annual tradition people look forward to.”
Its shareability and audience involvement are part of what made the campaign so successful. Though you don’t necessarily have to dedicate an entire interactive website to your interactive holiday campaign, you can get your customers in on the fun through other methods.
You can hold a holiday-themed photo contest, for example. Encourage them to share a selfie with your product or take a creative shot featuring your product, while incorporating the appropriate holiday theme, on social media.
Appeal to your customers’ holiday-driven emotions
With emotions at an all-time high during this season, whether it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, holidays are the perfect time to engage with customers by appealing to their emotions.
Halloween has become an opportunity for brands to film zombie pranks and scary ads like this nightmare elevator ride with a floor made of TV monitors that created an illusion of the floor falling apart, making it appear that the riders are about to plummet to their deaths.
Christmas, on the other hand, is a time for “coming home from the holidays,” inspiring stories, and family-themed ads.
Engage with your customers on an emotional level and build trust and credibility for your brand by incorporating the theme of the current holiday season in your content and video ads.
Dress your website in a holiday-themed fashion.
Just like how physical stores adorn their venue with Christmas trees, lights, and ornaments, your website could benefit a whole lot from taking on a seasonal design.
Apparently, it “creates the spirit of holidays and gets potential customers into the festive mood, which makes them more likely to buy something,” writes Alexandra Gavril of the 123-reg team.
You don’t have to make major or any changes at all to the functionality–you don’t want to confuse your customers if they came to the right site.
However, your logo, menu, banners, and color palette can use a little sprucing up. “Seasonal elements can help you to resonate with your audience on a personal level,” Gavril writes further.
Since most people use their mobile phones in their day to day transactions, including online shopping, it’s important to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Remember, competition is especially tough during this time of the year. Even a small glitch and malfunction in your site can make you lose a prospect to your rivals.
Free People, a retail company, used a decorative font and a large, high definition image of their models wearing their latest holiday festive apparel with a touch of the Christmas holiday elements such as the ribbon, in order to add a seasonal touch to their homepage.
You don’t necessarily need to use the typical holiday colors (red, blue, green) in order to join in on the holiday spirit. A subtle touch of Christmas elements here and there is enough. Get creative and think out of the box.
Leverage all appropriate channels.
Social media is a marketing platform that never goes out of date. Make sure your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram–wherever most of your audience is, is regularly updated.
If you don’t have enough time to post routinely, consider utilizing Hootsuite or TweetDeck. Both are useful dashboard applications that let you schedule tweets and manage your social media more conveniently.
According to the Euromonitor International Research commissioned by Twitter, 84% of shoppers use Twitter in their planning phase by looking for deals and coupons, product reviews, and inspiration for gift ideas on Twitter.
Meanwhile, 3% of Twitter users follow businesses on the platform to find special deals, and 43% are likely to visit a store after seeing a deal on Twitter.
Guest posting to other sites is also another way to reach a larger audience and one that is specific to your niche. Create holiday-appropriate content that will inspire and provide valuable advice and insights to your audience.
It can be a content on gift ideas or things to do on a specific holiday. As long as readers find it valuable, your content marketing strategy should help you gain conversions.
Indeed, the holidays are a time for joy and a time for cheer for both businesses and customers. It’s a perfect time to market and connect with prospects, as customers are in a buying mood during this season more than any other time of the year.
The competition will be extra tough and traditional marketing ideas won’t be enough to make you stand out, but by implementing these online holiday marketing tips, you can expect holidays for you and your business to be merry and bright. Do you have anything planned for your holiday digital marketing yet?
About the Author – Lois Sapare is an editor at Scoopfed and a contributor for PanelWallArt. She is a former student journalist with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. When she’s not writing content on a variety of topics, you can find her watching pysch thriller films or keeping up with the latest buzz in the tech world.