The holiday season is crunch time for consumer brands. With the average American set to spend more than $800 on holiday-related items this year, there’s a lot at stake for marketers as they attempt to grab people’s attention — and hopefully, part of their spending budgets — between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
Given that the holiday season is also a busy time for your customers, marketers must be strategic in how they attempt to engage their audiences. Timely content, delivered to the right audience at the right time, can be just the boost you need to raise awareness, sell more online products, and make this crucial shopping season a success.
With that in mind, here are our five tips for crafting the most effective holiday content marketing campaigns:
1. Start with your customers’ holiday needs — then go from there.
One of the nice things about the holiday rush is that it allows you to provide your customers with great value when you create content that saves them time, helps them cross something off their to-do list, or makes their holidays more enjoyable. The best way to do this is to consider what people are trying to accomplish during the holiday season, and then create content that helps them achieve those objectives.
For example, maybe you have a great recipe or an inspired decoration idea to share with someone who is hosting friends and family this holiday season, as Betty Crocker did when it made a collection of healthy Thanksgiving cooking suggestions. Another popular and time-tested format is the holiday gift guide, which can relieve maybe your customers’ biggest seasonal pain point: finding appropriate presents for the important people in their lives.
Gift guides perform particularly well on the Taboola network as people love to read and share list-style content. These guides also offer great conversion rates by allowing brands to showcase their products. With the right gift guide, like this one from Sweet Relish, you can not only engage your target audience, but persuade them to purchase the products you link to right then and there.
2. Improve performance by targeting specific audiences.
While big media organizations and brands often create content that appeals to a broader audience, the best way to drive performance for your holiday campaign is to identify the audience segments most likely to purchase your products, and then create content that caters to their needs and interests.
For instance, if you’re a sports apparel brand, a general “2015 Holiday Gift Guide” featuring products spanning high-tech gadgets to home decor may be too wide-ranging to capture to attention of any particular audience.
Instead, more specific posts like “11 Gifts For The Woman In Your Life Who Loves Sports” or “How To Talk To Your Sports-Crazed Family Members About This Year’s Christmas Day Basketball Games” can perform better by attracting a more targeted audience. An added bonus is that these types of topics help expose your content to people who are seeking out related information via search.
3. Make sure the subject matter is the right fit for your brand.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your content should address a subject that your brand has the authority to speak about. Even if people who purchase high-end television sets are likely to have a fancy drink this holiday season, it’s doubtful that those consumers will put much stock in a list of “11 Great Champagnes to Drink on New Year’s Eve” put together by a tech company.
By discussing topics that naturally fall under your brand’s purview, you give consumers a reason to trust your content and read it all the way until the end. As an example of what does work, you can check out Verizon’s “One-Of-A-Kind Gifts for the Person Who Has Every Device.” Not only did Verizon perfectly target gift-givers in the market for under-the-radar tech accessories, but the subject matter is right up the tech company’s alley.
4. Create a sense of urgency — your customers will expect it.
One of the biggest challenges of marketing during the holiday season is that you only have a finite amount of time. If people don’t make a purchase before the end of the year, they’re unlikely to return to your brand in early January. Plus, if you’re not aggressive about converting your readers into sales, there’s a chance they will buy a gift from one of your competitors instead, leaving you out in the cold.
While more overt sales pitches might turn people off at other times of the year, consumers are much more receptive to them during the holiday season because they are actively shopping and expecting companies to promote featured product items. You can create a sense of urgency with your consumers by giving them exclusive sales offers that expire on a certain date, making them want to buy from you before they even bother to check out what your competitors are selling.
And even if you choose not to employ a number of calls to action within the content itself, you should have a robust retargeting plan in place so that you can match your most engaged readers with a specially-tailored sales pitch later in the holiday season.
5. Launch early and start testing.
It’s never too soon to start planning your holiday content campaigns. Indeed, you’ll want to give yourself a head start so that you can optimize how you promote your work to your target audience. For instance, if you have five pieces of Cyber Monday content, you should give yourself some time to see which articles are performing best so that you can re-allocate more budget towards the “winners” in the days leading up to your big sale.
You can run similar experiments — both in content recommendations and on social media — with your headlines and thumbnail images to see which combinations are driving engagement and conversions.
One of the great things about ramping up your online holiday promotion budgets is that you’ll get a ton of data you can use to optimize your performance. It’s important to make sure you put that information to good use.
For more tips on holiday-related content marketing strategies, check out the following posts on the Taboola Blog: