There's no denying it anymore, the holidays are here. You're starting to deck the halls, we're putting up the Christmas lights, and you're starting to prepare your Christmas schedule. There's so much to think about over the holidays, we know that all too well! As the Christmas spirit takes over, it's easy to forget how important your content is and can even still be during the holidays. Not only do you want to keep your schedule, but think about ways to get your content noticed and excite your customers during the holidays. Time to get festive and creative!
The good news is that there are so many different ways to make your content festive. The best festive content ideas aren't reserved for typical holiday products like your turkey, pecan pie, toys and gifts. There's also a lot more to the holidays that first meets the eye, which gives marketers an amazing opportunity to reach their customers in different ways.
1. Know What Your Customers Want During the Festive Period. Whether or not you are a seasoned marketer or an ambitious start-up founder, you probably know that in order to know how to create a great product, service or marketing content, you need to have a good idea of who your target customer is. We often call these "personas" in marketing. Part of understanding who you are directing your marketing to is understanding your target customers' needs, wants and pain points.
Excitingly, your customers' needs, wants and pain points change over the festive period. Clearly, whilst your customers may have been buying your products for themselves all year around, they may now start to consider buying those products as gifts. If you sell food products or services, your customers may be looking for indulgent treats and festive feasts over healthy, diet food.
So it may sound obvious, but the absolute first place to start when planning your festive content marketing strategy is and understanding what your customers want at this time of year. That way, you can better gear your content to the changes in your December business goals.
By understanding your target customers behavior over the Christmas period, you'll be in the best position to create compelling and relevant content. For example, it may be worth targeting your content with festive keywords relevant to your target market, such as "gifts" or "Christmas Dinner".
Only by knowing your customers' festive wants, needs and behaviors can you begin to craft the best content.
2. Be a Part of the Spirit of Christmas. What do you think that Christmas stands for? Presents? Getting together with old friends? Merry parties and grand feasts?
There's no doubt that if you are getting into the Christmas Spirit, you have a good idea about what Christmas means to you. That's also true for your customers. There's a great opportunity for marketers and businesses at Christmas in that the festive period is a highly emotive time. Whether it's driving home for Christmas to see your family, reflecting on the year just passed or planning your New Years' resolutions, Christmas is all about emotion.
The great news for marketers is that people truly make decisions based on their emotions. Customers really do make decisions on the gut level- and never are people more in touch with their gut than at Christmas time. Inc. even go so far as to say that all buyers' decisions are based on emotion.
The opportunity to make the most of the high emotions over Christmas time is not lost on the many companies who spend large budgets coming up with creative ways to bring that feel good factor into their festive marketing.
Take a look at the Britain's famous Monty the Penguin promotional video for the 2014 Christmas period for example. This is truly a journey of the emotions as we follow a young boy, devoted to his pet penguin, Monty. He starts to realize that Monty is lonely and wants a girlfriend. The little boy then chooses to give his penguin his own play friend for Christmas. You can see the heart-warming final scene below.
Photo credit: www.independent.co.uk.
Not only does Monty the Penguin represent Christmas values such as love and giving. It was also named the UK's most memorable advert, which says a lot about how emotion can help brands to stand out this Christmas.
Whatever your brand stands for, you're really missing out on the Christmas action if you're just talking about features and prices. Go beyond the product and let the Christmas do all the talking for your brand.
3. Christmas Is All About Giving
Did you know that, according to Forbes, 30%-60% of all charitable contributions occur at Christmas for over half of not-for-profits in the US?
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, there's really no doubt about it: Christmas really is a time for giving. This means that for marketers and businesses, this is the time to truly represent the greater values that underpin your brands, that go much beyond the features of your products and services and great offers.
Photo credit: Retail-week.com.
Watch the video ad on YouTube.
The great thing is that you don't have to make a big budget video advertisement for this to work. Your written content can be extremely powerful at Christmas time if you bring in elements of charity and giving. Even a simple fund-raising event for a charity whose values are similar to your own can send a very powerful message to your customers. That's without the fact that sometimes, whether you are marketing for profit or not, can be a great strategy for a business.
Why not report on an event you held in your weekly email marketing or blog? You can even report on a feel-good story that is close to the hearts of some of your employees. You can send a message that goes way beyond your product in the simplest of ways in your written content.
You certainly don't need a big budget to go big on giving and sharing this Christmas- but it's something that your customers and followers will appreciate this Christmas, and will identify positively with your brand.
4. Choose from an Array of Festive Themes. Christmas isn't just about mince pies and Eggnog. There's a lot going on at Christmas time, whatever your industry and whoever your customers. Christmas content isn't just for supermarkets, bakeries and gift stores.
If you're crafting a B2B marketing campaign for the Christmas period, it's just a simple matter of knowing what your target readers' priorities are during the festive period. Businesses still care about productivity during the holidays, and customers still have concerns about income and security. In fact, there are certain concerns, needs and wants that strengthen during the holidays which at first sight don't seem holiday-related. If you know your reader inside out, you know what they care about around this time of year. The key is to focus in on what really matters to them during this busy period.
5. Christmas Is All About Social. There's something about Christmas that brings people together. It starts with Thanksgiving, when, love it or hate it, the nation gets together and in some way or another enjoys the same Turkey dinner and the same Pumpkin Pie. We then move to Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, where we flock to shopping centers to buy flat screen TVs. We then rush to the shops to tick off our Christmas shopping list and for the Christmas dinner.
Whatever the reason, we seem to be in sync during the holidays. That's why December is the time to start a social media campaign.
Take a look at Nokia USA's 2013 festive social media campaign.
Photo credit Twitter screenshot
Simple social media content that makes the most of bringing everyone together can be a really powerful marketing strategy. Nokia USA asks for fans to share their stories of what makes the holiday real for them. Nokia brings the fun and "togetherness" of the holidays to their social media campaign, in a way that makes engaging with the Nokia brand completely compelling.
Social is a great way to engage your followers and gain new ones.
6. Treat Your Customers- "Only at Christmas"
If you're a loyal Starbucks customer, I don't need to tell you about their famous range of festive specialty drinks. From Ginger Bread to Eggnog Latte, the start of the festive season means the Starbucks drinks are out and the famous red cups are back.
Photo credit Starbucks ad
If you are a fan of the famous Eggnog Latte, you may know how Starbucks pulled the holiday drink from its stores and the passionately unhappy customer feedback that came after. Many Starbucks customers make grabbing their annual Eggnog Lattes an integral part of their traditional holiday schedule. The Eggnog Latte is only available at this time of year, which just shows the power of making different products or services exclusive to the holiday period.
The idea that Eggnog Lattes are "here for now" but "not to stay", gives a real sense of excitement and urgency for Starbucks' customers to get into their stores and grab a cup before they're gone.
So why not bring that urgent excitement and that "only at Christmas" feel to your content marketing? Your content will instantly get your customers clicking on your content with just a little bit of the festive, magical excitement that only the holidays can bring.
Remember that exclusive gifts don't have to be Christmas related at all. For example, why not send your email subscribers a free eBook that describes your services and offers helpful advice for the New Year? As long as your exclusive gift reflects your brand message and is something that your readers will appreciate, it will most likely help you to create compelling Christmas content.
7. Embrace the New Year
Finally, Christmas Day has passed. Now it's time to start creating your New Year's content. The needs, wants and interests of your customers is most likely to change as soon as the new year looms. New Year blows away ideas of indulgence, partying and spending, bringing instead, quite the opposite. The New Year brings themes of hope, reflecting back on past mistakes, looking forward and resolutions. Consumers' behavior also reflects this change in mood. For example, more people join the gym in the first quarter of the year than at any other time.
Whatever your product or service, your content has to reflect your customers' mood and the seasonal trends that affect the majority.
This is definitely the time for health, fitness and food marketers to really up their game. As New Years is all about feeling good about yourself and hopeful for the future, this is also a great time for personal development content, or anything to do with personal growth or professional and personal success.
Don't feel that if your product or brand doesn't directly tie in with New Years' themes that you shouldn't get in on the action. In fact, quite the contrary. Make your brand relevant for the New Year in any way you can with your marketing content. Even if your main product is pumpkin pie, it's really worth at least wishing your customers a Happy and Healthy New Year. After all, treats are always welcome in moderation.
A word of caution: make sure that your content is creative during this period. Your readers are going to be inundated with content with very similar, topical messages. Make sure your content stands out.
- Have we got you thinking about your unique and creative content for this year?
- What can your brand and company bring to the festivities of the holiday period?
Now is definitely the time to make the most of the unique Christmas spirit and to engage with your readers in unique ways. After all, it only comes around once a year.