It’s officially November and before we know it, the holidays will be among us. Although it’s my favorite time of the year, for many others, it’s their most stressful time of the year. As we all scram together to plan accordingly and launch as many new holiday campaigns as we can before 2017 hits, here’s a few holiday tips from digital marketing pros.
Each of these marketers are no noobs to holiday marketing. Specializing in content, social media, SEO, branding, and more, these incredibly talented individuals know what it takes to have a successful holiday season. Finish off Q4 with a bang and increase your holiday conversions with these tips:
Engage, Don’t Just Advertise
Demonstrate that you understand the problem a consumer faces, then showcase how your product or service solves the problem. May seem like an old notion, but as any budding YouTube-starlet will tell you, it’s all about “friendship” these days.
Friendship is in, fanship is out. Growing a huge following does you no good if you burn the goodwill by continually blasting your message without showing that you hear their message.
For a slightly fantastical view of this premise in action, grab a copy of the J. Peterman catalog. They are over-the-top in story-telling, but it works. Unravel the storytelling a bit and apply it yourself to grow loyalty, boost email signups and extend shopping experiences year round.
Duane Forrester: Duane Forrester, formerly a Bing Senior Product Manager and search engine spokesperson, travels the world to speak on topics he’s passionate about: search, social, challenges and solutions for running in-house SEO teams, and futurism. He was named Search Personality of the Year in 2014, is the author of two books on making money through digital marketing, and served on the leadership team that developed Bing Webmaster Tools.
Set Aside Extra Resources For Active Listening
Everybody needs a shoulder to cry on during the holidays – and your customers are no exception. If they reach out in response to some experience they’re having with your brand, it’s most likely to be on social media. Emails tend to increase around this time as well, and private messages are important to monitor. Be responsive and helpful in the digital space, and they’ll remember your brand well.
Mary Diamond: Social Media Lead and multi-channel super user – Mary Diamond is a digital content creator and social strategist for a family of brands that serve the North American metal forming and fabricating industries. She is also passionate about closing the knowledge gap between print and digital marketing. Follow Mary on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Get Website & Campaign Alerts Via SMS
The holiday season often means your clients may be on vacation, but the shop doesn’t shut over the seasonal period. Make sure you can enjoy your holiday time in peace, by staying alert via SMS.
Take control of the OOO time by first, double and triple checking your paid campaign ad schedules. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen campaigns running over the holiday period with messaging that is out of date.
Next, setup Google Analytics alerts to identify when campaigns are running as they should. You can configure these to send an email on a daily basis for a variety of daily checks. I’d recommend setting this up to whatever suits you best, but obvious examples include big decreases (>10%) in paid search, paid social, or organic traffic.
If you’re in the US you can set these up via SMS, however if you’re outside the US you don’t want to be checking your emails all the time over the festive period you can create a label in Gmail. Once you’ve done this set a filter to apply a label to the emails you get from Google with the “Google Analytics intelligence alert” in the subject. Once this label is being applied correctly use this IFTTT recipe to get these alerts direct to you via SMS.
Ned Poulter: CEO & Founder of Pole Star Digital, a Digital Marketing Consultancy focused on developing creative approaches to achieving organic search results, establishing and managing paid search campaigns and ultimately driving revenue.
Prepare Your Holiday Content in Advance
If you’re looking in terms of content marketing or PR, planning in advance for the holiday season is key for two reasons:
- Journalists plan in advance and will be inundated with content for months before the holidays so you want to try and get in there while they still have space free.
- Most websites (retail especially) will implement code freezes during the busiest period so if you want any big content pieces or assets live for your campaign you need to make sure you’re in there before the code freeze. Make sure you find out if your site will have a code freeze and all the details for how soon in advance you need to hand over content to make sure it goes live before the freeze.
As mentioned, journalists and consumers will be inundated with campaigns over the holiday season so it can be hard to make sure you stand out in all the noise – its more crucial than ever that you find your unique proposition that you’re offering customers and promoting in.
Extra Tip: Make sure you keep a close eye on competitors’ activity to make sure you’re not going out with similar campaigns, look back at what they’ve done in previous years or even what’s been successful for people outside your industry and take inspiration from that but keep it unique to you.
Laura Crimmons: is Branded3’s Communications Director. Having started the PR team at the agency in 2012, she now oversees the PR and social media strategy across all clients. With extensive SEO and social media knowledge, and experience in both traditional and digital PR, Laura knows how to create and execute campaigns which deliver multiple online benefits.
Increase Remarketing During the Holidays
Remarketing is a holiday season must. Shoppers are going to be doing a lot of browsing and window shopping over the next few weeks. Retargeting on GDN and remarketing on Facebook will increase conversions without any other changes to special offers, messaging, landing pages or shopping cart!
Virginia Nussey: Content and media manager at Bruce Clay, Inc. She joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger. Today she produces and manages content for clients and BCI, including the company’s blog, weekly podcast, 20K-subscriber-strong newsletter, multiple book titles and social media presence.
Timing is Everything – So Plan Accordingly
Holiday marketing is definitely a stressful time of year, no matter if you’re in-house or an agency, e-commerce, brick and mortar business or even one that is a service provider. No matter what industry you’re in below are some insights to help you manage the “timing” of the season and plan ahead:
- Start early! I can’t stress this enough. Most likely you’re not a one-person shop, so goals, objectives, campaign ideas, budget and creative needs to go through some sort of approval. To avoid the holiday heartburn with seasonal campaigns, you should plan and start having conversations in or around Q3. Leaving it to Q4 will only make you stress out and put the success of your campaign in jeopardy.
- Let people know what your holiday hours are. Are you open late or closed during certain days or times? Most likely days and times vary this time of year, so it’s up to you to tell your customer so they don’t get any unexpected surprises.
- Look at previous year’s campaigns and see what was successful and what you can re-purpose. If you had some successful and engaging Facebook ads, take a look at what they were around, what visuals were in the ads and see if you can recycle them. At the very least they are good starting points to test to see if you can make them even more successful.
Victoria Edwards: Senior Manager of Social Media of GuideWell Connect, a health care marketing agency. Victoria works with clients on social media, paid as well as organic strategies, in addition to content marketing and SEO. She has been in the digital marketing industry for eleven years and is passionate educating and helping her clients develop relationships with their communities.