Holiday Marketing: 4 Strategies for Success
Before raising a toast to a year of growth, ambitious brands must diligently prepare their holiday marketing strategies. These holiday marketing campaign tactics will not only usher in new clients but will also serve as the foundation for long-term relationship-building.
This holiday campaign guide explores the strategies that top companies and digital marketing agencies are using to bring in new customers this holiday season, including which channels convert during the holidays and how growth-minded brands can use these channels to build unique campaigns.
What are customers looking for in holiday content?
When it comes to holiday marketing ideas, there are a few recurring content themes that consistently produce positive results for brands:
- Keeping it light – Holiday campaign content is typically wholesome, positive, and light-hearted; it embraces coziness and nods to universal holiday experiences like spending time with family, shopping, and cooking comfort food.
- Gift-centric material – During the season of giving, marketing content uniquely highlights gifting potential. A staple of digital holiday marketing, for example, is the gift guide: a listicle or lookbook of gift ideas.
- Savings – While many brands tout value throughout the rest of the year, the holidays are an excellent opportunity to showcase savings specifically. During a season of long holiday shopping lists, highlighting savings can go a long way with customers looking for deals.
When companies leverage the collective holiday experiences (like gift-giving among family and friends), brands can connect with consumers and start laying the foundation for long-term loyalty.
Holiday marketing channels that convert
The holiday marketing ideas and themes above permeate every marketing channel (from TV spots to social media ads) during the holiday season. But which channels are most impactful for seasonal strategies?
Text message marketing
While it’s a high-conversion channel year-round, brands leveraging holiday SMS marketing can take advantage of unique seasonal opportunities to reach customers and increase sales. Statistically speaking, SMS is one of the most effective methods of reaching and building relationships with current and prospective customers:1
- In 2022, 80% of coupon code redemption occurred on mobile devices.
- 43% of consumers proactively text businesses when they need support.
- 60% of consumers read SMS messages within five minutes of receipt.
Anecdotally speaking, the holidays are also communication-heavy: consumers are texting with friends and relatives to coordinate events and send well wishes. Current and prospective customers are already spending time in their SMS inboxes during the holidays, giving brands a unique opportunity to reach them.
Like SMS marketing, holiday email marketing also has high conversion potential for today’s top brands.
Whether they’re coordinating travel or opening digital cards from loved ones, consumers keep a close watch on their email inboxes during the holiday season. That said, you should expect consumers’ inboxes to be uniquely full: how can brands cut through the noise, stand out, and encourage customers to open their messages during the holidays?
- Leverage segmentation and targeting – By creating marketing campaigns tailored to specific segments of their customer bases, businesses can entice customers to open messages with highly relevant content.
- Use eye-catching subject lines – Customers’ inboxes will be full of “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” subject lines. As brands craft their email campaigns, they should embrace bold, creative subjects that stand out among generic messages.
- Precisely time messages – Timing is everything in email marketing, especially during the holidays. Timing messages according to customers’ shopping habits (from high-traffic holiday shopping dates to specific times during the day) can help brands catch consumers’ attention at peak purchase intent.
SEM and SEO
Search engine marketing (SEM)’s two key arms—pay-per-click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO)—are powerful tools for growth-minded brands during the holiday season.
For a clear example of how heavily consumers rely on search engines during the holidays, consider the gift guide. The gift guide continues to persist as a popular holiday marketing strategy tool because consumers continue to use them as a resource. Since customers are actively searching for gift ideas during the holidays, seasonal SEM presents significant opportunities to stand out in the SERPs.
As brands build their holiday PPC and SEO strategies, they should consider:
- Timing – While holiday SEO content might only rank highly seasonally, marketers should remember to start building this content as early as possible—it needs to be available for early birds and late shoppers alike. PPC timing is highly nuanced, and, like email marketing, brands can precisely time their ads to match their customer base’s shopping habits.
- Cost – No SEM strategy is complete without a precise budget. Proactive cost control can help brands spend efficiently and identify which tactics produce the highest returns.
Social media marketing
Businesses can leverage social media marketing to reach consumers while they’re sharing holiday photos or sending season’s greetings via DM. High-performing brands enrich their holiday social media marketing campaigns with seasonally relevant:
- Paid ads – Paid ads that leverage common holiday themes (like gift-giving potential and savings) can invite clicks as consumers keep their eyes peeled for holiday deals.
- Influencer campaigns – Collaborating with an influencer can help a brand reach a new audience, build credibility in a consumer niche, and generate buzz about a product or service. Since social media personalities will also be creating holiday content for their own feeds, a seasonal partnership is an excellent opportunity for cross-promotion.
- Posts and stories – Product-centric posts and stories are still relevant during the holidays. Brands might add seasonal flair to this content by showcasing gifting potential or savings opportunities.
4 holiday marketing strategy ideas
How can brands looking to grow during the holidays combine recurring themes in seasonal marketing with high-conversion platforms to produce results? Let’s explore four ideas that showcase the above holiday marketing concepts in action.
#1 Embrace the gift guide
The gift guide is a mainstay in holiday marketing content—one that ambitious businesses can embrace to showcase their products and build brand awareness.
But businesses should expect stiff competition in the gift guide landscape. To stand out, a holiday gift guide should showcase:
- Creativity – Catering to a highly specific niche, leaning on humor, or bucking traditional gift-giving norms can all help brands create one-of-a-kind guides. In addition, collaboration and creativity go hand-in-hand; marketers can curate impactful lists by asking for input from their teams.
- Range – Showcasing a wide range of products, services, experiences, and prices can keep readers engaged as they peruse.
- Authenticity – Gift guides make impactful marketing tools because they respond to a universal human experience: not knowing what to get for someone. The most effective guides are purpose-built and offer genuine, helpful tips for stumped shoppers.
#2 Partner with an influencer
While influencer marketing was touched on above, let’s break down a few more key considerations for collab-savvy brands. When strategizing an influencer holiday marketing campaign, businesses should remember to:
- Highlight gifting potential – Consider asking influencers to highlight “giftability”—the extent to which a product would make a good gift. Since holiday shoppers may be primarily shopping for others rather than themselves, brands can use social media personalities’ social influence to communicate how well a product can meet gifting needs.
- Explore multiple platforms – Influencers are often active on multiple platforms. Brands should consider how their campaigns might differ across multiple platforms and tweak them to optimize a platform’s features or reach its unique audience.
- Give and take – At its core, the influencer partnership is a cross-promotion: both the brand and the influencer have the opportunity to reach new audiences. As brands court influencers, they should remember to highlight the value they bring to the table for that influencer to lay the groundwork for a lasting, lucrative partnership.
#3 Lean into local
For brands with a brick-and-mortar presence (whether they have physical locations or their products are on the shelves at a third-party retail store), the holidays are an excellent opportunity to lean into local marketing tactics.
Initiatives like Small Business Saturday have highlighted the importance of local economies, and shoppers have bought in: in 2022, more consumers planned to shop on Small Business Saturday than Black Friday.2
But to encourage consumers to shop local, brands must also market local. What might that look like?
- Collaborating with a local Chamber of Commerce for a joint social media campaign.
- Partnering with and promoting local retailers that stock a brand’s products.
- Organizing or contributing to a community event.
- Running an email or SMS campaign that targets a local segment.
#4 Explore new niches
Because gifting is such a high shopper priority, businesses have copious opportunities to grow in unique segments during the holidays.
Let’s examine a hypothetical:
- A boutique retailer’s primary customer base is women aged 18-25. For the upcoming holiday season, the brand decides to target people buying gifts for that customer base: parents and partners of young adults.
- To get these parents and partners in the door, the brand creates a new promotional product catered toward these new segments: an item outside of their typical line that brings newcomers in the door.
- If the collaborative item is popular, the brand could experiment with adding new items to their primary line that are targeted toward the parent or partner demographics.
In the hypothetical above, the retailer could take advantage of gifting trends to attract a new audience, collecting data about this niche that could help them serve that niche in the future.
Holiday marketing and growth opportunities
When they build high-octane marketing strategies, brands pave the way for growth during the holiday season and beyond. Customer relationships formed during the holidays have the potential to produce long-term, high-value results for businesses poised to grow.
From seasonal campaigns to year-round strategy, today’s ambitious brands partner with growth marketing firms like Power Digital. To help our partners reach new heights, we leverage innovative digital solutions to unlock growth and expand brands’ full potential.
Reach out to our strategists to kickstart your growth campaign now.
- TechJury. 35+ Must-Know SMS Marketing Statistics in 2023. https://techjury.net/blog/sms-marketing-statistics/
- Bankrate. Small Business Saturday Statistics in 2022. https://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/small-business-saturday-stats/