‘Tis the season – for a new holiday marketing strategy! All businesses, both large and small, try to get a jump on their holiday marketing the time September or October rolls around. But it isn’t too late to start now. The campaigns and strategies ramp up into high gear. And for good reason. As the holidays, approach, consumers will be online a lot more than usual. In fact, 78% of shoppers use the internet for holiday gift research.

Here’s something to consider… when you think outside the box and create holiday marketing campaigns for lesser-known holidays, you set your brand a bit ahead of the crowd and have an opportunity to make an emotional connection at a time when not everyone else is trying to do the same. That’s why we’re sharing 7 steps for you to master the holiday marketing game. Let’s get started!

#1 How To Choose The Right Holiday

There are a plethora of holidays out there. But today we’ll focus on December’s holiday season. Ultimately, your brand’s holiday marketing campaign should reflect your overall social media strategy. Luckily, holidays present a unique opportunity to reach a much larger audience. Hopefully with shareable, relevant content.

No matter which holiday season you choose to start campaigns for, you should consider the following reasons:

  • engage their social audience with emotionally relevant content
  • emphasize their company’s corporate social responsibility
  • take advantage of a high commerce holiday via a promotion or sale

The trick is to execute the perfect holiday marketing strategy. One that allows you to achieve your goals.

#2 Engage Your Social Audience With Emotionally Relevant Content

If done correctly, holiday marketing can hit a social audience with just the right amount of feelings. Whenever you create holiday campaigns you should urge the reader to think about what they love about the holidays. The goal is to foster an emotional link between the reader and your brand. Once this happens they become engaged on a much deeper level.

So how do you do that? First things first, DON’T post the same type of content every year. An engaged audience wants to see all sorts of holiday posts from both small and large businesses. Which is why YOUR brand needs to stand out both visually and with the post’s message. Whenever you craft a holiday post you have to work that much harder to impress. But why? Because everyone is posting about the same thing. Take this time to really surprise and delight your online community.

This is why it’s always a good idea to think outside of the box when it comes to holiday marketing. For example, you could create a campaign for lesser-known holidays. This will inevitably set your brand ahead of the crowd. As a result, you get an opportunity to make an emotional connection at a time when every other brand isn’t trying to do the same.

#3 Create A Seasonal AdWords Campaign

Whether you are in retail or insurance, AdWords is an important thing to remember when it comes to holiday marketing. The trick is to create a campaign that targets holiday shoppers. For instance, if you sell women’s apparel, you can use target keywords like “gifts for mom” or “gifts for wife”. Then you can create specific ads and landing pages that offer incentives to shop with your store during the holiday season.

Maybe you’ll even give free shipping if they purchase over $50 worth of clothing, or you offer free gift wrapping! Whatever it is, make sure you highlight these benefits. You want to make sure that your landing pages capture the spirit of the holidays with graphics and colors too. But I’ll get into that more in a second.

Here are a few quick AdWords holiday marketing tips to remember:

  • Use seasonal ad copy and include words and phrases like “holiday” and “tis the season.”
  • Highlight special offers and seasonal deals.
  • Instill a sense of urgency with copy like “40% off if you order before December 20!” or “Take Advantage Before It’s Too Late!”
  • Make sure you’re relevant and conduct holiday-related keyword research.

#4 Use Great Visual & Holiday Themed Designs

All posts, especially holiday posts, require great visual design. You need to make sure that you choose the right colors, objects, and images. These elements will help evoke emotions and responses in your clients that will get your message across. Visuals are key. It’s definitely an easy way to hit the right note with your audience. This is why images related to the season and standard holiday colors are the right way to go. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t want to use pink and purple for Christmas – stick to your typical red and green.

Thankfully, you can easily create holiday templates that will stand out and generate more likes. Best of all you don’t have to be a graphic designer to achieve killer holiday graphics. Just check out these tools:

  • Canva – a drag and drop tool that lets you use some free and some paid images to create your own posts
  • PromoRepublic – a populated content calendar with 1500+ professional holiday templates

Some of the best holiday marketing campaigns connect with their audience through videos or a stunning visual post with a pitch-perfect line of copy that warms the heart or tickles the funny bone. However, your ideas need to be your own. And they need to put the focus on the feelings people have in regard to a certain holiday. This is why trending holidays like May Fourth or National Donut Day work. They’re benign enough that you don’t have to think too hard. Because they all have one thing in common – sharing.

#5 Emphasize Your Brand’s Social Responsibility

Another interesting reason for a holiday marketing idea is to showcase your brand’s social responsibility. Major holidays are a time to give back to the community (and the world). This is great if you’re a company that makes it a point to go the extra mile. There’s absolutely no harm to share this with your followers. Storytelling is one of the best marketing ideas. Especially during the holidays. So why not use this time to tell your company’s story? Share the good work you do to care for your community or a special cause.

#6 Take Advantage of a High Commerce Holiday With a Promotion or Sale

Holidays like Black Friday or Cyber Monday are great times for brands to create a promotion or sale. But don’t underestimate the trendier holidays for promotions and sales too. It really all depends on your brand’s industry and audience. The goal is to create an opportunity for conversions and sales. However, keep in mind that timing really is everything. Successful social media posts need to be based on relevance and context. Contextual marketing involves content that people want to see, where and when they want to see it. This is why holidays are the perfect time to engage with your audience.

#7 Master Instagram and Try Out Instagram Ads

Instagram is the perfect place to take your holiday campaigns. Of course, posting organically to your account is a good idea especially during this time of year. But it doesn’t hurt to break through the clutter with a fun holiday ad. You could even post some photos of your team dressed in Santa hats! Anything cheery and different than the normal holiday brand photos is a good way to get more likes. Instagram is a perfect platform for holiday marketing because people are already on there showcasing their holiday fun.

Granted holiday marketing with a sale or coupon can work in almost any situation. But it isn’t always a good idea to do a hard sell on holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving or Memorial Day. It’s fine to offer sales for these holidays, but your holiday marketing strategy should be lean more towards the emotional side. So yes, holiday marketing is one of the best ways to stand apart from other brands. While at the same time delivering awesome, shareable content that pleases your audience and grows your engagement.