By Syed Balkhi, founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site that helps small businesses start their websites.
Seasonal marketing refers to marketing that revolves around special holidays. As cultural and popular business events like Christmas or Black Friday come around, there’s heightened excitement, which forms the perfect foil to support your marketing efforts.
Let’s look at ways to add more punch to your seasonal marketing. And more specifically, how to leverage emotions to bring your brand to your audience’s attention.
Start your marketing efforts early.
If you want to have an impactful and successful marketing campaign, then you need to build anticipation. And this means starting ahead of time and planning out your marketing campaigns.
Let’s look at this on a step-by-step basis:
• Start by creating a content and marketing calendar. Making a yearly calendar for major events ensures that all the big holidays and events are planned for.
• Plan backward. If you want to get big sales on specific days, then think about what you need to do to get there. You need to build excitement for at least two weeks in advance and will also have to space out your email marketing and ad campaigns so that your audience isn’t overwhelmed.
• To do that you need to plan, draft and finalize your content well ahead of the teaser phase to launch your marketing on time. This means getting your content done maybe a week to a month ahead of when you launch your campaign.
Timing is critical. Your seasonal campaign works because it’s targeting a specific time of the year. And making sure that you’re engaging your audience well beforehand is important.
What makes a season or holiday exciting? A big reason is that normal life and experiences are transformed by the addition of decorations, more colors, different foods, more holiday messages appearing everywhere, including people’s online content.
If there’s ever a time to leverage video and image content, it’s during the holiday season. And images are emotive and evocative.
So, working on imagery is important. How do you do that?
You can use online graphics platforms to help you easily create holiday-themed social media posts. Today, online tools for graphic design offer ready-made holiday templates that you can easily tweak.
If you don’t have a single design bone in your body, then you could purchase a full holiday kit from websites that provide such services.
Use holiday-themed emojis in your messages. Change your social media cover pictures and your email headers so that they use holiday colors.
During winter, scenes like the picture of a family around a fire or a person sitting with a cup of hot chocolate against a frosty window evoke powerful emotions.
Crafting your marketing campaigns to make use of powerful visuals will help you generate interest and build positive emotions around your brand.
Tap into important ‘whys.’
A book that I strongly recommend reading is Start with Why by Simon Sinek. It focuses on core beliefs and values that get people moving. It’s a powerful way to think about your marketing strategies, as well.
With Covid-19, we find ourselves living in a world with new normals. We need to think about the motivations of our customers when marketing products. According to a 2020 study by Adobe, people are expected to spend online during the holidays as they did before Covid-19 first hit.
This makes sense because many brick-and-mortar stores have gone online and more people are seeing greater savings due to lower spending.
Consider your audience’s motivation during the holiday season and what might drive them to buy from you. Here are a few ideas you could use:
• Instead of messages encouraging customers to indulge and buy more, focus on saving and spending wisely.
• The Adobe study referred to earlier says to spin messages that are entertaining for Millennials and Gen Z audiences.
• Baby Boomers and Gen X markets prefer informative messages that highlight savings and security.
• Create value by offering free delivery.
• Focus on creating stories as a way to touch audiences.
• Your audience is also more likely to stick with brands they know and trust instead of giving new companies a try. So, build trust by showcasing reviews and customer testimonials and making your business visible through trusted media sources like the news.
Overall, make your marketing messages focus on hope. And strengthen this message by offering low-risk purchases, free trials, guaranteed returns and exchanges (wherever possible) and great savings.
By understanding the audience’s “why” or main emotions during the holidays, you’ll be able to build marketing strategies that boost trust and keep sales on track.
People respond strongly to changes in the season and to upcoming holidays. As business leaders and marketers, we can leverage such times to connect more with our audiences.
I’ve shared some ways you can evoke emotions and grow your business through the right marketing during the holidays. Try them out but also follow what makes sense in your own industry or business. If you prepare well in advance, you can build emotion around your brand and get more engagement.