holiday marketing

4 Powerful Ways to Clear Through Holiday Marketing Clutter

Regardless of the medium, a sea of cluttered messaging from retailers, restaurants and small businesses alike constantly bombard consumers each day. Throw the holiday season into the mix and the sea of messaging has turned into a full-blown flood, leaving a slim chance that your marketing messaging is being viewed by your target audience. Sitting idly by to let the deluge die down is the worst thing your business can do. To clear through the madness, you need to be creative with your holiday marketing approach.

Update your creative for the holidays

Embrace the holiday spirit with a seasonal twist to your creative. This could be as simple as changing the color palette on your website and print materials. Or, you could take it a step further and use copy on your promotional materials or website that evokes a seasonal feeling, and develop clever ads that play on holiday traditions or create visual puns.

We tested this tactic last December with an automotive software client. For the test, we sent out two different emails on behalf of the client to two of its customer groups. The only difference between the two groups was the brand of the car they drive.

Group one received an email that had holiday-themed creative, subject line and copy. The second group received an email that did not have a holiday theme. The first email saw a unique open rate of 36.86 percent, which was 51 percent higher than the second email and 84 percent higher than industry average. It also had a unique click-thru rate of 6.61 percent, which more than doubled the second email and industry average.

Related: How to Make the Most of Your Holiday Email Marketing

Set up custom audience and lookalike audience ads on Facebook and Instagram

Creating a “Custom Audience” or a “Lookalike Audience” list allows businesses to more effectively target ads to a specific audience on Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network. A Custom Audience is a type of audience you can create made up of your existing customers. A Lookalike Audience is a way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they are similar to your existing customer base.

The best part about this tactic: it’s simple to execute and can seriously boost results. Simply choose where Facebook should pull customer data from – this can be an existing customer list, your website, mobile app or fans on your Facebook page. Then, upload, copy and paste or import the information to Facebook. The Custom Audience list will match your existing customers to their profiles on Facebook. For Lookalike Audiences, Facebook will identify common qualities of the people in the provided data, and then will find people who have similar demographic information or interests.

For example, 9FIVE is a luxury retailer that wanted to expand its international reach in Australia and Canada, so it created an international Lookalike Audience based on its current customers in both countries. It then segmented this group based on their location, and targeted different dynamic ads to these audiences. The retailer saw 3.8 times their return on ad spend and reduced its anticipated cost per acquisition by 40 percent – the goal was $50 per acquisition and 9FIVE achieved $20. For more direction on creating Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences on Facebook or Instagram, visit Facebook Business.

Engage customers on social media with a holiday contest

A holiday-themed contest is a great way to excite your existing following, create new connections and increase social engagement. To enhance results, consider the following when developing your holiday contest:

  • Have clear rules so there is no confusion, and be sure to ask contestants to like the post and tag at least one friend in the comments in order to enter the contest. This will draw more attention to your brand and the contest. Plus, with the current algorithms on Facebook and Instagram, the more your followers engage with your posts, the more likely your posts will appear in their feed.
  • Partner with a neighboring or relatable business that has a similar target market and audience. This allows both businesses to share each other’s audiences and reach a far greater number of potential customers. If you go this route, make sure one of the rules is that participants must like or follow both company’s social media accounts in order to win.
  • Offer a prize that is enticing and relevant to your audience. If one of the businesses is local, perhaps offer a meet-and-greet or other special experience as a prize. If you’re offering a free product giveaway, consider giving a grand prize as well as a few runner-up prizes. Keep in mind that any prize valued at $600 or more will require the recipient to pay taxes on it.
  • Run the contest for a few days, or no more than five days. Anything longer will lose their interest.

When developing your social media contest, consider what you want your end goal to be. Is it an increase in followers or engagement?

For Dunkin’ Donuts, the goal of its annual holiday campaign is to populate Instagram with user-generated content that features Dunkin’ Donuts branding and to foster positive brand sentiment. For the past two years, the company has held a “DD Coffee Joy” Instagram photo contest to promote its donuts and coffee during the holiday season. Instagrammers were encouraged to post a photo showing their favorite holiday moment with Dunkin’ Donuts and use a campaign-specific hashtag. The person with the winning photo received a year’s worth of coffee. In 2016, the brand saw a 25 percent increase in posts, totaling 410 instances of user-generated content.

(Source: Dunkin’ Donuts Instagram)

Don’t forget the power of holiday marketing with direct mail

With the prominence of the internet and social media in our daily lives, many think the power of direct mail has dwindled. Yes, the amount of direct mail is decreasing in volume, which means the mail clutter is also declining. However, more marketers are actually adding mail to their marketing toolbox because engagement is growing. According to the Data & Marketing Association, customer response rates have increased year-over-year by 43 percent, and prospect response rates have more than doubled – reporting a 190 percent increase.

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Try sending special offers via direct mail to repeat customers or those who haven’t made a purchase in a while. Even something as simple as a double-sided postcard could reap an incredible response. The USPS Household Diary Study recently noted that people read postcards in greater numbers, with a 3.9 percent year-over-year increase.

A great direct mail example comes from a national retailer with several e-commerce brands that sell fresh flowers, gift baskets, popcorn and more. This retailer wanted to boost its holiday sales. The company traditionally does a print catalogue for each brand and various digital efforts, but email open rates and click-thru rates were down, so it turned to direct mail. Seeking to increase loyalty and encourage purchases across its brands, the company sent a multi-branded mailer to people who had made a purchase from one or more product lines. Featured in the mailer were coupons for free shipping, among other offers to entice customers. The campaign was fruitful for the retailer, with individual brands experiencing a 13 to 35 percent increase in orders and the average customer spending $1.50 more per order.

Trying any of the above tactics this holiday season can significantly drive your efforts and increase sales. Take action and attempt something new. You may be surprised with the results.

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