For many businesses, Q4 is the biggest sales season of the year. You may bring in more business in the final weeks of the year than you do at any other time. Even if you haven’t done much seasonal or holiday marketing in the past, competition is going to be fierce this year, so any advantage you can find is worth investing your time and money in.
Content marketing is one avenue in which your startup can truly shine this holiday season. Here’s how to make the most of it to get your customers buying from you — both during the holidays and in the year to come.
Make your content undeniably valuable
If you’ve created buyer personas for your customers, you’re one step ahead of the game. It’s important that your content is relevant and useful to your audience any time of year, so what better time than the present to take inventory? What do your customers care about right now? If you’re tapped into what your customers care about, you can build content that helps them solve a problem or makes them smarter. They’ll be more likely to buy from you if you’ve done them a service through your content.
Tie in a little holiday cheer
Even if your content isn’t directly tied to holiday themes, you can still inject a little seasonal magic. For example, if you own a startup roofing company and plan to write an article about weatherproofing your home for the winter, you could include a little holiday humor: “Make sure you have your fireplace and chimney cleaned before you use it — not just to make sure it operates safely, but also to remove buildup. Santa’s put on a few extra pounds this year, so he’ll need all the space he can get to slide down that chimney!”
Be inclusive of all holidays
Not everyone celebrates Christmas, so don’t isolate your customers who celebrate additional winter holidays, such as Kwanzaa, Hannukah or something else entirely. Use all-inclusive terms like “holiday” and “season” rather than centering your marketing messages around “Christmas.”
Do the same with images, not just your copy. Not every piece of content should have a Christmas tree or green and red packages. Also, stay away from religious commentary and keep your marketing messaging neutral.
Give ‘em something extra
Go beyond just blog content with your content marketing. Use the holiday season to offer free eBooks and whitepapers that serve two purposes: they feel like a gift to the recipient (and you should market them as such!), and they boost your email subscriber list.
Make sure the “gift” is actually valuable. An e-commerce pet supply company could offer a free eBook called “10 Homemade Pet Treats You Can Make for the Holidays.” On the other hand, a B2B company could provide a special report in exchange for an email address: “Must-Have Holiday Gifts for Entrepreneurs.”
Get your email marketing ready to go
Email marketing accounts for 20 percent of all holiday sales, so it’s not an area you want to overlook this season. Realize, though, that every other company is sending your customers email promotions, too, so yours need to stand out.
Segment your list so you can really customize the emails you send to increase conversion rates. A customer who has only purchased women’s clothing from your boutique clothing store likely won’t respond to an email about kids’ clothes.
Use time-sensitive language (I.e., “This deal expires at midnight!”) to create a sense of urgency. Plan to increase your frequency in terms of how many email newsletters you send over the final weeks of the year. Match your offers to how close the winter holidays are. For example, in the last five days of the month, focus on “last minute gifts” and “lightning-fast shipping” in time for the holidays.
When appropriate, use words in your subject line that relate to the holidays so your customers who are in holiday shopping mode open them immediately.
Pay attention to results
This season can be a madhouse for entrepreneurs, but even if you don’t have time to look at how your content marketing campaigns did until 2019, make sure you dig into the analytics to find out which deals your customers responded to, which blog topics were popular, and how your free downloads performed. This is invaluable information that will make next year’s content marketing efforts even easier.
Content marketing is one of the best (and fairly inexpensive) ways to connect with your audience and build trust with them. Rather than pushing them to buy from you, you’re either informing them or entertaining them, and both pave the way to a long and fruitful relationship.