The holidays are around the corner and with them comes a lot of time off, loads of feasting and merriment. But for serious business owners, this is the time to really hit the gas and try and attract as much attention and business before the New Year. While everyone else is relaxed and looking to spend their dollars, you should be using any combination of the tips below to get started on your holiday marketing campaign.
Holiday Cards – Don’t…..1) Send store bought cards, which lack a personal touch and require lots of message writing, and 2) Send digital cards, which also show that you’re probably too busy and self-involved to send out ‘real’ cards.
What you should do is send out holiday photo cards that touch on sentiment. Show office humor or your participation at a holiday charity event, or even something that would translate your corporate culture in a way that’s witty and reflective of what makes your company unique. This is also a great way to remind people that you’re a real company with real people.
A really creative idea is developing a short one minute YouTube holiday card. This is a great idea if you’re already in marketing and PR – it shows you’re media savvy and creative.
Be the Santa – You may not be giving away gifts, but if you’re in the business of collecting money, you can take the holidays as an opportunity to show your customers how considerate you are. Allow customers to opt in for skipping a payment during the holiday seasons so they have more to spend on their families. If you offer this, make sure you include that they won’t be penalized in any way. You can make sure this positive PR gets plugged by requiring them to tweet (with hashtags) in order to be eligible.
As an extra boost of good will, you can offer a $5 to $10 Starbucks gift card neatly tucked away in the aforementioned card. It’s a tax writeoff and will certainly spread smiles across your recipients’ faces. This is exactly what my old building manager did, and it left us remembering them fondly and having more patience with them the next time we had a maintenance issue.
Take a Cue from Google – Google is known for always having their homepage logo themed out for the holidays. You can do the same by making your website and email newsletters more festive. Even switching out homepage images to more seasonal ones can have a huge effect on sales. Simple rule of thumb here is going with the seasons and the holidays. You can even ride the multicultural marketing wave by plugging the holidays of other major cultures and faiths.
Change up Your Holiday Party…and get people to come by offering a holiday tree with discounts and gratis services/products. This is a great way to have the holiday party shift from a boring one filled with co-workers to one that lets you get some face time with clients and discreetly promote how amazing your company is.
Create Contests and Giveaways – Everyone loves prizes and the holidays are a great time to get your customers to submit holiday-themed contest entries. Have them create a story about you, submit photo entries or pitch in for your holiday charity drive with dollars, donations or hours (you choose one, though I recommend making it hours for the most impact). The participation gets people involved with your brand, which if done right can turn into a really great PR piece you can get published in the local paper or on a blog/print publication. This is the most adventurous of all tips, requiring a lot of time and creativity, but also the most rewarding on multiple levels. Just make sure your giveaway is drool-worthy or you won’t get the type of participation you need.