During the holidays, when retailers are competing for ad space and market share, it’s especially important to make your brand stand out. Engaging with consumers in meaningful and unique ways can help you make connections that not only generate revenue for your business but also build a community of loyal, enthusiastic customers.
Here are seven ways you can reach out to your audience and differentiate yourself with content during the holiday season:
Seven content production strategies:
1. Develop a gift guide
Create gift guides that feature products from your store, along with wrapping ideas and gift sets. Make your post genre- or audience-specific to provide the most value to your readers. If you want to reach even more people, partner with other businesses whose products complement your own to create a cross-promotional gift guide.
2. Publish instructional posts
Sometimes, people need a little help envisioning how they might use a product. Instructional articles can clarify and inspire. While it’s important to include as many useful details as you can on your product pages, crafting posts that give more context may help prospective buyers see how your item would fit their particular needs. These posts may also give them that extra bit of information they’re looking for before purchasing.
Cover basic how-tos and creative uses for your products. In some cases, you may even want to create content relevant to your industry, but that isn’t specifically related to your store catalog. For example, if you’re a clothing company, you may want to write articles on the best ways to recycle or upcycle your old clothes or write about seasonally trending styles and color palettes.
3. Answer frequently asked questions
Not everyone takes the time to scroll through an FAQ page to find the information they need. Especially around the holidays, it’s important to proactively answer some of the most common questions your business receives. Post product comparison charts, sizing guides, troubleshooting guides, and even details about how orders are packaged and delivered — a topic that shoppers are especially concerned about during the holidays and during COVID-19. These types of articles can provide valuable information while reducing the workload of your customer service team.
4. Focus on seasonal content
Not only is it a great idea to show visitors how they might use your products in their everyday life, you might also want to demonstrate specific ways that they can use their purchases for the holiday season. Show how items might be used in decorating a mantle or entryway, in putting together an outfit for a special event, or in holiday crafting projects.
5. Boost user-generated content
Shine a spotlight on people that love your products. Feature positive customer experiences and include photos or videos where possible. Real user feedback is more relatable and seen as more trustworthy than company-driven ad campaigns. More than 90% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase. By highlighting reviews, you’re putting your best foot forward to instill confidence in your brand.
Source user-generated content from social media, reviews on your website, and emails you’ve received. If your company hasn’t received much feedback on its products, contact past customers and ask open-ended questions like, “What do you like best about this product?” or “What are your favorite purchases and why are they meaningful to you?”
6. Involve your audience
Interactive content is hugely popular and effective. It helps your audience feel involved in the brand and valued as a customer. Social media, email, and pop-ups on your website are all great ways to engage shoppers in polls, contests, and giveaways. Reddit is an especially useful platform for more lengthy Q&As through the Ask Me Anything subreddit, r/AMA.
7. Get personal
Obviously companies are run by people, but most of the time consumers never see or hear from the individuals behind the scenes. Sharing photos and stories about your team helps customers connect to your company’s identity. If your business donates to charitable causes or participates in volunteer work, post about those experiences as well. People feel better about supporting businesses whose values align with their own.
Spread the word
Once you’ve identified your topics, it’s time to decide on the best way to deliver them. Consider what methods will work best based on your goals, resources, and audience.
For stores with a limited marketing budget, reaching out to your past buyers and newsletter subscribers via email is one of the most cost effective methods. If you aren’t already using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, you should be.
There are a variety of free and paid email marketing tools that help you manage your email lists, schedule and automate emails, and target subscribers based on demographics and behavior. You can craft email campaigns in advance and schedule them to deliver over the course of the weeks leading up to the holidays. Spend your busy season packing and shipping orders instead of creating marketing materials.
Use a mix of organic and paid social media posts to get your content in front of potential buyers. Target the platforms that your audience engages with the most to get the best return on your outreach efforts. Certain demographics may respond better to static images, video, or interactive content, so focus on the types of posts that have historically received the best engagement from your audience. Stay active in responding to comments and messages and encourage people who’ve liked your posts to follow you.
Influencer and affiliate marketing
You can expand your reach by developing relationships with social media influencers or creating your own affiliate program. Let other people spread the word for you! While you might need a fairly hefty budget to get a promotional post from a celebrity influencer, you can still get your content in front of more viewers with influencers that have a smaller or more niche audience.
Creating your own in-house affiliate program is also a great way to generate revenue and offload some of your marketing and content generation efforts. You can define your own requirements for affiliates and offer coupon codes, affiliate-specific links, and rewards for reaching sales benchmarks.
Paid ads can be extremely useful in getting your content and products in front of consumers. If you’re ready to jump into the advertising game, Google Ads is one of the best places to start. With Google Ads you can create static, GIF, HTML5, and video ads that appear on any website on the Google Display Network (over two million), including Google Search, YouTube, and Google Shopping.
Start creating holiday content
There are hundreds of ways to generate and deliver content that not only converts, but creates long-term relationships with your customers. It can be hard to know what to focus on first, so take the time to create a strategy that best utilizes your strengths and resources.
Decide how many hours and how much money you can allocate and focus on the types of posts and avenues of engagement that you think will provide the best returns. Document the data you get from these efforts each year and make changes to your approach based on previous years’ results. And don’t forget to keep a running list of new ideas to help keep you and your company inspired for the next holiday season.