Marketing campaigns and audience engagement around the holiday season can do more than just promote your product and service in the hope of a gift purchase. Holidays often have emotional connotations, and connecting your brand with positive connotations can be just as valuable.
But how can you make your brand stand out from the crowd and enthuse your customer base? Keeping the following in mind will help you grab and keep the attention of your desired audience.
1. Organize Interactive Contests
Contests are a great way to engage your customers. At its most simplistic level, a contest usually requires participants to provide email addresses or other contact information. If that’s the only level of interaction you create, it’s the electronic equivalent of a business card in a fishbowl. Make your contest interactive to get the most engagement.
For example, Ace Hardware recently held a father’s day contest where three winners received a new grill and a pair of modified grill shoes. To enter the competition, individuals must post photos of their father’s grill shoes or clothing on Instagram and add certain tags.
The interactive nature of the competition provides multiple touchpoints to the campaign and makes effective use of social media. Customers are first introduced to the Ace Hardware brand when they first hear about the competition. They have more interaction in finding and posting their photo for participation. After that, they get notifications about any comments or reactions to their post.
By making competitions interactive, you can engage your customers more efficiently on an emotional level. Not only that, but by attracting one customer, your brand will get attention from that customer’s social media network.
Granted, the price has to be attractive enough to your audience to motivate the extra time and effort of posting to social media. But putting that extra time and attention into the price more than justifies the overall impact of the campaign.
2. Appeal to your target audience’s nostalgia
Nostalgia is a surprisingly powerful thing. It’s also something that really appeals to Americans when they’re feeling stressed or cynical. With current inflation rates and the potential for a widespread recession, nostalgia could be an even more effective tool for engagement than usual.
Knowing which holidays align most organically with cherished ideas from the past can be especially helpful for brand loyalty and engagement.
That doesn’t mean you can always captivate your intended audience just by mentioning the Backstreet Boys. To use nostalgia to your advantage, think about your target demographic and work backwards.
If you’re trying to sell farm equipment to men in their 40s and 50s, boy bands probably don’t fit the nostalgic bill. Brands such as Carhartt and John Deere have a long and successful track record of emotionally connecting their brands with the idea of rugged, rural pioneering.
For those who typically seek the same demographics, the 4th of July is a holiday that can bring a lot of nostalgia. That’s why a seasonal campaign like this should link your brand to positive memories from last July 4th. This can be anything from family gatherings to fireworks to rustic Americana.
3. Get Your Timing Right
Timing is important for holiday campaigns and your timeline will differ depending on which holiday you are targeting. Ideally, you want to grab your audience’s attention when they just realize the holidays are coming.
Before the Christmas season, some recommendations emphasize disclosure as soon as possible. While it’s quite common for people to start thinking about their Christmas purchases as early as September, other holidays aren’t quite as pre-planned.
For example, if your company wants a product launch to coincide with Valentine’s Day, the lead time will be shorter. If you’re trying to get people’s attention in the second week of January, they’re probably burned out from the December holidays and don’t care. Most people get their wake-up call when February 1 rolls around. And if they know about a product before they panic at the last minute, it can potentially register as more valuable and thoughtful.
Know what fits
The holidays are not just any six-week period from late November to January. Year-round vacations can give you all kinds of opportunities to engage with your customer base. By taking advantage of the holidays that best suit your brand, you can use the calendar to your advantage.