YouGov’s Christmas spending intentions survey suggested the average person is expecting to spend £1,108 during the festive season.
And if you think about the UK as only a part of the global market, you can imagine how great the overall Christmas expenses are. Thanks to the Internet and globalization, accessing the prosperity of the Christmas market is easy. Wouldn’t you like to have a bite of that pie?
In the contemporary business world social media tools are highly valued- not only to interact with your current and potential customers, but also to sell your products and services. Did you know that the average daily use of social media in the UK only is 2 hours and 13 minutes?
How could you use that time to your benefit?
Bonuses do not necessarily have to come at the end of a project, so before we look at these 6 ways, let’s warm up by discussing some others, which are almost as important.
Surprise – nowadays it’s a very difficult task; however, it’s still very important. We are bombarded with an overload of information every day, especially on social media. So, in order to break through this “information noise” you have to astonish or intrigue your recipients with something new, extraordinary, surprising. Keep them engaged by standing out of the crowd. Very good tool (VGT): USP.
Inspire – You’ve all seen those inspirational videos or pictures that go viral, haven’t you? Use creativity and innovation to inspire others. Encourage them to talk about you and your brand for weeks. VGT: video, pictures.
Listen – especially to your current customers. They will not only confirm their needs but also tell you what works well and what they would like you to improve in respect to your products/services. Feedback is essential. Listen also to the market (potential customers) because they have needs you can satisfy with your offer. Finally, always follow trends. VGT: survey.
Focus – Try to concentrate on your strategy. Make sure your marketing message is free of clutter and does not distract the customer. Draw their attention to the most important aspect of your service/product. VGT: landing pages.
Have respect for your customers – take into account their point of view (like I said before in Listen). Also, treat them not only as a source of income, but rather as partners in your business adventure. VGT: business savoire vivre.
Update regularly – whatever you do to promote your business, do it regularly, especially when it comes to social media. As this already mentioned “information noise” increases, it is all the more reason to be consistently visible. The more regularly you act on a market (the more regular you post updates or blog entries), the more chances for you to increase your audience. Remember, if we are not there, there will be many others in our place. Be active, and be active regularly. VGT: online calendars, strategy planning.
Define your target audience – the world is too big to look everywhere, and there are too many markets to explore. Think about your ideal buyer/customer. Do not merely choose your recipients but narrow your target group as much as possible using criteria like age, sex, educational and family background, place of living, interests, needs or other aspects. If you are interested more in B2B than B2C, specify what kind of businesses/companies are your target audience (small/medium/large, local/international, their field, budget, etc. VGT: buyer persona profile, paid social media ads.
Have a clear vision and goals – another thing which you should think about for a while. Define your goals and the results that can be achieved in a specific period of time. The goals become like a magnet. You might encounter various obstacles on your path to success; however, if you are faithful toward your aims, they will keep you on the right track. VGT: long term planning, marketing strategy.
But what really counts the most at Christmas time?
1. Give generously.
In the modern economy everything seems to be free. There are free mobile phones, free software, free meals, free pair of shoes, etc. First of all, pay attention to the word “seems”. You can have your free mobile phone if you pay for your monthly plan. You can also have free software if you have already access to a computer or laptop at home (hardware).
Free meal? Yes- however, you have to pay for the beverages; and as for free shoes, well, you may get one pair free, but first you must buy another pair at the full price.
Most of the time we pay for those things anyway, however not directly, or somebody else has to pay for them purchasing a high quality product which is more expensive than ours and can cover all those costs. And this is what I want you to look at next. The cost.
Nowadays, the cost of production of different products is far lower than some years ago and that’s especially true when speaking of technology solutions. That is why a lot of companies can “afford” to give away their products for free and attract grateful, regular customers.
You should make “free giving” a part of your marketing strategy, because free is what your customers want and expect. If they don’t get it from you, they will surely get it from your competitors. So consider it a small sacrifice with big results: if you give them that little sample of “goodies”, it will surely help you to build a strong relationship.
Most companies offer different kinds of free products, e.g. free product samples, free “basic” plan, free 30 days trial (learning process) or free educational materials: pdf, video, newsletter, great publications, webinars etc.
2. Use emotions.
When it comes to purchasing (especially buying gifts for our beloved ones), we don’t use rational thinking but emotional decisions. Christmas especially is time full of emotions – close your eyes and recall the overall scenery with its beautifully decorated trees, lots of lights and merry music. With hot chocolate and a sweet pastry on the way to a shopping centre, where the red-white-green decorations of the festive season are hanging in shop windows. Everybody is smiling, everybody is wishing “merry Christmas” to those they meet. In these days you are keen to help, to reach out and do something for others, and to make this Christmas even better than the year before.
If you know how emotions act on people’s decisions then you understand that the greatest gift for your own company is to connect with your customers on this emotional basis.
Use the gifts from the previous point, wrap them with some Christmas colours or motifs, and try to weave them into the great story that we will discuss next..
3. Tell a story.
Nothing works more on the imagination than a great story. That’s why the content is so important. If I tell you a story like this:
There was a girl. The girl’s grandma was sick. The girl went to visit her. On the way she met a wolf who found out where grandma lived. He used a shortcut to get there first, and the sneaky wolf ate grandma. The girl arrived and was also eaten by the wolf. A woodcutter passed by, and heard the wolf snoring. He cut the wolf’s belly and rescued grandma and the girl.
This is a recognizable story and we all know what it is about. However, if you had heard this bunch of consecutive facts in your childhood, would you have really been interested in it?, Would you have remembered the story? Maybe, but it would have been more because of a scary image of eaten people or the wolf’s belly cut open, rather than because of the great fairy tale hidden behind the message.
How wonderfully we react to the first words of stories:
A Long time ago in a distant land, there lived a … you are already curious, aren’t you?
Even if it is something much more real than golden eggs, magical animals or king’s treasure that you want to sell to your customers, remember that the great story around the event or product can do much more for your brand than mere facts about it, in the same way that a tale is much more memorable if it’s weaved into the magical world called imagination.
Do you know that some agencies already have a job role entitled ‘Director of Narrative’? Nowadays, content is everything and nothing speaks to customers better than a heartwarming story. If you use your social media know-how to promote it, you will have your golden campaign.
4. Build long term relationships.
You should remember that even if it’s Christmas and you have a lot of new unique customers, even if your turnover will be greater than in other months, it doesn’t mean you should stop here right now. Christmas provides a great opportunity to build a long term relationship with your new customers, and tighten it with those who are already with you.
Try to engage with your customers, because most of them are willing to pay more for a high quality customer experience. When you are organized and proactive, you can ensure that they get all the necessary products and support on time (or even before they ask for them!). Think ahead of their desires and dreams, and try to know them and recognize their loyalty towards your brand.
5. Use a variety of ways: videos, blogs, newsletters, webinars, etc.
Do not narrow your method of communication to social media only. Use a wide range of tools to speak to your customers: video production, blog entries, newsletters or webinars are also essential, to be promoted through the social media of your choice.
After analyzing 220,000 published articles, Fractl and BuzzStream defined the best post types: how-to posts, lists, what-posts, why-posts and videos. No matter which of these forms you choose, great content is essential.
6. Monitor (Measure).
Instead of monitoring trends on the market, first monitor your own brand. Using high quality tools you can be aware what is said about you and/or your products. That will allow you to manage your reputation. Monitoring your competitors is also essential to keep up with the changing market and learn how to stand out from the crowd.
What is your experience of Christmas marketing?