Last year, Apple reported a record-breaking $42.12 billion in sales in Q4. Tim Cook congratulated the team and noted, “[w]e can all be proud of the quarter we just reported”. The takeaway? Winners don’t slow down at the end of the race. Ending the year with a bang sends a powerful message to your staff and customers as well as setting the tone for the year to come.
So before you start thinking about next year, reflect on your current marketing practices. The holiday season is a great time to implement changes as well as take advantage of the general feeling of goodwill and self-improvement. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Stand Out from the Crowd
Especially in December, it can be difficult to distinguish yourself from the competition. One of the major ways companies do this is simply by improving search engine rankings, but these days, that often isn’t enough. Consider other ways you can gain an advantage over the competition.
Around the holidays, many businesses choose to partner with a charity or highlight another gesture of goodwill. Some companies may take it a step further and make a long-term commitment to the environment or take a stand against sweatshop labor. Mike Nowotarski, co-owner of Hardwood Bargains points out, “when customers are faced with a lot of options that look the same, environmentally-friendly companies may have an advantage, much like a food item on the supermarket shelf labeled organic might get chosen more often than the generic one sitting next to it. Customers are more conscious of these things now.”
Get A Head Start on Resolutions
You don’t need to wait until January to take advantage of your customers’ desire for improvement. Consumer interest in self-improvement actually begins in December when people start to consider their New Year’s resolutions. Although you may not own a gym or sell diet products, there are many ways to link products and services to self improvement. Brainstorm ways to present your services in terms of betterment or a “fresh start”. Create engaging content around this narrative. Since nearly half of all Americans make a resolution, you’re bound to strike a chord.
Find Your Voice
Ideally this happens before you’ve created your website, before you start blogging, and before you’ve said a peep on social media, but this is often not the case. Too many rushed business owners find themselves diving into content without giving any thought to their voice.
The most effective B2C marketers have a documented content strategy, and a strong and cohesive brand voice is part of any effective content strategy. Is your brand’s voice cohesive across your website, social media, and print or is it just a disjointed mess? Does it reflect your values? Does it reflect your customer? Your company’s voice and tone tell an important story about who you are as a brand. The right voice humanizes your brand and connects you to your customers.
Share the Holiday Spirit
November and December are ideal times to reach out to leads and customers for a variety of reasons. As cheesy as it may sound, your customers may get a little warm and fuzzy when they open your holiday email. Many people are in a generous or festive mood during the holiday season, which often translates into spending. This is also a great time to rekindle a relationship with lost leads.
In case you’ve forgotten, email marketing is still a very inexpensive and effective tool. This study even found that email is up to 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined! Holiday emails are very non-threatening and may just be the gentle nudge someone needs to take the next step.
As the year winds down, you may be tempted to call Q4 a day and move on to planning your 2016 marketing strategy. While it’s important to start planning for next year, it’s equally important to close out this year strongly.