November and December are busy for everyone, and most assuredly for the marketer. Many businesses, especially retail ones, disclose that between 20-40% of their yearly earnings stream in during these two holiday months and for non-profit organizations, these months present great opportunities for year-end tax-deductible gifts from top, high-dollar partners as well as a plethora of low-dollar donors who are in the generous spirit seeking to bless.
To leverage this time for your brand, consider implementing these five holiday marketing projects into your mix:
Thank your customers/donors/members by offering them a special deal, coupon, or reward
- Home Depot made good use of Black Friday by offering huge discounts of up to 40% off their appliances for not just one day, but for a full month from Nov. 4 until Dec. 2. The big-box store got ahead of the flurry of retailers advertising their deals by starting their promotion ahead of the busy month of November.
- On top of these per-item discounts, Home Depot is offering customers more savings when bundling their purchases. Buying two appliances saves $50 and buying six or more saves $450 off the total bill.
- CONSIDER: What kind of offer can you give your base as a way of saying thanks to your loyal donors, blog readers, members, or customers? And could you bundle your promotions to offer additional discounts?
Embrace old-fashioned mail
- I received a wonderful house-file (also known as a mass mailing) in October from a political non-profit organization my family supports. They made great use of personalizing the letter to include my name “Lauren” throughout the entire seven pages as well as including “Austin” in several places; it made it feel almost handwritten and straight from the executive director herself. This mail merge feature was a simple, yet profound touch.
- In addition to this mailer, I received an email from the organization’s development director on Friday with the subject line “I just wanted to say thank you.” Of course, it peaked my interest and made me want to open it up and read what I did to deserve a “thank you” – it was simple: thanks for being a contributor over the years and a bit more with a closing line about how to contribute online. What a great touch!
- CONSIDER: What simple things can you do in your mass mailings, handwritten notes, and emails to be proactive and personalize your communication with your key partners and customers?
- Tomorrow is a day that has been developed to encourage folks to give back to their communities through local charities and non-profit organizations after the Thanksgiving feasting and deal-shopping come to a close.
- For non-profit organizations: this is your day to shine! Be sure to leverage this day to increase awareness of your mission, raise funds, and volunteers for your cause. GoodBuzz Solutions has offered pro-bono consulting services to No One Left Behind. This organization has produced some videos about their work to bring Afghan and Iraqi distressed translators to safety in the U.S. with special visas and then through donor funding, help them and their immediate families find a home, job, learn English, and get settled in this new life. Check out their most recent video here or below.
- For businesses: this is a day where you can give back to local charities in your community, and encourage your customers to do the same. This could be really great PR for your brand and even allow you to obtain earned media because of your generosity. High-end furniture store Louis Shanks is offering 50% off list in-stock merchandise when you bring in a new, unwrapped children’s toy for Toys for Tots, which if you’re in Austin, will go directly to supporting Dell Children’s Medical Center.
- CONSIDER: Utilize great platforms like YouTube, Omaze, Vimeo, Kickstarter, GiveBuy.org, Go Fund Me, and others to get your message out to the masses and make it easy for readers to give to your cause. Don’t let technology get in the way of raising funds for your non-profit.
Create personalized Christmas cards with your employees pictured
- We’ve all received the standard, boring “Happy Holidays” greeting card from an institution with a typed addressed and no writing inside. It feels cheap and impersonal. To avoid that, consider making your own.
- In a former job, I decided to do just that. I organized all our employees at headquarters and in other state offices to come to HQ in August to take an organization-wide picture. That then gave me plenty of time to design the Christmas card with our employee-photo on the front and a special greeting inside. It also allowed time for the various departments to trim their “lists” of who they wished to receive a card, and then for me to create the master list deleting duplicates and updating addresses. Once the printer dropped them off, I had interns and other staff write the person’s name and address and put the stamp on the envelope for that personal touch. All cards with envelopes were then laid out on tables in a large room alphabetically after Thanksgiving for employees to spend 2-3 hours during one week to write personal messages and/or to sign their name. This activity bonded employees together as we spent a few hours with fellow coworkers signing cards listening to Christmas music and remembering how important our allies and partners are. We heard many positive comments back from those that received the cards. It was their favorite holiday card; It was the most personal card they received that year. Each card had at least three signatures, and many had 6-20 with all of our faces on it. The personalized cards were so successful in year one, that we continued to do it for the next three years, and last year (in 2014), I received a similar and very thoughtful card with many sweet messages from former coworkers. It was such a delight!
- CONSIDER: Decide now to send out Christmas cards to your most valued partners for your business thanking them for the relationship and wishing them well in the coming 2016 year. Even if you don’t have time this year to create your own card with your employee photo, perhaps you’ll consider the small touch of at least signing each, or perhaps hand writing a short note inside.
Post photos of your organization’s holiday parties on social media platforms
- This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many brands fail to showcase what’s going on inside their doors as it relates to the holiday. Many organizations have a white elephant gift exchange or Secret Santa program. Some divide into departmental teams and decorate office doors for a chance to win a prize and bragging rights for the year. All of this builds community – not just internally with employees, but it also deepens your brand’s humanity with external partners and thus, creating goodwill.
- An organization I helped had less than 600 Facebook fans, but was able to generate over 2,300 people viewing 12 photos of an employee gift exchange by simply selecting the best 12 photos, editing them in Photoshop, and finally posting them as an album onto Facebook. It showed folks the faces behind that brand and showed them having fun!
- CONSIDER: What internal holiday parties, events, or traditions do you have coming up? Bring your camera with you and be sure to get some quality photos to later edit, post, and share out with the world.
Parting Holiday Marketing Tips to Embrace:
- Create a sense of urgency with your offers that include a deadline
- Show your gratitude for the relationship and say thank you
- Be yourself and sincere. Heartfelt is memorable and appreciated
- Personalize your communications (emails, mailings, and social) and maintain a consistent message across all channels
- Create easy-to-share campaigns with strategically placed buttons telling people what to do next
- Involve your staff to exponentially boost a marketing campaign’s reach and effectiveness
Among Austin marketing firms, GoodBuzz Solutions empowers brands to become more visible by harnessing the best of marketing, communications, and events to achieve their goals. Put your marketing expertise to the test by taking the free GoodBuzz Online Marketing Assessment here. The quiz will evaluate you in seven core areas with 31 questions. Your immediate marketing score will identify your strengths and show you where you can polish your strategy – all for free!