As a small business owner, do you love the holidays? Or dread them?
They are a mixed bag, aren’t they? Every special day is an opportunity to do fun and exciting holiday content marketing (National Taco Day, anyone?), yet the major ones are the most hectic times of the year.
But I think you will agree with me when I say holidays are definitely days you can’t ignore.
According to Hubspot, there are 278 social media holidays to look forward to each year. Fortunately, there are simple steps to make sure your holiday content marketing doesn’t miss the mark.
278 social media holidays? That’s a lot.
It can seem overwhelming to get started when you feel like you have to celebrate all holidays.
Take a breath and find the holidays that you are excited about. The lists provided by Hubspot or PLR are good places to start, and they even let you create a calendar template to keep track of everything.
You are pumped about celebrating National Chocolate Cake Day (January 27), but if you are not a bakery or in a business related to food, how will you make it relevant to your audience?
If you are only going to create content about chocolate cake and then offer a 10% discount, there are more meaningful ways to engage with your audience. Narrow the list down by what fits your business objectives and audience and go from there.
You know the embarrassment when you realize you’ve called a friend by the wrong name?
You apologize, but the damage is done, and now your friend wonders if they’re important to you.
Avoid that kind of damage with your holiday content marketing. Traditions and historical significance are part of celebrating customers’ holiday observances but require careful execution.
For example, respecting the somberness of Memorial Day means not posting a flashy holiday marketing piece with happy sentiments even if you are thinking of BBQ and the beach.
Second, fumbling cultural significance during holiday marketing negatively affects the customer relationship. Your customers feel like you don’t understand them or their culture.
But there is a straightforward fix.
A quick search gives you the essential information to understand the history of a holiday before you build content around a potentially touchy idea. More extensive research ensures your customers won’t feel turned off by your holiday content marketing.
OK, you’ve figured out how to be culturally sensitive with your holiday content marketing, but what about making sure you’re inclusive?
Instead of focusing on one winter holiday, makes sure to include related holidays. For example, if you’re creating content for Christmas, address other holidays such as Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Las Posadas, Diwali, and Chinese New Year.
Your customers will appreciate that you value their diverse backgrounds and traditions, and your content will be more relevant.
Also, Later suggest these four strategies to create an inclusive holiday content marketing strategy:
What about going in a different direction for your holiday content marketing?
Instead of picking the usual holidays and doing something that’s expected, create a theme for your holiday content.
For example, Raka Creative suggests that instead of a “Happy Thanksgiving” blog post, you could create a series of blogs posts about family recipes. You can include employees’ family recipes or gather input from your customers. If recipes aren’t relevant to your audience, you can take the family theme in another direction.
Create a year-end theme by celebrating customer wins, summarizing lessons learned, talking about new products or services, or recapping fun statistics about your customers.
Themes allow you to expand your creativity across a wider time frame rather than hit your audience with content in a narrow window around a specific date. Also, by bucking the typical holiday marketing, your customers engage with your small business in a new way during a busy time.
Would you want to be reminded of a time of grief or painful memories as part of a marketing email?
I’m guessing not.
As you review your list and your calendar template, think about holidays such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. These days can be sensitive for many, and you should consider using an email opt-out option.
Here are a few examples of how several companies handled opt-outs and their results:
According to NPR, “the reaction to the opt-out option has been overwhelmingly positive.” Your customers will appreciate that you see them as people (not just a wallet) and give them control over the content they see.
How do you make sure your content stands out?
Your inbox and social media channels have been the victim of holiday content marketing. With emails, offers, and discount codes coming at you from all angles. It all becomes a blur.
This next option seems counter-intuitive at first but stay with me.
Instead, pick a few holidays each year to build your campaigns around and make those campaigns solid. Use trending hashtags to help customers find you. Your focus makes those messages relevant for your customers, and you won’t burn out producing content.
But I know what you’re thinking. Skip the usual holidays? That’s a marketing death wish.
But is it?
When your holiday content is just a blur in their inbox, isn’t that a failure?
If you can target a holiday and reach your customers in a meaningful way, then do it. If you can’t, then don’t do it.
What is the goal of your holiday content marketing?
It’s easy to forget to have a purpose for your content marketing when the holidays arrive. And in a rush to raise brand awareness, acquire new customers, or generate sales, it is even easier to forget that the content has to serve your customers.
Of course, many of us count on the big holidays for sales, but all of those gift suggestions and “buy this!” messages become one big blur.
Instead, mix it up. A holiday is an excellent opportunity to focus on customer engagement through content that entertains. Send a short poll or quiz to find out what your customers are looking for during the holidays, share a heartwarming story, or inspire some friendly competition with a social media contest. Who doesn’t love a “Worst Holiday Sweater” or “Hometown Pride” photo contest?
Holiday content marketing is exciting and fun but fraught with potential missteps. Sure, you can delete, revise, or apologize, but why take the chance?
With awareness of cultural significance, diversity issues, and customer emotional vulnerabilities, you are less likely to screw it up. Add in strategy on which holidays to target, engaging content, and clear goals, and your content succeeds.
Thoughtful planning always benefits the customer relationship even if it doesn’t result in a sale right away. Imagine posting your content and being confident that it’s going to be well-received.
Be that small business that does holiday content marketing differently and doesn’t screw it up.
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