Tis’ the season for pumpkin spice, Autumn leaves, peppermint, and eggnog everything. But there’s more to running successful holiday campaigns than slapping a red and green bow on your products and expecting them to sell. Here are three communications secrets to creating compelling holiday messaging that speaks to your audience, drives more conversions, and creates life-long customers.
1. Know Why People Really Spend Money This Time of Year
The holidays are a time when people spend money on loved ones. But why? They aren’t doing it to be frugal or logical. They’re doing it because they want their loved ones to know they care. They want to be the deliverer of joy through a gift. They want their loved ones to have a positive experience that endures them to one another.
Humans evolved to be communicators, to have shared social experiences. Why? Because we rely on each other for survival. Because we’re a communal species. If we hadn’t formed groups when we came down from the trees, we likely would not have lasted long.
The holidays are a time where it is traditional to share gifts to show love. Is it commercialized? Yes. Is it capitalistic? Mostly. Does it have to be? No. Is it the only way to show you care? No, of course not. But with the smell of gingerbread latte wafting through the air and peppermint eggnog everywhere, it’s hard to humbug against the holiday spending spree, and as a brand, you should at least be aware of how to put your best foot forward.
To quote a saying which has been attributed to many, “People will forget what you said or did. They will remember how you made them feel.” Your customers buy your product as a gift because they want to evoke a feeling, an experience.
Make your customers feel something; something that makes them remember themselves, their loved ones, and your brand.
2. Know Who Is Buying Your Products: Hyper Target Your Audience
It’s easy to imagine your customer base as a sea of smiling faces clamoring to get your products. But you’d be wrong, and if that’s as much customer research as you do, your brand won’t last long.
Your audience is diverse. They have values, hopes, dreams, preferred breakfast cereals; it’s your job to get to know your audience.
In the immortal words of Davish Krail from Star Wars Episode IV, A New Hope; “Stay on target.”
Define the 3 most prominent types of customers you have (5 if you’re really sure), and target them with a passion. Get into their headspaces, their time zones, their hopes, their dreams. Figure out what makes each of the groups tick and develop a “customer profile” for each of them. Segment your email campaigns based on these groups. These 3 to 5 profiles are your roadmap for your communications from here on out, at least until your company evolves.
If you’re a startup, it’s best to re-evaluate these groups annually.
3. Don’t Make it All About You: Make it About Product Benefits
Most noob product announcements, and even seasoned ones, pontificate about how “their company” is doing something big. How “their company” is pleased to announce. How “their company” is offering. How “their company” is having a Winter Sale. You get the idea. It’s boring and egocentric, and doesn’t care about the customer.
In the eternal words of Janet Jackson, “What have you done for me lately?” Not last year. Not last season. What are you offering right now?
It’s time to get over yourself. No one cares about your company or brand or product on its own. It doesn’t matter if you’re Apple, Amazon, or a hot new startup darling–no one cares unless you’re useful, unless you help the customer do something better, faster, or more successfully.
Instead, focus on how your product benefits customers. You’re not offering them a new watch; you’re offering them a digital companion that reminds them of the important things in life. You’re not selling them a bluetooth soundbar for their kids; you’re gifting them the experience of connecting with their child through better quality audio.
Whatever the benefits, make it as real as possible. Connect it to your customer profiles. Hire a copywriter to get the messaging right for each group. No one wants to be sold to, but everyone wants a solution.
Jennifer L. Jacobson is a communications strategist who helps brands advance in growing industries. Her clients have been on The View, The Today Show, in TIME Magazines’s best site of the year, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Popular Science, Scientific American, USA Today, and thousands more.
Jacobson Communication is a Pacific Northwest boutique public relations firm that helps startups, upstarts, and emerging brands get the attention needed to drive positive brand engagement. From sales, to biz dev, to company enrichment, you'll be surprised what better communications can do for your brand.
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