It is an understatement to say that this year has NOT been business as usual. In any other year, most business owners and leaders would be looking at their last year’s marketing efforts for the holiday season to evaluate and make a plan for this year. However, in this very different holiday buying season, many owners are feeling a little lost and wondering what approach will be the best to take.
If you are feeling a bit uncertain about marketing this holiday season, let’s take a step back and ask some basic questions:
- Who is your market and what do they need from you during this season?
- What can you give to your clients and customers from now until the end of the year?
- Where are your clients and customers spending their time right now?
Who is your market and what do they need from you during this season?
This year, it is vitally important to understand your market. Why? Because experts are finding that consumers are more likely to purchase from a familiar brand this season. Although the world does not feel “normal”, it is natural for people to want to feel some normalcy during the holiday season. Regardless of their demographics, your customers are sure to want to hold onto something familiar. This is a good opportunity to reach out to your existing and past customers with positive messages and gratitude for their present and past loyalty. Like any other holiday season, people are looking for a warm feeling of family togetherness and thankfulness, perhaps even a bit of an escape from the very real issues many are facing around the world. Your messaging can reflect that. Rather than the “we’re in this together” messaging from earlier this year, “we’re thankful for you” is more likely going to resonate.
What can you give to your clients and customers from now until the end of the year?
Since so many consumers are still limited as to where they can go and what they can do, consumers are saving more money than they have in past years. Although they are saving more, many are uncertain about their future and are thus likely to spend less during this holiday season. Therefore, many consumers will be looking for good deals that help them stretch their dollars further.
Discounts and free shipping (for those who sell products online) will influence buyers this season. For those who own service franchises, consumers are searching for extra value when choosing a provider. Although you may generally be averse to giving discounts to new customers, this may be the year to break tradition.
While your marketing budget probably feels tighter this year, consider sending your best customers a note with a small gift. Thanking them for their business and loyalty, especially during a difficult time, can solidify your brand in their minds and continue their loyalty.
Giving your customers a hassle-free experience is also very important right now. In fact, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. Customer frustration leads to customer churn, so take a look at the experience you are providing customers through your website, social media channels and customer service. Better yet, ask your customers how you’re doing and make any necessary changes.
Where are your clients and customers spending their time right now?
Since customer experience is vitally important, it is time to understand the social channels where your customers and prospects spend their time and consider providing customer service within those channels. Do you provide self-service options on your website or on your Facebook page where customers can get answers to the most commonly asked questions? Although you may think of this as more of a customer service feature, the lines between marketing, customer service and customer experience are becoming increasingly blurred. Customers who feel they can communicate with brands quickly and efficiently are more likely to buy from those brands.
Eyeing the new year
Most experts believe that the new year will not immediately bring big changes to how we are conducting business due to COVID-19. Brands that stay appreciative, service-oriented and responsive during this holiday season will be better poised to continue fostering relationships and building new ones with customers.