As excited as we all are to see 2020 come to an end we still have the 4th quarter and the upcoming holiday season to get through. Whatever this year has looked like for your business, there’s still time to end the year on a better note.
The first thing we’re going to recommend is that you err on the side of simplicity.
The last thing you need to do is overcomplicate things, create a ton of extra work for yourself, and end up exhausted (sound familiar?).
This was my M.O. for a long time.
I’d get all excited about the possibility of something and decide “sure! I can work 80 hours a week because I LOVE this!”
That never works (a perfect example of this is when I thought it would be a good idea to launch the Kickstarter for the planner on December 3rd. What the BUCKET was I thinking?).
Fast forward to now and I’m all about keeping it simple (who would have thought? That’s what working with an essentialist will do to you).
Jodi and I have been focusing on higher quality content, less of it, and more promotion. Most people don’t promote the content they’ve created nearly enough and end up stuck on the never-ending loop of producing more content with little results.
Your holiday content marketing strategy isn’t much different than your day-to-day content strategy. The same framework applies (start with your business goals), you’re simply going to put a holiday spin on it and pay attention to trends (example: more people shopping online this year due to COVID), and adjust your content accordingly.
Let’s jump in!
1. Start where you are
I’ve accepted the fact that in this space (online marketing), you’re never “done”… so don’t try to get everything you’ve needed to do completed before you launch your holiday content marketing strategy.
Do exactly what we recommend in the Content Creators Planner: start with your business goals, then the type of content you can create to support those business goals, the calls to action you’ll incorporate into your content, and the offer (i.e., what you’re selling).
As an example: We have a few products we offer and are staying focused on what we have. We will have a version 2 coming in early 2021 as well as another new product, but there is no way we could get either completed for this holiday season.
So we’re focused on our BFCM (Black Friday Cyber Monday) promotion, our ongoing ads (we had shut them off for a bit and are relaunching them), and continuing our current content marketing.
Unless you’ve been working on something for a while, now is not the time to launch something. Look at what you already have and how you can increase promotional activity.
2. How much time do you have?
When this post is published we’ll be almost halfway through October!
Realistically, if you haven’t started planning or know what you’re going to be doing for the remainder of this year you have less time than you think.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on one campaign and do it really, really well?
Whether you have a digital product, physical product, or offer services… focus on what you already have that you can create a content marketing strategy for and go all in.
Write 2 -3 high-quality pieces of content that you can promote the entire month (one each month). Make sure you have a way to capture leads in your content, create as much micro-content as you can, drive traffic to that content, and have a follow-up email sequence in place that makes an offer for something for sale.
BONUS TIP: Test running paid traffic to these posts. Yes, ad costs will be going up during this time of year but that’s because there is an increase in traffic. Ads that drive traffic to content are cheaper than ads to a landing page or sales page.
3. Pay attention to trends
One thing that is trending in the online marketing niche is something people are calling “tiny offers” (I’m sure there are other names for this as well, but for sanity’s sake we’ll stick with tiny offers).
These are low-priced offers ($27 – $37) that pack a ton of value and are easy to convert.
Even though I said I’d stick with the term tiny offer, I want to point out that this is also known as a “self-liquidating offer” (in the internet marketing world it’s referred to as an SLO).
Basically, this means you’re getting paid to acquire a customer.
You’re paying to run an ad to a $27 or $37 offer. If you can keep your cost per lead under that price point it means the product is paying for the ad (you’re not out of pocket).
These types of offers are popular because they work.
Pay attention to trends in your industry.
So many things have changed with COVID. How is your industry adapting or adjusting (dare I use the word pivot?)?
Example: Curbside pickup for restaurants or delivery. Many retail stores are also offering this. How can you reiterate that benefit to your customers?
Here’s a headline example that I would run with if I were a restaurant offering curbside pickup:
“No need to change out of your holiday jammies! Order online and get curbside pickup with a FREE hot chocolate (and maybe a candy cane for extra holiday cheer!).”
Pay attention to promotions in your industry and put your own unique spin on it.
4. Holiday Coupons or Special Bundles
Create a discount or special offer for something you already have (I know, this seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people think they need to come up with something “new”).
Depending on the profit margin of what you’re selling, you may not want to offer a discount. An easy way to create an offer for the holidays is to give your audience something extra.
Bundle products or create a bonus.
The Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend is a great time to test these offers. I know a lot of people who wait to until this weekend and plan on picking up items for themselves (as well as gifts) because of the special offers.
5. Embrace Email Marketing
Regardless of the size of your email list, this is the best way to get your content (and offers) converting. These are people who have already told you they’re interested (because they gave you their name & email address).
If you’ve not been emailing your list start with a re-engagement campaign.
Here’s a great post on how to re-engage your email list if you haven’t emailed in a while (or um, been ignoring them).
6. Now is the time to advertise
IF… you know your numbers.
Advertising costs do increase during the 4th quarter, but it’s also a great time of year to get in front of your ideal audience. You don’t need a big budget, but you do need time to let your ads run so you can get some data.
Start with $10 a day and commit to running your ads for at least two weeks. I’d recommend Facebook and Instagram newsfeed ads (desktop and mobile).
Make sure your ad copy is in alignment with your landing page (or sales page if you’re driving traffic directly to an offer) and has compelling copy.
There are plenty of places online to learn more about ads, but a great place to start is with Ad Espresso’s library of ads.
Most importantly, remember that this time of year can be challenging under normal circumstances, let alone during a pandemic.
The best way to increase leads and sales at this time of year is to do less but do it really well.
Focus on what you already have for sale.
Test different traffic strategies and adjust based on data.
And if it’s not fun, don’t do it.