I've written before about how to get your ecommerce website ready
for the holiday shopping season. Maybe your business doesn’t sell products that are ideal for the holiday shopping season. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still capitalize on the Holiday fever that hits us all at this time of year. (Ok, maybe not everyone, but even Scrooge can appreciate your efforts).
How can you build your brand even if you aren’t making sales?
Pick a good cause to support.
Most people prefer to support a business that is doing good, even if it means paying more. Tell your customers how you are supporting a meaningful cause and it will help them love your brand even more. Not only that, but you will end up feeling great, too.
You can get people on board by asking them to help your cause to, and offering to match donations or work towards a goal together. Perhaps you can get your employees to help by hosting a holiday decorating contest you share on Instagram, or get donations for a Fun Run. You could even offer to donate a percentage of sales on a certain day (like Black Friday or Cyber Monday) towards your cause.
The list of ideas is endless, so get together with your team and come up with a way to support a great cause AND build your brand. Win-win!
Jump on the Holiday Meme band wagon.
At ApogeeINVENT, we don’t usually sell more during the holiday season because the businesses we work with are focusing on increasing THEIR holiday sales to consumers. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still build our brand during this season.
We also create and share holiday memes that give people a laugh and encourage them to share.
Think of creative ways your own business can get into the holiday spirit and get others to enjoy your brand, even if they aren’t making a purchase.
Chances are, they will be more likely to think of you favorably even after the holidays are over.
Get into the season of giving.
Try holding a giveaway to build your subscriber list, or to thank the people who already subscribe to your email or social media. This is a great way to help them think highly of you while spreading the joy of the holiday season.
It doesn't have to be anything huge, or complicated. When I host giveaways through my author website, I usually just create a Google Doc for them to fill out to enter, and use Random.com to pick a winner. I've gotten hundreds of new subscribers to my author mailing list in a few days, just from giving away a $50 Amazon gift card. It is easy, and the cost per lead is only about $.10! That is much more affordable than many paid advertising campaigns.
Send out Christmas Cards / Holiday cards.
You can always send out ecards using one of many services available.
You could also create your own e-card and send it directly to your mailing list. Make it personal, and perhaps considering using a scanned version of a card that everyone in the business has signed, or the CEO / owner can write a personal message themselves.
I would recommend giving physical cards a try. There is something special about getting a card in the mail in today’s digital world.
For a large ecommerce company, this might not be feasible or cost effective.
But if you have loyal customers or are a B2B company, sending cards is a great way to remind them of your brand during the holiday season, and generate more good cheer towards your business.
Add a little something special on your website for holiday season, like a simple holiday-themed header, pop up, or even music or effects (just be careful about how it affects your load time.)
You can see an example of PayPal's holiday themed header. They aren't selling a product, but they are still using the holiday theme effectively to encourage more sales and build their brand.
Getting a holiday-themed header is great, but don’t only “spruce up” your website. You can also make special images for your social accounts, create humorous holiday GIFs in your emails, or even put together some holiday-themed videos.
That little holiday GIF I created below only took me a few minutes to make, and can't keep your eyes away. Even if it obnoxiously bright.
How can you create a GIF like that for your own brand?
Try heading over to Giphy.com
and setting up your own profile. You can use videos or images to create GIFs. The one below, I just grabbed an image from Shutterstock, uploaded it to Giphy, added a caption and selected the Sparkle option. I then chose the Rainbow filter to get the different colors, and uploaded it to the site. You can then just right click and downlod the file to your computer. They even allow you to email yourself a .mp4 version to use on Instagram, since Instagram doesn't support GIFs (if you can believe that).
Build an App
If you really want to harness the power of the holiday season, consider investing even more in your brand building, like an app or other related technology.
Let me tell you a quick amazing success story of an organizations that used the holiday to start a massive PR campaign. Odds are, you’ve probably heard of it.
Back in 1955, a child mistakenly dialed CONAD (Continental Air Defense Command, which was the predecessor to NORAD, or North America Air Defense Command) instead of the number posted in the Sears catalog to call “Santa”. The child reached Colonel Harry Shoup, who after hanging up with the child, was inspired to create a public relations event and inform the press of the progress of Santa’s sleigh.
In the years following, the tracking of Santa became more and more complex. Now, there is a hotline number, staffed by thousands of NORAD volunteers, that answers over 100,000 phone calls and Google and Bing have both contracted to run the tracker through their maps, getting over 20 million visitors to the website (in 2014). The "Santa Cam" videos show CGI images of Santa Claus flying over famous landmarks, with voice overs from celebrities.
Chances are, most people would never have heard of NORAD or care. But now even my five-year-old knows about the NORAD Santa Tracker.
Be creative, and you might be pleasantly surprised at the results you’ll get from your investment. It isn’t just about making sales. It is about making a good impression and building the recognition of your brand in favorable ways.
Everyone loves apps, quizzes, and other interactive technology. By spending a little to create something fun, entertaining, or useful that is holiday themed, you will go a long way in increasing the exposure of your business.
You don't need an ecommerce site to build your business over the holidays. Leverage the positive power of the holiday season to build your brand and grow your audience.
1. Support a good cause.
2. Create fun content.
3. Host a giveaway.
4. Send out cards.
5. Use holiday designs or tech to your advantage.
It isn't too late to start now! Create a holiday marketing plan and get building your brand this holiday season. Have other creative ways you've marketed during the holidays? Tell me about them!