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To prepare for the holiday season, you supplement your inventory with limited edition products and create tailored newsletters and campaigns. But what about content marketing? The holidays are the ideal time to create engaging articles surrounding the season. Shoppers are eager to consume this type of content and are expecting to see it prominently featured on retailers’ websites.
6 Holiday Season Content Ideas
Get ahead of the competition by starting your holiday content strategy early. Use these ideas to get ready today!
The year is drawing to an end. Commemorate it by sharing a summary of your best-performing content to date. This is the time to highlight special news, mentions or other accomplishments.
For instance, if your brand was worn by a celebrity or you were featured in an important magazine, highlight it for the holiday season. It will help inspire conversions and grow your brand presence during the busiest shopping season of the year.
Typically, this type of content is formatted as a list where each point references an article. Once you have your content ready, add images to illustrate each point. Shortlists can help generate good website traffic with a low bounce rate, which is win-win for any online store.
Another type of summary article to try is a campaign that highlights the top products of the year. Think of it as “the year’s best-selling products.” This list can help new visitors learn more about your products and provide context for the most popular items in your store. Optimize it with uuser-generated content that shows customers interacting with the products to shorten the path to purchase.
Teases of What Comes Next Year
Excite your customers by giving them a sneak peek of what’s in store for next year. This is your chance to get pre-sales or RSVPs to future launch events. Not sure what products to unveil next year? Use this as an opportunity to gauge your customers’ interest over a particular product.
Give them a list of products you may be considering for 2019 and ask them for their feedback. This data can help you make better informed buying decisions and avoid wasting money on items that may not be successful in the long run. You can also use a survey or poll through Instagram stories or Facebook.
Holiday Gift Guides
Everyone is looking for gifts on the holidays, but not everyone knows what they want to buy. There are so many different people on a gift list that it can seem overwhelming! There are family members, friends, co-workers, partners, kids, and the list goes on and on! Help your customers shop more efficiently by providing them a detailed guide of what to buy for each person on their list.
The key to making gift guides especially useful is segmenting them as much as possible. For instance, it can be filtered based on budget, type of relationship, interests, age and hobbies. The exact segments will vary based on your customer’s profile and products.
If your average order value is around $50, that can be a good place to use as the starting price and then include some higher price items or add-on products to raise the average order value (AOV).
For example, see how goop created different gift guides according to different buyer personas:
Holiday Style Guides
Holidays are full of celebrations. There are parties at work, home, friends’ houses, neighbors, etc. What is the best outfit to wear for each of those occasions? Help your customers figure it out by providing a style guide of what to wear to each type of event.
Create complete outfits and feature all the products in a style guide. For example, if you sell pants, shirts, and accessories, you can showcase multiple outfits using a variety of your products based on different occasions. Think of which outfit would be most appropriate for a family gathering versus an office holiday party, for instance.
Don’t forget to add links to all your products so readers can easily visit your product pages and add products to their cart. As with the holiday gift guide, segment the guide as much as possible by focusing on different demographics. For instance, you can divide the guide between men, women and children clothing. Here’s how QVC launched their holiday style guide this year:
User-generated content (UGC) refers to any type of content that is not directly created by the brand. This content is really effective in influencing consumers because it is usually perceived as more authentic and trustworthy than traditional advertisements.
This type of content should be highlighted year-round as part of your marketing plan. However, during the holidays, it is a good idea to leverage a special edition of UGC using holiday merchandise and seasonal messaging.
For instance, you can create a post of your top holiday outfits wore by influencers this season. It can also include tips on how to wear those outfits in different styles so there is something to please every style.
Holiday Promotions of the Day
This content would be similar to the product and style guides we discussed earlier. The only difference lies in the format. This type of content reads more like a countdown to Christmas, where each day highlights a different outfit or product. You can also opt to feature specific deals on different days.
Ulta Beauty uses this strategy frequently, offering special discounts based on concepts like the “21 Days of Beauty Sale.”It encourages customers to come back to the store for repeated orders, which can transform them into a lifetime customer over time.
How to Maximize Result
All of these content marketing ideas are great, but they only represent half of the effort necessary to drive conversions during the holidays. The rest of the work has to be invested in distributing and promoting content to reach as many potential customers as possible. Without those additional efforts, your content will just get lost in the crowded marketplace. So, what can you do to distribute and promote your content? Let’s explore a few effective strategies to help you come out on top during the busy season ahead.
Start by using social media to publish organic and paid posts promoting your content. Keep in mind that you can create multiple posts based on the same piece of content; you just have to vary the format.
For instance, you can create a video and a series of posts using different images and copy. The key is to mix up posts to provide variety to keep engagement high.
Another vital marketing tactic is email marketing. Still holding strong in 2018, the ROI on email marketing is still double than all other digital channels. This messaging doesn’t replace social media. It’s an additional strategy that can strengthen your social media efforts by providing another opportunity to get in front of your potential customers.
More brand exposure brings higher chances of selling products. Similar to your social media posting frequency, you’ll want to send several email campaigns containing holiday-related content to maximize your reach. In the process, remember to A/B test as much as possible, especially subject lines.
With the holiday season rapidly approaching, it’s time to harness the power of content marketing to maximize revenue and grow your brand online. Armed with a winning strategy, your holiday messaging will help you outpace the competition and take home a larger percentage of seasonal sales.
Photo via Shutterstock
What is as unique, authentic and differentiating to your personal brand as a handwritten thank you note in a world of email, text messages and instant message? The answer: following through on promises and closing the loop, even if conflict is involved or you don’t have the answers.
Friends and colleagues are generally surprised when you take the time to follow-up. How many emails have you received saying, “thanks for getting back to me so quickly?” or “I appreciate your follow-up and for providing that information?” It makes you feel good and you get an extra boost of dopamine in your brain, right?
Take a minute and reflect upon how well you do on follow through. Taking out a piece of paper and pen for an informal “Real Deal” quiz. Rate yourself on a scale from 1-5 (1 being the lowest, 5 being the highest).
- When you commit to writing a recommendation or review on LinkedIn, how often do you do it?
- When you promise to introduce colleagues for networking purposes, how quickly do you do it?
- After a conference, do you follow-up with new people that you meet?
- When a team member asks you for information, how many times does he have to remind you?
- If a sales person sends you a cold-call email, how often do you respond?
Chances are, you thought to yourself when reading this, “oh my goodness. I have room for improvement.” So no need for formal scoring!
Don’t feel bad. We live in a world where multi-tasking is part of our day-to-day survival. We balance work, family, money, household needs, friends, health and exercise, to name a few. Many of us self-talk our way through the day, saying “Everything is great. Everything is awesome. I am great. I am awesome.”
Unfortunately in solving our follow through challenges so that we avoid undermining our personal brands, there is no Program Management Office to help us with our day-to-day follow through. As professionals, it is up to us to make sure that we do what we say. Here are some simple tips:
- Follow through in the moment: If you are enjoying coffee with someone who needs an introduction, stop, pull out your smart phone and make the introduction. If you do it in the moment, it is up to the other person to kick the ball forward. It’s one of the few times that using your smart phone in a coffee shop or restaurant, or multi-tasking in front of someone else isn’t rude.
- Write it down: Tasks on our to-do-lists, are typically not forgotten and do get done.
- No thank you: Saying “no thank you” or declining “a request or invitation is okay. Sometimes we just need to do it and not feel guilty. Imagine if the community bank client would have said to the executive coach, “I’m not much of a LinkedIn user and am sorry that I won’t be able to write you a recommendation. I would be willing to serve as a reference if another client were to call.”
- Lose the temptation to ignore: If someone sends a long email request, ask the individual to cut through the details and be more specific about what they need or want. If the task is too daunting, let the person know that you are struggling and could use extra time, or to talk it through. If you are regretting promising to connect someone with a colleague, let them know that it’s not a good time. Just don’t ignore others.
Remember, people do not just listen to what you say. Your credibility, trust and integrity of your personal brand is on the line, based upon what you do. Imagine a game of Simon Says. If you were to say to your group, “Simon Says, put your hands on your hips” and you put your hands on your head, what do you think would happen? More than half the group would put their hands on their heads.
Hi Elizabeth – You might try searching the web (particularly Indeed.com) to see if there are any jobs offered in those areas. Search under “work at home” or similar titles. Otherwise you might put together an impressive resume of the skillsets you have to offer, and shop them around to small businesses. There are millions of online business who hire freelancers to do specific jobs. If you can get just one, you can build on it by adding others as you go along. That will enable you to move into it gradually, and at your own pace and comfort level. Good luck!
How are African-American entrepreneurs doing? There are nearly 2.6 million African-American owned businesses in the U.S., employing nearly 1 million Americans, according to the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency. The same study reports minority-owned firms overall experienced significantly higher growth than the average business between 2007-2012—a period including the Great Recession.
Here’s a closer look at the average African-American entrepreneur, according to a recent Guidant Financial survey of current and aspiring small business owners. (Read what the study revealed about Hispanic business owners.)
African-American small business owner profile
- 62% male
- 38% female
- 18-29: 6%
- 40-49: 28%
- 50-59: 25%
- 30-39: 22%
- 60-plus: 19%
African-American entrepreneurs have varying degrees of educational attainment. About one-third (32%) have a high school diploma/GED. Some 26% have a bachelor’s degree, 21% have an associate’s degree, and 22% have a master’s degree or higher.
Why are most African-American entrepreneurs motivated to launch businesses? These entrepreneurs are more likely than the average business owner to say they were dissatisfied with corporate America (22%). However, the vast majority (62%) wanted to “pursue their passion,” 53% were “ready to be my own boss,” and 30% say that opportunity presented itself. Just 12% say being laid off or outsourced motivated their startup.
The most popular states for African-American small business owners are
- North Carolina
The most common industries in which African-American small business owners start businesses are:
- Business services—13%
- General retail—7%
Other Articles From AllBusiness.com:
- The Complete 35-Step Guide for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business
- 25 Frequently Asked Questions on Starting a Business
- 50 Questions Angel Investors Will Ask Entrepreneurs
- 17 Key Lessons for Entrepreneurs Starting A Business
How are African-American entrepreneurs doing?
Despite the rapid growth of African-American-owned firms in general, there are still many challenges for these entrepreneurs. For example, just 57% of those Guidant surveyed say their business is profitable—lower than the average for all survey residents (68%).
African-American business owners are also less likely than the average business owner to have employees: 46% are solo entrepreneurs, 41% have two to five employees; 7% have between six and 10 employees; and 6% have 11 or more workers.
Particularly concerning, the average annual receipts for African-American businesses is just $58,119. That’s compared to an average of $173,552 for minority-owned firms in general and $552,079 for non-minority firms.
What’s behind these issues? One problem is financial. A whopping 80% of African-American entrepreneurs in the Guidant poll say lack of capital is their biggest business challenge. This is 10% higher than the average small business owner in the survey. The next biggest challenges, marketing/advertising (31%) and time management (23%), are mentioned far less often than capital.
If they did get additional capital, half of African-American entrepreneurs would use the money for expansion; 61% would use it for equipment, 54% would use it for marketing/advertising, 36% would use it for staff, and 30% would spend the windfall on technology.
The challenges African-American business owners face are reflected in their lower confidence in the political climate for small business. Their confidence level is seven out of 10, compared to eight out of 10 for business owners as a whole.
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