It’s amazing how the second half of the year starts accelerating once we get past the fourth of July. It seems like we were just getting ready for spring, and now the major year-end holidays are rapidly approaching. How prepared are you to roll out a holiday content marketing strategy to lure in year-end shoppers? Social media plans, email campaign plans–it is time to roll out the red carpet for your digital marketing.
Don’t allow yourself to be caught scrambling once the cold weather sets in and bargain-hunters start looking for holiday sales. Pulling together a seasonal content plan before this happens puts you in a great spot to have exactly what customers are looking for in place and ready to go.
What Is A Content Plan?
Your content plan outlines every piece of media you’re looking to put out as part of your marketing efforts. This covers everything from digital advertisements to discounts for different offerings in your showroom.
Having a plan means being prepared for any surges in traffic online or in your store. It also allows you to look ahead when deciding how to get higher organic rankings in search engines, or the type of videos you want to create highlighting different aspects of your company.
Make sure you’re answering the following questions as you put your content plan in place:
- How can you motivate your salespeople to reach sales targets you have in mind?
- What’s the best way to let customer know about different sales and promotions?
- Is this promotion strategy targeted at something customers would want around the holidays?
- Are we taking advantage of every online advertising opportunity that makes sense for our business?
It can be easy to devolve into an incoherent strategy accomplishing nothing but confusion. Use the following steps as a guide to help you map out your content over the upcoming holiday season.
Step 1: Have A Purpose In Mind
If you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish with the content you’re putting out, your customers won’t either. Remember, you’re looking to use the holidays as an opportunity to let customers know you have something they need. That means having insight into what they’d be interested in around this period. Some examples of some questions you could answer for them include:
- Where can I get a good price on recliners I’m looking to buy as a gift?
- What type of holiday discount is being offered on new dining room furniture?
- Wil there be a sale on curtains or other holiday accessories?
- Do they have warm throws and fuzzy rugs to put around the house when the cold hits?
From there you need to decide when you’ll start rolling this content out. Will you start right after Labor Day? Wait until Halloween is over? Do you have the inventory to delivery before the holidays? How much lead-time do you need to make sure orders are filled before the holidays? You’ll also want to time things for when customers will really be receptive to what your store is offering – talking to them too soon or too late won’t help your reach your goals.
It helps to create a map outlining when and how you wish to launch different initiatives. You can find different templates online letting you schedule and track different phases of your content strategy, preventing you from losing focus.
Step 2: Establish Your Target Goals
What do you hope to accomplish with your holiday content marketing strategy? You need to figure out what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you consider to be indicators of success. Some examples of what you might want to achieve with your strategy include:
- Getting more foot traffic inside your physical stores
- Increasing the awareness of your brand in the minds of those looking for home furnishings
- More visits to your Facebook page
- People signing up for your email list (via newsletter)
- Moving a higher volume of merchandise than the prior holiday period
- Improving the feedback received from customers in the form of reviews
- Getting your content shared around the internet
The goals you pick will help inform the path you take in building out different content. Driving website traffic means doing more keyword research on what works to help get your content ranked. These also help you build ads directing visitors to specific sections of your website.
Getting visitors to willingly provide their contact information means making sure they receive prompts to take this type of action while browsing your site. You can do this with simple pop-ups or LiveChat technology encouraging user engagement. Make sure your tactics match up to the goal you’ve laid out.
Step 3: Speak To Your Audience
Who are you looking to pull inside your store? Do you feel your merchandise appeals more to baby boomers? Are millennials a group you’re trying to increase your brand awareness with? You’ll need to make sure your holiday content marketing strategy strikes a chord letting audiences know you can deliver what they’re looking for.
Young couples starting out might be in the market for their first dining room table. Their parents might be looking to refresh the look of their homes for winter now that they’re empty nesters. Here’s where you might get creative by making videos or enticing customers to try out different looks in their home by letting them use product visualization tools to create custom furniture and room planning software to show how different furnishing might appear in their homes.
Many people look for things beyond a fancy website or clever ads. They want to know what your company provides to the local community and if you’re trying to make the world better. They’d be won over by stories about different charities you’re involved in or community events you frequently sponsor. Show them the people behind the business, allowing them to feel good about associating with your store.
Step 4: Pinpoint Your Communication Channels
You’ll need to be willing to follow your audience where they like to gather. That could mean setting up your first Instagram account showcasing pictures from your furniture store or answering questions on Quora about the best way to judge the quality of a new end table they’re considering purchasing.
More and more retailers are realizing the power of making their own websites a source for customer answers. Try creating a blog focused on new products you bring in, why they might wish to pick one style of wood over another for their bedroom, and other informative home furnishing topics.
Don’t spend money in a space just because it’s popular. If you know it’s not a place your audience would normally visit, redirect that holiday content marketing money to more promising online spaces.
Step 5: Map Out Your Messaging Strategy
Who’s going to be responsible for managing your overall holiday marketing content strategy? Do you already have someone on staff capable of handling all this? If not, are you going to hire someone for this role, or split it up among several different employees? How much of their time will be devoted to these efforts? Do you have guidelines for message tone and writing parameters established for your business? Or will you go ahead and hire a professional outside firm to handle everything?
Whatever route you choose, make sure they’re addressing issues customers look to avoid while doing their holiday shopping. Do things like making it easy to redeem coupon codes or claim rebates. If you do ecommerce, customers should be able to tell if a piece of merchandise is in stock and get an idea of when it can be delivered. At the very least, make sure your message and visuals are accessible from any mobile device. If they can’t see your content on their smartphones, you’re losing valuable shoppers.
Remember to reuse content across different marketing channels. Those blogs you created for your website can be repurposed into email blasts for your mailing list. Entice them into taking some sort of action by using certain keywords and phrases appealing to what they’re looking for.
Measuring The Success Of Your Plan
How successful your holiday content marketing was will depend on the KPIs you settled on as goals to achieve. If you picked increased website traffic, you’ll need web analytic tools letting you know if you attracted more visitors, and how much time they spent on your website.
If the goal was increasing sales, your accounting software should show you how much you sold and if you’ve managed to turn the profit you were hoping for. This also lets your sales associates know if they did enough to earn any bonuses promised if they managed to hit the minimum thresholds laid out by you.
MicroD can help you set up a proper holiday content marketing strategy and track how well it’s working. We help design the right marketing efforts that deliver on your stated business goals.