Marketing campaigns and audience engagement around the holidays can do more than just promote your product and service in hopes of a gift purchase. Holidays often carry with them an emotional connotation, and connecting your brand with positive connotations can be just as valuable.
But how can you make your brand stand out from the crowd and get your consumer base excited? By keeping the following in mind, you can get the attention of your desired audience and keep it.
1. Organize Interactive Contests
Contests are a great way to engage your customers. At the most simplistic level, a contest will usually require entrants to submit email addresses or other contact information. If that’s the only degree of interaction you are creating, it’s the electronic equivalent of a business card in a fish bowl. To get the most engagement, make your contest interactive.
For example, Ace Hardware recently held a Father’s Day contest where three winners were awarded a new grill and a pair of custom grilling shoes. To enter the contest, individuals must post photos of their dad’s grilling shoes or attire on Instagram and include certain tags.
The interactive nature of the contest creates multiple touch points for the campaign and uses social media effectively. Customers first have exposure to the Ace Hardware brand when initially hearing about the contest. They have more interaction when finding and posting their photo for entry. After that, they will get notifications on any comments or responses to their post.
By making contests interactive, you can more efficiently engage your customers on an emotional level. Not only that, but by engaging one customer, your brand receives attention from that customer’s social media network.
Granted, the prize needs to be appealing enough to your audience to motivate the extra time and effort of posting to social media. But putting that extra time and consideration into the prize more than justifies the overall impact of the campaign.
2. Appeal To Your Target Audience’s Nostalgia
Nostalgia is a surprisingly powerful thing. It’s also something very appealing to Americans when they are feeling stressed or cynical. With current inflation rates and the potential for a widespread recession, nostalgia might be an even more effective tool for engagement than usual.
Knowing which holidays might tie in the most organically with fond ideations of the past can be especially useful for brand loyalty and engagement.
That doesn’t mean you can always captivate your intended audience by just making sure to mention the Backstreet Boys. To use nostalgia to your advantage, you need to think about your target demographic and work backward.
If you’re trying to sell farm equipment to men in their 40’s and 50’s, boy bands probably aren’t going to fit the nostalgia bill. Brands such as Carhartt and John Deere have long and successful track records of emotionally connecting their brands to the idea of rugged, rural pioneerism.
For those who typically court this same demographic, the 4th of July is a holiday that may carry a great deal of nostalgia. Therefore, such a seasonal campaign would need to tie your brand to positive memories from past 4th of Julys. This could be anything from family gatherings to fireworks to rustic Americana.
3. Get Your Timing Right
Timing is important for holiday campaigns, and your timeline will be different depending on which holiday you’re focusing on. Ideally, you want to get your audience’s attention when they’re just realizing the holiday is coming up.
For the Christmas season, some recommendations stress getting the word out as soon as possible. While it’s somewhat common for people to start contemplating their Christmas purchases as early as September, other holidays aren’t as pre-planned.
If your business wants to have a product launch coincide with Valentine’s Day, for instance, the run up time is shorter. If you try to get people’s attention the second week of January, they are likely burned out from the December holidays and don’t care. Most people get their wake up call when February 1 rolls around. And if they’re aware of a product before the last minute panic, it can potentially register as more valuable and thoughtful.
Know What Fits
The holidays aren’t just a six-week block of time from the end of November through January. Holidays throughout the year can give you all sorts of opportunities to connect with your client base. By taking advantage of the holidays most in line with your brand, you can use the calendar to your benefit.
In a world full of brands, standing out from the pack can be a challenge. While new brands launch every day, there is something to be said about those that stand the test of time. Reputable brands with distinguishable offerings and values are the ones that get noticed by consumers.
No matter whether your brand is new to the market or well established, staying relevant is essential to that kind of longevity. The nature of brands is cyclical. They can start off really strong with a compelling product but lose momentum if they stop being top of mind.
That’s why no good brand stays put. You must always be forward-thinking and see what is next on the horizon. Brands that jump on new opportunities are the ones that remain profitable. Just think if Netflix had simply continued to offer DVDs by mail and hadn’t pioneered online streaming. Changing with the times is crucial for progression and advancement.
But while it’s important to stay on top of trends, not least when it comes to branding, there are three essential principles to keep in mind no matter your industry. Keep reading to learn why these online branding principles are crucial to your brand’s long-term success.
1. A Robust Website Is Nonnegotiable
Without this branding strategy, nobody will find your business. Long gone are the days where people supported businesses solely in person (thanks, Amazon). A strong online presence is key to success, as websites are one of the main ways consumers discover a company. They’ll consider the absence of a website—or an underwhelming one—a red flag and take their business elsewhere. Consumers expect to do a keyword search and find the answer to their problem online. If you’re not there, your company won’t be the one to solve it for them.
Even if your brand has a website, your work isn’t done. You must continually keep it up to date. Do you have products listed that are no longer in stock and won’t be available in the foreseeable future? Do you list hours of operation or other information that’s no longer relevant due to Covid-19? Your site is the way your company portrays itself to the world. When yours is out of date, your business looks poorly run and out of touch.
Remember that keyword search? Another reason you need a strong website is SEO. Your website can’t merely exist; it also has to appear high up on search engine results pages in order to get noticed. Creating quality content that is useful to your existing and future customers is key. You can also use competitor analysis tools to see how your rivals are showing up in search and determine which keywords you need to be emphasizing in your content. These efforts can help boost your SERP rankings, creating an even stronger online presence for your brand.
2. Design Elements Must Be Consistent and Aligned With Your Brand Promise
Nike with its swoosh, McDonald’s with its golden arches, and Apple with its, well, apple are just three examples of businesses with consistent branding. No matter where you are in the world, you’ll recognize these logos. Marketing strategies may change with the seasons, but these logos remain recognizable because they are consistent.
While flashy branding may be appealing at first, if it’s not consistent and well aligned, it won’t be memorable. Research shows that brands ultimately have a mere seven seconds to make a first impression on consumers. When designing your branding, it’s important to think long-term. What design or colors are iconic by nature? What fonts are unique but also readable? What emotion is evoked by the branding?
Before settling on your final design, ensure it aligns with your brand promise and reflects your brand’s tone and voice. This is all part of your brand’s personality, or rather the type of relationship you want your customers to have with your business. After all, if you’re in the business of selling homes, you don’t want your design to come across as standoffish or unapproachable. Consistent, well-aligned branding will be memorable for the right reasons.
3. A Regular Social Media Presence Is a Must
Similar to having a strong website presence, a consistent social media presence can do wonders for your business. Just as consumers search for specific brands, they also turn to their favorite social channels to discover and learn about them. That’s especially important now that social platforms have expanded their capabilities to include commerce solutions. Instagram Checkout and TikTok Shopping are giving consumers a reason to go to social first to buy directly from their favorite brands.
For your social media efforts to pay off, you must be consistent. Brands need to post content regularly to stay noteworthy and top of mind; forgetting to post is simply not an option. Fortunately, there’s much you can tell your audience. You can use social media to inform consumers of new product launches, business updates, collaborations, and more. Concentrating on a few social channels consistently—rather than every channel sporadically—will be more beneficial in the long run.
As important as social is for letting consumers learn about you, it also presents a golden opportunity for you to learn about them. You and your team can see who is following your brand page on various channels and get to know your audience(s). This can help you develop better marketing campaigns to attract new, like-minded customers. You can also learn what types of posts work best and when. Tailoring your posts to better align with what your consumers are looking for is a winning strategy.
To establish a brand that attracts and retains consumer attention, you need a robust website, consistent and aligned branding elements, and a strong and steady presence on social media. Embracing these three online branding principles will improve your brand’s footprint and help you stay ahead of the competition. More importantly, they will enable you to remain relevant to your core audience over the long haul.
Image Credit: Getty
Without customer loyalty, a business can struggle to succeed. While your business may have a few standout customers who have become brand ambassadors for your product or service, the unengaged or inactive customers are often the ones you need feedback from the most. These customers can provide candid and honest feedback as to why they aren't more engaged with your business.
To help get these customers excited about your business again, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council each share one way to reconnect with unengaged customers. Follow their recommendations to gain the feedback and repeat business of these once-lost customers.
1. Treat Customers Like Long-Lost Friends
Treat everyone like a long-lost friend, and responses are almost guaranteed. This is especially true for unengaged customers. For these folks, sending mass, impersonal emails is a total waste of time (and, in fact, might hurt your chances of getting true feedback more than it helps). Instead, take the personal approach of reaching out by picking up the phone and calling them directly. If you don’t reach them, leave a voicemail. This unexpected gesture will be warmly received and result in the response rates for future correspondences increasing dramatically. We also send handwritten cards to customers who are inactive. It’s another personal touchpoint that is rare, unexpected and stands out. We've seen that it's an automatic way to get inactive customers to respond and become engaged once again. - Arian Radmand, IgnitePost
2. Take The Personal Approach
If possible, it's always great to reach out to a dormant client personally—especially if the account is large enough—and suggest a call or a meeting to run a retrospective on the past engagement, provide feedback to both sides to ensure the future process is efficient and to change the account management team, if needed. - Daria Gonzalez, Wunderdogs
3. Send An Email
Check in with them. If you haven't heard from a customer in a while, send them an email to see how they're doing. Ask them for feedback on the products they previously purchased, letting them know there's no wrong answer. Try to get to the bottom of why the customer may not be as connected with your company. When you learn what the reason is, you'll be able to find a suitable solution to get them excited about your products again. Consider offering an enticing deal that they can share with their friends. This can include exclusive access to a new product or a 20% discount on any service. When a customer feels like they're being heard, they're more likely to reconnect and start engaging with your company again. - Nick Venditti, StitchGolf
4. Unveil Something New
Get your unengaged customer excited by sharing something new, such as new products, a new website interface or a new loyalty program. When customers aren't active, they're bored or don't find your content and offerings useful. Reengage them by giving them a reason to come back and visit your site or store. When they do go and look around at what's new, you can continue to engage them by asking them for feedback. To take it a step further, incentivize your audience by offering a discount or prize for those who leave feedback. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
5. Make A Phone Call
The best way to reconnect is with a phone call! As unscalable as this sounds, emails, posts on social media and even letters may not work in this case. The best way is with a phone call where a casual conversation can happen and you can ask them what their reasons were for leaving. Your goal here is to listen more, ask the right follow-up questions and be extremely understanding of their frustrations. When you're toward the end, you can then throw in a surprise offer of, say, 70% off on merchandise to check if hearing them out worked as a mechanism to get them back on the roster. Lots of times customers just want to be heard and not be treated as a data point. Very few companies are able to just go back to what's worked for years since they're focused on rebuilding the wheel—a waste of time. - Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day
6. Reach Out On Social Media
One way to reconnect with unengaged customers is to reach out to them on social media. Some customers prefer the more personal touch of social media, and it can be a great way to get their feedback and get them excited again. Almost everyone uses social media, and it's a convenient and free tool for users. You can use remarketing strategies to reach out to unengaged users. You can also offer customers who provide feedback incentives, such as discounts or coupons. Doing so will make it more appealing for your audience to engage with you. - Blair Williams, MemberPress
7. Showcase Programs For Past Customers
A very effective way of reengaging inactive customers is to implement programs for your past and current customers. Then, let them know that as past customers they have access to these programs, services or products. This will instantly get them excited and bring them back to business. Once you have them, you can show them why they need your other services and how they can help make their lives easier. - Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
8. Ask For Help
Believe it or not, you can get inactive customers to respond to your emails by simply asking for help. People are more likely to open emails if they think there's something they can do for you. Also, your subscribers are more likely to open your messages if they see an incentive. One of our top-performing recovery headlines is, "I could use your help with this..." This email has a survey inside that inactive subscribers can fill out for an exclusive discount. I believe brand leaders across all industries can use this strategy to reach more lost customers. - John Turner, SeedProd LLC
Business success doesn't always come easily; you need to have a good business plan, organize your business well and be flexible so you can adapt to future changes. Many individuals start a business believing that they'll launch their website or open their store and begin making money, only to discover making money is not as easy as they thought.
Taking your time to create a good business plan will help you avoid many of the challenges of starting a new business and ultimately lead to your business success. Below are some tips you can use to start any business that will help you succeed in any venture.
1 Study your competition
Rivalry breeds the best outcomes. To succeed, you ought to study and learn from your competitors. They might be executing something right that you can apply in your venture to generate more income.
When studying your competition, you should consider the business you are undertaking. If you own a cafe, you can easily visit your rivals' businesses, engage with their customers, and by doing so, you gain valuable information that will help you improve your business.
However, suppose you start a business where you have limited access to your competitors, such as a software company. In that case, you can consult a business expert and accountant to learn more about your competitor's business, their impact on the consumers, and any financial information available. Studying your rival helps you understand your competition and the market you serve.
2. Manage your expenses
Expense management is vital to operate your business efficiently. However, many businesses don't have any policies and procedures to manage expenses. An effective expense processing system ensures no revenue is lost because of fraudulent expense claims or lost or inaccurate recording. Keeping records will help you keep track of employee expense management and the entire expense management process.
3. Invest in your staff and culture
Incorporating the right workers, freelancers, and contractors into your business is vital to helping your business grow and succeed. Expanding your staff may lead to a short adjustment period and needs effort and devotion from every individual. However, establishing an engaged staff and business culture will help your business grow and succeed in the long run.
4. Use analytics
Many companies know the importance of using data, and you should too. Data has become one of the most valuable resources in our world today. If you have a website or social media pages, you can use freemium or free tools to gain insights into clients. For instance, analytics gives you information on how clients engage with your website, enabling you to know the areas to focus on in marketing.
5. Take calculated risks
Taking calculated risks is vital if you want your business to grow. Knowing the downsides of your decisions can help you make the calculated risks that will reap the most rewards. Understanding risks and rewards involve being smart about your business decisions, such as the right time to start your business. For instance, opening a cafe during the pandemic could have been disastrous because of the restrictions imposed by world governments, while starting to manufacture face masks would have been profitable.
Your business will fluctuate between phases of stagnation and periods of growth. It's important to keep looking for new growth opportunities and not be afraid to take risks and get creative. However, it is crucial to have a goal to avoid turning potential business growth into failure.
Membership is open to businesses and organizations interested in increasing visibility and brand awareness in Westchester County and surrounding areas.