7 Ways to Make Your Holiday Marketing Stand Out

The holiday season is fast approaching. Customers are beginning to think about holiday preparations and gifts, and companies are starting to ramp up their marketing efforts to attract shoppers. Throughout November and December, the competition for attention will be fierce.

To keep your brand top-of-mind throughout the busy holiday season and bring new and existing customers through your doors, you’ll want to take steps to make your marketing efforts stand out from the crowd. Use these seven tips to give your holiday marketing a competitive edge.

1. Use tactics that grab attention

Especially during the holiday season, customers are overwhelmed with emails, mailers, catalogs, social posts, and other communications from brands—and their attention starts to dwindle. In order to bring your company front and center, your marketing tactics should be designed to immediately catch and hold the customer’s attention.

One way to make sure you do this is to reach out to customers across multiple mediums, both in digital and print. Increasing the number of touchpoints your customer has with your brand increases the chance they’ll remember and pay attention to you.

There are also many simple enhancements you can make to your marketing campaigns that will have a more memorable impression. For example, instead of sharing static images on social media, consider sharing GIFs, animations, or videos—the activity and motion will help to catch the viewer’s eye. On printed pieces, add embellishments like metallic foiling, embossing, or coatings to texturize mailers and provide something unique and special.

2. Tell your audience what sets your brand apart

Your marketing pieces shouldn’t be the only things that stand out from the competition—your brand itself should, too. Consider what makes your company different from competitors and let your audience know.

Customers are drawn to the unique aspects of a brand—what makes them more personable or what aligns with their own values. Perhaps all of your products are made locally, or you donate a portion of your sales to a nonprofit organization. Every brand has its own unique elements, so broadcast those to your audiences to let them know what you’re about!

3. Take a customer-first approach

It’s tempting to explain all the cool features of your products or services to customers, but think about things from their perspective. You want customers to see value in your offerings—to know that your products can make their lives easier, happier, or better.

Shape your marketing messages around what your products can do for your customers and how they will benefit from buying them. Tap into your audience’s emotions to convey the feelings and experiences they’ll have once they own your product or use your service.

4. Personalize your campaigns

Customers like to know that brands understand them, and there’s no better way to prove that you do than by creating highly targeted campaigns designed around their wants and needs.

Start by clearly defining your target audience. Understand who those buyers are and what they care about, particularly around this time of year. Then segment your audience groups—such as new leads versus returning customers—and craft separate messages for each group in both your content and advertising campaigns.

Try to identify pain points or challenges for those audience segments and offer solutions to make their lives easier. During the holidays, one of the biggest pain points is stress from gift shopping. Use demographics and other customer data to make personalized gift recommendations or highlight seasonal offers that are relevant to them.

5. Appeal to emotions

The holidays are a particularly emotional time of year. Your customers are bound to feel many strong emotions, such as gratitude, hope, nostalgia, delight, reflection, celebration, and togetherness.

Using these emotions can add a special element to your campaigns and directly align with how customers feel to create a more positive impression. Consider your audience and choose a few emotions or holiday sentiments that are most likely to resonate with them.

For example, parents might respond well to messages of togetherness and celebration, while younger shoppers might be more impressed with sentiments of wonder and excitement. Be sure to tie these emotions into the messages, imagery, and overall look and feel of your campaigns.

6. Keep up with your content strategy

Throughout the holiday season, all too many companies take a sales-heavy approach and overwhelm customers with endless discounts and promotions. Sales fatigue can weigh on customers and cause them to tune these messages out. Alternately, by sharing informative, inspirational, and seasonal content, your brand can stand out from the noise.

Content proves your value to customers and engages them instead of merely selling to them. Make deeper connections with your audiences by sharing content that is useful and relevant, that helps them solve a need or reduce holiday stress, and that positions you as a thought leader in your industry.

The holidays are the perfect time to share special, themed content. There are plenty of options to choose from, including holidays gift guides, recipes, how-to videos for DIY gifts, quizzes, and much more.

7. Share in the spirit of the season

The holidays aren’t just about selling—they’re a time to show gratitude and give back to those who help your business thrive. Make sure you spread some holiday cheer to your customers, staff, and community to forge even deeper connections.

Your brand can make an impact by doing good in the community. Have your entire team volunteer with a local nonprofit, or team up with a charity to raise money or donations.

The spirit of the season should also extend to your customers. Show gratitude to them for supporting your business by sending thank-you notes from your team or hosting a “thank-you” event and inviting local community members. If you have a few key clients or customers, you could even send thoughtful gifts to remind them of how important they are to you. Even a small gesture can go a long way!

Think strategically for seasonal marketing

Marketing during the holiday season requires a little extra effort to ensure your brand’s voice is heard. By paying close attention to your audience, your messages, and what helps your company stand out, you can craft creative marketing campaigns that bolster your brand’s holiday marketing efforts.

How to Combine Digital and Print for More Effective Marketing Campaigns

Digital marketing has largely been adopted as a key marketing strategy for many businesses, but that doesn’t mean print is dead. In fact, print and digital marketing can work together to create more effective campaigns.

By using print as an extension of your digital marketing efforts, your campaigns can go even farther than with digital alone. Print can help drive traffic to your digital channels. What’s more, combining print and digital allows for additional touchpoints in the customer journey, helping to boost brand awareness and improve engagement. Print not only adds more touchpoints, but it also adds variety and memorability to your campaigns to help your brand stand out.

Print marketing comes in many forms, including direct mail, brochures and fliers, sales materials like fact sheets and catalogs, print ads, and even stationery and business cards. Signage is also an important aspect of print marketing. By using these tangible items to reinforce the messages you send on digital channels, you can add authenticity and trust to your campaigns and make a greater impact.

Combining Social Media and Print Marketing

Social media is a necessary component of digital marketing. Through your social channels, you can have conversations, build relationships, and get customers more engaged with your brand. Using print marketing strategically can bolster these efforts.

One of the ways to combine print and social media is to use printed materials to direct consumers to your social channels. Include your social media handles on all printed marketing collateral, so customers and leads know where to find you online. You might even take it one step further and advertise exclusive content within your print pieces to gain new followers on a particular social platform. In that case, set up an autoresponder on your brand’s account for when someone new follows you, and share the content piece within that automated direct message.

Printed materials can also prompt consumers to join the conversation on your social platforms. Include a unique hashtag on printed collateral and encourage customers to use it online.

It can also work the other way—social media can bolster the effectiveness of your print campaigns. Social channels offer a wealth of consumer data beyond basic demographics, such as likes and interests, that you can use to create highly targeted print materials or direct mail campaigns. You might find success using this data to entice leads with targeted freebies like content or giveaway items.

Combining Websites, Email, and Print Marketing

Your website and email lists are two other crucial components of your digital marketing strategy. Current and potential customers use your website and emails to learn more about your brand and stay up to date. These, too, can be integrated with print marketing for maximum effect.

Use print marketing to drive traffic to key landing pages on your website. If you want to recruit email subscribers, add a QR code or a shortened URL that takes users directly to your sign-up page. You can also do this for product pages or digital catalogs; showcase a few popular products on the printed piece, then direct buyers to the full catalog or an order page. If you’re offering a giveaway, the same rules apply. Advertise the giveaway on the printed piece and include a QR code or URL that takes the consumer to a page where they can redeem the gift.

Two-part content campaigns also work really well with print and digital marketing. Include a teaser for a piece of content on your printed material, and direct customers to your website or email newsletter to view the rest.

Leveraging Digital and Print Technology

What’s exciting about the combination of digital and print marketing is that advancements in technology have allowed for greater interactivity between the print and digital worlds.

One example of this is personalization. Variable data printing, which allows variations in text, colors, graphics, and images based on the recipient, lets you personalize almost all printed materials. This extends to things like personalized URLs—when added to print pieces, PURLs direct customers to landing pages that are highly targeted and customized to them. You can even use PURLs to pre-fill a lead’s information into online forms.

Print goes farther using new technology like augmented reality, which blends the physical and digital worlds with just a smartphone. Similar to adding QR codes, you can use AR in print marketing to send the consumer to a landing page, form, video, or app; it can even allow them to make a phone call or send an email.

But AR can do much more to enhance the digital experience of your printed pieces. It can reveal hidden text, images, or graphics on your mailers when looked at on a screen. It can turn flat images on sales sheets into 3D models and make them interactive. You can even use AR to launch animations, videos, and sound effects to create more immersive campaigns.

Creating the Most Effective Blended Marketing Campaigns

Of course, when combining digital and print marketing efforts, you still want to adhere to marketing best practices. Most notably, make sure the content you send through any medium is relevant and valuable to the audience. Using print and digital together allows you to take this a step further and really personalize your content for a highly targeted campaign.

All of your materials—online and offline—should include a clear call to action. If you’re using print to drive customers to an online location, make the offer and directions clear and easy to follow, or you might not see as much engagement as you’d hoped for.

Also pay attention to the design of your printed and digital pieces and how they work together. Link graphics, colors, and fonts across mediums for brand cohesion. Make sure your print pieces draw attention, so consumers want to check out your digital offerings. Using special embellishments like foil, embossing, glossy or matte coatings, or die and laser cuts on your printed materials can grab and hold the customer’s attention enough to direct them online.

Finally, tracking your campaigns is extremely important. Consider how you will measure ROI for both printed and digital items. QR codes and custom URLs can help you track how many people are following through on the print-to-digital jump. You might also track usage of a unique discount code provided only on printed marketing materials to see how effectively your print campaigns contributed to purchases or conversions.

Print is just as important in your marketing campaigns as ever, but with today’s technological enhancements, print will serve a different purpose as a tangible extension of your digital campaigns. By combining your digital campaigns with print in unique and engaging ways, you’ll be able to amplify your marketing efforts and see better results.