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4 Holiday Marketing Strategies Fit for 2020

Maybe you’re in denial. Or maybe you’re in full Buddy the Elf costume.

But either way, the holidays are coming.

It’s a busy season. It’s a noisy season. And for a lot of business leaders, it’s a critical season to make up ground we lost earlier in the year.

You can’t afford to get your holiday messaging wrong this year. Right now, you may be wondering how on earth you can create campaigns that cut through the noise and truly reach customers where they are.

I want to share four strategies to help you. These marketing strategies are based on the time-honored principles of storytelling. They’ve helped humans connect for millennia. They’ll work this year, too.

Empathy: Focus on your customer, not on yourself.

You and your company have done some extraordinary things these last few months. I bet you’re proud. You absolutely should be.

But now is NOT the time to talk about those accomplishments. You may be tempted to make your holiday messaging all about your company’s resilience. To spotlight your employees. To say you need your customers’ support “now more than ever.”

But here’s the hard truth: customers don’t care about your story.

They’re living their own. And they’ve got real problems and issues they need YOUR help to solve.

Now is the time to step back and truly consider who your business serves. What are they struggling with? What setbacks have they faced? What do they need to hear right now?

Show how you will help your customer overcome their problems. That’s the messaging people pay attention and respond to.

  1. Clarity: Be ruthlessly simple in your messaging.

    In the last quarter of the year, email marketing volume always increases as the holidays approach. With all the noise, you’ve got to be incredibly clear in your company messaging.

    Otherwise, people will ignore you and forget you.

    Most of the time, companies try to communicate TOO much of what they do. And like a toddler mixing too many colors, they end up with a muddy brown mess. That confusion costs you. If customers don’t understand what you do, they’ll leave your website and go buy from a competitor.

    You have to be ruthlessly clear, especially on your website. Here’s how: Focus on the most important problem you solve. Say how your product or service solves that problem. Then say how that solution makes someone’s life better. That’s it.

    Authority: Show how you help -- don’t just tell.

    Whether you’re selling to businesses or consumers, you can bet budgets will be tighter this holiday season.

    To combat price resistance, you can slash prices and offer deep discounts. Or you can stand by your pricing and show why it’s worth it.

    To do that, you need strong customer testimonials. Let people see for themselves that you have the authority and experience to solve the problem they have.

    Reach out to your existing satisfied customers. Ask them to share specifically how your product or service made their life better.

    Then, use those testimonials freely throughout your holiday marketing campaigns. It’s real-world proof of your messaging that gives customers the confidence to buy.

    Certainty: Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale.

    Here’s a common concern my team and I have heard over the last few months: “But isn’t it inconsiderate to ask people to buy right now?

    I understand that hesitation. You’re trying to be mindful of the difficult position some people may be in right now.

    But remember this: if your product or service will truly solve a problem your customer is facing, it’s your duty to confidently call that person to action.

    Because you’ve done everything else on this list -- demonstrating your empathy, authority, and clarity -- your confident calls to action won’t feel smarmy or pushy.

    Finally, let me just say: you’re doing great. You’re adapting to the wildest of times with excellence, tenacity, and humility.

    You deserve a hug. And a donut. And a raise.

    Now, it’s time to finish 2020 well. With these four strategies, I know you can do it -- and you’ll carry incredible momentum into 2021.

Donald Miller

Donald Miller has helped more than 3,000 businesses clarify their marketing messages so their companies grow. He's the CEO of StoryBrand, the cohost of the Building a StoryBrand Podcast, and the author of several books, including the bestsellers Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Betsy, and their dogs, Lucy and June Carter.

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