Have You Herd – Top 5 Tips For Non-Traditional Holiday Marketing

2020 has undoubtedly been a year to never forget. But before the curtain drops, there’s a final act to be written about the holiday shopping season. While the next month traditionally makes or breaks the budgets of product-focused businesses, their service-oriented counterparts should look to take advantage of consumers’ inclination to more generously spend in November and December.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s possible to do so without a “wrappable” product – it just takes a little more creativity and marketing savvy than simply dropping prices or offering free shipping as part of Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales.

So how can you leverage the “season of giving” for your service business? Here are five tactics to consider:

Spreading the Holiday Spirit

As a first step, consider using your brand’s social media channels to engender goodwill among your audience. It can be as simple as sharing some examples of peace, thankfulness and joy, and encouraging others to follow suit. Overt promotion of your business isn’t the goal of this approach; instead, it is to position your company as one that “sees the bigger picture” and values connection with its customers. You’re seeking to elevate the relationship beyond being purely transactional in nature. Video is an especially powerful medium for forging this bond.

Creating a Branded, Season-Specific Hashtag

Many brands enjoy great success with season-specific hashtags. And while it’s natural to associate this technique with businesses seeking to move tangible products during the holidays, it can be successfully employed by service-oriented brands, too. The key is to pick a hashtag that’s authentic to your brand and encourages your followers to share stories. UPS’s #WishesDelivered is a great example of a campaign that promotes good will by asking for user-generated content showcasing instances where a wish or surprise was delivered. As an added bonus, each time the hashtag is used, UPS makes a donation to one of three partner charities.

Promoting a Contest / Sweepstakes

A tried-and-true option to explore is promoting a contest. For example, you could ask followers to tag friends for a chance to win a piece of company-branded merchandise. The merchandise could be promoted as “ideal stocking stuffers” or “perfect for the golfer in your life” to tie it to the holidays.

Developing Customer Loyalty Programming

Another way to celebrate the holiday season while also benefitting your brand is to consider the launch of a customer loyalty program. After all, there isn’t a better time to say “thank you” to your biggest aficionados and cultivate even greater goodwill among that crucial segment. It can be as simple as offering a significant discount on a future stay at your resort or a credit toward a special experience like a deep tissue massage at your spa if they book by a certain date.

Getting Involved with a Local Charity

Finally, consider seeking out a partnership with a local charity that aligns with your company’s mission and values. Beyond simply donating your own money and time to the cause, you can launch a promotion whereby you let your customers know you’ll be donating a pre-determined percentage of holiday sales to the cause. At minimum, use your owned marketing channels like your website and social media platforms to spread the word about your new association. Paid campaigns may make sense, too. At the end of the day, it’s all about tapping into the holiday spirit and showing your brand is about more than simply dollars and cents!