We know, it’s that time of the year – you are running out of steam and the only thing you feel like doing is to close shop, put your feet up in front of the fire place (if you are in the Northern Hemisphere, in Australia we put a shrimp on the Barbie and sunbath in Bondi beach!) and wait for Santa to deliver the much awaited and well deserved rest and pampering.
But, unfortunately, as a small business owner, if you give in and allow yourself to be tempted by promises of party and pudding, you could be missing out on the biggest selling season of the whole year.
So, brace yourself for a final sprint and try to make the most of the many marketing options available to you these days without breaking your bank account or investing too much of your precious time in getting the word out there.
Here are a few ideas and tips to help you connect with your customers and maximize your Christmas marketing efforts:
Tell them well-crafted stories
Stories affect us on both a deep intellectual and emotional level. Nick Nanton and JW Dicks explain that stories create a bonding empathy that causes us to strongly identify with the hero of that story to the point that our brains get a little mixed up as to what’s real and what’s not.
Besides, Researchers Jorge Barraza and Paul Zak have shown that stories trigger the release of oxytocins and this biological reaction is what makes us attracted towards the stories we read and watch – Oxytocins make us empathetically engaged. We feel we are part of the story, that we are fully immersed in the life of the other person, fully empathic about this person’s experiences, happiness and pain.
Even simple stories told creatively will trigger the reaction you want. Check how the guys of the Wicked Sick Project told the story of a very well-loved BMX bike on E-bay.
Well-crafted, creative stories are sure to capture the attention of your customers over this particularly emotive time of the year. After all, it’s pure biology and your customers will not be able to say no to a great story with a Xmas appeal.
Throw in some well-thought out humor
We all love good entertainment and why not, a good laugh. I know I do. It certainly beats having to put up with almost offensively loud advertisements, boring sales pitches or dull, poor quality publicity. And a bit of well-executed humour can help you stand out and make it almost a necessity for your customers to share your advertisements.
So, why not try taking a chance and apply some humor to make your product memorable for your Christmas shoppers? Just like these marketers have done:
You are probably thinking, it’s easier said than done. Not every single small business owner has the capacity to create humorous, memorable promotional material. Besides, it is true that humor can take many different forms and used wrongly it can, in fact, backfire or have the opposite effect.
Spend some time observing how the masters of humor turn simple, everyday events into brilliantly funny skits and look inward to mirror and parody themselves, just like Cisco did a few years ago for Valentine’s day:
Say it with images and videos
Humans’ strongest emotional responses come from visual cues. This is particularly true in the case of the Internet. Images have revolutionized the way in which everybody uses the internet and are key to achieving success online. Carefully selected images are one of the most important tools you can use to help you establish and reinforce brand awareness as they are likely to achieve 94% more views than pages with irrelevant or non-existent images.
Chris N from the Jam Biz Blog, explains that images are very powerful in changing the mood or behavior or audiences as it has been scientifically proven that color can affect the purchase patterns of online customers. He also suggests marketers use the following type of images to attract customers more effectively:
- Images with a sense of urgency or time constraint
- Images with the right variation of colours to match product/service
- Images that serve a purpose i.e. that tie into a promotion, discount or report with compelling information rather than to simply drive traffic onto the site.
Make sure you use your images to tell your brand’s story and gain more attention from potential customers in visual social media sites like Pinterest and Tumblr.
And besides images, try to put some money aside for an attractive video Christmas message. Even if you are on a shoestring budget, using just a basic camera and simple editing software, you could produce an entertaining video that reaches thousands of prospective customers.
- Use well-thought-out, tasteful humor presented through images and videos during the Christmas season to help your brand’s story get the attention it deserves.