The holiday season seems to bring with ample opportunity to sell, sell, sell. But while many businesses rely on the period between Halloween and Christmas to generate a significant percentage of their annual revenue, there are also quite a few businesses that don't have obvious holiday sales opportunities. Here's some good news for both groups: During the holiday season-in addition to increased travel and spending-people also consume more content. New research from Outbrain demonstrates not only an increase in the demand for content, but points out that demand exceeds supply.
Thus, in the same way that coupons, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales offer opportunities for retail businesses, this content craving provides a chance for businesses of any kind to connect in new ways with their customers. While it may be easier for a clothing boutique that can offer ideas on what to wear at holiday parties or the local natural food store that develops a list of tips for healthy, festive recipes there are many ways organizations can satisfy their audience's desire for holiday content.
Here are three tips to help any type of organization create content that will attract customers during the holiday season:
1. Give your customers what they need: At a fundamental level, everyone needs exactly what you do at the holidays: more time, more money, and a Zen-like calm to manage stress. Right, so this is great news for those of you offering time management tools and support, financial advice and savings opportunities, or therapeutic and spiritual counseling. In these cases, you can make a clear connection between common holiday stressors and your services by offering thoughtful tips and tools (and some inspiring survival stories!)
Purveyors of other types of products and services will need to dig a bit deeper. There may not be a tidy direct connection from what you do to what people commonly need at the holidays. That's okay. You know your customers and you are here to serve them. Right now, you can do that by providing useful information around the holiday theme. That may mean pointing to other local businesses or services that will help them manage the stresses of the holiday season. They will value this advice and it will reinforce the value of the services you provide.
2. Keep it quick and easy: Seriously, nobody has enough time during the holiday season. So while you may often compose lengthy emails or blog posts, this time of year, consider keeping things short and sweet. Keep regular communications brief and consider including useful aggregated content from around the web or information presented in the form of tips or lists. There might be a way to tie this directly or indirectly to your business, such as ways to keep your home secure while traveling from an insurance provider or ideas to dress up your table from the local design store.
But again, there are plenty of ways to leverage content on your site or in your social or email communications that demonstrate an understanding of your customers and reinforce your connection with them, even if you are unlikely to make a sale during the holiday season. A landscaping service might consider something fun around tree decorating whereas a local real estate agent might collect the easiest ways to spruce up your home's exterior. Can't create this content on your own? Find great examples from trusted content sources and offer a brief intro and a link with a few word from you about why you think it will be helpful to your readers.
3. Content connects community: In between panic attacks over holiday menus, shopping lists, and acceptable in-law conversation topics, a spirit of good will emerges at the holidays. From bell-ringing Santas to food bank service, the holiday season brings out our better selves. Odds are, that applies to your business as well: You likely have causes you support or perhaps you encourage staff to take time to give back to the local community.
Tell the story of your community involvement. Better still, you can amplify the stories that these worthy causes have to tell by sharing their good works with your audience. You can also provide matching donations to your customers for your favorite charity (and let your actions tell your story). The connection between your company and worthwhile causes won't be lost on your customers. Using content in this way creates a virtuous circle and reinforces your role as trusted member of the community-someone who will spring to mind the next time they are in the market for your products or services.
Certainly, your customers will be hitting the web to find what they need during the hectic holiday season. This time of year, content can create connections, not only by giving your customers what they are looking for, but also by building and reinforcing your role as trusted partner all year long.