How to Peak Online Marketing for the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us, which for most means snow, frost, and lots of family gatherings. While we’re naturally excited about celebrating the holiday seasons with our loved ones, it also means that people are starting to make significant purchasing decisions, which presents a marketing opportunity.

What will your website and social media look like during this crucial time of the year? How will you grab people’s attention and keep it? We examined the top 20 digital marketing trends that will impact your business this year and what you should do about them.

1. Voice Search & Virtual Shopping

Did you know that almost 90% of all Google searches happen verbally? That’s right, people are mostly searching for information by speaking queries into the microphone on their smartphone rather than using keywords in the search box.

This trend indicates that if you’re not talking to customers and engaging with them on social media, you’re losing out on the chance to have them find your product or service in the first place. So start engaging with your audience on voice search and social media to show them your brand is trustworthy and available when they need it.

2. Authentic Long-Form Content & Videos

In a world full of sound bites and 140-character snips, there’s still room for informative and well-written content. In fact, according to HubSpot Blogs research, people are more likely to read a full blog post than a short-form article, video, or tweet. Why? Authentic content allows the reader (or viewer) to take in a lot of information in a short amount of time. Additionally, people prefer to consume educational content than marketing material because they feel that it’s delivering valuable information that they can use directly.

The takeaway? If you want to be read, write long-form content. The more you write, the more you’ll likely convince people to read you. Remember, you can’t ‘buy’ trust. You have to earn it by providing good quality and relevant content that’s relevant to your target audience.

3. Personal Branding & Voice

The more you engage with your audience on social media, the more you’ll discover about their interests, hobbies, and triggers. This level of ‘customer knowledge’ allows you to speak to them effectively and build a relationship based on trust and shared values.

An example of this would be a travel agent that builds a relationship with frequent flier Miles Smith by showing him special deals, providing valuable information, and building a sense of trust that the person he’s speaking to on the phone is a pro who will act in his best interests.

The travel agent could generate interest by providing valuable information about upcoming flights and hotel deals, or perhaps they could promote a specific restaurant that Smith likes or shares an interest in. By understanding his interests, they know what type of information will interest him and keep the conversation going.

4. Brand Activation & Retargeting

Did you know that people are more likely to buy stuff when their interests are acknowledged or when they’re retargeted (re-branded) on social media? This is called brand activation.

When people see your brand’s image or wordmark in a relevant context, it’s likely to catch their attention and make them remember your brand. Relevant contexts include seeing your logo or brand name in the body of an email, on a website banner, or as the triggered keyword in a search ad.

By consistently and consistently using this type of marketing (and avoiding the temptation to fall into the trap of simply throwing out there for the sake of it), you can ensure that people see your content, opinions, and offers frequently enough in order to keep them interested in your brand.

5. Re-invention of Email

Emails remain one of the most effective and popular digital marketing tools around – if you want to reach your audience, you need to have an email address!

What are you going to do differently this year to make sure your emails stand out? Perhaps you’ll experiment with shorter and snappier subject lines, or maybe you’ll test a few different types of content (e.g. video vs. text).

The important thing is to discover what works best for you and your target audience, and to keep experimenting with new ideas to gain more traction with email subscribers.

6. Content Curation

If you’re regularly consuming content on social media, you’ll discover an ever-growing stream of niche content that relates to your industry. That’s right, the more you engage with others on social media, the more you’ll discover about their interests and hobbies. When a customer or potential customer comes across your content and recognizes a point of similarity or connection, they’ll feel compelled to click through and learn more.

As an online marketer, you need to be constantly looking for ways to connect with your audience. One simple yet effective way to do this is to curate content from other professionals in your industry. By taking the time to understand what others are saying and doing, you can create content that will resonate with your audience and encourage them to learn more about your brand.

For example, if you’re an insurance agent and you notice that most of the content on social media relates to real estate, you might decide to create a blog post about common home-buying mistakes and how to avoid them. You can also use your blog to educate people about the industry and what they need to know in order to get the best price for their home. By regularly producing and curating content like this, you can engage with your audience, showcase your knowledge, and establish yourself as an expert in your industry.

7. Video in All Its Glory

You know what they say about old habits dying hard. Despite the ongoing pandora’s box of digital media forms, video content is still among the most effective ways to grab attention and promote a product or service. Why? Videos allow for richer media experience than text-based content and can serve as a great call-to-action, too.

There are plenty of tactics you can use to stand out in a crowded marketplace when it comes to video content. For instance, did you know that 60% of YouTube users scan or walk past the first two minutes of every video they watch? That’s right, people get bored easily and will simply click away if your video doesn’t entertain them for the first two minutes.

The key is to keep your videos short, snappy, and to the point. If you want to promote a product or service, tell them exactly what they need to know with a concise and engaging video.

8. Personal Branding & Influencer Marketing

If you can build a following of passionate people interested in your brand, you’ll be able to retarget them frequently and effectively with paid advertising. That’s right, when people come across your content and decide it’s relevant to them, they’ll be more inclined to learn about you and your brand because you showed them you can be trusted and that you have something valuable to offer.

The tricky part of this strategy is creating a following of people that genuinely interested in your brand and what you have to offer. One way to do this is to look for smaller influencers in your industry who already have a sizable audience and can easily spread the word about your brand. By establishing yourself as an influencer in your industry, you’ll gain credibility and begin to gain access to a pool of engaged followers who’ll be more inclined to learn about your brand.

If you want to take your personal branding to the next level, consider starting a blog. Not only will this allow you to showcase your work, connect with other bloggers and journalists in your industry, and potentially earn an income from affiliate marketing, but it’ll also make you a valuable resource for others who want to learn about your topic.

9. Authentic Long-Form Content & Headlines

Why is long-form content so effective? One word – attention! People rarely get bored of reading long-form content because it gives the reader (or viewer) the opportunity to take in information and retain it for a longer period of time. Additionally, people like to read articles that are well-written and easy to follow. If you want to engage with someone, you’ll need to go the extra mile and ensure that they’ve gotten as much value as possible from your piece.