Although the summer heat is still here, we’re just weeks away from Christmas lights, Hanukkah songs, solstice wreaths, and good old holiday cheer.
While you’re probably just trying to survive the next 2 weeks, let alone all of 2020, it’s still time to think ahead. Right now is the perfect time to think about your holiday marketing campaigns.
Q4 is famous for bringing in the fattest checks, thanks to the holiday shopping season. But if you want that check to be fatter this year, you’ve got to put in some legwork.
The most wonderful time for influencers
Fortunately, you don’t have to do the hard work alone. Influencers are spreading the holiday cheer just fine and making a killing in the process.
Influencers’ December engagement rates are 12% higher than any other month of the year. People are clearly clamoring to buy, and influencers just add fuel to that fire.
As a business, you’re excited about the prospect of Q4 sales, but increased competition means you can’t get away with a last-minute campaign in November.
Nope. Brands that get a head start on holiday campaigns get better market share.
When you’re the early bird, you’ll see $18 in returns for every $1 you spend on holiday influencer marketing.
5 ways to prepare influencer marketing for the holidays
You can wait until the last minute to do your own gift shopping, but that won’t work for holiday campaigns. Follow these 5 proven tips to prepare right now for a jollier bump in revenue at the end of 2020.
1 - Start now (seriously)
Yes, it still feels like summer, but the holidays are almost upon us. Start your planning and researching right flipping now.
Q2 is actually the best time to plan holiday campaigns, so you’re already behind the curve, partner. Start researching influencers ASAP.
How many do you want to partner with? What type (mommy, fashion, foodie) of influencer do you need?
Dive into your:
- Customer personas
- Audience segments
- Marketing goals
… to find influencers with the right style, personality, and aesthetics for your brand.
Follow these tips to source influencers for holiday campaigns:
- Schedule enough time: You need at least 2 weeks to communicate, send out products, create content, and share it with your audiences. Clearly define your turnaround time with influencers so they know if it’s a good fit for their schedule.
- Choose experienced (but not salesy) influencers: Look through an influencer’s feed. Do they have a good mix of organic and promoted content, or does it read like a bad stream of infomercials? Sponsored content does better when it’s occasional, so don’t choose an influencer who says yes to everyone.
- Use an influencer network: Sorry, but you just don’t have time to source influencers manually. An influencer network like Trend connects you with pre-vetted influencers so you can have your pick of the litter. Get holiday campaigns up and running in just a few hours instead of muddling through Instagram hashtags with this approach.
2 - Create a strategic scope
We have a name for marketing campaigns without a goal: a bottomless pit. When you don’t have a plan, you can’t get results, and that means your marketing dollars go nowhere.
And since a ton of your revenue comes in during Q4, you don’t want to jeopardize your chances of winning big for the holidays.
Set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound just for the holidays. That might look like: “By January 1, 2021, we’ll have earned 10% more than Q4 of 2019.”
Whatever you do, make sure the influencer is on board with your goals. There’s nothing worse than paying for an unmotivated or disinterested influencer.
Make sure you keep in mind things like:
- Influencer deliverables
- Influencer metrics
- Overall campaign metrics
- Important dates
- How you’ll collaborate with the influencer
- Points of contact
This makes it so much easier to get results from your holiday influencer marketing.
3 - Bust through the noise
Nobody loves your brand as much as you do. And in a world where everyone and their mother is advertising for the holidays, standing out is no easy task.
How in the world do you stand out when everyone is advertising on Google and Amazon and Instagram?
Holiday influencer marketing is about finding a unique angle. If you don’t know how to jazz up your brand in time for the holidays, try:
- A campaign drop: Hire multiple influencers and have them post for your campaign on the same day. The infamous trash fire of a music concert, Fyre Festival, did this approach and it worked beautifully (from a marketing perspective, that is). Try this for Cyber Monday, Black Friday, or other important dates.
- Holiday-specific landing pages: Please don’t send people to your plain Jane landing pages. ‘Tis the season, after all! Create your holiday-specific landing pages now and optimize the heck out of them with SEO. Ask influencers to drive traffic to your holiday-themed page and watch the sales roll in.
- Discounts and deals: Influencers get a lot of traction on their own, but when you pair influencer marketing with a good deal, customers just can’t resist. Offer free samples to your influencers’ audience base to make a splash in the crowded holiday market.
- A competition: Humans are naturally competitive creatures, and a competition feeds into the excitement of the holiday season. Ask influencers to promote a contest with a juicy reward, like hundreds of dollars’ worth of free products.
Yes, branding your social posts with snow, Santa, and lights is holiday-centric and cool, but that doesn’t exactly scream “unique.” The holidays are your chance to try something out of the box.
4 - Incentivize influencers
Great influencers are already in your corner. But even then, an extra nudge can help you get even more mileage from your influencers this holiday season.
Give influencers incentives before, during, and after your campaign. That might include things like:
- Affiliate commission: Offer influencers affiliate commission on every product they sell during the holiday season. If you’re working with multiple influencers, give each a unique UTM so you can see who is driving the most traffic to your site.
- Merchandise: Send influencers free merchandise as part of your arrangement. Everybody loves free stuff!
- Monthly promo codes: Keep the Christmas cheer going all year by sending influencers their own monthly promo codes. Continue paying them affiliate commission to see your customer base grow over time.
- Exclusive access to new products: Got something exciting in the pipeline? Build hype during the holidays and beyond by giving influencers exclusive access first.
You want to nurture an ongoing relationship with these influencers. Over time, you’ll build a loyal fleet of people promoting your brand, which makes influencer marketing much easier in the long run.
5 - Remember the post-holiday followup
You’re nurturing relationships with these influencers, which means you’re working with them to boost sales all year round, not just during the holidays.
While the months leading up to the holidays see a ton of purchases, plenty of folks spend money in January, too.
Capitalize on post-holiday shopping sprees by partnering with your influencers on:
- Email outreach: Do you have customers’ email addresses? Use your influencer UGC to do email outreach with post-holiday deals.
- Unboxings: Who says the holiday fun has to end here? Ask influencers to unbox belated holiday gifts or bundles to their Instagram audience.
- Social media takeovers: You’ll probably be exhausted from running social media all holiday season, anyway. Inject a little excitement by turning the reins over to an experienced influencer.
Whatever you do, keep the conversation going after the holidays. Done right, influencers will help you keep the holiday excitement going well into Q1.
The bottom line
The holidays are probably the most lucrative time of the year for product sales, but there’s a ton of competition. Instead of paying for social ads that get buried under everyone else’s content, try influencer marketing.
The thing is, right now is the time to plan for the holidays. You’re a little behind, so don’t dawdle!
Influencer networks like Trend make it faster to partner with the perfect influencers—just in time for the holidays. Join now for free.