Get a Head Start: 6 Tools to Supercharge Your Holiday Marketing 🎅

It’ll be here before you know it

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Are you still having nightmares about last year’s last-minute holiday scramble? Thinking about how you can optimize your creative concepts for a record-breaking Q4 this year? You’ll want to start planning now so that you have time to craft some awesome campaigns.

What makes for a jolly campaign? Personalized emotional appeals. According to Chris Graves, Chief Creative Officer at Team One, “The holidays are naturally an emotional time of year. Advertisers traditionally try to use this to create memorable advertising and emotional connections to their brands. The ones that find a way to do this in relevant and entertaining ways tend to be remembered. The ones that simply insert themselves into the holidays will easily be forgotten.”

Sujan Patel, Co-founder of ContentMarketer, stresses that brands should take an emotional strategy in order to “build trust and credibility.” Relevance is the key here. The cleverest campaigns make customers eager to participate because it makes them feel like it’s made just for them.

Mobile marketers have a leg up: a great way to achieve that magic level of personalization is by using CRM data and careful segmentation to deliver customized experiences to your audience.

Here are the tools and tactics to take those big, emotionally-charged ideas to scale.

Tap into two powerful wells: your own emotions and your customer data

Before you start building your campaigns, of course, you’ll need your ideas. Remember what inspired you last year. Brainstorm ideas with your team and ask them to think of the most memorable campaigns from last year. Was it the Nick Offerman Yule Log video or a helpful holiday microsite that caught their attention? Looking back, you may be able to pick a few elements or emotions you’d like to emulate in your own campaigns.

Then dive into your data. Use the valuable information you’ve collected from your past campaigns to guide your upcoming holiday promotions. Since there is so much competition during the holiday season, you’ll want to use all your best practices to break through the clutter.  

How to set your goals and focus your efforts

Most everyone in the holiday campaign game is looking for an increase in sales or new customers—so what engagement goals will help you get there? Map out some customer journeys for key segments and identify the actions that will pay off for you in the long run. Do you need email signups so that you can message customers and nurture relationships in Q1 2017, for example? Are you planning an event to bring more foot traffic to your store?

Once you’ve set clear goals, make sure to stay focused and avoid running your team ragged by changing all your existing campaigns. Seasonal messaging in unexpected places can be a nice touch but there are diminishing returns to making absolutely everything holiday themed. Once you start taking into account all your transactional messages and existing campaigns, it can easily become overwhelming.

Focus in on those key actions and mobile moments that lead to your goals and put more of your efforts into making those messages high quality. After you’ve selected specific pathways to target in your holiday campaigns, you can do a quick review of other existing automations to make sure they are still relevant.

Six tools to help you automate amazing holiday campaigns

Once you have the brilliant ideas, it’s time to use the power of mobile marketing automation to make it a reality. Here are a few tools that can supercharge your holiday campaigns:

1. Personalization: This is the time of year to make sure customers are aware of their interests and history. Make sure you personalize your messages with their name and other relevant information—this can increase conversions by 27% compared to generic messaging. Maybe you know a bit about who they shop for, or the gifts they bought last holiday season? Use what you know to tailor recommendations and discounts on related items. If your app or site has a social component, you can use their year’s worth of engagement to develop a round-up and encourage them to share it with their friends.

personalized messaging

Examples of personalized messaging

2. Dynamic content: This is like ultra personalization. What if you could connect what you know about users with other existing data, like sports scores or traffic updates? Appboy’s Connected Content, for example, allows you to integrate your own user data with information from real-time API sources, like the weather or movie times, to create highly relevant messaging. With the right API, you could set up some pretty impressive campaigns that use information like location or buying preferences to create truly unique holiday campaign experiences.

dynamic content

An example of a message using dynamic content

3. Triggered campaigns: Sometimes your best bet is to build upon existing engagement. Triggered campaigns are a great way to catch users’ attention based on their own interactions. Using tools like action-based delivery, you can start an automated campaign based on user actions (like viewing products on sale) that will encourage more actions toward your goal (like buying a gift). This way you can focus in on users who are already active and open to your messaging.

triggered campaigns

Examples of triggered campaigns

4. Send-time optimization: If getting that initial engagement is proving to be tough for some segments, you might need to focus on the timing of messages. Timing is crucial for reaching customers during the holiday rush. Use tools like Intelligent Delivery to send campaign messages during personalized engagement periods. The Appboy system calculates the best potential engagement period based on past data, rather than using a one-size fits all approach, and it can lead to a 25% increase in conversions.

Messaging Journey

Different users are more likely to engage with notifications at different times.

5. Retargeting: Consistency across channels and devices is crucial to developing relationships that lead to holiday conversions, and a great way to do that is through retargeting, such as abandoned cart campaigns. By filtering for engagement that didn’t lead to a purchase or other conversion, you can remind that same user about the item they were viewing or what they might be missing but through a different channel. These reminders can make all the difference between a purchase and an investment that doesn’t pay off.

6. Visualization tools to put it all together: It’s one thing to map a campaign on paper (or in your head) but actually building campaigns in your platform can be tricky if you can’t visualize the links between steps. Marketers with a visual campaign planning tool (like Appboy’s Canvas) will be able to ditch the whiteboards and sticky notes for an interface that both designs campaign flows and implements the campaign elements.

Appboy Canvas Workflow

Good luck!

Whatever your big idea for year’s end, you can leverage automation tools to get there. With some careful planning now and attention to the development of high quality campaigns, you’re sure to see some happy holiday results.

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