4 Steps for B2B Companies to Stand Out During the Holidays
By now most retailers have their sights set on executing a successful holiday campaign. After all, this is the time of year when shoppers spend the most money, and a slow Christmas season could spell disaster.
However for B2B businesses, this season often gets overlooked, and often businesses end up scrambling to put together a generic “Happy Christmas” email, and that’s about it. This is a huge missed opportunity to connect with customers at a time when many will soon be renewing their annual subscriptions, auditing their tech stack, and searching for new solutions for their businesses in the new year.
If you have a B2B business, this festive season, I want you to think bigger, and the sooner you begin planning the better! In this post, I’m sharing four steps that you can take to plan and execute an impactful holiday campaign!
1. Define Your Objectives
The first thing you should do when planning any campaign is to get clear about your goals. Do you want to nurture your audience? Warm up lukewarm leads? Reward people for their loyalty? This could be a perfect time to do any of these things.
Unlike a retail brand, you don’t necessarily need to focus on short-term sales. It can be difficult to close deals at the end of the year, when many companies are putting budget decisions on hold, and some employees are getting a bit checked out.
Then again, I wouldn’t write off sales as a goal completely, as you could use this time to become top of mind and prime leads to consider making a purchase in the new year. You may just need to get a bit more creative, and roll things out sooner than later (as in November — not late December).
Whatever objective you choose, think of it as an opportunity to move your business a step closer to reaching the next level. What can you do now to set yourself up for success come January 2021?
2. Segment Your Audience
The better you target your marketing campaigns, the more effective they’ll be. So, avoid trying to pull off a one-size-fits-all approach. At a minimum, divide your efforts between marketing to existing customers and new leads, or if you have the resources, segment to reach people at all the different stages of the marketing funnel.
The holidays are one of the best times to make a meaningful connection with your existing customers. Even if they use your tools every day, many customers won’t stop to think about how much value you provide, so remind them!
For example, consider taking people behind the scenes. Let them get to know your team and make them feel like they’re part of the family. Share a year-end review highlighting the newest features or additional services you’ve rolled out over the year and offer a sneak peek at what’s to come.
Or use this time to get to know your customers better by sending out a short survey asking for feedback on your product or service and offer the opportunity to submit requests for new features to make your offering better. All in all, show them that you value their business — and that they should value yours.
If you want to use the time to reach new B2B customers instead, try to get into the mindset of your target audience. What are they excited about right now? What are their needs? What are they doing (or not doing) during this time? What are they concerned about? With this knowledge as a foundation, focus on creating helpful content or promotional offers that they’ll actually really want, and use this as a hook to stay top of mind.
3. Get into the Spirit of Giving
The holiday season is a really nice time to shift into a service mindset. What can you do to provide your audience with tangible value?
Consider sending out a gift to your customers to reward them for their loyalty. Try to stand out from the typical corporate swag and choose a gift that people will really appreciate.
Alternatively, you could use some aspect of your business as a reward. Offer free or early access to new features, tutorials to get more out of your services, or virtual events to help people grow their businesses with your product.
Whatever you choose to offer, make sure it has tangible value and is simple to digest. You don’t want to bait people with something they don’t really need and you don’t want to create something that they’re not in the mood for (like that 20-page white paper….). You want to make them feel like you genuinely care and you want to create something that’s actually useful and not a waste of your precious time and resources!
Beyond promoting your business, you can use this time to think of ways to brighten someone’s mood or inspire them. (With the year we’ve all had, this might add value in itself!) Go beyond and create a true connection to leave a lasting impression. Think about how you could connect with what people have in mind.
4. Choose Your Channels and Tactics
Now that we’ve discussed some of the ways that you can market your business, let’s consider how to actually deliver your message.
For B2B businesses, I recommend leaning on email marketing, but with a caveat: you need to put some effort into executing a really good email campaign to make a lasting impression and avoid the instant delete button.
One of the biggest advantages of email marketing is that it enables you to segment your audience and target them directly with the right message. For example, you may want to get a bit more personal with your existing customers than with your leads. Maybe you want to try something a bit fun and quirky to lighten the mood, or maybe you want to share something personal from your team. Email is an ideal place to do this because you know exactly who will be receiving your message
Beyond email, use your other existing channels to amplify your message or draw in new leads. Social media, blogging, webinars, and virtual events are all great options — especially if your goal is to raise awareness.
Whatever channels you choose, remember, it’s the holidays! Keep things joyful, inspiring, and friendly, and try to give people something to smile about. If you manage to do this, there’s a good chance they’ll remember it in the new year.