Most of us think of the holidays as a B2C marketer’s playground – lots of seasonal promotions via every channel under the sun. Traditionally, B2B marketers step out of the spotlight as the year wraps up.
But digital marketing offers great ways for B2B brands to end the year on a bright note. As online marketing for businesses becomes more about engagement versus a hard sell, it is even more important for B2Bs to reach their target market by taking a page from the B2C playbook using B2B holiday marketing.
Here are seven ideas for making your B2B holiday season a happy one.
1. Create a holiday-themed offer.
Buying cycles are much longer for B2B than B2C. Your product or service may be analyzed for months or even years before purchase. But people are primed to look for year-end deals, so leverage this feeling to create special holiday offers for your customers. Using the language of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, be creative about how you can promote your offering. Try something like “free [fill in the blank] for the month of January for all renewed contracts.” Your B2B brand will be seen as one that is relevant all year long and aligns with your customers’ goals during the season.
2. Give the gift of content.
Because B2B marketing targets people acting on behalf of organizations, the best gifts are ones that help your customers do their jobs. Skip the box of chocolates and create something that will give your clients insight or actionable tips for reaching their customers. Include a marketing message that acknowledges your clients’ year-end goals and reflects their message to their customer base. It’s a great time to send out an industry best-practices white paper, infographic, or video that will set you apart from your competitors.
3. Make it interactive.
B2B marketing emphasizes lead generation rather than short-term direct sales. Your audience doesn’t have a lot of time, but they do have time for useful, relevant info. Create interactive holiday-themed content that asks for their contact info while it keeps your brand on their radar and encourages them to spend a little more time with you. The success of BuzzFeed has shown we’re all suckers for a quick survey. Try asking them to rate their industry know-how, take a New Year’s resolution poll, or fill out a holiday office party quiz. Targeted content with a little bit of fun holiday flair can be quick to create and produce a nice holiday glow.
4. Boost paid social spend.
The holidays are a great time to humanize your brand with some soft content on social media. As a B2B brand, Facebook may not be at the top of your list of social channels but now is a great time to devote some ad spend to the platform. This is because many of Facebook’s 1.2 billion users spend more time posting and sharing during the holidays. Your customers will want to see that you are staying relevant online. Try posting a photo of your team at the office party, celebrating a meal together, or a local winter scene. Showing up in the newsfeed of your target audience as a sponsored status update can attract new leads as well as putting a human face on your brand.
5. Share the meaning of the season.
If your company has an active corporate social responsibility initiative or even helps out occasionally at a local soup kitchen, this is a good time to remind your prospects and clients of the true meaning of the season. Post news of contributions and photos of any activities or donations on your website and share through social channels. Reinforce and share the values that are important to your company and your employees.
6. Look ahead to 2016.
There are many ways to look forward with your audience and stay relevant this season. Share news about company plans, announce upcoming speaking engagements and events, weigh in on industry issues, or make predictions about trends or hot button topics. Get into the spirit and make some New Year’s resolutions. Provide a brief statement about what your business would like to accomplish next year. Whatever you choose, make your message relevant to your audience and something that would make them proud, happy, or excited about remaining a client or doing business with you.
7. Use an omni-channel approach.
B2B marketers in all industries benefit from leveraging multiple channels and using a holistic approach to connect with prospects at each critical touch point. Remember to use all the channels where you’ve established a presence. Engaging your audience on multiple screens with great content and a variety of channels will help your reach new prospects, convert and retain customers, and transform current buyers to brand enthusiasts during the holidays and beyond.
Try these marketing tips to delight and surprise your clients this season. Show them you share their interests and concerns in an authentic manner. Paying timely attention to their needs with seasonally focused content (and offers) will engage them in the best way during the holiday season and all year long.