The holiday season is upon us, which is both exciting and overwhelming for ecommerce and retail business owners. If all goes to plan, the weeks ahead will deliver a huge spike in revenue. However, there is also the pressure of figuring out how to rise above everyone else’s holiday themed ads and promotions. How can you make seasonal content that is charming, innovative and (most importantly) different?
The answer lies in your intentionality. Thankfully, a well-produced, perfectly timed video ad can elevate your product in memorable ways. Here are 5 principles to focus on when creating your video marketing campaign this holiday season.
Be Sincere — Not Cheesy
Nothing kills a marketing campaign quite like cliché. Everyone’s heard “’tis the season” and “deck the halls” a thousand times. These overworn phrases doom your product to get lost in the Yuletide white noise. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If your video marketing idea features slogans from a Christmas carol, keep brainstorming.
It’s the sentimentality, not the sayings, of the holiday season that connects you to customers. Lean into images of family, food, traditions and classic holiday imagery. What do you want your customer to feel after watching your video ad, and how can you elicit that emotion in a way that feels authentic, not overdone? If you can think of dozens of examples of your concept being used for holiday commercials in the past, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to put a unique enough spin on it to make it worthwhile.
Know Your Video’s Target Audience
A key to authenticity is understanding your audience. With so much of the holidays rooted in tradition and togetherness, it can be a powerful time to forge deeper bonds with your audience.
Are you targeting holiday shoppers with your video ad? Maybe you want to raise your brand awareness through a holiday ad that makes people laugh, cry or feel nostalgic? Spend time placing yourself in your customers’ shoes and asking how they’re feeling this holiday season. The holidays might be producing some very intense emotions, especially during our current COVID-19 reality. Ask yourself how your brand or product intersects with your customers’ world right now.
Beat the Competition and Publish Early
There’s a balance to this, certainly. Trying to push a Thanksgiving ad in August is going to create customer backlash, not interest! That being said, don’t wait until the last minute to release your video ad. Make sure your content is out at least one to two weeks before the holiday; if your product warrants it, even earlier.
There is a “threading the needle” element here, which brings us back to point two: When you know who your target audience is and what their needs are, you’ll be able to anticipate when is too early and when is just right.
Create a Strategy That Resonates and Has Reach
Resist the urge to hang your hat on vanity metrics like view numbers alone. Consider that most people watch video ads on mute or skip through them as soon as they’re allowed. At the end of the day, a view of two seconds as someone scrolls through is obviously far less valuable than someone watching the whole commercial. Your goal is to place your video ad in a space that can reach intended audiences in a way that truly resonates.
A big piece of this is knowing where your video ad will play best. Is your content best suited for Instagram or more traditional outlets like television? There are a lot of choices out there to explore. If you haven’t already, pay close attention to which videos grab your attention on different platforms and begin asking which format best suits your marketing strategy.
Monitor Your Results, Refine Next Year’s Strategy
A quick, fun tip about the holiday season: It happens every year. Canceling Christmas is unlikely to ever occur. That means you have a locked-in, nonnegotiable marketing campaign for next year. Pay attention to what goes well in your process. Did you target the right audience? Did you anticipate their emotional space during the holidays? Do you feel good about the social media outlet you used? Take lots of notes that are easily accessible for you next year.
This season is an opportunity for your ecommerce or retail business to stand out, and a well-executed video marketing strategy will help you get there.
Hope Horner is CEO and founder of Lemonlight Video Production