Content Marketing Trends For Holiday Season

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Creating Branded Content, that is most likely to resonate with your audience and increase  site traffic, requires planning the content experience for your target audience. Your holiday season content  seeking to educate, inspire, and convert your audience with a seasonal context, requires a plan. According to Think With Google, shoppers are increasingly searching for products and Gift Guides on YouTube.  Most of the time 70 percent, these videos are watched on mobile.

With the number of options available,  the search volume for products on Mobile with “Best” products has grown by 50 percent. As high as 43 percent shoppers for Consumer Electronics purchase products on Mobile, while looking at the products in-store. Nearly 70 percent of customers want multiple ways to buy products such as Buy Online and Pick Up in store.

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Here are Content Marketing examples for targeting the Holiday shopper, that can create  an experience for your brand.

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Gift Guide and  Gift Cards as seen in Whole Foods example where the landing page for Holidays section, “Holiday Headquarters” features a Holiday Gift Guide “30 Days of Gifts”, Recipes and DIY ideas. The landing page shares select  recipes for entertaining and the site gives details on Holiday Gift Cards, Creating a Content experience that is targeted at engaging shoppers with gift ideas and  recipes for occasions.

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6 Ways to Promote Your Gift Cards

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According to Bizrate Insights, a survey conducted among consumers of 5000 eCommerce retailers via an online survey presented immediately after completing a purchase, Gift Cards are seen to be preferred by Millennials, with over 70 percent of 18-34 years, stating a preference for receiving Gift Cards. However, there was a gap among consumers hoping to receive a Gift Card and those who plan to buy a Gift card. The survey was, conducted among 11,067 online buyers, ages 18 and over, in the U.S. and Canada and carried out between November 1, 2015 and November 8, 2015.

According to Card Hub, the size of Gift Card market is projected to grow. In a research shared by CEB TowerGroup, Gift cards represent 18 percent of the money spent by consumers on Holiday purchases and eGifting is likely to trend upwards. The preferred  Gift Cards categories that buyers planned to purchase for Holiday season are Restaurants, Department Store, Coffee Shops, Entertainment and Electronics Store.

GiftcardsresearchRetailers targeting Holiday Shoppers have designed offers on Gift cards that are focused on customers interests and build on the experiential gifting. The search queries for Gift cards increase in the first two weeks of December and the top search queries for 2015 were restaurant gift cards, best gift cards.

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Consumer Focused Approach

Walmart’s robust offering of Gift Cards targeted at Movies and Music fans as well as  restaurant gift cards, provide a wide choice to buyers who want to buy Gift Cards that are likely to be preferred by the target audience. The choice of  retail gift cards provide an offering for consumers that are looking at choosing gifts based on interests. The gift cards value proposition offers a complete suite of gift options for different categories from Apparel, Dining to Entertainment. Combining the products with an e-gift delivery option makes for a comprehensive Gift Card experience from product design to delivery stage. Gift card experience from Walmart is designed around the consumer, with Branding and Design and the User Interface enhanced for Discovery.

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Key Takeaway 

Design your Gift card strategy around your core target audience buyer persona, offering different options, with branding and content experience enhanced for mobile discovery. Create a special icon to flag products that have an email delivery option or a special price offer, as can be seen for Walmart’s eCard.

Pricing Focus

Amazon designed special offers targeted at buyers of speciality cards, with a 20 percent off for buyers of gift cards, with special packs designed for up-selling. Target also focused on creating special price offers for gift cards and running special offers to promote gift cards.
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Amazon’s gift cards strategy focuses on creating a value proposition based on pricing and the choice of shopping all gift cards at one place. The choice that is available promises at reducing stress usually associated with finding the right gift.

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Key Takeaway 

Usually customers looking for deals and offers around holiday season tend to buy into value offers that can be redeemed after the Christmas sales.

Giving a choice of retail brands, adds choice for consumers with the possibility to find the right gift for different people.

Experiential Rewards

Sam’s  Club has created experiences for Motor Sports Enthusiasts, that features racing Experiences and different Drive packages. Sam’s Club includes  Gift Cards rating that lets customers choose and decide from popular cards that are featured in  “Popular Products” section.

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Key Takeaway 

Designing experiential rewards gift cards engages audiences for your brand with one of a kind offers that are not likely to be available off the shelf. Offering Experiential rewards Gift Cards are likely to create greater buzz and social media sharing for Gift Cards.

Price Match Guarantee

Best Buy offers consumers to choose from the options available with a Price match guarantee.

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Key Takeaway 

Offering Price Match Guarantee on Gift Cards is likely to resonate with audiences as it takes the stress away for Gift Card Shoppers.

Limited Edition Gift Cards

Starbucks  Limited Edition holiday cards, embellished with Swarovski crystals in Silver and Blue aimed at engaging audiences with a Lifestyle aspiration, making the card design as a reward in itself. The Gift cards are an extension of other merchandise available at Starbucks with Crystal and Gold embellishments.

 

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Starbucks promoted Holiday cards with Gift Cards Messaging.

Key Takeaway 

Designing Limited Edition Gift Cards are  a way to engage audiences for key occasions that reward your loyal customers.

Gift Card As A Reward

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Offering a Gift card linked to a purchase as can be seen from Target’s USD 100 Card linked to an Apple Watch purchase. Linking a free gift card offer with a purchase can help retailers boost sales with a special pricing offer linked to Gift Cards. Allowing time bound offers on Gift cards can further help retailers divert spend in lean sales months.

Key Takeaway

Gift Cards can increase sales when used as an incentive and increase sales during low season months.

Gift Card Statistics
 
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Brands That Are Game For Valentine’s

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Brands are ready with content, ideas and newer ways to help audiences  express their love on Valentine’s. As high as 90 percent consumers planned to buy gifts for significant other with nearly 60 percent planning on gifts for family members and 20 percent planning to buy gifts for friends, according to a Forbes and Statista Infographic for 2015 Valentine’s Day.

Starbucks Sparks The Flame
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Starbucks is ready with Valentine’s Day product line up for engaging coffee lovers and love seekers alike for Valentine’s. The coffee and treat pairings, Caffe Verona paired with Double Chocolate Chunk Brownie,  Tall Flat white and Chocolate Croissant and Grand White Chocolate Mocha with a Heart cookie made for an appetizing combination for Valentine’s Day, last year.

For 2016, Starbucks has announced a Line Up of offers that are available, offering consumers a warm way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their loved ones.

According to an update from Starbucks, the offers feature new Valentine’s cup designs and heart-shaped Starbucks Card with five messages to choose from. The new addition Valentine’s Cold Cup is adorned with Golden pattern finished with a pink lid and a green straw.

According to a review on Business Insider, The molten chocolate latte is made with melted chocolate chips, espresso, steamed milk, and bittersweet mocha syrup. It tastes like a regular cafe mocha, but with extra dark chocolate. The flavor is available in three varieties: a latte, a frappuccino, and a hot chocolate. The frappuccino iteration consists of coffee with mocha syrup and chocolate chips blended with milk and ice. It’s very sweet, and the crushed chocolate chips add a rich texture to the drink. And the molten hot chocolate has bittersweet mocha syrup and chocolate chips that are melted into steamed milk. This has a slightly bitter taste for hot chocolate, and has a richer flavor than the other two drinks. It tastes the most like deep, dark chocolate — a big plus for serious chocolate lovers.

Starbucks has launched a special edition Valentine’s Starbucks card which is heart-shaped and can be linked to a Keychain.

Heart-shaped Starbucks Card-A fun and unique Valentine’s Day gift with five messages from which to choose. This card is designed to link onto a keychain for convenience

Pink heart design cup with XOXO, that is reusable

A 16-ounce cold cup is adorned with a golden xoxo pattern finished with a pink lid and green straw- Valentine’s Cold cup

Classic white mug with a xoxo design within a golden heart – Valentine’s HandleMug

Valentine’s Day Card: A sweet gift for that special someone in your life.

Starbucks partnered with Match last year to launch The Biggest Date with Coffee and conversation appearing as an interest for 3 Million Match users and going for a coffee date being a favorite activity for every one in three members. The “Meet At Starbucks” feature was coupled with Starbucks Menu that featured a selection of coffee and treat pairings available for USD 5.

Reese’s Gets The Conversation Going

Reeses Reese’s Valentine Peanut Butter  Conversation Cups with messaging can get the conversation going for those who wish to express themselves. Each piece comes wrapped with a label that makes it easy to gift among friends. For those who wish to enjoy the candy themselves can do so with XOXO and U R sweet labels.

Hershey’s Kisses Get You Drooling

HkissestruffleHershey’s Kisses new Chocolate Truffle, with rich Truffle centers comes wrapped in  pink striped foils and classic plumes and is perfect for Valentine’s Day baking. Hershey’s Kisses content that is packed with Gift Ideas, Craft  and recipe ideas make for a perfect assortment that can help you decide on your favorite way to express your feelings for the loved ones. With easy to do tips, recipe ideas and Content, Hershey’s Kisses has it planned for you right from an e-card to Treat bags.

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Little Debbie and Hostess For Those Who Wish To Proclaim

LildebLittle Debbie’s seasonal offerings include several heart-shaped, and super-cute, items, like: Be My Valentine snack cakes (in varying flavors), iced brownies, marshmallow treats, and cherry cordials.

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According to E!Online, Hostess has introduced two new cupcake flavors to share with that special someone: Dark Chocolate-Raspberry and Chocolate-Covered Strawberry that are partially pink.

Hostess’s limited-edition “I ♥ U” Cakes, are right to proclaim your feelings for someone.

Tactics For Promoting Your Valentine’s Day Campaign
Twitter Conversational Ad Units

Twitter recently introduced Conversational ad units, that allow Brands to post brand messages to the followers of Twitter users who engage with your promoted Tweet. Brands that are looking at engaging friends and followers of a Twitter user for amplifying their message will find Conversational Ad Units effective in earning the audience engagement.

Use Remarketing to Target Your Site Visitors

Brand Advertisers who have a large email marketing base can use Twitter to target  audiences who have engaged with the brand in prior promotions and effectively use Tailored Audience to promote their newer offers. This can be done by importing email contacts into Twitter Lists and Promote to the audience that have earlier engaged with the brand. Remarketing on Twitter can be done with Tailored Audience to convert your website visitors and users who have engaged with your Tweets.If your objective with Twitter Ads is to reach high-intent visitors to your website and convert them into new customers, the website tag for remarketing may be a great fit.  By following Topics on Twitter you may be able to identify audiences that are already engaging with brands on the topic and promote your offer with a Promoted Tweet or a Twitter card.

Remarketing is now available on Bing for Search Marketing and Shopping Campaigns. Instagram’s personalized targeting helps you retarget lapsed app users. With Pairing of custom audiences with lookalike audiences Instagram takes out the guesswork allowing brands to scale up user acquisition and retention, with targeted offers.

Google’s One Click buying allows marketers and advertiser to target last-minute shoppers.

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An Emoji Campaign For Buzz and Recall

An Emoji Campaign is an ideal way to personalize your campaign for Valentine’s Day for the time strapped mobile user who is looking at communicating or sending out a signal in a snap moment. Building in the phenomenon of quick interaction can create a significant buzz and engagement. In case your brand is seen as central to all gift occasions, including an emoji that signifies gifting in your activation or loyalty campaign on social media can increase the engagement. Domino’s Pizza with easy order campaign generated over 460 K Social Media actions. An example of the easy order Tweet from Domino’s Pizza.

Publisher Posts For Content Amplification

According to an IPG Media Lab Report, Choose Publishers that match their audience with the content they love the most. For auto & travel, consumers are significantly more open to personalization like demo/geo targeting, device targeting, and past search behavior. For lower commodity categories, previous ad exposure and time of day are most acceptable.

Co-branded posts targeted at Publisher audience can increase engagement by up-to 8 times in comparison with posts promoted to  Brand’s audience.

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Identify co-branding partners and publishers based on the interests of your audience demographic.

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Include Mobile Video For Awareness and Engagement

Engaging Younger audiences with Mobile Video increases interaction rate with video ad formats preferred by the young audiences.  Other than Facebook and Google Search, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube make for a large share of Millennial Total App time.

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According to TrackMaven, Instagram makes for a large percentage of Audience interactions in comparison with other channels. The average interaction rate for most verticals is higher on Instagram.

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Messaging Apps are popular with Younger Audiences. Include Messaging Apps in your Advertising mix.

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Ten Ways For Targeting And Engaging Holiday Shopper With Gift Cards

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Gift cards feature on top of the list for Gifting this holiday season. For brands promoting Gift Cards, here are some last-minute tips to personalize your Gift Card Strategy.

Link your offers to Gift cards for your most sought after and high value products.

Create reminder posts for Last-minute shoppers.

Self-gifting is a trend this holiday season, linking your offers to products and customer experiences that are high on your customer’s priority for themselves during the holidays are likely to resonate better.

 

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Allow customers to add an image or a personalized message to the Gift Card.

Customers prefer Gift cards that help them express themselves within a context.  Use designs that are favored by your audiences.

Use Influencer Posts for engaging audiences that will find your offers relevant.

Engage Audiences with Publisher posts and DIY Content.

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Promote Your Gift Cards With Contests and CTA.

Feature Your Gift Card in Twitter moments.Promote any partnerships that you have for Gift Cards with Retailers as can be seen from Verizon’s and Samsung Pay Facebook Post.

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Create an Unboxing Video For Your gift card Contest, Giveaway or Offers.